The Great Escape

I was almost train-napped this evening. As we were pulling into Vauxhall, I was mildly amused to hear SWT woman warning us of the short platform at the station and advising us to move into the forward coaches. But you laugh at these things at your peril – the train stopped, we waited, and waited, and waited, until the horrible truth dawned. She meant it. And she wasn’t opening our doors. Other passengers could be seen getting out of the front but we were stuck and heading to Waterloo where we would no doubt fall victim to SWT’s crackdown on fare avoiders, and get fined for travelling beyond the validity of our tickets. At this point, remembering my colleague’s near-death experience*, I started to try and get forward. But other people were trying to come the other way and a bit of a melee began to develop. Fortunately a more forceful commuter than I, with one of those carrying voices that seems to be born to command managed to get us all at least moving in the right direction. And at that point, the pips went – oh blessed sound – the train relented, and we were able to open the doors.

So all’s well that ends well, but it is a bit worrying if a computer glitch like that affects what actually happens on the train. There’s a guard and a driver on these trains, both – as far as I can tell – human, who could see pretty clearly that this was not a short platform and we could all get off in safety. So why let SouthWest Trains woman have the final say? Anyone can tell just listening to her that she’s not entirely to be trusted. Or have they not met their target for detecting fare evaders, and they’re resorting to desperate measures? I think kidnapping’s going a bit far…

*or forced trip to Brentford, anyway. Which amounts to the same thing


5 responses to “The Great Escape

  1. I once got kidnapped by a bus, but never a train.

  2. Ok, I’ll bite. How did you get kidnapped by a bus?

  3. I waited for people to get on (after coming down from the top deck) and before I had a chance to get off the driver closed the doors and we were off. I couldn’t reach the stop button and the driver seemed oblivious to my presence. He did take the opportunity to let me off before getting to the next stop – and it was closer to my destination, so I wasn’t too bothered. Now I make sure I am by the exit doors for the stop!

  4. Oh well, at least you didn’t end up on al Jazeera in an orange jumpsuit being held hostage by radical bus-driverists.

  5. Now that would have been dramatic!

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