Look away if you don’t like reading random rants about random stuff. Because today I am talking about dreaded public transport. Oh yes.
No matter where you are in the world, I am sure you have your brushes with overpriced, under performing public transport. For me it’s a tram system called the Metrolink.
Public Transport out of London generally sucks. Oh Londoners, I know you want to say the Tube smells, and it’s busy, and this line and that line stops working, but at least it’s efficient.
The Manchester Metrolink is expensive to use – every person who I know that has the option of a tram or the bus goes for the bus because it’s so overpriced, even for just a few stops. It’s highly random – it breaks down frequently, it’s delayed once every 2 weeks and usually for 20-30 minutes, it never ever turns up as regularly as it says it will.
Therefore, you can never predict when one will show up. You can’t work with a schedule because you could be early and waiting for 30minutes, you could arrive with enough time to buy a ticket, but see it sailing off into the sunset. The Tube, it isn’t.
Which is kind of shocking, seeing as the Metrolink had a overhaul lately courtesy of tax payers (some new trams, new uniforms for the staff, some bizarre digital signs erected at different stops but shock-horror! NONE of them work. Talk about trying to spend the rest of the budget for the sake of it).
Anyway – so the other week the ticket machines stopped working. This is not the first time and usually you can try the booth on the other side but this time, neither was playing ball. It would not take my card. A few other people muttered along with me and on the tram I got. Long story short, I was stopped by an inspector and despite complaining about the machines not working given a fine.
I appealed against this fine after asking the Citizens Advice Bureau for advice (they told me that the tram people had to provide adequate machines that worked so I could buy a ticket). I got a letter back with zero explanation, simply saying that I had to pay the fine and that no other correspondence would be entered into.
Wow really – I had to idea the Metrolink had such great power over the public – I now no longer even have the right to reply?!
(Also, I like how when you contact the council with a question it takes weeks for a reply, but when it comes to fines – wow, they are fast!).
What really gets on my nerves is that I have seen ticket inspectors let people off – the last time was a woman who I can only describe as an extra from Shameless, who told the inspector a long winded story (loudly) about not being able to buy a ticket and once she got to her destination stop, she would buy a ticket, honestly. And the inspector let her off. Soft spot from the inspector? Perhaps. Professional? Hardly.
The Metrolink service seriously suck – it’s unreliable, it stinks, it’s always late, it has no sense of a time table (every 12 minutes my butt), the staff are rude, it’s expensive, their machines don’t work…I’d hate to see the Metrolink staff working for the London Underground. They can’t cope with a few lines that basically go back and forth for around 12 stops – how could they cope with a real transport network?!
So that is my rant for today. If you have any public transport rants, no matter where you are in the world, feel free to comment. All I will say is, if you are ever in Manchester, you seriously have no need to use the tram service – just watch it go by and give it a wave.