Public transport companies, you have broken me.
You’ve charged me through the nose, you’ve cancelled and delayed trains whenever you felt like it and left me, and thousands like me, out in the cold and the dark, miles from home once too often.
Our money’s never late, but more often than not, your trains are. It’s not that hard. Just follow your timetable, your passengers have to.
What is a cash-cow to your bosses is a means of getting to work and back every day for the poor saps who rely on it. And they get into trouble when they’re late, through no fault of their own.
And we’ve heard ALL your excuses and we’re sick to death of them. Someone else’s late train stuck on the line in front, signalling problems and a rival operator’s train parked at the wrong platform.
Last Thursday morning, my train set off THREE TIMES later than its entire journey time. Compensation for turning up to work an hour late? £1.70.
You have no idea how our hearts sink when we stand on the platform, only to see a four-carriage train pull in that’s already so full, it’s dangerous. Often, that’s how we start and end our working day and we hate you for it.
I was lumbered with our third-rate transport system for four months thanks to a shattered elbow and wrist from a cycling accident in July, and they’re on the mend now so I’m fit to drive.
And I worked it out, getting to work and back on public transport costs me £336.80 a month. That’s a lot of money.
For that, I can get a brand new car and tell the train and bus companies where to stick it. Which is exactly what I’ve done. It’s very laudable to campaign for green transport solutions and get cars off the road but while public transport is so expensive and so unreliable, people will only use it as an absolute last resort.
One way of making it all work is to make it a condition of directorships at Virgin, TransPennine Express, Northern and the rest that they have to get to work and back every day on their company’s service, while wearing a badge to say who they are. And watch punctuality rocket.