Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Retail nightmare

So this is pretty cool: just posting this already means I've equalled the number of posts I wrote last week.  It can only get better from here!

Yesterday's journey home didn't go too well.  The 18:04 and the 18:07 from Edgware Road to Waterloo were too crowded to physically board, while the 18:09 didn't turn up (either that, or the 18:13 I did board was the delayed 18:09).  Got to Waterloo at 18:28, which would have been a minute late even had that train been the 18:13.  That's a 10-minute delay over the 18:04, and caused me to miss my connecting train to Hersham.  The next train arrived in Hersham seven minutes late, five of which were gained in the TfL network.  So, in all, I got to Hersham 34 minutes later than I should have.  That's £85.  No reason was given for the tube delay, though the tube driver did shout several times at people to stop leaning on the doors.  The train delays seem to have been due to 'a shortage of carriages'.  WTF?  Where did all the carriages go?  That was careless of South West Trains to lose them like that!

This morning, I caught the 08:20 from Norbiton to Waterloo after dropping my daughter off at the childminder's.  It was delayed over the course of the journey by 20 minutes, owing to speed restrictions in various places within TfL's network (not that I could hear the train driver's inaudible explanation).  I'm translating that to 'we're delayed because we're going slowly' - which, of course, was caused by earlier problems.  A bit of searching online has unearthed the reason 'problems found on the track', which I'm calling an electrical fault.

Needless to say, this caused me to take a later connecting tube to Edgware Road than I otherwise would have, itself one minute delayed.  All in all, I got to work this morning 33 minutes later than I should have for another £82.50.

Total delay since yesterday morning: 67 minutes; £167.50.

Elsewhere in TfL's own little universe, the Evening Standard reports on another ill-thought-out plan, this time to introduce more cafes and shops to tube stations.  What's wrong with this, you might ask, and I'm glad you did.  Here's my little list off the top of my head:
  1. Most stations are already severely overcrowded in rush hour.  Is it really a god idea to encourage people to linger and get in the way all the time?  TfL wants to emulate the success of such institutions in overground railway stations to raise additional revenue, but whatever else its faults, tubes run every few minutes.  You don't typically get people missing a tube and waiting half an hour for another one, so that sitting down in a cafe seems like a good idea
  2. Maybe the stations will get a huge revamp, so people aren't always in the way while sipping their new coffees?  OK, but that means months - if not years - of building works inconveniencing all customers.  Also, who's going to pay for the redevelopment?  That's right, you and me.  And somehow I doubt that, even if the additional revenue exceeds TfL's wildest dreams, we'll see recompense in the form of falling ticket prices.  No, there'll always be new update works to do.  I've an idea: how about spending the money earmarked for retail development on improving the service instead?
  3. Indications are that there are no plans to greatly enhance the size of stations to accommodate the cafes and shops.  Instead, TfL is going to rip out the ticket offices because, since the arrival of the Oyster card, ticket office use is down 65%.  So obviously, the 1/3 of passengers who do use the ticket offices don't need this service, right?  Chances are, most of those 35% are tourists, and while it's tempting to say 'stuff them', tourism is a major source of income for the capital and, indeed, the country.  TfL are happy to make life difficult for them, thus increasing the chances they won't come here anymore, thus helping to plunge the economy ever deeper into its death spiral
  4. I had more, but I've forgotten them whilst getting angry writing the previous three points
That's it for now, except to leave you with this week's Tube Bingo card to date. 

Have a fun day, everyone!

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