Tuesday, June 14, 2005

New kiwi blog

Slow Train Comin' - the story of one Aucklander's struggle to catch a train.


Maybe something like this could help the trains to run on time...

Posted by Amanda : 6/15/2005 10:47:00 AM

I went to take the 9:23 from Henderson on Friday June 17. As I walked to the station at 9:10 I saw a city-bound train leave the station. I figured that it was the 8:50 train running late, and that the 9:23 would therefore be a half hour late. No worries, just the usual delay.

No train materialised until 10:10, and when it did it came from the city towards Waitakere. When it arrived all Waitakere-bound passangers were ordered off and onto taxis, although there was only one cab for approximately 50 people. We were told to get on the train, as it was turning around at Henderson and heading back to Britomart. We got on, were charged for our tickets, the doors closed and the train rolled forward three meters, then stopped.

After approximatly 20 minutes I asked what was going on and was told by the conductors that they were waiting for the taxi to come back with passengers from Waitakere, Sturgess Road, etc. When I pointed out that it would have been faster to just have the train proceed to Waitakere and back, picking up those very same passengers without inconveniencing those who were forced to disembark at Henderson, I was told to watch my "attitude" less I be put off the train.

No taxi ever showed up, and at 11AM we proceeded to depart. I arrived at Britomart at 11:45, or about 1:45 hours late. Since I had nothing pressing to do it was just an exercise in frustration. For other people, it was worse than that. More than half of the people who originally were waiting for the 9:23 upped and left by car or bus rather than wait.

What is most galling, beyond the endless delays and lack of information, is the utter ineptitude, rudeness and lack of initiative on the part of the train staff. They bristle and snarl if questioned, show no capcity to think indpendently, and would not know the basic tenets of customer service if, well, it was a train headed straight at them

An Australian couple who had taken the train from Britomart to Waitakere to see the sights (?/!), and who choose to turn around rather than take the taxi, were charged for the trip back. To say the least, they were unimpressed about the "third world" qualities of the train service. Having lived in the third world for various periods of time, I pointed out to them that even in Calcutta the trains run on time.

Methinks that when the double-tracking project starts from Avondale, this episode will pale in comparison to what lies ahead...

Posted by Anonymous : 6/20/2005 12:46:00 PM

A bunch of people had a fare strike on the trains up in Auckers the other day. Makes a fairly solid point if done in large enough numbers.

(source http://blackcat.enzyme.org.nz/fare_strike_for_a_fair_service )

Posted by Asher : 6/20/2005 02:25:00 PM