Monday, 29 April 2013

Commuter hell - brought to you by infrastructure upgrades

It wasn't a great day for travelling on Melbourne's trains today.  Works being done over the weekend to extend the regional rail network spilled over to make travel in Monday's morning and evening peaks quite unpleasant.

I was travelling before 7:30am today and I had to be very assertive to even board the train.  It was already very full around the doorways and I had to actually shout down the train to ask people to move into the aisles.  People don't seem to pay attention to the people around them.  We really need to work together on mornings like this.  I looked for something to hang onto and then realised I needn't worry; the crush of people would keep me upright.  My sheer pantyhose didn't stand a chance in the crush of people and bags and zips.

My subscription to peak hour alerts from Metro Trains kept text messages flowing to my phone throughout the morning.  As the afternoon drew to a close, I started to wonder whether I should just book a hotel room in the city for the night and not even bother trying to travel home.  As at 6:15pm today I received a total of 18 text messages telling me that the Williamstown train had been cancelled:  7:48am, 8:10am, 8:32am, 8:53am, 9:15am, 9:33am, 9:45am...4:12pm,4:32pm, 4:42pm, 5:06pm, 5:28pm, 5:50pm, 6:13pm, 6:35pm and 6:56pm. I think my phone would have melted if I subscribed to alerts throughout the day.

On arrival at Flinders Street today, it was a battle to get through the gates.  One of the myki readers at the Elizabeth Street Station did nothing as card after card was touched to its reader.  People hurtled down the stairs, blindly, hoping to find a train going somewhere.  Williamstown on the overhead screens was blank.  I took a punt on the Werribee line and hurled myself onto a train that was jam-packed as it left the first station on the route.  As I stood pressed into someone's neck, the text messages telling me yet another train had been cancelled, continued to flow.

The disruptions were even on the evening news.

A quick look at the Metro Trains website tells me that I have the same joyful experience to look forward to tomorrow too.

Any expansion to public transport infrastructure is welcome.  It's long overdue and so I suppose, more painful as the work is done.  I hope that in the long run these works will mean a real difference to the accessiblity of public transport.  If it's more accessible it should be more desirable...right?

My final word to Metro Trains is "turn the air conditioning up!".  When we're packed in like livestock, it doesn't matter that it's only 10 degrees Celsius outside; it's like an inferno when we're all packed together.

How did you travel today?

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