Thursday, 28 February 2013

Green eggs and ham

Image credit: Dr. Seuss wiki
 F-ing hell: it’s TfL!  I do not like that TfL...
Do you like commuting hell?
I do not like it, TfL: I do not like commuting hell.
Would you like it here?  Or there?
I would not like it here or there.  I would not like it anywhere.  I do not like commuting hell: I do not like it TfL.
Would you like it on a train?  Would you like it in the rain?
I would not like it on a train.  I would not like it in the rain.  I would not like it here or there.  I would not like it anywhere.  I do not like commuting hell: I do not like it TfL!
Would you like it on a boat?  Or because of swans that float?
Not on a boat; not because of swans (I hope).  Not on a train, and not in the rain.  I would not like it here or there, I would not like it anywhere.  I do not like commuting hell: I do not like it TfL!
You may have it sans reprieve.  You may have it due to leaves.  You may have it on a bus.  You may have it while you rush.
Not on a bus, not while I rush.  Because of leaves?  I can’t conceive!  I do not want it on a boat, due to swans and things that float.  I do not want it on a train, I do not want it in the rain.  I do not want it here or there.  I do not want it ANYWHERE.  I do not want commuting hell: I do not want it TfL!
Say!  In the dark?  On a tube in the dark!  Would you like it in the dark?
I would not like it in the dark.
What about if there’s a strike?  Would you still not like it on your bike?
I would not like it on my bike, I could not like it in a strike.  Not in the dark, not on a bus.  I do not like it when I rush.  Because of leaves?  Come on: Jeez!  I do not want it on a boat, due to swans and things that float.  I do not want it on a train, I do not want it in the rain.  I do not want it here or there.  I do not want it ANYWHERE.  I do not want commuting hell: I do not want it TfL!
Would you like it in a car?  Traffic jams, traffic jams: here they are!
I would not like it in a car.
Would you like engineering works?
I think poor planning makes you jerks.  I would not like it in a car (your road service is just sub-par), I would not like it on my bike, I could not like it in a strike.  I do not like it on a bus.  I do not like it when I rush.  I do not want it on a boat, or due to swans (just get your coat).  I do not want it on a train, I do not want it in the rain.  I do not want it here or there.  I do not want it ANYWHERE.  Because of leaves?  Listen, please!  I do not want commuting hell: I do not like it TfL.
If service we must regulate?
That just makes everybody late.
Fault might be found with tube train doors...
Don’t use that one, I implore!  To regulate makes us all late.  I think poor planning makes you jerks, ‘specially with your massive perks!  I do not like it on my bike, I would not like it my car (with road conditions what they are).  Not in a strike, not on a bus, not when my hike becomes a rush.  I do not want it on a boat, or due to swan (or pig or goat).  I do not want it on a train, I do not want it in the rain.  I do not want it here or there.  I do not want it ANYWHERE.  Because of leaves I stand and freeze?  I do not want commuting hell: I do not like it TfL.
Signal Failure, I don’t know, fire in the depths below?  Flood, suspension, broken stairs?  Understaffing?  Christ, who cares!  Driver changes, too-large crowds, red signals on the underground.  Security and illness next: no end to how my journey’s hexed!  Hear me now and hear me well: I do not like commuting hell!
You do not like it, so you say, but try it: try it and you may!  Try it and you may I say!
Try it and I may, you say?  I ‘try it’ EVERY SINGLE DAY! A little leaf can cause such grief?  Faulty doors: I know the score.  Keep your perks, you stupid jerks, just give me a train that works!  To regulate makes us all late.  I do not like it on my bike, I would not like it my car (though prefer it to your trains by far).  Not in a strike, not on a bus, not when my hike becomes a rush.  I do not want it on a boat, or due to swan (or pig or goat).  I do not want it on a train, I do not want it in the rain.  I do not want it here or there.  I do not want it ANYWHERE. 
I do not want commuting hell: I DO NOT LIKE IT TfL.

On a steel horse I ride

Yesterday's journey home was less than ideal.  A two-minute delay on the tube from Edgware Road to Waterloo caused me to miss my connecting train to Hersham, which was also two minutes late.  Taken together, this made me 28 minutes late getting home.  Fortunately, I did not miss saying good night to my daughter, so I do not intend to apply for the death penalty as punishment.

This morning, the train from Hersham to Waterloo arrived a minute late.  No explanation was given for this, but as best I could surmise it was due to stopping for a while between stations to admire the view.  It didn't affect which connecting tube I was able to get, though, thanks to that one being delayed in departing Waterloo, so I'll just charge for the two minutes late that one was.

Tally: 30 minutes / £75.

Meanwhile, Out-Law reports on a motion calling for Boris Johnson to use some of TfL's annual surplus in revenues to help build more affordable homes in the capital.  Each year for the last three years, such surpluses have totalled around £250,000,000.  No doubt TfL would claim that money is being re-invested into its top executives' pockets making improvements to the service. 

I have to admit to being torn on this one: I see the importance of the affordable homes argument, but I sure as hell see the point in TfL working as advertised.  Where do you think the money should go?

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Sold down the river

Two-minute delay from Edgware Road to Waterloo yesterday afternoon, which we'll forgive as it didn't cause me to miss the connecting train to Hersham.  That was four minutes late, though, so it'll cost £10.

This morning, the journey was from Hampton Court to Edgeware Road via Waterloo.  The train was a minute late arriving, causing me to take a connecting tube that was two minutes later than should otherwise have been possible, itself delayed by four minutes.  Six minutes delay overall for another £15.

Elsewhere in the Tubeverse, there's welcome news for Northern Line passengers: as early as next year, an improved signalling system will allow for a 20% capacity increase on what is the tube’s busiest line.  That equates to an extra 11,000 customers every hour.  I'll believe it when I see it, but let's pretend I'm cautiously optimistic for the time being.

And if you enjoy commuting in the bitter cold and wet, there are plans to let you better enjoy your weird hobby: 11 additional riverboat stops will adorn our River Thames by 2020.  A bit of a long wait, if it happens at all, but if you like the discomfort of the wet and cold anyway, what's a long wait, right?

That's it for the moment.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Passenger taken ill

This passenger.  Specifically, a stomach bug.  Kept me off the tubes, buses, and trains, I'm afraid.  But I'm here now, and ready to update you.

First, last Thursday's journey home: five-minute delay on the tube, but doesn't count as I didn't miss my connecting train to Hersham.  That train arrived a minute early, so £2.50 credit to TfL.

This morning's journey in was similarly mind-boggling: the train from Hersham to Waterloo arrived five minutes early.  This meant I got an earlier connecting tube than would otherwise have been possible.  Even though that tube departed a minute late, it arrived on time, making me overall six minutes earlier to work than I would otherwise have been.

Altogether, I find myself wondering if I'm still sick (or sick for an entirely different reason) as I pay TfL back £17.50.
(Image credit: mashable)

Thursday, 21 February 2013


Train from Norbiton to Waterloo arrived a minute early.  Connection to Edgware Road, however, was a minute late, making me a minute late to my final destination overall, which is what counts.  £2.50 this morning, as TfL's march of near-competence continues...

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Light at the end of the tunnel

UPDATE: three-minute delay on the tube going home today, but we'll forgive it as it didn't cause me to miss my connecting train to Hampton Court.  That train was a minute late, though, so another £2.50.  Not a bad day for TfL, all things considered.

The train from Hersham to Waterloo this morning was a minute late, which is not so bad when you look back at my history of this journey.  Still, it's worth £2.50.

The connecting Bakerloo Line from Waterloo to Edgware Road was suffering 'minor' delays due to an earlier signal failure, leading to a further two-minute delay, but I have to add another three minutes to that owing to have to take a later tube because of the first delay.  So six minutes and £15 overall this morning.

On an only tangentially-related note, take a look at some of the beautiful pictures and videos generated here.  It's a visualisation of Oyster card journey data.

Lighting the way
(Image credit: Jay Gordon via The Atlantic Cities)
Pretty, n'est-ce pas?  And it can be used for all sorts of useful stuff.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

`It's the stupidest tea-party I ever was[n't] at in all my life!'

UPDATE: the journey home was a little more lucrative than the journey to work!  A two-minute delay on the Bakerloo Line from Edgware Road to Waterloo caused me to miss my connecting train to Hersham, which was four minutes late within TfL's network.  Altogether, this made me 34 minutes later home than I should have been.  £85.

The train from Norbiton to Waterloo was five minutes late arriving in Waterloo. This caused me to get a later connecting tube to Edgware Road than I otherwise would have.  Which was two minutes late.  Overall, however, this made me just five minutes later to work than I should have been.  £12.50.

More tea, vicar?
(Image credit: The Park Lane Hotel)
To compensate for this rather bring update, here is one of those bizarre little nuggets of news: the Park Lane Hotel is offering TfL-themed afternoon tea.  The mind boggles. 

But, if you're currently (or soon planning to be) a tourist in London, you could do worse than the quintessentially English (and long defunct) tradition of afternoon tea.  Try it out - and let Signal Failure know how it was!

Monday, 18 February 2013

Seems like a day for missed opportunities

The 19:13 tube from Edgware Road to Waterloo completely failed to turn up (or if it did, it was late enough to be the delayed 19:16), so I arrived six minutes late to the interchange.  This did not cause me to miss my intended train, however, so I can't charge for it (thwarted, just like this morning).

The train to Hersham arrived on time.  Not a penny extra to the coffers.

Oh, the humanity!

I really am trying not to comment on this bit of news, that's been developing for some months.  I just can't help myself!

TfL's trying to sell its expertise to several cities in India so that they can build effective metropolitan transport systems.  I am completely serious.

Granted, my several visits to different parts of India indicate the public transport network there might need a little work, but you're going to TfL for help?  TfL's network is the European equivalent of one of those inhumanly-crowded Indian trains of which you always see pictures.  All the other cities laugh at us for our abysmal record on punctuality, standards of service, cleanliness, and the monstrous cost to passengers.

TfL: India has suffered enough.  Don't make it worse!

India: you kicked the British out more than half a century ago.  Why are you letting them back in?

Above: Indian commuter trains.  Below: a typical TfL service in rush hour.  Can you tell the difference?  That's right: the Indian one is actually moving.
Image credits: Daily Mail, and

* This post dedicated to my (Indian) father-in-law.

Only a little bit of this was TfL's fault...

Broken ticket machines made me miss both the 07:19 and the 07:30 - and of course it was too much to hope that the ticket office be manned at this time.  The 07:49 was cancelled (overrunning engineering works somewhere near Woking). 08:00 was six late within TfL's network.  This made me 43 minutes late into Waterloo overall, but because all problems bar the last six minutes were because of issues out of TfL's network, I can only recognise the six minutes.

I tried to get the 08:37 connecting tube, but it was too crowded to physically enter, so I got the 08:39, which was a minute delayed by the time it arrived at Edgware Road.  Had the 08:00 from Hersham arrived on time, I would have been at work nine minutes earlier than was the case.  So that's just £22.50.

But because I'm feeling even more spiteful than usual after this morning's journey, I'll draw your attention to a little news item, which tells us that 223 TfL staff members are on salaries of over £100K, which presumably explains why we the passengers continue to pay for above-inflation fare rises.

Friday, 15 February 2013


The Bakerloo Line was a treat this evening.  Got to the platform in time to catch the 18:07, but no train arrived until 18:15.  I was physically unable to board as it was so overcrowded.  Not to worry: the next train was up on the board as only a minute behind, though it turned out to be three minutes behind.  And almost as full.  A very sweaty and unpleasant journey, constantly off-balance and with people sticking their armpits in my face.

That earned me a 12 minute delay overall, but I wouldn't have been able to catch an earlier train anyway, so I won't count that beyond the reason, which earns me an extra tick on my Tube Bingo card (nearly a bingo, but not quite):
I will take £5 for the two-minute delay on the train to Hersham though.

How d'you like THEM apples?

This morning's train from Hampton Court to Waterloo was on time.  Connecting tube to Edgware Road was a minute late, though, so it's £2.50 in penalties this morning.

Let's take a look at what else is out there.

Very nearly the 10th anniversary of the Congestion Charge (February 17th), and the AA has claimed that it has completely failed to cut congestion while it robbed motorists of some £2.6 billion.  Mostly, this claim rests upon the basis that, while there are now fewer vehicles in central London, average traffic speeds have failed to rise as a result, leaving us somewhere in the region of the horse and cart.

Well, for speed anyway.  The AA also claims (and other evidence would seem to support this) that air pollution has risen dramatically because emissions from brakes and tyres have shot up thanks to all the constant stopping and starting that must be done to make way for the various bus lanes, cycle and pedestrian safety measures, and roadworks that London's drivers content with on a daily basis.  At least the worst we had with the horse and cart was big piles of shit.
Horse apples
(Image credit: Eliya at flickr
And to round off, I invite you to visit IDG for news about allowing your mobile (cell) phone to become an Oyster card.  In short, TfL's not interested.  I've written before about how short-sighted I think this is, but I'd like you to take a read to see the attitude taken by TfL, and by its head of business development personally in particular.

Note the order of priorities for refusal:
  1. It sounds complicated, so I won't do it until everyone else does the hard work for me.  There's no way I want to be part of the solution and show TfL to be a forward-thinking organisation
  2. Other people want to be paid for helping to make this a reality.  This is unacceptable.  TfL should get all the money so we can hang onto our nice fat (because they're unjustifiably high, not absolutely high) salaries and perks
  3. I'm great because I was behind the Oyster card system, and I recently made it possible for people to pay for buses (and only buses) with contactless bank and credit cards.  I particularly love this quote with reference to the latter:
"This is quite a revolution. Whether you're a visitor from abroad or in the UK, whoever you are, get the card out of your pocket and tap it on the reader and travel. So TfL becomes like every other merchant..."
Yes, it's a revolution to become like every other merchant.  I hope stupidity isn't catching.
    4. I'm a little concerned about customer service issues if/when things go wrong

If I were being uncharitable - and I were - I would say this sounds like the prevarication of a man who once stumbled his way into something that turned out to be impressive (Oyster) and is now terrified that anything else he does might foul up his 'legacy'.

Whaddya reckon?

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Green politician

What does a politician do when brought to task on stupid plans or asked uncomfortable questions?  That's right, change the subject.  Boris Johnson, how do you justify shutting down the capital's fire services while allowing TfL employees to walk away with unreasonably high perks?  Quick, look over here at my world-first ultra-low-emission zone plans!  Sorry,  not fooled.  Answer the damn question already.

Somebody dial 999

UPDATE: a four-minute delay on the 19:19 tube from Edgware Road to Waterloo this evening, but I did't miss my connecting train, so this sin is forgiven.  And, unusually (as I'm sure even the staunchest TfL ally amongst my readers would agree), that train was on time too.  Signal Failure: nil points.

Or 911 if you're American.  This morning's delay was brought to you by 'emergency engineering works', which cause me to have to change trains at Surbiton in order to get to Waterloo, where I ended up 24 minutes late.  The connecting tube added another two minutes' delay, making me 27 minutes late overall, when you factor in the connecting tube I should have been able to take's published departure and arrival times.

Last night, the tube from Edgware Road to Waterloo was two minutes late, so I missed my connecting train, and the train I was able to take after that was four minutes late within the TfL network, getting me home 34 minutes late.  There was no explanation offered for the second delay, but the first was down to the 'earlier suspension' on the Bakerloo Line - presumably the one that led to my suffering yesterday morning.

So, since the last update, that's 61 minutes and £152.50.  Also two more crosses for the Tube Bingo card, but sadly not ones producing a bingo.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Perfect score and perfectly pathetic

A one minute-delay on yesterday's tube journey from Edgware Road to Waterloo did not make me miss my train, which was three minutes late (£7.50).

This morning was another matter altogether.  After dropping my daughter off at day care, I took the train from Hampton Court to Waterloo.  For the first time I can remember, it arrived exactly on time.  But the trouble began after that.  I went down to the Bakerloo Line, in order to catch the 09:34 to Edgware Road.

After sitting on the aforementioned train on the platform for nine minutes, trying to make out a series of inaudible excuses from the driver, I eventually did hear the platform announcer telling us the entire line was now suspended, owing to a passenger action at Charing Cross.

I managed to jump on the 09:48 Northern Line north-bound, thinking to change at Euston to get to King's Cross, and thence via the Circle, Metropolitan, or Hammersmith & City Lines to Edgware Road/Paddington, from where I can walk to work.  This tube train was on time.  The next (the Northern Line south-bound to King's Cross) was one minute late because we were 'being held at a red signal in order to regulate the service'.

Changed to Circle (etc.) Line platforms.  Nope: no service from those platforms owing to signal failure.  Left station, and took two buses to get to work - finally - at 10:51.  That's one hour, four minutes later than should be the case.  £160.  And a terrific Tube Bingo card with two days to run!

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

10 - 1 = 10

Despite arriving at Edgware Road a minute late, the Bakerloo Line made it to Waterloo on time, so that I was able to catch my connecting train home to Hersham last night.  This too ran beautifully to time.  Kudos.

The train from Hersham to Waterloo this morning, however, was 10 minutes late - all 10 of those minutes being accrued within TfL's jurisdiction.  Less kudos. 

To be fair, the Bakerloo Line did its best to make up for this, depositing me a minute earlier than advertised at Edgware Road.  Nonetheless, this was still 10 minutes later than I should have arrived if I'd been able to take the tube I would have got had my train been on time in the first place.  That's another £25.

Now for other things.

The Daily Mail is running a story about the Oysterlet, and ill-conceived idea for combining fashion and travel around the capital in the form of an ugly, clunky bracelet.  It's hard to know where to start with what's wrong with this story and concept, but I'll try:
  1. TfL is phasing Oyster out, so these things have a very limited shelf-life
  2. They cost £70, which is outrageous: the Oyster card is nowhere near this
  3. You still have to take them off to touch them to the Oyster readers, so precious little/no time is saved by owning one
  4. They're ugly (see below)
  5. Even if you don't agree that they're ugly, they're not 'jewellery'
At last, a clunky and cumbersome eyesore with no benefits!
Image credit: Oysterlet
Finally, roll on driverless trains!  Bob Crowe may not like the idea, but it seems plenty of us think we could do without at least a few of the tube's obnoxious drivers.  We've got complaints for smoking, swearing, being patronising, making inappropriate comments to individual passengers, texting, abandoning trains altogether, and making strange noises(!).

In the interests of balance, I should say that I've personally also had some drivers that made me smile.  On from a cold February day (much like this one) a few years ago springs to mind, when the driver informed everyone there were only 321 days till Christmas.

What are your best and worst experiences of tube driver behaviour?

Monday, 11 February 2013

Whither the weather?

Another odd morning.  A light dusting of snow on the ground did not delay my train from Hersham to Waterloo, though apparently it caused problems for the underground, sheltered-from-the-weather Bakerloo Line.  At least, I assume so because that service was three minutes' delayed and no other explanation was offered.

Ah, well.  Ours is not delays to explain, ours is but to suffer again.  To paraphrase Alfred Lord Tennyson.  £7.50.

Friday, 8 February 2013


That's it from Signal Failure with public transport for this week, so I'll leave you with my last journey.

Bakerloo Line suffered delays owing to a passenger action at Waterloo, which were bad enough (two minutes) to make me miss my (TfL Journey Planner-suggested) connection to Hersham.  The next train there that I jumped on was a further minute delayed, so I was 27 minutes late home in the end.

Happily, my daughter had refused to go to bed without seeing me, so I got to give her a cuddle anyway.  I'm still charging TfL the sixty-seven and a half quid for the time, though.

If your house is on fire, don't panic...

...because at least you know that TfL employees can still give free travel passes to a member of their families.

London Mayor Boris Johnson's new budget shows he feels the £35.8m perk for TfL employees is worth keeping - at the cost of 12 fire stations, 18 fire engines and 520 firefighter jobs.  It's a simple choice really: greater saftey for all, jobs for hard-working men and women who risk their lives to keep the general populous - including TfL employees - safe, or a ridiculous benefit for a surly, constantly-striking, shoddy service-providing few?

(NB: if you are a courteous, hard-working, dedicated-to-the-customer TfL employee, you have my word I'm not talking about you!)

Now, I know that money doesn't grow on trees and something has to give way in a budget aimed at running one of the world's largest and busiest cities, but really?  That's the priority?  And just in case my friend Anonymous John comes knocking asking for my solution, I've got a couple prepared:
  1. I agree that all jobs come with perks, and there's no reason (bar those stated above and elsewhere in this blog) TfL employees shouldn't enjoy one too.  How about, instead of a completely free travel pass, they could get a 20% discount on one?  That's still much more than anyone else would get, worth having and sharing with your loved ones, and would save at least 80% of those far more important resources (the exact figure of the discount is free for you to quibble over, but the principle's sound; if you don't believe a fire service is more important than TfL employee perks, you can fuck off)
  2. Fire insurance plaques.  Image credit: Jane's London
  3. If that's unacceptable to TfL employees to the extreme nature that they'll get professional complainer Bob Crowe on board to organise strikes from now until the London Underground's bicentennial, here's an alternative: ever seen those fire insurance plaques above on some of London's older houses, perhaps while on a walking tour?  (When firefigthting was private, if you weren't insured with the right firefighting service, as evidenced by your plaque, the firefighting team would just watch your house burn.)  If Bob's cronies' perk is just part of the 'fair deal for a fair day's work, let's all get around a table' thing that Bob & co. won't budge on, you can keep it.  Instead, we'll put plaques on the buildings of TfL employees (and Boris' house[s]) so that the firefighters know not to bother helping out if they start to burn down.  That way, only those whose perks are causing the depletion of the firefighting service in London will be affected by it.
I know which option I'd choose if I were a TfL employee.  But, to be fair, to my knowledge they've not been given the choice yet of whether to decimate one of the emergency services for their own private benefit.  Call me cynical because of my prediction of their response if Boris decides to kill their perk.

Elsewhere, a Tory report slams TfL for not yet providing mobile phone coverage on the Underground.  Actually, I'm not sure I want this because pretending to go onto a Tube is one of my favourite ways to end phone conversations I'm bored with.  Nonetheless, given that everyone else has this facility, I'd prefer to see TfL being able to offer it, even if we, the public, then turn around and tell them not to bother providing it (prior to any money being spent, of course - it's just that Paris and Berlin have been able to do it for getting on for 15 years, so I want to know why we weren't offered the capability years ago).

Good news for the borough of Islington, however, TfL's excess heat will soon be powering your homes.  Expect blackouts.

And finally, here's a picture of David Milliband asleep on the tube with his flies ('zipper' for you Americans) down, courtesy of The Times (subscription required to read much more than this).

Fortunately, the train remained in its tunnel.
Image credit: The Times


Last night's journey home comes with a significant amount of extra cost to TfL, thanks mostly to a five-minute delay on the Bakerloo Lone from Edgware Road to Waterloo, which caused me to miss my connecting train to Hersham.  That train (a slow train, rather than the fast one I was aiming for) was also three minutes late, so in all I arrived at my final destination 29 minutes later than should have been the case.

This morning, my daughter seemed to be over her illness, so I took her to child care and then hopped on the train to Waterloo from Hampton Court.  It was three minutes late by the time it arrived there.  This meant I had to take a later connecting tube to Edgware Road, making me five minutes later to work than I should have been (even though the tube I did take ran on time).

That's 34 minutes and £85 to the tally.

(The more astute amongst you may have noted it's unusual for me to brave public transport on a Friday, when I usually elect to work from home.  If you missed my comment on the matter a couple of days ago, it's because my parents-in-law drove over from Germany yesterday to spend a few days with us, and I didn't want them to have to feel they were in my way and obliged to go out the morning after such a long journey.)

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Bicycle race

Good news if you're a devotee of the Boris Bikes: you may be pissed of at having had the fee double this year; you may be pissed off at subsidising the scheme through your local council taxes (especially if you don't make use of it and get precious little benefit from more holier-than-thou cyclists clogging up the roads and pavements - the latter of which is illegal, by the way); you may be pissed off that Barclays, the corporate sponsor of the scheme has paid so far only scant over a fifth of the promised £50m; however, you should at least start being able to find one of the damn things for hire soon.

TfL has finally decided to make its contractors, Serco, do what they're paid to do, and ensure bikes are more regularly ditributed around the capital.  TfL said:

"Serco 'works hard to redistribute the bikes' but admitted 'an average of 83 stations are empty for more than six hours each day.'"
"He added that 'Londoners deserve better' from the scheme and warned 'Serco must raise its game or face significant financial penalties.'"
Damn straight we deserve better.  But seriously: 83 stations are empty for more than six hours every day?  Eighty-three?!  I'm not really sure that qualifies as working hard.

So, good news if you're a Boris Bike fan, not so good news if you work for Serco.  But then, who does?

Do you have any experiences of absent Boris Bikes to share?

Update and correction

Good morning!  A fairly easy ride in to work today: 'just' a three-minute delay on the train from Hersham to Waterloo (stopping for no explained reason between stations), and another two minutes on the tube from there to Edgware Road.  Though I have to add another three minutes to that because I was physically unable to get on the first tube that came along due to overcrowding.  Together with the fact that, even had I been able to make this first tube, it was not the connection I should have been able to get, this means that I arrived at work 11 minutes later than I should have.

£27.50.  And the Tube Bingo inches ever closer.
However, I have to issue a correction on yesterday morning's update.  Something about those numbers didn't sit right wth me all day, and I realised I'd mistyped a single digit when recording my journey on the mobile (or 'cell phone', since you Americans are rapidly becoming my number one source of readers) in real time.  Accordingly, I was 'only' 44 minutes late yesterday, not 54 as previously advertised.  I'll rectify this by removing £25 from this morning's income, so it's just £2.50 to the tab.  For now.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

And to all a good night

How organised am I?  Managing to get the day rounded off before bed!?!

Tube was on time, train was a minute late.  £2.50.

Not much of an update, I'll grant you, but still...

What are 'operational issues' - REVEALED!

Oooooh!  Hot off the press (well, to me at any rate).  I've discovered that the so-called operational issues that have been plaguing the Bakerloo Line for days are caused by a dispute about the checking of empty trains led by - who else? - transport unions Aslef and the RMT, with a knock-on effect on trains on London Overground.

Windfall for Signal Failure

What an exciting 24 hours!  Take a look at my Tube Bingo card for this week:
Looks promising, doesn't it?  Only one day to go, though, unless I elect to work from home on Friday, which I may well do as my in-laws are coming to stay (NB this is not because I'm trying to avoid my in-laws, but because I haven't set up the garden office yet, and I don't want to be underfoot for them on their first day with us after the long drive from Germany.)

So, what happened last night and this morning to bring us to this state of affairs?
  1. The tube from Edgware Road to Waterloo was delayed by three minutes, due to 'operational issues'
  2. This caused me to miss the connecting 19:02 from Waterloo to Hersham, so I had to get the 19:20, so although this was on time, I arrived 27 minutes later than I should have.  My daughter, who had during the course of yesterday taken ill, was in bed and asleep by this time, so I missed the chance to be with and comfort her - and apparently she'd been asking for me desperately.  Tempted as I am to impose a £1,000,000 spot fine for that, I'll stick by the rules I created and only charge for a 27-minute delay
  3. This morning's 07:49 from Hersham to Waterloo arrived 11 minutes late.  Though this is outside the TfL network, I'm charging it because the problem lay with a 'faulty board' which stopped trains both leaving and entering Waterloo - or something like that, the announcement was mostly inaudible.  By the time we arrived at Waterloo, we were 23 minutes late
  4. This caused me to take a later connecting tube than I otherwise would have, causing me to arrive at work, in the end, 54 minutes later than I should have.  This is because the Bakerloo Line was also delayed because of (announced) 'operational issues' and (witnessed) severe overcrowding (people were queueing from the platforms to the ticket gates) and broken escalators.
So, all in all that's a 27-minute delay yesterday and a 54-minute delay this morning.  Total: 81 minutes, £202.50

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

More on the expenses scandal, and other news

My journey home last night came complete with a one-minute delay on the Bakerloo Line, which I won't count as it didn't cause me to miss my connecting train to Hersham.  Which was two minutes late.

This morning, I took the train from Norbiton to Waterloo after dropping my daughter off at day care.  The train was late in arriving, and 18 minutes late by the time it arrived at Waterloo.  This was due to 'congestion at Waterloo caused by earlier delays'.  The connecting Bakerloo Line to Edgware Road was three minutes late, owing to 'operational issues', which seems to be the new excuse du jour.  Perhaps I should change the name of this blog...

Anyway, altogether this made me 21 minutes later to work than I should have been.  Add the two minutes from last night, and we're up to 23 minutes and £57.50

In the news today, do you remember the TfL bosses' expense scandal?  Well, from April on they'll be publishing all their expenses, so you can pick them apart to find just how many coffee mugs and Internet porn they've been paying for using your ticket fares.  The sad thing is, I'm not even joking.  Take a look at this choice quote:
"In the most recent year for which figures are available, transport Commissioner Sire Peter Hendy claimed more than £2,500 on taxis.
"By comparison Mayor Boris Johnson has claimed just 107.19 in taxis in the current financial year."
Meanwhile, at least some of our money is going towards worthwhile investments.  If you use the Victoria Line anyway: it now offers the 'most intensive train service in Britain' at peak times.  Anyone use the Victoria Line to commute?  Is your journey simply blissful now?

Monday, 4 February 2013

Delays again, but surprisingly little news...

An extended weekend break from Signal Failure(s), since I generally work from home on Fridays, but we're back into the new week with those little retardations that are par for the course around here:
  • Thursday night my tube was two minutes late, and this was followed in true style by another two-minute delay on the train to Hersham.  However, since the tube delay didn't cause me to miss my train, that makes just two minutes in total.
  • This morning, my train was seven minutes late arriving in Hersham, which I don't count since it was outside of TfL's network at the time.  However, we were 10 minutes late by the time we arrived at Waterloo, and therefore three minutes late within TfL's network.  This was followed by a three-minute delay on the Bakerloo Line, despite the announcement that there were no reported delays on any London Underground lines.  Guess if it wasn't a 'reported' delay, that doesn't count as lying.
Altogether, that's eight minutes, which is £20.