Monday, April 23, 2007

A first class service

Good news, the cards have arrived, which means the badges will be sent out this week, very exciting.
While you wait, I thought I'd start a little debate on First Class carriages. I'm inclined to be of the opinion that they should be abolished on rush hour trains, to give more room to the poor cattle-class commuters, but I have a funny feeling I'd think the opposite if I happened to be lucky enough to have a first class season ticket. I suppose the first class passengers aren't that lucky in a way - they don't suffer fewer delays just because they've got bigger seats and free coffee and newspapers - but they do get to suffer them in slightly nicer surroundings. I think I'm just jealous. I can't help feeling a bit aggrieved that I don't get any benefits whatsoever for paying thousands of pounds for a standard class season ticket. Do you think that gold card holders should be allowed to use first class when the rest of the train is full, assuming there are spare seats when the train leaves? Or, here's an idea - why not allocate seats based on the distance travelled. I'd be happier for the train to be fitted with a "long distance" carriage, so that those poor souls heading for Swansea or Penzance can have a bit of a sit-down, instead of Mr Rich from Goring-on-Thames.
Or, even better, just add an extra train or two to the timetable, so that we can all have a seat. Controversial I know, but it might just work.


Billyo said...

I was about to say that I doubt any of those ideas were workable...

Until the last one. More trains. Now there's an idea.

Richard said...

Recently been to Japan. On their bullet trains (heck, on any train in general), they don't have the concept of first and standard class.
They split the carriages based on reserved and un-reserved seating.
The reserved seating carriages are probably 10% of the train.
They also run longer trains anyway.

1) If everyone KNOWS where the reserved seating is, then we skip the morons that pause at every seat with a reservation, checking if they can sit in it and we can all board quicker and let the trains get in and out of stops quicker.

2) the fact that they have longer trains anyway adds countless seats.

3) On the platforms, the mark out where the doors are going to be when the train comes to a stop at the station. I know this will involve driver training but come on, how hard can it be to drive a train and stop it at "the big white line"

Billyo said...

In all fairness richard the trains do stop at pretty much the same place on the platform, it's just the door are not marked on the platform.

There are black signs at every station saying 2/4 car stop, or 8 car stop etc, and the driver stops at the correct one of these depending on the length of the train.

I like the idea of putting all the reserved seats together though. Makes sense. Though that carriage would be TOTAL chaos at every station. Current system is probably best if only people would look at their reservations and know which carriage to get in.

andyh1969 said...

You can run extra trains, but as I witness at stations every morning - people will want to board the first available service. No matter how full the train is or if a train is wating outside.

I hate FGW said...

The thing is, I always get on the first available train, because I don't entirely believe that the next one's going to arrive. In the past, I've waited at Reading station while three trains have come and gone, because I wanted a seat. But they were all packed. So, these days, I will often get on the first train, just so I can be sure of getting out. Because you never know when the next set of signals is going to fall over, or a goods train is going to break down and clog up the line. If the service was better, I think people might calm down a bit. Of course, there will always be uptight idiots, but most of us are normal human beings. At least we used to be, before FGW turned us into angry militants.