I used to be a rail commuter in Dublin.
Each morning I would scramble aboard a train at Sutton and travel from there to Pearse Station
As one of the city's most central stops, the crowds at Pearse were legion. During rush hour, thousands of people would regularly pile out of the trains eager to get to work.
Physically leaving the station was something of a thrill.
The thrill of the chase
All the usual hazards were there, umbrellas-in-the-ribs, briefcases-in-the-shins, etc. To increase the fun even more, Iarnrod Éireann
designed an exit route that included an exciting chicane of corners and turns.
The schematic below shows just how imaginative they were in obstacle course design. (Now, visualise those small spaces crammed with hundreds of people.)
It need not have been like that
Oddly - as we clambered down the stairs each morning - straight ahead of us was a big, locked door marked 'Exit
If opened, that door would have disgorged everyone straight onto the street, without so much as a bruised knee.
I used to wonder why the rail bosses would not just unchain that exit and let us out easier. No doubt, innumerable productivity agreements and other demarcation negotiations would be required first.
And sure, wasn't it grand anyway? People could still get out of the station. They just had to wait a bit longer and not be so demanding all the time.
Imagine my shock as I cycled past the station a few days ago and noticed that the exit had been opened.
Through the wide open doors, I could clearly see the stairs down which I used to plod each day.
Now at last I understood the reason for all the weird weather and lightening storms we have been having of late. Surely, it reflects the cosmic significance of this monumental decision to improve the travelling experience for Dublin commuters.
would be proud. Instead of milling around like ants in a farm, people can now walk out of his station somewhat elegantly.
Credit where credit is due. Well done (at last), Iarnrod Éireann.
A new dawn?
So, is a new dawn upon us? Is Iarnrod Éireann starting to put customers at the centre of its thinking? How far could this new spirit extend?
I rushed home to log on to the internet.
A truly user-centred rail website. What would it be like?
www.irishrail.ie I typed.
Oh well. Some chains take longer to break.
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