Saturday, June 18, 2011

The spitefulness of TFL

My girlfriend sometimes calls me a grumpy young man when I begin ranting and raving about my dislike of various things, and perhaps in some ways she's right, but my contempt for TFL often feels entirely vindicated.

Two examples from this week:

At Piccadilly Circus the electronic board proclaimed a train was one minute away. We stood there for at least five minutes before it arrived, and then it was utterly packed and getting on was basically impossible. It took two more trains before I was able to board. Why claim a train is one minute away when it isn't?

This morning, at Leicester Square there was a large poster board at the top of the escalators that said "On June 3 TFL and the British Transport Police conducted ticket inspections of travellers at Leicester Square at found X number of passengers fraudulent tickets and X passengers without tickets. £75 was gathered in fines".

This whole thing is idiotic.

So TFL are proudly warning all travellers through the station that all their checks – which included manpower from the BTP for goodness sake – raised a total of £75! Should they be pleased by this? They're boasting about £75? It's pathetic.

What a shocking waste of time, energy and resources that surely could be applied to more useful, meaningful tasks. The BTP in particular should not be deployed in this way, what a hateful thing to do – is that why people become police officers, to facilitate the fining of travellers on the underground to return £75 in revenue?

Also, what' the point in the board? As a warning to travellers, a deterrent? What for? If people try to skim the system then they will regardless and no fines (a total of £75! ha!) will stop it.

The only people that actually suffer are legitimate travellers impeded on their journey because of stupid ticket checks or who, probably due to genuine reasons of forgetfulness or mistakes, forgot to top up or have the wrong Oyster Card on their person, but are ruthlessly fined merely because TfL can – despite running a service at a level that passes as nothing more than competent.

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