My email to Connex

by Haught 2 Comments

Con

If you’re a relative newcomer to Haught, you might not know that before I was writing immaculately worded emails to big-name dickheads and corporate galoots like Microsoft, Alan Jones, Coles and Woolworths , I became a household name (and got people asking why there wasn’t a Nobel Prize for Blogging) writing to public transport companies.

Well, I’ve decided it’s time to return to my roots.

Now, if you’re familiar with what it’s like to be on a Melbourne train during peak hour, or slightly before or after peak hour, or in hot weather, or in mildly warm weather, or when it’s raining, or drizzling, you have my sympathies. You can also probably go straight to the email below.

If you’ve never had the displeasure of a Melbourne train experience, you might also want to get up to speed on just how badly our train system is operated before you read the email below. You can do that by reading my email to Metro trains from a couple of years ago, this recent Age article on continual overcrowding, or the most recent Canstar City Train Ratings.

 

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The MetroSuccessual campaign

MetroSuccessualsI am, if nothing else, an advertising aficionado. In the past, I’ve been known to be quite critical of some recent Australian advertising – a bourbon commercial, a fast food campaign and a bank poem come immediately to mind – but there is one campaign that has captured my imagination, held it captive on the top level of a tastefully renovated warehouse and brought it craft beer and pretzels.

It’s the MetroSuccessual campaign and I’m worried that it’s not getting the exposure it should. Take a browse through the ads below and feel free to share them about your social network. I’m sure the ad agency responsible would be thankful for the extra traction or leverage or torque or whatever they call it these days.

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My email to myki

myki imageIn 2002 the Victorian State Government began to take steps towards changing to a new public transport ticketing system that would replace the distinctly unimpressive (but vaguely stable) Metcard.

The new model would introduce smartcards to Victoria for the first time and, according to those in the know, avert the problems that would come from the impending obsolescence of the previous system.

A zillion dollars and six eons later, myki was finally introduced.

Not one single element of it was inherently better than the Metcard system. It was slower in every regard, not remotely intuitive, riddled with bugs, accompanied by a public information campaign involving gross condescension, and abysmally impractical for visitors to the state.

Smart? It was as dumb as buggery – a veritable imbecile in the pantheon of ticketing systems.

And still is. Very little has changed since its first drunken, wayward, confusing steps. It would look hopelessly out of place in the early 2000s and is hilariously inadequate in the hyper-digital world of 2013.

Since the 29th of December 2012 it has been the single principal ticketing system across Victoria (alongside V-Line tickets) and has proved an utter shambles of a “solution” (as the corporate wankers say these days).… Read the rest

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THE RESPONSE: My email to Metro Trains

Image by: Zed Fitzhume

In May I sent an email to Metro Trains. It started out as an opportunity for the Big Blue M to test their complaint response writing skills against the new public transport (and possibly the world) standard. It ended as an angry diatribe, I’ll admit. For this reason, if Metro had erred slightly on the side of conservatism in their reply, I would have given them some latitude.

They didn’t, however, err on the side of conservatism so much as put every single egg they’ve ever owned into the conservative basket:

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The #FreeAnnie campaign

As The Age reported this week Metro Trains has, over the last year, gone into a fine dispensing frenzy.

One of the people they’ve nabbed during this period of sustained blame-shifting and misdirection is a Haught reader by the name of Annie.

Last week she wrote to me about her recent experience on a Metro train and her subsequent correspondence with the Department of Transport.

Her emails were charming, vivid and compelling. (They also included brazen raunch; during one paragraph I fainted.)

It seems that some overzealous Metro Trains Authorised Officers, followed by the Department of Transport, have got the delightful Annie mixed up with a  fare-evading black squiggle non-entity, as represented in this advertising campaign.

From her emails alone I can tell that Annie is not a scribble-based
organism. And if she is, she’s probably a vibrantly coloured one. Annie, told me in her emails to me that “I never forget to buy a ticket because it matters to me to have a healthy transport system – and the only way Melbourne’s shitty system will improve is through use and investment by the people (fares).”

With this in mind, have a read of Annie’s case:

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A [FAUX] RESPONSE: My email to Metro Trains

by Haught 0 Comments

Last week I sent an email to Metro Trains.

I haven’t yet heard anything back from an official representative, but reader Veloaficionado has had an excellent stab at responding on their behalf:

Dear Mr Haught,

As a representative of Metro, I will take the opportunity to reply to your latest letter. At Metro, we pride ourselves on keeping abreast of all commentary on our performance, and although some may call this paranoid and in the vein of witch-huntery, Section G-37-B is very good at its job. The surveillance equipment they deploy is second to none, and the data encryption and database security employed is world class, deep within the reinforced concrete 3rd basement level where it is stored.

So rest assured that we are aware of your reputation and previous correspondence with other instrumentalities and businesses, and we wish to reassure you that we take your views of our performance very seriously.

However, we must take issue with absolutely everything that you say, even that we seem to employ public image management that is somewhat amateurish and implausible, or to you, it seems, laughable. We have spent a substantial amount of public money on such well-credentialed public relations advisors, who have offices in major European capitals and both the east and west coasts of the US.

Read the rest
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My email to Metro Trains

by Haught 20 Comments

I wrote a letter to Metro Trains.

Exciting times.


Dear Metro Trains,

My name is Jonathan Rivett. You might know me – I’m kind of a big deal.  (I have many leather-bound books, and my apartment smells of rich mahogany.)

If you’e not familiar with my work, here’s a quick summary. A couple of weeks ago I became very, very famous when I posted on my blog an email exchange between me and Yarra Trams.

I sent them my account of a tram trip my wife and I had endured during which a drunk man abused passengers in a theatrical baritone. I felt that Yarra Trams had been less than truthful with their insistence that the police had been called once this man’s antics had gone from entertaining to distressing and wanted to know the real story. It was an immensely humorous and exquisitely worded piece of correspondence.

Instead of coming back with a hollow, supermarket-bought reply email, Yarra Trams responded in kind. I posted their brilliant email on my blog. The radio station 3AW found it, then The Age got wind of it and the rest is history.

Anyway, long story short: I thought I’d give you a chance to better your bitter public transport rivals.… Read the rest

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