Monday, March 24, 2008

Malice in Commuterland

Went into Manchester today with a mate of mine. They've added a fresh Hell to the Oxford Road Station experience: automatic ticket barriers.

I don't have a problem with automatic barriers in themselves, it's just that these barriers don't accept the local travelcards and season tickets. So while us passing trade slip through the gates the regulars, like my mate, have to queue up to get one of the officials to pass them through with a dummy ticket.

"How will you get back in to get your train home?" I ask.

"There'll probably be a rope bridge and a sudoku puzzle," he replied.
I overheard one of the project implementation team asking station staff how the gates were working.
"Really good. People are getting off at Deansgate instead of here now."
My trip back was not uneventful. I got in with quarter of an hour to go for my train and I looked for it on the board. There are five platforms at Oxford Road Station. My train was scheduled to depart from platform — . Nipping across to the potential platforms wasn't any use: the train didn't appear on any of the announcement boards there. In the end I guessed that "platform dash" was probably platform 5. It turned out to be correct: twenty-four people asking the driver: "which train is this one?" led him to make an impromptu announcement from the engine steps.

That he made the announcement he did is a testament to the man's professionalism.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Noises you don't want to hear...

Your neighbour driving past on his steam roller just when your washing machine's gone into its spin cycle.

I banged my knee running into the kitchen to investigate the trouble.