You’re a fairly responsible and sensible person. You occasionally use the trains as alternative transport and like to plan ahead.
The problem is you aren’t on the Internet – and not everyone is.
So, at some stage you’ve gone down to the Railway Station and picked up the Train Operating Companies most up to date timetable and have a journey planned for the weekend.
Looking it up, you find the time of the train and duly arrive at the Station to make your journey.
It is at this stage, you find YOUR mistakes (not the Railway Compoanies of course).
The train has in fact left 10 minutes earlier than the timetable due to a Bus connection further up the line.
You have an understanding moan at someone and are told in a most matter of fact way, that the alterations have been posted at the Station for the last week and are also shown on their website.
If you dare to challenge that answer you are then told you should always phone up and check if there are any service disruptions or alterations.
So, it’s all your fault! Tha fact you may have a Plane to catch, a family event to attend is neither here or there. You have paid the price for not having the Internet, not spending money on an 0870 number or driving down to the Station the day before to check.
To be certain of your journey therefore means spending extra money etc.
I cannot see the reason for making a train leaving earlier than planned. Ten minutes earlier makes you 50 minutes late if you don’t do all the above.
In normal circumstances, it is against ‘the law’ for a train to leave a station early. This is drummed into trainee drivers, conductors and station staff.
All in all, your journey can be a disaster. Not only have you the 50 minute delay, but the extra journey time due to the bus service half way up the line.
If the Government and others want us to use the trains (do they?), then a more user friendly approach has to be drawn up. The above scenario is based on actual alterations to the timetable for this weekend. Luckily I have the Internet and know which buttons to click etc. Maybe not everyone else does.
There was the occasion where I stupidly asked at the Station if services were operating on Boxing Day. “Yes” came the reply. The thing was that I was travelling to Southampton. My Operating Company was working and I could get to London – the other company for services from London to Southampton wasn’t!!
So, we must always do the checks and spend another valuable part of our life scanning the possibilities and variations of our Train journeys.
Remember, if we don’t -it’s our fault, not their’s!