Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Oh, the humanity! Oh, the bureaucracy!

A man fell under my train home this evening, the 18:20 from W-wa Centralna all stations to Skarzysko Kamienna. He slipped on the platform at W-wa Rakowiec. From what I could see, and from what other passengers were saying, he was neither drunk nor old; he had slipped off the platform edge and under the middle carriages of the train. The temperature had remained below zero for much of today, and despite the platform edge's knobbly surface, there was a certain slipperiness underfoot.

As he fell, he must have banged his head hard; there was blood and he appeared unconscious. He was quickly pulled free by fellow passengers and placed on a bench. The train crew acted admirably. An ambulance was called and medics were on the scene within minutes. I was impressed by everybody's helpfulness and concern. "Has he dropped anything?" The man's glasses were seen under the train. The guard slid down between the platform and the train to pick them off the tracks. Several men gave the medics a hand taking the stretcher up to the ambulance. Solidarity in action. It was good to see; basic human decency - a desire to help one's fellow man in trouble.

The ambulance departed as swiftly as it came, and I have little doubt that the man would be well looked after. Assuming he has somewhere about his pockets his employer's details, his ZUS account number, proof that he hasn't any ZUS payment arrears.

Did the train depart swiftly? It did not. No doubt there was also much form-filling that needed to be done. The driver and guard needed to be interviewed... Meanwhile, a trainload of people were getting increasingly impatient. Half an hour later, another train turned up, also heading south, on the 'up' platform. Where was it going to? Góra Kalwaria? Radom? Piaseczno? No one knew. But lemming-like, everyone in the back half of the train leapt off the platform, on the the track, across the other one, up the opposite platform, and onto the train that had just arrived.

As we finally pulled out of W-wa Rakowiec, some 35 minutes after arriving, we passed two north-bound trains that were stopped at intermediate stations waiting for a clear line into town.

The accident was sorted out quickly and efficiently. The bureaucratic cleaning up took a whole lot longer, and affected at least five train-loads of people, anxious to get home.

When will the public sector acquire the skills (and technologies) to speed up its procedures to an acceptable level?

This time last year:
Kidnapped by Koleje Mazowieckie

This time two years ago:
Google Earth updates Jeziorki

This time three years ago:
Out and about with two foot of glass


Marcin said...

Thank you for the story - as regards "some 35 minutes after arriving" it seemed it was 109 minutes. Train arrived at 18:37 with 3 minutes delay and left at 20:24. And wasn't that on Warszawa Żwirki i Wigury stop?

Michael Dembinski said...

@ Marcin

The 35 mins was the time between arriving at the station and leaving on the next train that pulled in on the 'up' platform. The Skarzysko train left at 20:24!? Goodness! That's awful!

Was it Żwirki? If I'd have known that, I've have got off, caught a bus to the airport and then a 306 or 148 to Pulawska...

Marcin said...

That "next train", namely no. 80137 from Mińsk Mazowiecki to Góra Kalwaria, left Warszawa Żwirki i Wigury stop at 20:36 with delay of 34 minutes. So we are closer ;-)
All the best for Christmas!