Service Pregnant With Pauses
Data about this morning’s peak time Britomart congestion meltdown needs to be sent imediately to the transport minister as proof we need the CBD tunnel link NOW!
Trains piled up around the network and outside the tunnel as services fought for a berth. This triggered further delays as the timetable was thrown out.
I spotted a silly letetr in the Herald newspaper yesterday that argued we don’t need to waste millions on a tunnel ($2b at last count) just to service a couple of city stops. The writer argued trams up Queen St as an extension of the planned waterfront service would be fine. It’s a pity the Herald published such nonsense and without the explanation this is about finishing the job that should have been done when Britomart was built as the number of platforms can’t cope.
Here is a snapshot of what happened on just one peak time Britomart- bound train from the West this morning:
8.14am Service is fully packed. Train Manager asks in a carriage if someone would stand for a clearly visible expectant mother who had got on at Morningside and was among those standing. No one responded. A man with glases kept reading, another adjusting his iPod and appeared to turn up the volume. Young women started at the woman and ignored the request. Appalling.
8.16am TM repeats his plea. Finally a young man gives up his seat.
8.20am TM makes an intercom announcement apologising for the over crowding saying the previous train did not stop at Baldwin Ave and this one, a 6-car did picking up all those passengers. He said the issue would be fixed after Christmas (when the platform there is extended)
8.30 Train arrives at Newmarket. Train driver swaps cab, doors close but nothing moves. TM goes out to investigate and makes phone call. Is overheard by passengers to say there are no berths at Britomart and service will be delayed. Chinese whispers spread, passengers get restless.
8.32 am TM announces over intercom that he will open the doors again as the service is delayed 10 minutes because of no berths. He apologies.
8.34 Newmarket station announcer busy apologising for services from Britomart that are delayed because of an “operational issue’
8.36am TM goes outside and comes back to announce over the intercom he is getting “confusing signals from Newmarket that this train may not go to Britomart but return to Waitakere.” Passenger unrest grows. Passengers make nervous calls and sent txts to their workplaces.
8.37am: TM invites anyone who has an urgent appointment to leave the train and make alternative arrangements to get to the city but assures those on board the train will be eventually going to Britomart as scheduled.
8.40am More announcements from the Newmarket announcer about services south and west that have yet to leave Britomart so will be delayed arriving at Newmarket
8.43am TM announces they have the signal to leave Newmarket but to expect more delays outside the tunnel. He said he could foresee some red signals.
8.48am While train stuck outside the tunnel with another Eastern service nearby, TM announces there is still not a berth – no fresh news but this was to ‘keep you informed’.
8.51am TM urges passengers to fill in a customer feedback form (carriage erupts in laugheter). He says he wasn’t being funny but “only when numerous people write in, can we get change. We do our best as online staff but we need your support to get them to realise that these services need to be run more efficiently.”
9.02 Service arrives at Britomart (was due 830).
The TM did a very professional job with communication and prevented what could have been an on-board revolt.
But numerous people were heard saying they would not travel on trains again as they tried to explain the ongoing issues to their workplace by phone or txt. (They almost always come back!)
The TM also did a brave job in telling people to send in their feedback and seemed as genuinely troubled by the problems as the passengers.
I hope Auckland Transport grab the data from this morning’s meltdown and send it to the government.
The train service has to have a through tunnel link ASAP.
And in Wellington today, a train completely forgot to stop at Waterloo station as this reader reports: