I live about a 1 hour train ride from London. However, this train "service" is provided by SouthWest Trains for which they charge me £25 for a day return. However, my penultimate journey took nearly 2.5 hours (probably about as fast as a decent bike ride) each way because of engineering works and they compensated me with…nothing. My last journey actually started off well, I got to London in the advertised 1 hour, so it can be done. However, the journey home took 2 hours and I had to sit on the floor. Better still after several "electrical faults" whilst stopped at the station (incurring a 30 min’ delay) we eventually get moving…only to be told 1/2 way through the journey that because of the delay we’ll no longer be stopping at my station! So I’m forced to either get off at the main station after my stop and get a taxi back (at my own expense) or change four stops early and hope to pick up a connection – which they said would be another 10 min’ away. So I get off and start the walk to relevant platform (5) which is a fair walk away but I’ve go 10 min’ so shouldn’t be a problem. "The next train arriving at platform 5 is due in 3 mins’", ok time for a jog. Eventually I get home 1 hour late.
Now I dare say this is a familiar tale to those poor souls who use Britains railways on a daily basis but I just like to make two very simple points;
- "Give up my car", they say. Not a chance given the consistent level of bad service I’ve experienced. Even if they did manage to put in a service that would get me to work from my home without taking 3 times as long as the car journey, I very much doubt it would run consistently enough for me to ever make a meeting on time
- What other service on earth gets away with charging you a fee for a service they do not deliver. If someone asks me to deliver some software in a week and I agree to that, take their money, then deliver it 3 weeks late do you think they’d want some compensation? How is it that train companies get away with ripping us off. It’s a total disgrace.