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The Thugs at Town Hall

10 March 2008

Do any of my Sydney readers have any idea what on earth City Rail is up to at the inner city stations? 

I often catch the train home from Town Hall Station in the rush hour.  Not the most pleasant experience at the best of times.  But it’s been made so bad in the last couple of weeks that I’m fuming by the time I get on the train and my anger lasts until I get home.

City Rail appears to have hired Rent-A-Thug to deal with “Passenger Management”.  All along the platform are men (maybe there are women, but I haven’t seen any), screaming abuse at the passengers and corralling us to only small areas of the platform.  Anyone standing (all the seats were removed a week or so before this ‘initiative’ commenced) in the areas they haven’t designated for waiting passengers is threatened with prosecution, although under what law I’ve no idea as they’re normal standing areas when the thugs aren’t there.  I’ve been pushed and shouted at and I saw one of these Passenger Management Officers (or whatever title they’ve been given) waving his arms around so frantically, he hit a female passenger across the face.

Because we’re all standing in small areas of the platform and aren’t allowed to move around, we have access only to the train doors immediately in front of us.  So about a third of the passengers are trying to squeeze through the two doors available to them, while other doors have nobody using them.

I haven’t put a stopwatch on this but if City Rail’s intention was to speed up traffic flow I think they’ve got it wrong.  I think it’s taking more time to load and unload trains and for the first time ever I was unable to get on a particular train because we couldn’t all get through the doors we were allowed to use.  There was space on the train but I couldn’t use it, so continued to take up space on the platform.

Is this some sort of Big Brother experiment (the George Orwell variety, NOT the television show)?  Or is it here to stay?  

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