Tuesday, August 22, 2006

A mislaid paper

It was just another sleepy Monday morning on the Piccadilly line. The train was in Sudbury Town station, on its way into London. Only half the seats were taken. The train was on time. What on earth could go wrong?

So imagine my surprise to hear the following announcement over the station loudspeaker system. “This is a message for the man who has just bought a ticket. You left your newspaper by the booking office”.

Let us put this in context. This is the transport organisation that blithely dismisses waits of 20 minutes for grossly overcrowded trains as “minor delays”. This is the Piccadilly line, which routinely fails to explain when trains are cancelled or to announce which trains are actually running at times of difficulty. This vital part of the entire London transport network will happily boast about there being severe delays 6 hours or more after a signal problem has been fixed. But today the comfort and well-being of one absent-minded passenger was enough to cause a normally mute announcer to leap to his microphone, clear his throat and broadcast a few well-modulated words for the edification of all.

No, I am not really carping [Seems like it from here: Ed]. It is really very nice that the station booking clerk took the trouble to make the announcement, rather than simply half-inching the paper and filling in his racing selections. Such a concern for one’s fellow man is the bedrock of the civilisation that binds us together.  In a small way it gladdens the heart. It’s just that [Here it comes: Ed], well, why if they can get the little things right why can’t they at least make some sort of effort to get the big things right?

Oh, well, I shall not be travelling regularly on the Piccadilly for much longer. My place of work is moving to Waterloo. More, much more, about all this and the searing implications for this blog, in due course

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