Letter to East Midlands Trains
But bus replacements are an occupational hazard of travelling by train though, and I consider myself fairly fortunate to have managed to avoid them mainly for the duration of my train travelling life. I’d clearly prefer not to have to get off a train and onto a bus but this isn’t the issue here, the issue is that when I am forced to get on a bus all I ask is that the information that you give me to enable me to make my decisions is accurate, if it is then I’ve only got myself to blame when it goes wrong – but when the information that you provide is wrong and not even intended to be right, then I don’t even have a chance.
It very quickly became obvious, as the bus exited Manchester City Centre, that there was no chance of the bus timetable manifesting itself as reality. And when the bus steward started looking nervously looking at his watch as the bus driver hammered the accelerator pedal to within an inch of its existence on the M62, I knew that I’d put too much trust in people that make decisions in the full knowledge that they will never have to come into contact with anyone who suffers the consequences of them.
Even if you put ‘Manchester Piccadilly to Newton-le-Willows’ into google maps it tells you that the route takes 34 minutes to travel in a car, in no traffic. To publish that it would only take 1 minute longer on a bus, that also has to stop at another station, is the action of someone who is a little bit too familiar with their pet, has at least 2 restraining orders and is permanently 5 seconds away from stabbing themselves in the face with a spoon.
If you’d have been honest in your timescales then I would have caught the other bus and been home for 7.30, it wouldn’t have been great but it would have been better than catching a bus that wouldn’t have got to where it was going, at the time that you said it would, if it had wings, and as a consequence missing the connecting train that your information said I would catch.
I entered Alfreton train station at 3.45pm and was vomited out of your system at Liverpool Lime Street at 8pm (90 minutes later than I should have been), at no point during the 4 hours I spent at your behest was I pro-actively communicated to - why would you not communicate one single word on a train when you have on it everyone that is going to be affected by the fact that it is going to be stopping an hour before it should, in another City? It’s a good job that I happened to check the timetable on line, otherwise I’d have been waiting on a train at Manchester that had stopped and wasn’t going any further.
If you don’t mass communicate then people have to work it out for themselves individually; the 30 or so people waiting 33 patient minutes in the freezing cold on Platform 2 at Newton le Willows station at 7pm on a Sunday night didn’t know that they should be annoyed that the bus timetable was unrealistic, because they weren’t told it – all they did was follow each other like sheep on a bus to a train station and wait for the next train. They’re all probably relieved that they got home at all, totally oblivious to the fact that it should have been an hour before they actually did.