Time for a quick train update

It's crap. The past couple of weeks have felt like Auckland's train services have taken some giant strides backwards. Lets summarise (I'm sitting here right now stranded due to the lack of a train, so it's a good time to do so).

It started with the recent release of some new timetables. "New timetables!" thinks I, "More services? Maybe rush hour will be less of a pain in the rear! Yay!". But no, there are no changes at all on the timetable other than the new late night (if you call 9.30pm departure) weekday train being officially listed now. Don't get me wrong, that train is handy, but we really do need more peak trains spanning the entire Western line - 40 minutes between services is just stupid (especially if some of those are going to be cancelled here and there).

Next we go onto the opening of the new temporary Newmarket stations. It's nice that we don't need to waste 10 minutes at Newmarket now while the driver changes ends, however we seem to be losing that time gained by sitting around stationary for 20-30 minutes between Boston Road and Britomart. It's all very nice the drivers giving their sincere (*) apologies over the intercom, but really it's not their fault, and we don't need to hear their apologies. What we need is the trains to run on time. A bit of compensation for the insane amount of time and money wasted due to failed services would be appreciated, plus it'd be an incentive for them to improve the service - it's worked to an extent in Melbourne with their penalties for late services (apart from the slight loophole where the operator simply started cancelling them rather than risk running them late), so maybe it would work for Veolia? At least it'd give customers a feeling that they have some sort of power, rather than being punished by trying to use public transport. This morning a lady on my train asked to speak to a manager at Britomart, and was told there were none around, and was directed for where to go and lay complaints - but realistically, what's the point in wasting more time talking to staff who are completely powerless?

I really did have to stop and smack myself for hoping that the changes to Newmarket might actually come about without weeks of delays and pain. Fool!

Today the ride in was delayed outside Britomart for about 30 mins, and now the trains home seem in a worse state. Delays on the Eastern and Southern lines somehow manage to ruin the Western line as well, presumably because our train is stuck outside of Britomart waiting to unload it's passengers and turn around. It's not even listed on the board, which is always a bad sign. The station is filled with angry milling passengers and confused staff-drones repeating their apologies for something which is completely out of their hands anyway.

Finally as icing on the cake, the text alert service has been worse than usual.Whoever writes those things need a lesson in grammar and spelling - I'm not being my usual nitpicking self here, I wouldn't mind some spelling and grammar mistakes here and there, but the ones we're seeing on the current text alerts are as such that the entire meaning of the message can sometimes be open to interpretation. Today, there have been none at all, and given the amount of problems that I alone have experienced, that's just pathetic! The text service is a great idea, however it's utterly useless in it's current form.

All in all it's been a frustrating couple of weeks commuting, just when things were starting to feel like they were improving too..

Posted on Monday, February 11, 2008 6:20 PM | NZ Trains

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