Saturday, 24 March 2012

I'd call it a circus except a circus is fun.

Now I appreciate the work being done to upgrade our suburban rail system.  I understand that while it is happening, there will be occasions of inconvenience. I can live with that. What I don't understand is why the operators of an entire public transport system can not get communication about alternative arrangements right!

This morning I arrived at Seddon station to travel into the city.  As I was crossing over the pedestrian overpass, I  was on the phone, but managed to hear an announcement telling me that the trains were not running due to track work and that I should proceed to the stop where I could catch the replacement bus.  I'm very familiar with the drill so went straight over.

When I arrived I read the sign attached to the pole at the bus stop.  Here is the pole:

You can see the sign stuck to the pole.
(c) divacultura 2012

And here is the sign itself.
(c) divacultura 2012

So I followed the instructions and went back over the pedestrian overpass to the other side of the station to find the stop on Bellairs Avenue.  I could see no evidence of a bus stop but there was a guy there and I asked him what he knew.  He too was following the instructions on the sign and was waiting for the replacement bus in a place that seemed reasonable to wait.  I waited with him.  After waiting for about ten minutes, I heard a bus arrive.  I looked up to see the replacement bus pause at the usual stop and then continue on its way.  The guy and I were left right where we were.

My car was nearby so I drove to Footscray and gave the guy, Chris, a lift.  He told me that today was not a serial killer day, so it was all okay. Phew.  He didn't check to discover my proclivities.

On arrival at Footscray I  spoke to one of the staff about the practical joke they had set up at Seddon station.
The first woman just looked at me and shrugged.  Then a guy called someone on the two-way radio.  After some crackling and quacking, he too shrugged at me.

I called the customer feedback line.  Again.  They assured me that they were sorry for the "mix up" and that I would have a response from a customer relations person within 7 business days.  They always promise that but have never delivered.  It always requires a follow up call.  My last experience with the buses was on 13 March and I haven't heard a word.  The woman in the call centre put an "action" on that complaint as a result of my call today.

As I drove home from the station I decided to swing by the station to see if the sign was still there directing poor, obedient souls across to the other side of the station.  It was. I need to travel again tomorrow, so called customer feedback to find out where on earth I should catch the bus.

This time the person on the phone advised they had information that said the buses would pick up from the usual stop.  What about this sign?  She called Footscray and then told me that no one knew how it had got there and maybe it was someone else's sign.  That's a possibility, but it doesn't explain the announcements at the train station.

It makes me nervous that these operators (Metro Trains) can't organise one bus stop. I hope the tracks they're laying are the right gauge and going to the right place, but I can't be sure.

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