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Saturday, September 22, 2007

A rock in an ever-changing world

I have decided that the relentless, grinding incompetence of South West Trains is actually a comfort. Every time I go to the station and discover total chaos, it makes me feel at home and reminds me that we haven't been taken over by pod people from outer space during the night. Yesterday they outdid themselves. For unfathomable reasons, Woking Borough Council decided to waste large amounts of public money building a canopy outside the train station. The building work had become a permanent fixture -- I think it's been running something like a year late -- so I was literally astonished to turn up at the station and discover it finished. Not as astonished as South West Trains apparently, because their newly reopened ticket hall had only one open ticket window and no ticket machines at all. Presumably their scenario planning exercises had never covered the incredible contingency of customers arriving hoping to get on trains. The queue was so long I knew I would miss the train (and probably the next one as well) so I went over to the revenue collection officer (ie, the guy waiting to sell tickets to anyone caught getting off of incoming trains without a ticket). Despite the fact he was doing nothing, he wouldn't sell me one. Nor would he let me cross over to the other platform where there were working ticket machines. I had to go back out of the station and under the tunnel to the other side. Needless to say, I did miss the train.

In the future, everyone will be famous to fifteen people.
[posted with ecto]

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