It’s Sunday morning and the thoughts about the dreaded commute in to London Euston tomorrow are already creeping in. Anyone that knows me or indeed, follows my twitter will know that me and you, London Midland, do not always see eye to eye.
What most gets on my nerves is the extortionate cost, combined with the terrible, often delayed, sometimes even cancelled trains that are provided. It costs me £17.35 with a 16-25 railcard to get to work every day – that’s £87 a week or even worse in yearly terms – £4164! And on an entry level salary, I can tell you it is a big hit!
That aside, let’s get back to the day of September 24th and my gripe with the conductor on the 8:28 service. So, the day begins well – I am in good time to the station, I even manage to find a parking space right by the entrance of the car park! A miracle no less; when the car park spaces are this small:
I bomb it up the stairs, to see the 8:28 is on the platform. Happily, I bounce towards the doors and proceed to get on. I am half a shoulder in as the doors begin to shut (a full minute before scheduled departure might I add!) and as a result, my arms gets stuck in the door. I shout out to the conductor to ask him to open the doors and he refuses to release my restrained, and now dead arm, because his service needs to leave on time. I have to admit, I didn’t know whether to be shocked that promptness was a concern of London Midland, or enraged that I might possibly rip my new coat pulling myself free. Apparently promptness was the overruling concern here, and it didn’t matter that the train might pull me off the platform with it. Some furious pulling and I managed to free myself and my coat (unripped!) from the doors, while I watch the conductor laughing at my plight. A typical Bridget Jones moment. The worst part is, I then watched the train pull off. Without me on it! Can the day get any worse?! I go downstairs in a terrible mood, to be consoled by the station staff at Hemel Hempstead (who by the way, do an excellent job of smiling in the morning) and eventually make it to work – £17.35 well spent it seems.
The next week, I arrive at the station, ready for the week ahead and am confronted with this scene;
It then dawned on me, I also did not have a ticket and would have to join this queue. A moment which can only be described as utterly soul destroying.
Most days on the London Midland service look something like this:
and that’s if the trains are even running at all!
I take my hat off to the other commuters, around the country who do this every day. Some manage to keep a smile on their faces, but most hide away behind a metro newspaper, probably pondering what nightmare the commute home will bring. No one wants to arrive at Euston after a long day and hear ‘we are sorry to announce that the 6:34 service to Bletchley…’
a) ‘will only be a 4 carriage service instead of the usual 8’
b) ‘is delayed by 15 minutes’
c) ‘is cancelled’
Then you realise, you don’t know which of the above options is worse. Would you rather be pushed up against the doors fighting for air? Or would you rather at least get a seat but be exceedingly late getting home? All these options for such a low price!
It’s been 3 months and I have had enough. The real question is though; what drama will I face Monday morning? You say you understand, but have you experienced the utter misery of having to use one your services?!
Please sort things out for us poor sardine commuters London Midland. Either that or reduce your prices.