Saturday, 10 November 2012

Thank God First Great Western Railways don't run airlines

Imagine you pay for a seat on a airline. In the departure lounge you are astonished to find that the departure gate for is only announced 6 mins before the plane is due to leave, prompting a mass stampede of hundreds of people as they run across the airport to get to the plane,  with old people knocked out of the way by students, and a general air of crazed panic as we are almost running through the open ticket gates. At the plane there are  struggling queues of people trying to get on while airline staff scream at them to get on as the plane will be leaving imminently.

On the plane you find your seat but also find the plane is massively overcrowded, the aisles are full of standing passengers (on this apparently booked solid plane), who don't have a seat. You spend the entire flight in your reserved seat with a total strangers  looming over you. Every ten minutes the pilot comes on the intercom and apologies for the overcrowding. It is abundantly clear that no-one has any idea how many people are actually on the plane...

That is the train experience leaving Paddington for Bristol last Friday evening on First Great Western railways.

Train is traveling at speeds of between 90-100 mph at this point
After inquiries it seems the the train guards are supposed to be taking off standing passengers who do not have a reserved seat (as is is patently unsafe and - against the law) but don't because "no-one likes to get on the next train". There was obviously no check on the number of people going through the ticket barriers as the six minutes given to get on the trains created a stampede of hundreds of people which First Great Western were not willing to control as it would have delayed the train.

Of the options I was able to select on the train with my booking:

  • The 'quiet carriage' concept was absolutely laughable
  • The option to sit near the luggage rack was ridiculous; as all you could see in either direction was people. All of my luggage could have been taken straight off the train off at any of the stops and I wouldn't have been able to see a thing.
  • The toilet was practically inaccessible

Here is the link to National Express.
Your life may well be in a mess, but at least it will make you smile. It is also a much cheaper and a lot less like a glimpse into a shambolic and lawless failed state.

This is the page for the UK train regulator.
The word is they get paid to do a job.

No comments:

Post a Comment