“Thank You For Choosing Transperth”. My ass.
My apologies for the lack of updates in the past months.
So recently I had the joyous experience of travelling on the Transperth rail system. Groovy. Oh the fun of the hustle and bustle of being forced into close-quarters with people going about their lives, and a few whose next steps in the path of life had damn well better involve a shower…
Travelling on public transport is a good reminder that you’re not alone in the world, but at the same time you do have that moment where you view the world with contempt and a few may even mentally use the words ‘drones’. Some people do look like they have no personality, don’t they? Which is amazingly untrue, it’s just a shame that some jobs require suits and uniforms and such. If you haven’t noticed by now, or if you’re newly exposed to my rantings, I don’t really like the forced aesthetic uniformity that so many employers look for…
So anyway I was on the train at around 9PM, and I was on the way to a friend’s house for a relaxing evening, when I received a message that I’d have to go further on the train than I originally thought. And here I was faced with a conundrum; I did not have the correct ticket required to get to my new destination. A thought flickers through my mind; ‘if I get off the train, there’ll be nobody around, no guards, barely any lighting and an hour’s wait for the next train’.
There’s not a word in earthly languages to describe my thoughts on this, so I will summarise: Fuck that.
Travelling on buses trains is a risky business as it is, especially when it comes to safety, don’t even mention reliability, comfort or punctuality… So I decide to stay on the train, for my piece of mind, safety, and for the safety of my girlfriend who was travelling with me. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but two minutes later, but who do I spy, with my twitchy left eye?
Only the illustrious lads known as Transperth Revenue Protection. Or, as they’d prefer to be called, Train “Guards”. Yes. Never around when you want them though. That’s not usually their fault, people usually only misbehave when authority figures aren’t around. That’s really a human condition issue, or if you want to make it Transperth’s fault, a bureaucracy issue; there should be enough guards to have them on every station and train to really have that image of “safety” that they like to flaunt.
Next thing I know, I’m being issued a fine. Yay. Bad enough that they doubled their minimum fines a few years ago, might I add. A fine for choosing safety over their moneygrabbing? Hmm… okay. Seeing as I am so nice I explain my predicament to the guard, who to my amazement, actually understands and responds in understandable English.* But nonetheless, I am fined and he says to go down and explain the situation to their staff and it may even get withdrawn. Yay.
So I do just that. I go down to their “customer service centre” or whatever the hell they call it, and fill out a form explaining the problem at hand the same I have here, minus the cursing, pop culture references, song lyrics and loquaciousness I use in these posts. I had to keep it short and sweet, because that’s what you’re meant to do when filling out incident reports. Also because I don’t credit their staff with overmuch intelligence, nor the company for wanting to issue them with the correct dictionaries and thesauruses required to understand my profuse verbiage.
Today I received a letter from the Public Transport Authority, letting me know that the concern for my own safety wasn’t really enough reason to withdraw the fine. Hmph. I guess without fear of assault charges they don’t really withdraw these things.**
And what are all these encounters punctuated with? “Thank you for choosing Transperth”. Like any of us would if we had half a choice in the matter. Give us another rail and bus system and you could guarantee that Transperth would lose a large amount of customers. Unless the newcomer was somehow less competent than the incumbent rail system, which I can really only see happening if they wanted to fail.
I’m starting to wonder what I’m pissed off about though. Is it just the fine, or is it the fact they’re so caught up in moneygrubbing and “revenue protecting” that they didn’t withdraw it, even if my objection to the fine is due to safety issues? What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear them, on the comments section, or on Facebook.
* – Disclaimer – I am by no means racist, nor discriminatory against people that can’t speak English. Quite the contrary, I’ve been known to throw racists out of my workplace. I just don’t think people who can’t easily communicate with others should be put into a customer service role or any other job where they’re forced to converse with the populace, such as security or train guarding.
** – I have been fined before, but it was withdrawn for two reasons; their bus driver gave me the wrong ticket in the wrong zone, and the train guard literally grabbed me at the station when I was passing through. The thinly veiled threat of assault charge worked wonders in that case.
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