Our London Underground network is among the most invested in transport systems in the world (19 billion pounds worth of investment in the last decade according to the Financial Times), it is also one of the most complained about.
The sceptics out in the big wide world may say it’s just the English being mellow dramatic but I can assure you the horror stories are true (mostly).
As I write this I’m sat on the wrong train, going to the wrong destination, where I will then pay for a taxi to get home. My normal train line is encountering severe delays (not for the first time this week) meaning that there are too many people on the platform for anyone to move and only one or two people will fit on each train that comes i.e. A half hour standing on a platform for me; yay!
It’s a new form of purgatory being stuck in a crowd hoping to get a tiny space in a rammed train, to then be shoved further into the throng by another desperate traveller behind you. This followed by your getting the train and becoming intimate with someone’s armpit and another passenger unintentionally spooning you.
I spend over £200 a month to use the train and due to these all to frequent hiccups I add £20 in buses and a further £50 in taxis. My travel bill exceeds the amount I spend on food, and I buy some nice food! I hasten to add that according to the Financial Times a ticket for the tube is 133% more than it’s equivalent in Paris. Both these statement seem verging on insane to me.
Working in restaurants we constantly review the value for money of every single dish and often swallow the price increases of suppliers to retain our guests. Surely Transport for London shouldn’t take advantage of its customers, who have no choice but to get their trains to go to work to pay for their homes and families?
In a modern global community, businesses should be proud to put their customer first and strive for them to have an enjoyable experience. The train system in London is not only extortionately expensive, but is uncomfortable due to over subscription and also makes journeys too long due to delays (two days ago I walked 2 miles due to station closures).
The silver lining in the catalogue of errors is that the collective disappointment and discontent forms a kind of camaraderie between fellow travellers, reflected in simultaneous eye rolls and huffing.
Overall I’d argue that the tube is an uncomfortable, overpriced service that is really going under the level of service that it should aspire to achieve for people spending around a day a week with them!