Friday, June 24, 2011

The strike that wasn't continued

As a postscript to my last piece, the tribunal found in favour of the dismissed driver, LT have reinstated him and the strikes set for next week have been called off by the RMT. And just as well given that it is the second week of Wimbledon and, more important, the musical ensemble looked after by Mrs. Commuter need to be able to travel freely round town.

And in other news, whilst it has continued to rain almost every day recently, the weather does seem to be brightening up with some real hot stuff coming our way. For about two days. Monday is forecast to reach 27c - an interesting test for the new, air-conditioned, "S" stock trains that are steadily taking over on the Met. Then it gets cool and wet again. Not sure if this is all the summer we are going to have this year but on the record of the last four years, it could well be.

Services on the underground have been fairly good in the past couple of months. I haven't put in a Customer Charter refund claim for a while, A few years ago, when commuting regularly on the Piccadilly, I even kept a log of the claims because I was making so many. On the other hand, the drivers are becoming increasingly chatty. The moment the train stops they either tell you, or play a recorded announcement, on the lines of "This train is being held at a red signal and should be on the move shortly". Yes, we know that. We know that if a train stops unexpectedly then it is because the signals are red. Otherwise it would not stop. We also know that they expect to be on the move shortly. This is because when you are held at a signal it is because there is either a train in the next block or the points are switched the wrong way and if there is no major problem on the system then the track will soon clear. If there is a major problem we would hope that the driver had been informed by radio and would then inform us. So we really don't need the routine announcements at all.

Even more irritating was the driver on the Bakerloo the other morning who lectured us all about using all available doors to leave the train because there were people waiting to get on. She even tried this line at Regent's Park, one of the least-used stations on the system where if a single person actually enters the carriage one raises one's eyebrows to register surprise (or at least I do, or at least metaphorically, as I save my real eyebrow-raising moments for more gob-smacking events such as people switching off their music players when asked). The underlying subtext about this sort of announcement is "what a wonderful service we could run if only these wretched people did not insist on using our trains".

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