Thursday, September 13, 2007

Are you sitting comfortably?

Since my post about the Evening Standard article on Adelantes two days ago seems to have caused a fairly lively discussion, I would like to talk in more detail about what we actually want from our trains.
Personally, I want a seat on a train that runs reasonably to time. It's as simple as that. Other things are nice, like cleanliness, enough toilets that work and tea and coffee, but my basic need is to sit down and get home from work as quickly as possible.
I don't mind if the carriages are old- or new-style, I don't mind if they have a table, more leg-room or a place to plug in a computer. I can imagine these things are important to tall people and laptop-users. But to me, they're extra things are secondary to sorting out the
problems of capacity and delays, surely you agree?
Of course, in a perfect world, it would be nice to be able to have some input about what kind of mod-cons we would like in the carriages. I would nominate a referee in each one, who could "send off" annoying people who are behaving badly, ie: make them stand in the corridor, and if they carry on, make them get out at the next station.
It would also be nice to have a "gym-carriage" where out-of-shape commuters like myself could jog their way home, using the delays to tone up bodies made flabby by sitting at a desk all day.
Perhaps the gym machines could be used to generate electricity, thereby further reducing our carbon footprint.
And, of course, a selection of free hot drinks never goes amiss, perhaps served up by jesters in a "comedy-carriage" where commuters can forget their woes by being made to laugh all the way home.
Oooooooooooooooor, you could just run my train on time, that'd do me.


Billyo said...

Just the other day I was talking to a fellow commuter about the idea of a gym carriage. We thought it was an ace idea. In an ideal world were trains were more than long enough to carry everyone this would be an awesome idea. I'd also like free wireless internet access.

But as you say... Sit Down, Arrive on-time, I think that's what we all want. Speaking of which, the South Wales - South Coast route has been back to it's terrbile self this week.

After all, this blog didn't start because people didn't have somewhere to plug their laptops in!

Anonymous said...

I work for a company with offices in Bath, Cardiff and London. In a typical year we spend about £30,000 on train fares between these offices. All of our fares to London are open returns and fares between Cardiff and Bath are mainly day returns.

Appart from some last minutes at station purchases most of these tickets are booked centrally online using the firm's credit card. It has come to my attention that FGW will get 9% commission from all of our ticket purchases if we continue to use FGW's website to buy tickets. We are of the opinion that FGW is not a deserving recipent of our money and from now on we will purchase tickkets from the Chiltern Railway's website and let a more deserving company get the commission. I reckon that this change will cost FGW almost £3,000 of lost profits every year.

Do you think that this is a sensible move or are we denying our local raileay of much needed funds? Do you think that this sort of action could be used as a protest (one which would be legal as opposed to another fare strike)? I think that seasons don't attract the same commision arrangement, but if everyone else brought their tickets in a way to deny FGW their commsion they could be looking at a 5% drop in revenue. nothing would delight me more than FGW going bust or giving up and packing up.


Anonymous said...

I've always thought about a gym carriage too. It would be ingenious.

In fact, two birds could be killed with one stone if they kitted out 20 commuters with saddlery and got them to pull an HST, chariot style. Benefits all round: we'd get trains that run faster than they currently do and we'd get fit to boot.

Anonymous said...

Bob, I don't mean to be rude, but do you really think a loss of £3000 pounds will hurt FGW (the most profitable TOC in the country)?

Also, if everybody booked their tickets via other websites FGW wouldn't go bust as they get the majority of the revenue from ticket sales through ORCATS (FGW are now the sole provider on a number of routes!)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your comment. Of course a loss of £3000 will not cause FGW to go bust but If the 9% commission is payable on say half their fares and say half their customers book with someone else they could be looking at a revenue drop of say 1% to 5%. This loss would go straight to their bottom line and they would notice it.