It's been all go around here the last couple of days. Wednesday morning just as everybody was going to work it was claimed somebody jumped on the line at Kentish Town so the Northern line was suspended yet AGAIN - The line is famous for suicides. People in suits piled out of Tufnell Park tube station and spilled into the road waiting for the 390 bus towards Euston, King's Cross and central London. When the next bus came along, leaving dignity aside it was a case of pushing and shoving with everybody desperate to get to work.
With a bus that can only take so many people, many people were left behind and as more people arrived with not enough buses it took a couple of hours for the crowd to finally disperse. Wonder why in situations like this there is no emergency transport coordination. What would it have cost for somebody to call the Metroline office and arrange with them to lay on a couple more emergency 390 buses during the morning rush hour. Would have saved a lot of stress all round. We'll probably get the whole story in one of the local papers next week.
Later at lunch time there were teams of women with microphones and video cameras taking pictures up and down the road. All the kids were on their best behaviour and some even managed to get interviewed. Just wasn't in the mood to go and find out what was going on. They'd already taken clips of the train/bus chaos.
Everything about Transport for London makes me feel so angry. I've been battling with them trying to get an Oyster pay card and C-charge machine link as a "Pay Point" for my friend's shop. The business is directly opposite the Tube station and daily, people pile into the shop asking for Oyster card forms, Oyster top-ups and where to pay for the C-charge.
When the station is closed it compounds the situation. Sometimes it's like a shop under siege - it's all so irritating. As a registered ticket agent, since the shop opened almost 3 years ago it has been selling daily bus travelcards stamped with a rubber-stamp the old fashioned way. However to progress to the next step and get the automatic top-up machine is proving to be an exercise in futility. I've written the letters they asked and spoke to who they claim is concerned to buttress the application but there's a long queue of pending outlets under consideration.
Locally it's the obvious alternative place for people to buy tickets. With the station ticket office now closed more than it is open the situation is now urgent. TFL just don't see it like that. Their attitude defies logic. The ironic thing is that people keep asking where the nearest outlet is especially to pay the congestion charge. I can't even answer the question.
Before I started investigating the issue I just presumed potential outlets would make an application which would be assessed according to location and viability. Then a decision would be made one way or another.
Doesn't quite work like that. The ticketing networking is subbed out to an agency. They are only allocated "Pay Point" facilities on a specified number basis. The shop concerned has already been approved. It is however claimed it's on a list but it could be years and maybe never before it gets linked in. It's like waiting for somebody to die so one can take over the network machine link. The process is so tightly controlled that even on the website there is no clear information how to be a ticket agent or obtain a "Pay Point" unit. Took me ages telephoning around before I found the correct office.So bloody frustrating trying to sort it out. It's like banging my head against a brick wall. Can't get anybody to make sense of the whole thing.
Wish somebody would think of customer convenience rather than contractual agreements and performance targets.
Labels: Kentish Town, London Region, Northern Line