Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Joys of Travelling with Connex

It seems to me that, in perfect weather conditions, Connex struggles to deliver any form of service, never mind meeting a good standard.

If it's anything OTHER than perfect weather, the whole system collapses. Rain? Many trains cancelled, and the ones that are left usually run late. Cold? Same again. Heat? Yep, you guessed it, mass cancellations and lateness.

I travel on the Werribee line, and get off for work at Parliament. Not sure if you've heard the bullsh-t stuff up they've made of THAT line during peak times - no Werribee line trains go through the loop. To get to work I have to change at either North Melbourne or Southern Cross station to get onto a loop train. To get home I have to catch a train to North Melbourne, then fight along the platform for a Werribee connection, assuming I can squeeze my way into the carriage.

The train I usually catch in the morning is, thankfully, not considered to be part of peak time so it goes direct through the loop. Not so lucky for getting home. This has prompted me to walk the 20 minutes to Flinders St station every afternoon to avoid the mucking around, and also have half a chance of getting a seat (from the crowds on Platform 10 it seems that many other loop-people have had the same idea). I'm sure you can understand, though, that in heat like yesterday and today and, indeed, when summer really gets going, that walking is NOT going to be a palatable option. But getting home by changing trains at North Melbourne adds anything from 10 to 50 minutes to my homeward journey.

From Parliament to my home station used to take about 40-45 minutes. That means that it can now take DOUBLE that, just to get there, never mind actually getting home.

So, with the heat yesterday, I hopped a Sydenham train to North Melbourne like a good girl, to find that the next Werribee train, due in 15 minutes, was cancelled. The next scheduled one, 20 minutes later, was due just before 5pm, but running 10-12 minutes late. The one due 5 minutes after that was cancelled too. All in all, it took me nearly 2 hours just to get to my home station. TWO FRIKKING HOURS! It was like travelling cattle-class, and so packed that many just had to bounce off others to try and stay on their feet.

There have also been a raft of cancellations on train lines this morning. Due to "defective trains" I hear (if they give an explanation at all).

And for this service we had ticket prices increase at the start of the year? For this I pay $50 a week? The sad thing is that, financially, I have no other option. The cheapest parking available near my office would be $50 per week, then add the cost of fuel and wear and tear on the car... I've been so tempted to say "to hell with it" and drive anyway. Maybe I should, one day a week or so, just for a break. But I digress.

I'm curious how other public transport systems compare.

No comments: