Thameslink is to efficiency and customer service what ISIS is to easy-going agnosticism and strawberries are to wildebeests.
Govia Thameslink have now honed their management style to perfection – if you consider style and perfection to look like a duck-billed platypus wearing a kilt. And I have realised there is mileage in taking notes by sending Tweets.
Tonight I got on the very efficient TfL-run Overground to West Hampstead and then switched over to the Thameslink station. The indicator said the 2255 train would leave from Platform 2 although it almost always switches to Platform 4 with no warning about 10-20 seconds before its due time.
A collection of more experienced passengers (aka past victims) waited on both of the bridges between platforms 2 and 4 to hedge their bets. More passengers huddled at the foot of the stairs on Platform 2, ready to run. Foolish people actually stood on Platform 2.
A perhaps even more foolhardy Japanese man asked that rarest of all beasts – a visible Thameslink employee – which platform the next train to Elstree would come in on.
“Platform 2,” the equally foolhardy employee said with calm authority, pointing at the indicator board.
30 seconds later, as the train appeared, the Thameslink employee yelled in panic: “It’s coming in on 4! It’s coming in on 4!”
TWEET: Thameslink chaos @TLRailUK – W Hampstead platform changed 15 secs before train arrived. No warnings on signs or tannoys. Daily chaos.
I managed to squeeze into one of the overcrowded carriages because I was the first person onto the platform. Others were not so lucky.
But, as I say, Thameslink have refined their comedy act.
TWEET: Thameslink chaos @TLRailUK – W Hampstead train fails to stop at next 5 scheduled stations and ends up at St Albans. Daily chaos.
People piled out of the train at St Albans, many trekking over to another platform to return from whence they had passed through but had not stopped.
TWEET: Thameslink chaos @TLRailUK – One of around 30 passengers trying to return from St Albans says: “We can only pray”. Daily chaos.
TWEET: Thameslink chaos @TLRailUK – One passenger says: “They couldn’t organise a piss up in a brewery”. Daily chaos…
TWEET: Thameslink chaos @TLRailUK – Second passenger says: “They wouldn’t find the brewery”. Daily chaos…
TWEET: Thameslink chaos @TLRailUK – Southbound service from St Albans stops as scheduled at Elstree. Some mistake, surely? Daily chaos…
How is anyone supposed to know where they stand with trains turning up on time?!
I look up the Twitter account for Thameslink. It says: Currently we are running a good service.
I look up the Trainslate account on Twitter. It says:
Thameslink – a not-fit-for-purpose ‘service’ from Govia. Treating customers with contempt whilst lining shareholder pockets (Go-Ahead/Keolis) #BrokenFranchise
At last. Sanity!