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<   No. 1064   2005-12-25   >

Comic #1064

1 {scene: the train platform at Kiev railway station}
1 Ginny: Zdrastvuitye! Is the train to Moscow running today?
2 Train Guy: Da. Leaving for Moscow on time.
3 Monty: On time? It's been stuck in Kiev for two days!
4 Train Guy: Soviet government defines on time when train arrives. Train running late impossible!

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The state-operated rail network in my home city of Sydney changed their definition of "on time" a few months ago, with the result that trains running up to 10 minutes behind their scheduled time are now not considered to be running late. Ah, bureaucracy.

But it did reduce the stats on the percentage of late-running trains... so that's good... I guess...

2015-03-24 Rerun commentary: I remember from a holiday to Germany, waiting at a station for a train, when an announcement came over the PA system. "Oh great," I thought, "The train is running late."

I understood enough of the German announcement to get that they were apologising profusely for the train being two minutes late. And all the Germans on the platform were cursing and looking at their watches in disgust like this was a completely unacceptable delay, which threatened to disrupt their entire day. I could see them composing angry letters to the newspapers in their heads about how the train system was going to pot.

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