Friday, January 23, 2009

Culture Schmulture














The Age online reported today that a ticket vending machine at Rushall train station (Melbourne's Fitzroy north area ) was bombed at around 3:30am this morning. It was apparently detonated remotely, could be heard "up to 200 metres away" (like, wow, that's so big and like, such an inconvenient and totally dangerous time to do such a random and destructive, like, thing) and was on fire when the police arrived.

Connex rail system, in their wisdom, decided not to let any trains stop at that station, thus further enraging commuters who staggered up to work only to find no ticket machine (yay) but also no trains (boo) and only the un-fun option of a shuttle bus system (erk).

The article went on to state that "The attack is the latest in a string of problems for rail operator Connex, which has been under commuter fire for heat and maintenance-related train delays and cancellations. And there was no relief for commuters this morning, with at least eight services cancelled by 8am." I wonder how the explosion can explain the other seven cancellations?

Perhaps the bombers were feeling slightly cross after reading (I'm assuming that they can) in The Age a few days earlier where the Connex boss, British-born and educated Jim Betts, blamed the culture of Melbourne itself as the reason for its craptastic transport service.

He was quoted as saying: "A metronomic public transport system of the kind that operates in Hong Kong or Singapore — where they have a ruthless approach to the management of train stopping times at stations — that kind of culture which lends itself to great transport efficiency, is maybe not going to be appropriate in many cultures, including the Melburnian culture."

He went on to blather on about the uber-organised Swiss folk: "The people who plan public transport services in Zurich are planning in an environment where they have 500 years of democracy, where they have referenda on all key issues, and where there is a Swiss cultural setting which is about the scrupulous micromanagement of every last detail."

Aw bless his sweet little cotton socks. Isn't it nice, after being at the helm of Crap-Connex for ten years, gifted with the official task of bringing a 'ruthless efficiency' like those found in 'Hong Kong, Singapore and Zurich,' that he's concluded that it is instead the fault of the Melburnians themselves. Mighty big salary money well spent for sure, people!

So, this city's gentle meat-pie and Big-M lovin' folk are ultimately putting up with a transport system that has "fewer services (is) slow compared with private cars and ....spends far less per capita on running it. " Because their culture deserves it.

Methinks 'ol Jimbo Bettsy-boy better hope that the bombers don't find out his home address, or the licence plate of his car.......

5 comments:

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River said...

Sounds like so much hoo-ha to me. Spend a few million $$$ and give the people a reliable public transport service, then sit back and watch them use it. See the traffic congestions disappear faster than icecream on a hot day. See public transport profits skyrocket. See happier commuters. Of course petrol companies who rely on the profits from all those individuals driving to and from won't be quite so happy.

delamare said...

See, lots of us do use it and ARE JUST SO SICK AND TIRED OF IT NOT RUNNING PROPERLY!!!!! *ahem* Sorry - that's the reaction of a downtrodden Melbourne train commuter having spent the last two weeks attempting to get to and from work each day. I don't ask much, just for a train to arrive when I expect it too. And a seat occasionally. Or at least a strap to hang from when it's standing room only.

And all this chaos at a time of year when the trains are not as crowded as normal because school hasn't gone back yet.

Oh Kath, you've slipped right back into Melbourne life so smoothly!

Baino said...

I have a couple of friends who commute from Seaford every day and they have nothing but damning reports about connex, cold in winter, hot in summer, overcrowded and unreliable . .oh wait . .that sounds like Sydney trains only we throw in the odd flasher! Connex is a private operator so they should be self-funding and extremely efficient. Ergo . . must be the fault of Melbournians.

anabels said...

They can't be any worse than the trains in Auckland which are basically museum pieces that amaze people by occasionally failing to break down! I loved the trams when I was in Melbourne - beat buses hands down.