Monday, 17 September 2012


The delay type that bothers me most (actually, all delay types bother me the most, but the one that bothers me the most this morning) is the one where they don't think it's worth an explanation.  It may only be a minute at a time here and there, but it all adds up.

This morning's train to Waterloo ended up arriving six minutes late over what should be a 36-minute journey.  That might not seem like much (and indeed isn't) in the great scheme of things, and I can see how it accrued in a series of small delays that the driver didn't feel were worth mentioning at the time, but the fact of the matter is that's a 16.7% retardation (and I use the word advisedly when referring to TfL).

It caused me to miss the connecting Bakerloo Line train I had intended on using to complete my journey.  Who knows?  Maybe that one would have run smoothly.  But the one I was forced to take added another three minutes of delay (also unexplained, consisting of stopping in tunnels to admire the scenery - first strike to Tube Bingo), so that I ended up at work nine minutes later than TfL had promised I would.

Small delays add up (in this case to £22.50), and it would be nice if TfL showed its customers enough respect to explain all delays, even small ones.  It is ultimately the purpose of Signal Failure to remind people, and through them TfL, that a large part of business in London relies on it doing its job properly.  These delays cost people, the economy, the country, money - at least theoretically because as a friend pointed out, not all time is necessarily billable).  It's not enough to refund the ticket price on a 15-minute-or-more delay.  A 15-minute delay on a 13-minute journey is unacceptable.  A 15-minute delay on a 24-hour journey is negligible.  There should be a sliding scale of compensation to incentivise TfL to make more of an effort to get its services to run on time.

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