Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Punch Connex in the face for me.

The more observant of you will have noticed I haven't bitched about public transport for some time now. Well, that's all about to change, and rightly fucking so. A long time ago, in a land far, far away, I lived on the Frankston train line. While these are days I'd rather forget, or more to the point days of journeys I'd rather forget, I was very much reminded of them yesterday, courtesy of Connex. I'll spare you the details, since it was more or less the same of the screaming teenager, sardine can, late/delayed/cancelled services, insane people filled, stinking fucking overcrowded journeys that we've become so accustomed to.

While each line has its own, almost personalised quirks, the same underlying problem applies to them all - they're run by that multinational pack of cunts who in this particular carnation call themselves Connex. Worldwide, they're known as Veolia after a rather sudden change of name in 2006. Worldwide, this fucking company has a reputation for pissing people off enmasse, all the while stealing our public funds for the privilege of doing so. The best bit about it is that if you look at their website, they pride themselves on their 'private-public relationships'. So they fucking should too - worldwide, governments keep contracting out public transport services to them, and end up paying more to keep them running privately than they did when they were owned by the state. 1, 2, 3... slow clap!

Now, I often hear people referring to the French as cheese-eating surrender monkeys. And while I do like to think of the French as primates with an appreciation for fine dairy goods, in the case of the French owned Connex, they couldn't be more fucking wrong. For starters, they don't fucking deserve cheese. Not even Kraft Singles. Secondly, would a cheese eating surrender monkey be openly flaunting the Geneva Convention by assisting Israel in further fucking over the Palestinians? I should hope not, but in this case they do. No more cheese for them, I say. In their operation in the UK - Connex South Eastern - they had their 15 year rail contract cut short by 8 years, on account of them being so fucking shithouse at operating train lines. Hell, they managed to do it so fucking badly that they inspired Ken Loach to make a film about their failures.

But enough about their international cuntery - lets look at how these bastards have screwed us over locally. After discovering their international habits of shit service and war crimes, it came as piss all surprise to me last night to find that all the trains were fucked, and that for the third time in as many months, I had found myself arriving at Footscray station - despite getting on a train that isn't even on the same fucking line as Footscray. In frustration, I decided to call their customer service line... on which I was informed that they were rather busy, and then I was hung up on. Still, given that the last two times I've complained to them they've responded by abusing me, this was all in all probably the best outcome I could have achieved from their 'customer service' division.

But it's no surprise that their services are piss poor. Despite their cost cutting on driver training, offered services, and 'customer service' staff, they still have the underlying problem of all the base infrastructure being outdated and generally shithouse. Combine this with the incredibly ludicrous way our rail network was privatised - all the base infrastructure was reportedly sold for one single dollar - only to be purchased back by the government at a later date for millions. This is why every time there's a fucking storm, none of our trains run. This is why every time there's extreme hot, or extreme rain, they have to take the new Siemens series trains off the rails... Their brakes fail. This is why - despite the over abundance of analysts, projects managers and whole other rafts of consultant types in our city - the trains can not possibly run to a regular schedule... The computers that run them are decades old. This is why millions of dollars have been pissed away on refurbishing trains, and then refurbishing them again, because they are 'incompatible' with each other. But sometimes it's simpler than just infrastructure. Like, so simple that a driver or two have called in sick and trains need to be cancelled. Yes - really. Connex, and the state government were so busy in their efforts to privatise rail, that they forgot to recruit any fucking drivers. So, now as drivers age, retire, or simply quit their jobs, there's no one to replace them. And it's no surprise that drivers want to quit when they're pretty much forced into ongoing overtime, just to cover the service gaps. Connex finally got around to some recruiting last year though, and 18-36 months later, we might actually see some of these recruits on the tracks. Way to go Connex! The bad news is that we're pretty much stuck with it until 2009, when the Connex contract expires. Even longer, if it's renewed.

And just in case you ride your bike to work, or drive, or in fact don't work at all - don't worry. Here's some links to some footage that will give you that authentic fuck-me-it's-35-degrees-and-I-have-a-child-jammed-in-my-armpit-get-it-out-get-it-out-gah-*faint* feeling.

Try this.

Then this.

And maybe even this.

Taking tax dollars and then charging money for a public service is theft. Even more so when you consider that they barely even manage to run the fucking service adequately. I'd suggest not buying tickets, but the fuckers will just take you to court, probably giving you a good punch in the head for your efforts if you object. I'd suggest some sort of witty vandalism, in the form of connex-slagging stickers in appropriate places, but history tells us they'll hunt you down and drag you through court for that, too. They really don't appreciate constructive criticism, do they? So... I guess that leaves us with; be nice to your station staff, give ticket inspectors a good yelling at when they inevitably hassle kids or the homeless guy in your carriage (but make sure you have a ticket), and ensure you vomit in those stupid fucking clear plastic bins at every opportunity. It wouldn't hurt to sabotage those dodgy old camera-free trains in some way, either, given that they were meant to be taken off the tracks several years ago due to safety reasons.

Connex. What wankers.

PS - here's an interesting article about making PT free for all. See, it's not just me after all.


CJ said...

The connex cuntery continues...


Fandango Jones said...

^ Nice work posting half a link there... :p

Yesterday was an absolute cunt, with the power outages and all. Gah.
Messages at the station said 'All trains are delayed 15-20 minutes' ... reality had it more like 30-40 minutes bare minimum. In 40 degree heat. With about 5 train loads of people waiting to get in and go home. With trains running half their normal speed for some ridiculous (bullshit) reason.

I've never had a 1 hour trip take so fucking long. Cheers Connex!

Bozza said...

Where I work now (MBS in Carlton) I had a few days off for working extra hours last week (IBM had their summer school, which made it busy for us MBS staff), thus I don't go back til tommorow, but I'm so glad I wasn't working yesterday, I woulda been frustrated (mind you if the trains were delayed going into work, I would've missed most of my shift without getting into trouble).

Oh and as for ticket inspectors I think they can be divided into two groups.

Group A are the ticket inspectors that are simply doing their job, they don't single anyone out and will only book someone if neccessary and like myself were simply wanting to get a job in the PT industry (might I emphasise I only apply for jobs like train driving or being a station master I DON'T EVER want to be a ticket inspector).

Group B are the kind that we saw on that second You Tube clip, who deliberately pick on youths and single out people they darn well know can't afford to pay the fines (e.g. homeless people, although they'd be wasting their time if the homeless person doesn't have an address anyway). Some of them are racist bigots and will literally start beating the shit out of someone they don't like the look of.

Yes some ticket inspectors get the crap beaten out of them, but frankly, if they fall under group B then they deserve it!

RunningWithScissors said...

Yet again I'm amazed by some of the stuff that manages to have a Wikipedia article created on it. After reading about the crap Melbourne public transport system, I searched for our slightly less crap Brisbane train system. Do they really need an article for every station?!


Anyone who's ever caught a train from or past Sandgate would know how inaccurate parts of that article are, but buggered if I'm gonna waste a minute of my life correcting it. Instead I'll post about it on rantolotl.

Bozza said...

That's right running with scissors. They even have wikipedia articles for these four stations; Moorroduc, Tanti Park, Nirambi and Mornington. These stations have not been used for public use since 1982 and I'm annoyed as fuck that the state government hasn't pulled its head in and invested money into re-opening (and electrifying) the abandoned Mornington line. By not renewing the contract with Connex, thus bringing PT back to state ownership they should be able to afford to restore and electrify the Mornington line with the tax payer funds they end up saving!

Bozza said...

.....Not to mention South Moorang and a rail link to Melbourne Airport. Funnily enough of the fake train maps I've seen going around, people have included an extention to Baxter, but not all the way to Mornington.

Fandango Jones said...

Restore and Electrify the old Mornington line?!

Mornington can go to Hell. And so can Connex. They can go together, and hold each other tenderly as they get molested by Satan's hordes.


Bozza said...

I'm agnostic, but if Satan's cock really does exist, Connex is the sucker of it.

Mornington isn't that bad, sure the negative side to Mornington is that its so damn pro-Liberal, but it could still do with a train station.