Great news for those who had their days ruined after getting caught up in the nightmare delays and chaos dominating Sydney‘s rail network over the last few days: you won’t be getting even a partial refund for having hours of your time wasted and swathes of your personal space violated. Wait, that’s actually terrible news.
Thanks to what was reportedly a combination of lightning strikes causing electrical faults, an abundance of sick days being taken, and a shortage of overtime available thanks to drivers already being overworked over the holiday period, commuters trying to get home from the city last night found themselves stuck for hours and jammed into overcrowded trains and stations.
Some might suggest that such a profound under-delivery of the service might warrant a refund as something of an apology for making it so it took people four hours to get home, but NSW transport minister Andrew Constance would not be among those people.
Constance told reporters that they knew that the situation was bad, but they would not be handing any cash back to punters:
It was a perfect storm the last two days – we are not hiding from the fact that it was a mess. We want to apologise for that. The trick to this now is getting this back on track as quickly as we can.
The minister said that “every dollar” was needed to ensure that trains continue running, which seems like an ironic thing to say when they are demonstrably not running.
Constance hit back at claims that the delays were the result of changes to the timetable, calling the circumstances an “act of God“:
It’s an act of God when you have three lightning strikes take out substations, train routes and signalling.
Coupled with the fact that we’ve had to put more trains and more services on to cater for Sydney’s growth, I’m not shying away from apologising for what happened in the last 48 hours, but the train timetable has operated well for the past month and a half.
Better spend that money well, you cheap bastard.