What Time Do You Call This

There is a proud sign on the wall at Connolly Station about Irish Rail’s performance for the period June to September. It claims that its Commuter Trains had a 99.1% reliability rating, which is impressive. It also claims a 97.6% punctuality rating, which is almost equally so.

late-trainBut at the bottom of the sign, in considerably smaller print, it defines punctuality as “arriving no more than  ten minutes after its due arrival time”.

Try that at work the next time the boss questions your timekeeping.

Imagine people in other careers operating to a similar definition. Actors in stage plays, for example. Or the pit crew in a Formula 1 race. Or the catching half of a trapeze act.

When I used to play cricket, I found that run-outs were rarely looked at in this way. “Look, Mr Umpire, I know I didn’t get to the other end before the ball hit the wicket, but I shouldn’t really be out, because I arrived within ten minutes of it”.

Apparently price increases are not granted to Irish Rail unless they meet certain standards of Reliability and Punctuality. They could have tried to meet these standards, but they opted for the much more creative idea of panel-beating the word “Punctuality” until it represented the standards they already had.

I think it’s genius.

13 thoughts on “What Time Do You Call This

  1. laughykate

    In Tokyo we used to get fined if we were late to work.

    On one occasion I turned up to work late on the first day of a new job and was fined – despite being given an out of date map (by my employers) to my job.

    However, you could never blame being late on the rail system, even if you missed the 14:00:00 train, you’d always be able to jump on the 14:54:00 train.

  2. gaiusc

    You played cricket?

    Missing a train in continental Europe is no biggie. Just hop on the next one 5 minutes later. Here…you need to find a nice cafe and wait it out.

  3. laughykate

    I WAS TALL! I was explaining to some women I worked with that I generally always had the piss taken out of me for being short in NZ. We did a measure up in the office, and I was the tallest!

    It was a truly glorious moment and one I shall never forget (it’s up there with being asked for I.D when I was buying a bottle of wine at the supermarket last month).

  4. Sugarhorse

    All the european railways use the ‘within ten minutes’ rule as defining within time. So at least Irish Rail are consistent

  5. Pingback: Bus Boy « Worth Doing Badly

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