I write this after another disastrous morning on the Central Line.
I arrived at Wanstead Station at approximately 06.00 earlier today to be told simply “there are no trains”. When asked how I was expected to travel to work in Central London the sole member of staff told me to “get the bus to Stratford”.
This cessation of service – which became severe delays later in the morning – must have caused misery for thousands of commuters. As I left the station I saw many people running for buses desperately telephoning their workplaces to patiently explain that, yet again, they would be late, if they could make it at all.
My concern is the toll this situation is taking on the mental health of commuters who have no other choice but to use this line of doom. The delays and regular cessation of service create a daily nagging concern for anyone who uses the line: “what chaos is going to ensue today”? The situation leads to stress, anxiety, increased workloads, loss of time with loved ones and lack of leisure time. This is not to mention the loss of pay for freelancers and the deduction of salary for people, such as those who work in the construction industry, for those who arrive at work late. And this goes on day after day after day.
The reason given for the delay this morning was “late finish of engineering work”. Surely with better planning and management this could have been avoided? I think it is time for financial penalties for those responsible for the management and operation of the line. I don’t mean the hard working operations people who do the real work. I mean the Managing Director of London Underground, who according to a Transport for London document earned between £275,000 and £279,999 in 2017, and the Head of Network Operations and Resilience, who earned between £120,000 and £124,000. Perhaps if the continuing appalling service directly impacted them the situation might improve?
In the meantime, please become part of the campaign to #improvethecentralline.