BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
    You are in: UK  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
England
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales
Politics
Education
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
 Tuesday, 14 January, 2003, 13:23 GMT
The view from our rail champ
Jon Yuill, BBC News Online's rail commuters' champion, logs his thoughts about the wrongs and occasional rights of our rail system

Monday 6 January

New year, old gripes


It's the big back-to-work day after Christmas and New Year and the rail companies are rewarding us with increased fares - prices changed on Sunday.

WHO IS JON YUILL?
Elected: Jon Yuill was voted BBC News Online's rail commuters' champion by users of the site
Voice: His role is to speak up for the beleaguered commuter
Commute: Married with three children, Jon commutes by train between Witham (Essex) and London
So, in return for their generosity, I thought it would be nice to offer the collective rail network some new year's resolutions.

1) Let's start by asking the operating companies to call us passengers. Not customers.

2) Our old friend INFORMATION. Signalmen speaking to drivers. Drivers speaking to passengers. So simple. So beyond them last year.

3) Knowing that the cold weather is about to kick in, let's make sure that something as basic as frozen points doesn't stop thousands of people getting to or from work. Think. It's 2003. A quarter of a century since we landed on the moon. Yet within weeks, lumps of frozen antiquated iron will bring misery to millions.

4) Talking of harsh weather, could this be the year when trains with regulated heaters that actually work are introduced?

5) When trains arrive more than 10 minutes late, how about a little "savvy" being employed and opening the cattle gates to speed passengers through?

6) Accountability. Yes, it would be nice. Don't hold your breath.

7) Punctuality. Trains that arrive within five minutes of the advertised time. Consistently. Too much to ask for?

8) More carriages. Less standing. A good start would be to follow Chiltern Railways' move and replace the (mostly empty) first class carriages with standard.

9) Staff on trains, even randomly, to offer more security. And I don't mean sitting in the rear compartment reading the Sun.

10) I know this is selfish, but finally, please, sort out the now legendary stench of platform 12. (Liverpool St regulars will know what I'm driving at.)

So there you are. A simple wish-list which would make us all so much happier in 2003, as we part with our increased fares. Without being too pessimistic, I imagine this list of resolutions will go the same way as my gym membership.

This year, as part of my "log", I'll be keeping an eye on the performance of the companies involved in my own daily return journey from Witham to Liverpool Street. Unlike the "official" figures, mine will be based on reality. When they get it right, I'll be the first to congratulate them. The other 90%, I'll be watching.

I returned to work last Thursday. So far, I've clocked up over thirty-five minutes in delays in just two days. Not bad going. Years ago, someone calculated the average time we spend sitting at red traffic lights waiting for them to change. It came to several years of your life. I wonder how long all the minutes of delay add up to on the railways? Don't even go there.

Happy New Year.

Tuesday 24 December

Thanks for the feedback


After the first Yuill Log, the e-mails have simply flooded in. Both of them. Actually, many hundreds, with the sort of majority of sentiment you only get in an Iraqi election, reflecting the desperation of the travelling public. Not a single operating company escaped your wrath.


Do you have a comment for Jon? Use the form below.

Send us your comments:

Name:


Your E-mail address:


Country:


Comments:


Disclaimer: The BBC will put up as many of your comments as possible but we cannot guarantee that all e-mails will be published. The BBC reserves the right to edit comments that are published.


Links to more UK stories are at the foot of the page.


 E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more UK stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes