Mustard, Actually (saint_aura) wrote in bad_service,
Mustard, Actually

Suck begat suck.

First suck, CityRail. I catch the elusive Cumberland Line train home from Parramatta to Campbelltown every weeknight. The train that leaves Parra at 5.50pm is timetabled to arrive at CTown at 6.39pm, where I change to catch the 6.42pm 882 bus to Leumeah. In theory this should be plenty of time to change, because the bus stop is directly outside the station - I know which carriage to get on so that when I get off I walk straight out through the barriers a few metres away, & the bus stops are right outside the exit, down the street that runs along the station. It's a thirty second walk with the waiting bus in my sight the whole time.

In practise this almost never works, because the train is always, always running late. I make my connection usually once a week, mostly because sympathetic regular bus drivers see me running & wait, or because the bus is running late too. I've sent a bunch of increasingly impolite emails to CityRail, & have had many "sorry, the driver has to wait for the signal" responses. As this happens four out of five days, the timetable is flawed, & I have suggested to CityRail that it should be amended to reflect a schedule that is actually doable, but oh well. The Cumberland Line only runs four or five times a day so CityRail quite plainly gives no fucks whatsoever.

Four out of five days a week I miss the 6.42pm bus, & have 15-29 minutes to wait for the 7.12pm, depending on how late we're running. Usually I walk or catch the 895 bus up to Campbelltown Mall, about 700m away & go to Woolies - Campbelltown Station is not somewhere I want to hang around alone in the dark, especially not in winter. Five or ten minutes in the supermarket is perfect to grab some bread & not get sucked in to doing a big shop.

Second suck, Campbelltown Mall. On Friday the train was late as usual, & I saw the 882 driving off as we arrived. I went up to the Mall, wandered around Woolies for a bit, & left at 7pm intending to walk up past Target & the foodcourt to the Queen Street exit. This takes me directly to the Queen Street and Dumaresq Street intersection, & there's an 882 bus stop right on the corner. Instead of getting on at the first stop of the route, I get on at the second, which is also timetabled to arrive at 7.12pm. From WoAlies this walk takes about five minutes. Basically I enter the shopping centre from one end, go all the way through & come out the other end right near the bus stop.

This Friday, I walked out of Woolies to find that the middle of the centre had been barred - big security gates had been pulled across to stop people from walking from one end to the other, blocking me from the exit that takes me to my bus stop. I'm at Campbelltown Mall almost every evening at this time, & there have never been gates there. The only exit accessible on that floor led to the carpark on the other side of the centre (which would have got me out onto Queen Street further down, but I didn't think of until after).

Instead of cutting through the Mall, I got halfway then had to turn back, taking a big detour by going downstairs, to the direct opposite end of the centre to where I needed to be. I ended up out on Hurley Street where I had come in, & got to walk the long way around the Mall back down Hurley Street and uphill up Dumaresq Street. It's not a far walk, but it's 800m further & more traffic lights than I was anticipating. The 882 passed me while I was running up Dumaresq Street, so instead of waiting 29 minutes for the bus because my train was delayed, I ended up waiting 59 minutes, on Friday night, in Campbelltown. & I didn't even end up buying anything from the supermarket anyway.

* * *

To be fair, it's not bad service to gate off most of the Mall at night, that's standard in lots of shopping centres. It's just a really inconvenient poliy change. There may have been announcements about it that I missed because I can't get there during the day. There were a other exits open, just all inconveniently located for non-drivers, & no signs with "Sorry, please use [carpark] exit". If CityRail could make my train to arrive on time though, it wouldn't matter in the first place.

EDIT: 6.44pm - Just to make a liar out of me (I'm sure), my train this evening arrived at Campbelltown at 6.36pm. That's unheard of. I made it to the bus stop before the bus did. Or maybe daylight savings is screwing with everyone.

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