Friday, 13 February 2009

Nine Million Bicycles

The great thing about urban myths is how easy they are to start as opposed to how difficult they are to stop.

Even today thanks to an over-excited journalist and a weather balloon thousands of Sci-fi buffs across the planet suffer premature ejaculation at the mere mention of the word “Roswell”, meanwhile despite all the evidence that the deaths of Kennedy, Monroe and Diana were down to simple assassination, suicide and accident respectively people continue to gather in dark corners and mutter “conspiracy”

One of my favourite bits of un-provable bunkum is the so-called fact that if everyone in China was to jump at the same time it would cause a tidal wave.

Exactly how do we know this? Have their been experiments? Have there been actual recorded historical events where the “free world” has said “Oi, China: free Tibet now” only to be told, “Try and make us: we’re ready to jump at a moment’s notice”?

Are thousands of Chinese children being trained right at this very moment to jump in synchrony? Do we have evidence? Of course not. Mind you: as far as threats go it beats the nuclear deterrent hands down. We probably need orders signed in triplicate before we can even consider pointing a weapon at an enemy – all China needs to do is raise an angry foot.

This threat had been particularly relevant to me over the last two weeks, because I have spent an increasing amount of my time jumping up and down with frustration at my local bus companies and could well have done with the weight of nine million Chinese poised and ready to jump with me.

The problem is that the times of my local bus has changed so that instead of running a fifteen minute service at peak times it only runs every half-hour. This problem has been made worse by the fact that they are still advertising and promoting the fifteen minute service.

The Bus Company tell me that the information at the stations is nothing to do with them and is provided by the Station Company. They tell me that they are unable to pass back complaints or do anything about the displays. In general their whole attitude is “We just don’t care”

The Station Company tell me that the information they display is given to them by the Bus Company – so if it is wrong then it is not their fault.

The Travel Information company (whose website is not displaying a timetable for my route) say that there IS a fifteen minute service according to them and further tell me that the Bus Company are useless and not interested in helping before going on to start complaining to me about their own bus service

After two weeks and a dozen complaints I’m starting to think that they should enter me for a prize draw for a holiday in the Seychelles.

So what we have here is two different companies running two halves of the same service – with neither company having any easy means of clear dialogue with the other.

I wonder where the Bus Company thinks its main source of income comes from: is it a) Migrating Penguins travelling south to give birth, b) Hoards of aliens hell-bent on mankind’s destruction or c) paying customers boarding and alighting from their busses

And where do people (in general) do this from?

The change in times and the inability to get a clear answer from anyone has resulted in me having to leave my house much earlier in the mornings and take pot luck with services in the evening. I can barely wait until it is light enough in the evenings to cycle to work and all of this nonsense is behind me – no wonder people prefer to use their cars than rely on unreliable public transport.

Things moved forward slightly last night, because I was able to pick up a new copy of the new timetable for my service – what resemblance this timetable has to reality remains to be seen…


Anonymous said...

Yeah, I hate when companies act like that. Everyone should just boycott the company. Well, not boycott, but there should be some sort of alternative route found and people should take that instead of being subjected to people who don't own up to their disorder.

As far as the China thing goes, I'm guessing that they take the average weight of all the people in China (calculated by diet, activities, etc.), factor in the highest height that that average weight can leap, and get the tidal wave from the average weight multiplied by the population of the continent slamming to the ground.

All theoretics I'm sure.

pohanginapete said...

Nine million more bicycles would go a fair way towards bailing us out if they replaced the same number of cars. Good to hear you're keen to get on yours — take care out there, pixie.

YogaforCynics said...

Generally speaking, those into conspiracies are longing for a simple world, where everything bad that happens is explainable in terms of one great consortium of villains (I'll add the deaths of Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Bob Marley and Jerry Garcia to your list--according to people I've known drugs don't kill rock stars, the CIA does...though, admittedly, those people have generally done their share of drugs as well)--for left wingers the CIA and for right wingers generally wealthy Jewish bankers who somehow are also communists--meaning that all we need to do is somehow knock those nasty people out of power and we'll be living in Utopia.

On the other hand, it does sound like the Bus and Station companies are in a conspiracy to make your life difficult. I happen to know that such things happen given the vast conspiracy of drivers, public transportation clerks, and even some of my so-called friends and relatives to make my life difficult.

Fight the power, sister...

Don't Feed The Pixies said...

Samurai - if only it were that easy. Unfortunately the bus companies know too well that we have no choice but to use their "service" hence they don't care how bad it is

I'd love to think that someone did sit down and work out that statistic with a calculator - imagine having that job!

Pete - cycling and being creative are my favourite things to do alone and i can't wait to get on my bike

Yoga For Cynics - you've hit on an important point there - we all feel that we need a pattern in life, so the idea that our government are rubbish but the secret government behind them aren't is oddly comforting! (in a very disturbing way)

raccoonlover1963 said...

Hi Pixie.
So, it's been about 6 days since you posted, was the new schedule anywhere near correct? Thank goodness, my town is far too small for public transportation. I rode a city bus one time, when I lived in Phoenix, Arizona. Definately nothing to brag about! I would rather walk than ride a bus.
Have a great rest of the week.

Don't Feed The Pixies said...

Lisa - ironically since i posted this they have replaced the (correct) time table at the central station with the old (incorrect) one, so the information on the service is actually getting worse instead of better!

Perhaps the bus companies are involved with the cat conspiracy to rule the world!