This is a common sight in Melbourne that makes me feel shameful.

I grew up in the days when we had friendly station masters, that would let me pull the the points levers in the signal boxes. Tram conductors who would give the correct change, help you on your journey and let the kids ride up the front in the W-Class trams.  All these wonderful people from my childhood loved their jobs, and it showed. They also were worthy of the title of Customer Service – at least by my definition.

Fast forward to 2011 – it’s an ugly sight. The hated goon squad, full of anger and authority. It’s a familiar setup. 1 lady, who is the “good cop” and at least four large heavy-set thugs. Their role is to harass anyone that’s within an inch of their rule book – travellers with improperly validated tickets, cyclists, and even outside their immediate jurisdiction.

Riding along this morning on my pushbike, I spotted a goon patrol doing their thing. I had to stop and take a momento of the occasion, in a public place. The large gentleman in the fluorescent jacket, immediately started telling me I can’t take photos, that they haven’t received my consent to publish, and even chased me as I rode off on my bike. I can pedal fast, fast enough today it seems.

They are a breed of nastiness, universally despised in this city that really needs deprecation from our society that will need to use more and more public transport.

When will things change?

What do you think?