Thursday, 16 August 2012

Not me Guvnor

My 6%, your 6%, the national average of 6%... 

Train fares are all over the news at the moment: BBC are challenging it, Channel 4 seem opposed to it, Channel 5, well they've got some bird who works for the Daily Mail featuring, so that's the big news for them. 

Everyone seems to be angry. Bob Crowe is angry with the Train Operating Companies for having ga zillions of profit. The average Joe (me) seem to be torn between raging against the same machine and raging against the Government. The Conscientious objectors point out that we should all rage against the companies that lease the train carriages. 

"Who is to blame?", others cry. As Mavis from Corrie used to say: 'I don't reeeally knoooow'. Obviously. I'm but a mere commuter, with no insider knowledge on governance, train operators and the rest. But the more people they claim are responsible, the more diluted the message. And the less likely any action is to succeed. Same old story, rumbling on ... 

All I do know for certain is this: 

- I go to a South West Trains vendor, cross their palm with silver and get a ticket to travel. 
- From January 1st 2012, I was made to pay 6% more for the pleasure - I started keeping a diary of delays, problems, service etc. 
- You can see from this blog what the service is like, but that's anecdotal evidence, so who will listen to that? 
- So here is a fact. A real fact, not manipulated for any gain or a figure massaged to make the service look either better or worse. 
- From 1st January - 1st August 2012. 20% of all my journeys on South West Trains have been delayed (5 mins or more) or cancelled. 
- From 1st January - 1st August 2012 I have recieved £0 of compensation 

Whoever is 'to blame', I pay my money in good faith to South West Trains. As I am being forced ('forced' because they have a monopoly and I have no other viable way of getting to London) to pay 6% more again from January 1st 2013, is it too much to expect that service should improve and compensation should be clearer and fairer? 

Apparently so.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

My 6%

Rail fares went up by 6% on January 1st 2012.  

Service levels up? 


Capacity increased?


Less delays?  


Compensation for delays? 

No. 20% of my journeys on South West Trains since 1st January 2012, have been delayed (5mins+) or cancelled.
And so we will have this infinitum for ever and ever. In today's Top news story, Rail fares are to increase by another 6% next January. 

Is there really nothing that can be done? Is this it? Surely someone out there has a great idea for some form of protest that doesn't impinge or break laws, but does give decent coverage to help the cause? 
Help required. Apply within.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

The Big Society

Having witnessed one of the greatest sporting weekends in living history for Britain, it would seem churlish to moan about trains. So I won't. 

In fact South West Trains have been remarkably quiet on my route. Plus obviously, we have the lollies. Well, we don't, but the #lollywatch is on and that's a rather splendid touch by South West Trains at London Waterloo. They're strawberry splits, in case you were wondering. 

But even more anti-moany this week has been the real success of #Fridayshoes (if you don't know what I'm on about, see previous blog). Not only did we commuters manage to raise £260 out of nowhere for a small and very grateful charity (The Tree of Hope), but even my nemesis, the former root of all Signal failures, geese on the line and weather issues, the MD of South West Trains, agreed to match what we'd made. 

I'm sure some could question the gesture, but in the spirit of the Olympics, I am not one of them. I couldn't care less about an ice lolly, but offering cash to help a great cause will stick with me; won't stop me continuing crusade for fairer compo, better service etc. 

But it will stay with me. Thank you South West Trains, I'm very grateful.