I was talking to my good friend who works on London Overground yesterday and he told me that while he was at South Tottenham during the morning peak he’d been approached by an irate passenger wanting to complain. The passenger was furious that for the third day in a row the pedestrian crossing outside the station wasn’t working, for the third day in a row it had made him ten minutes late as he’d been unable to cross the very busy road outside and he demanded to know what my friend was going to do about it.
While it is true that TfL are responsible for traffic signals in London exactly what an employee of a train operating company can do about them that an ordinary person could not is beyond me but I had similar complaints about the buses and mainline trains when I was working on stations. It seems that if you’re wearing a uniform people assume that you have some sort of connection with everything transport related and feel that you are an appropriate target for their ire.
After the passenger had departed and my friend had a spare moment he went online to find where he could report the problem. He finally found a telephone number tucked away on the TfL website and was rather perturbed to find that it was a premium line, had he been able to get through he would have been charged for his act of civic consideration but for whatever reason no one was picking up.
With little other option he asked his controller to pass the message onwards although the controller was equally uncertain about who to contact. This turned out to be a good idea as somehow the message reached the right person and a technician turned up to fix the traffic signal. It seems that the traffic signal was supposed to send an indication to the control centre that it was malfunctioning but whatever bit of technology that sends this message was malfunctioning too.
Sadly the only conclusion to be drawn from this tale is if there’s something wrong with the roads go tell someone who works for the railways, who knows if you complain to Network Rail you might get the potholes filled……