Train Woes

Okay so once again the train is delayed and this means I will miss a connection, I get really dis-chuffed when that occurs. Then I will blame privatisation. But this isn’t a random blame.

Privatisation was supposed to bring us:

Lower Fares. It didn’t.
More trains. It didn’t.
Better service. Debateable, more customer service bollocks that’s for sure.
Increased efficiency – well let’s look at that.

How do we measure efficiency. Ask the operators and they may say number of people to destnation – in shortest time – on time. Ask the travellers and they would add a qualifier, they would put comfort while traveling as part of that.

Let’s face it, 150 mph in a boxcar with us jammed in like sardines would be efficient.

So comfort is a part of efficiency to the customer. Not just speed and on time, but do I get a seat, is there enough baggage space, etc.

Baggage Space, well that’s a joke, most trains have inadequate space and they now have no baggage car so there is luggage everywhere, especially airport trains which should have a baggage car, but that means an extra car, an extra person to manage it, loss of profit from fuel and personnel and time and oh gods that affects efficiency, so that’s a no go.

Seats. Even on regular routes with no issues there is often overcrowding and distressed persons, and this is compounded when there are delays that push extra people onto the trains. The solution is extra cars even if the figures do not justify it, but again this increases costs and yada yada yada.

So comfort is pandered to with a smiling smartly dressed staff member, who has no real power to alter anything, can only point at alternate routes, offer a form to make a complaint or request compensation or say sorry. There is no real method for change.

But this situation -could- be the same even if they weren’t private, I hear you cry…

Preston Station
Preston Station, so depressing not even a brightly coloured filter cheers it up.

Not the point, if they are making a profit at the massive expense of their customers there is an issue, and since we have no alternative that effectively is a monopoly, so I will complain and state that privatisation of the train industry was a joke that has led to nothing but a failure of promises.

There is an issue when we measure efficiency as a means test for quality, it isn’t. Efficiency is a test of just that. It never means quality of service, this thinking is applied to health, education and other large systems with the same failure. We want quality, we achieve that by measuring satisfaction of service, not by quantifiable metrics.

What a difference having power and a seat on a train makes to the mood of the weary traveller…so my argument about quality of service and amenities starts to gain more credence as my rage is ameliorated by the comfort i have found. I do however pity my fellow passengers who got on at Chorley and Bolton and are doomed to stand for the remainder of their journey, I doubt the delays and inconvenience are changing their moods at this present time.

Some of the trains are nicer though, so glad that we helped to pay for them with public funds!

PMQs

I follow the UKMinisters Twitter feed that follows all of the ministers who tweet. There is a pattern that happens every Wednesday.

Prime Minister’s Questions occurs and all those on the PM’s side will state how magnificent he is and how he destroyed poor Red Ed. Whereas on the opposition it seems that Ed annihilates and embarrasses the PM on a regular basis.

Both of these cannot be right.

I have even watched this and tried to compare what I am seeing with what they are tweeting, and although sometimes I can kind of get what they mean, mostly they don’t match what is happening that I can see.

I could just be unable to follow the subtle interplay, but I consider myself fairly well educated and savvy enough about language, if I struggle I would gamble that many do also. Maybe this is why the tweeters cannot agree or even vaguely represent what has occurred.

There is only one solution.

We need a cage fight, that will give us a real winner. If this is too extreme they could always lean across the boxes for a game of ‘slaps’ or maybe a quick round or two of wink murder.