Saturday, April 5, 2008

The craziness of insane madness

A few weeks ago, we went to Leeds for the weekend, using the train. This was a mistake, as UK public transport doesn't actually function on a Sunday - or rather, an absurd parody of transport pretends to function, but only in a 'whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad' kind of way. So we got back to Ormksirk, several hours late, following detours and use of most forms of transport other than trains - to find a ticket on the car we had left parked there. Public transport usage requires fatalism and bulldog spirit at the best of times, and I was inclined to accept this as just another misfortune, a further blow administered by the malign trickster-god who runs the railways on the Sabbath. The ticket had tick boxes for various transgressions, but 'overnight parking' had been scribbled onto it. Fair enough, one could imagine that not being allowed - I didn't actually see any signs prohibiting it, but assumed we just hadn't noticed...

But I went back in daylight to have another look at all the signs (and take pictures, in the rain - looking like a member of some bizarre subsect of trainspotters; or maybe an actual trainspotter jonesing for something rail-related to spot during the long hours between Ormskirk-to-Preston trains...) There was no mention of overnight parking, but it did mention some byelaws and give a phone number. I checked on the Merseytravel website - no byelaws. So I rang the number, got through after a few attempts, and was cheerfully offered a set of byelaws in the post.

I paid the fine, pointing out the lack of signs and suggesting that it was unreasonable to expect people to await the arrival of information by post before deciding whether to park or not. After all, we had met all the other conditions, parked in a bay, were (at least attempting to be) using the railways...

The Byelaws arrived. They don't mention overnight parking either.

Then a letter, saying that a Tribunal had met and decided that on this occasion they would not fine us... Which is, er, fine - I didn't really want to pay £30 (£60 if slow) on top of the taxi fare we'd sprung for to make up for the various train companies' and quangos' failure to provide the journey we'd paid for, in a timely fashion.

However the cool tones of the letter seem insufficient somehow - an apology would be nice, as there was no basis for the fine. Basically they stole the money and handed it back when they were found out. Cheers! How very decent of you! Some evidence of chagrin at their ignoble and underhand action would be nice.

2 comments:

Davros said...

Roy! Despite your apparent phlegm I can tell this rankles. I urge you to put aside your essential Englishness and COMPLAIN! Who was that person who scrawled "overnight parking" across that ticket? What was their motivation? Was it to maximise revenue? Modern life is such rubbish.

Mister Roy said...

Davros: At least they didn't imply that I might be a terrorist, as they did with this guy: Ormskirk motorist fined £60 for being 'terrorist threat'