Letter to South West Trains
My mother told me that sarcasm will get me nowhere. Au contraire, it makes me feel loads better.
Cancellation of 0948 Weymouth-Waterloo 5th July
As a regular passenger on SW Trains, I tend to shrug off delays and cancellations as one of the hazards of public transport. However, the unprecedented premier league muppetry surrounding the cancellation of today's 0948 Weymouth-Waterloo service cannot pass without complaint.
The service - the first off-peak service of the day from Weymouth - was cancelled due to driver sickness. Instead, a bus was provided for passengers to Bournemouth. On such occasions, it is usual to see an express bus for those travelling on connecting services, and a "slow" bus for intermediate stations. The bus provided, however, called at Dorchester, Wool, Wareham, Hamworthy, Poole and Bournemouth, during which it became dangerously crowded with passengers sitting in the aisles. Such was the leisurely pace, one could only assume we were on some sort of mystery tour, the mystery being when we might arrive.
There was no SW Trains staff presence to meet us at any station, resulting in lost time as the driver "reported in" at each stop. This resulted in passengers missing the chance of catching the 1050 Wareham-Brockenhurst service instead, watching it leave from the luxuriously-appointed car park. Instead, we arrived in Bournemouth just in time to see the 1138 Virgin service leave, to the sound of cursing from myself and a number of fellow 0948 survivors who were expecting to ride on a train at some stage today.
In fact, the replacement bus service arrived in Bournemouth minutes before the 1140 arrival from Weymouth - the very service we could have caught should passengers have chosen not to take the replacement bus service. I wish I had - it would have saved me a hot, uncomfortable, crowded and unnecessary coach journey, sitting next to the world's least convincing Meatloaf impersonator, contemplating the formation of a 0948 survivors' group.
In short, I missed two connections to Reading, arriving two hours late and six pounds the poorer thanks to taking a taxi to work to make up lost time. Essentially, one avoidable incident led to a cascade of incompetence, poor time-keeping and lack of customer care, the type of which I would come to expect on re-runs of "On the Buses". I am, it must be said, not best pleased with my journey today, and expect some sort of compensation for wasted time and inconvenience.