Citylink. Frustration is another level for this one.
For non-Melbournians and our close interstate neighbours in the (un)fortunate position to not be well-acquainted with this man-made device, just know that I am speaking of a ‘toll road’ and that most people living in populated areas will have some measure of understanding of this much-needed but could-really-do-without ‘accessory’ to our roads.
Since I have started back at work, I’ve decided that it’s long enough not seeing baby girl ALL day, to then drive home through the city in peak hour. Yeah, in the mornings I do the drive-through-city thing, but when I wanna go home and see baby girl ASAP, I use Citylink.
The first time I used it: not too bad.
The second time I used it: absolute shit house.
Let me explain. It’s simple really. Citylink is meant to provide you an alternate and faster route home without having to deal with lights, congestion, and just general peak-hour nonsense that sends the gentlest of humans mad. I’ve had a look at their charter on their website, and they even state that their promise to their customers is to provide free flowing traffic: they call it ‘travel certainty.’ So even if you remove the ‘get-home-faster’ idea that most people have about Citylink, the fact that they want the traffic to move constantly, is kind of in the same field, yes?
So what is the freaking point of paying tolls on their road when your trip home takes about the same time as what it would if you were actually travelling through the city in peak hour? Huh? WHAT IS THE POINT?
I was secretly fuming over this notion last Friday. I was driving home via the ‘blue,’ and right after I entered near Footscray Road, the stupid freeway was full. I drove slowly, slowly, slowly, thinking ‘what the hell has happened? Is it an accident?’ When I passed the 1st ‘incident’ (many, many, many, many, many, many, many – get it? minutes after driving SLOOWWLLYY) all I saw pulled over to the left of the road in the EMERGENCY lane (note, out of the traffic) was a car pulled over, apparently broken down, with roadside assistance helping them out… and that was it.
That was it. There was a break-down not affecting the outbound traffic in any way, yet that stupid group known as rubberneckers just had to slow down, and take a geez.
Like seriously, in the words of Big Brother “how does that affect your time in the house?” Dickheads.
And all these rubberneckers, all these dickheads, were preventing me from getting home to see my daughter. Keeping me from hugging her and being with her just that little bit longer, making damn sure our night-time bonding was limited and making the whole night that much more rushed, because slowing down to look at a woman who’s car had broken down was going to enlighten their sad, sad, pathetic lives.
Those morbid people with their perverted little eyes. They drive me freaking insane.
On I continued, past the broken down car, hurtling insults at the cars in front of me: “just drive!”
Closer to home, the traffic slowed down again. I’d heard something on the radio about there being an accident at a certain point, on an access ramp, but I thought it had cleared by when I drove by it, as there had been no sign of a bingle anywhere. Still, the traffic was really slow. ‘What the hell is going on?’ I thought. Again.
And then. As I finally came to drive past a ramp that entered onto the freeway I was on, I saw a car pulled over with an assistance vehicle behind it. On the ramp. Before entering the freeway. Out of our route. Yet the rubberneckers were at it again, and ogling the scene to the side of them.
I wanted to scream.
Now, you might argue that this is no fault of Citylink’s. You might say, “it’s not their fault that people have accidents and don’t know how to drive efficiently.” True, on both points. But when you are promised a service, a certain outcome, especially in exchange for your money, well I think you bloody hell should get that service promised, don’t you?
I’m only talking about a few dollars on the trip home, but why should I part with dollars that haven’t even brought me home any quicker? To make things worse, the kms I spend using Citylink are far greater than when I drive through the city the LONG way home, if that makes any sense at all. So I’m also contributing to the further wear-and-tear of my car, parting with money, AND not getting home quicker. Dollars are nothing, but you know what, over time they add up to a lot. And more than anything, it’s the moral of paying for something, and not getting what you paid for.
This isn’t just a ‘shits me’ post though. No. I’ve come up with a plan. 😉
I think, that Citylink should install scanners and cameras at all of their entry and exit points on all their tollways. Not unlike what they do now to charge us for using their roads. And as these cars enter their roads, they should be scanned. And when they exit at any of their exit points, they should be scanned. Not unlike what Citylink do now.
If the time taken to travel from point to point, exceeds the average time for that time of day, (with normal traffic congestion due to peak-hour also taken into account), then the Citylink user should be refunded what they normally would have paid. The trip should be FREE.
To be fair to Citylink, if the trip from whatever to whatever point is double or more the average, that’s when the refund should come into place. And the cameras serve the purpose of establishing that yes, there has been a genuine incident keeping drivers from getting from point to point in more time than normal, rather than that customer just trying to score a free trip.
This would also benefit Citylink too. By establishing this ‘get there quick or don’t pay’ initiative, they would attract more customers to their network, and just generally promoting a fair service where one actually gets what one pays for would skyrocket them into the popularity and money-making stakes, even more so.
And do you know where they would get that money for all those refunds from?
The accident-causing idiot drivers and the rubberneckers.
And the cameras would be catching them.
Of course, if you weren’t at fault in a tizzle, you wouldn’t pay at all. Only the stupid drivers would be forking out any cash. It would work by encouraging drivers to educate themselves further on the roads by learning the proper rules, staying focused, keeping their eyes on the road and to the task at hand (um, driving?) and this would benefit EVERYONE. The costs of paying such a high amount, to refund all those customers their tolls because of their incompetent driving, would be enough to deter anyone from slacking off on the roads.
I have thought of it all.
I still have to further determine how rubberneckers would be identified. I think maybe their kms would be an alert: for example if the cameras detected an average of 80 kms an hour for that time of day and traffic was moving at about that rate, and then one car slowed down to 50 kms an hour for no other reason (weather excluded) than to peer at a crash or scene on the side of the road that wasn’t directly affecting his drive home, well then going by the rule of slowing down more than 10 kms an hour, would make him the culprit and person payable for all those fees, if it was enough to slow down everyone’s drive home and make their trip DOUBLE the duration. Capiche?
The only drawback to all of this would be that these new Citylink rules could certainly intimidate many drivers into not using Citylink at all, in fear their driving would not be up to scratch and they would incur many fines. But this too sounds brilliant, thinking of the possibilities of an uber-army of Citylink drivers who are so skilled at driving, easing into the freeways and exiting with the greatest of efficiency and street smarts. Drivers who have their eyes on the road and to the task at hand – getting home, not getting the goss on the side of the road. This could create a magnificent reputation for Citylink and their customers – only the best drivers – and for a company, that ain’t too bad either.
So, in summary of this fine and brilliant idea:
– If it takes a Citylink customer at least double the time than is the measured average for that time of day to get from point A to point B, they are refunded the cost of that trip
– Exclusions to this would be bad weather likely to cause danger; over-congestion due to holiday peak periods
– If in the event of an accident, or another event disrupts the drive home causing a longer than normal drive time, the perpetrator of the unnecessary event (the idiot) is payable for all damages, for all cars that have had to endure at least DOUBLE the drive time home.
– Likewise for rubberneckers: the ones who initiate the rubbernecking, and those who have adequate space in front of them to drive but still choose to slow down at least 10 kms to have an ogle, will be subject to pay the refunds of any drivers whose trips are doubled due to their need to ‘know.’ Are you going to want to know how much you’re going to pay? Well?
– Scanners and cameras at all entry and exit points, as well as other select locations, will be implemented to check point to point durations and also determine for accuracy’s sake, whether there is an ‘incident’ or not.
I don’t think I’m asking for too much. I am a Citylink customer, and all I want to do, is get home efficiently, and without incident. I want to be home as soon as possible, to see my girl, to see my husband, and because I don’t have time for traffic. I’ll pay to get home quicker, but I expect results at the same time.
Otherwise I’ll just take the scenic city route home.
“In being a responsible company we promise to listen and improve.”
Listen and improve.