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Author Topic: Rail Ombudsman launched - 26th November 2018  (Read 12388 times)
TaplowGreen
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« Reply #30 on: November 11, 2021, 08:33:15 pm »

The franchise agreement was superceded by the pandemic’s EMA & ERMA. It no longer exists

..........and the Rail Ombudsman exists to deal with quality of service based on consumer rights, it specifically states that they cannot look into rail industry policies.

Perhaps you should complain to someone about the Ombudsman? Is there an Ombudsman Ombudsman?
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Robin Summerhill
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« Reply #31 on: November 11, 2021, 09:41:23 pm »

The franchise agreement was superceded by the pandemic’s EMA & ERMA. It no longer exists


Which type of agreement covers SWT (South West Trains) operations is largely irrelevant. What is relevant is whether they have broken any agreement or commitment in the agreement that is currently in place.
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grahame
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« Reply #32 on: November 11, 2021, 09:53:11 pm »

You like playing devil’s advocate from time to time and so do I!  Grin

I believe the answers to be "no" and "no".  And the DfT» (Department for Transport - about) know it.

If everything had been followed correctly, we wouldn't have had to wait two cycles for the FOI (Freedom of Information) response. And if the outcome had been fair and reasonable, we would not have such support not only from the public, but from the expert too.

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When I was  Formal Complaints Officer for a housing association (internal Ombudsman if you like) who prided himself in solving complaints well before they got anywhere near the Housing Ombudsman, I used to ask two questions:

1.   Were all policies and procedures correctly followed?
2.   Even if they were, was the outcome fair and reasonable under the circumstances?

Having answers "no" and "no", Robin, much of the rest of your case is somewhat built on sand, and is very selective in what and how it is presented.

I think the conclusion we're coming to is that there is no-one charged with holding the decisions of the DfT to task, even where hardly anyone agrees with them or their messages. The Rail Ombudsman and Transport Focus are both charged with taking care of the farthings and mandated to ignore the guineas.

[snip]

Quote
So in truth, your complaint boils down to a lack of convenience both in terms of having to change trains and having poor connections (call it poor customer service of you like) but even so the matter leans towards the subjective. If you now have to change trains on what was once a through journey, any connection could be seen by some to be a poor connection.


Could - but isn't.  Take a look at the poll I ran, Robin , to check the validity of the connection offered. Only 1 in 40 felt that over 45 minutes was reasonable.  Whereas almost everyone is happy with up to 15 minutes.  And people make choices on how they feel and what you describe as "subjective" becomes objective.

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As regards changing trains and poor customer service, if, as I understand it, SWR» (South Western Railway - about) want the stock to augment capacity on the Salisbury to Exeter route, they may argue that your resultant reduced service is more than outweighed by an improvement in service for others between Salisbury and Exeter. And an official body might well agree with them.

Might ... but none has they have gone the other way

Quote
In addition of course, SWT (South West Trains) are one class 159 short at the moment as a result of the mishap at Salisbury. Now might not be a very good time to argue for more coaching stock to be in service for that reason alone.

It does indeed give them a soundbite to use against those who haven't checked up on the details, read the FOI, or thought it through.  How useful for the DfT that most passengers all into that uninformed group - remember that you can fool all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time.
« Last Edit: November 11, 2021, 09:59:03 pm by grahame » Logged

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Robin Summerhill
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« Reply #33 on: November 11, 2021, 11:33:31 pm »

Having answers "no" and "no", Robin, much of the rest of your case is somewhat built on sand, and is very selective in what and how it is presented.

I think the conclusion we're coming to is that there is no-one charged with holding the decisions of the DfT» (Department for Transport - about) to task, even where hardly anyone agrees with them or their messages. The Rail Ombudsman and Transport Focus are both charged with taking care of the farthings and mandated to ignore the guineas.

Your response is not unlike that from people who didn't like the contents and conclusions in my Complaints reports! That said, in the nine years I held that job only two of my complaints went to the Housing Ombudsman. In one case we "won" and in the other it was a draw (the compaimant was awarded £200 compensation rather than the £2500 he claimed)


Take a look at the poll I ran, Robin , to check the validity of the connection offered. Only 1 in 40 felt that over 45 minutes was reasonable.  Whereas almost everyone is happy with up to 15 minutes.  And people make choices on how they feel and what you describe as "subjective" becomes objective.

I agree that the current connections at Salisury are not good, as indeed I agreed with you the last time we met in person. But in terms of policy poll results mean nothing - as somebody said on TV only tonight, if there had been a poll/ referendum on the London congestion charge then there wouldn't be one

Quote
In addition of course, SWT (South West Trains) are one class 159 short at the moment as a result of the mishap at Salisbury. Now might not be a very good time to argue for more coaching stock to be in service for that reason alone.

It does indeed give them a soundbite to use against those who haven't checked up on the details, read the FOI (Freedom of Information), or thought it through.  How useful for the DfT that most passengers all into that uninformed group - remember that you can fool all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time.

I was merely making a statement of fact, not drawing any conclusions from it. But, if SWT are using that as an argument/ excuse - well, that's politics...
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grahame
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« Reply #34 on: November 12, 2021, 06:18:01 am »

The Rail Ombudsman has declined to take the case - just passed it on. Transport Focus have restated "we are frustratingly unable to help."    The case has not been looked at; rather we are told "the buck does not stop here".  You draw on similarities to your experience of complaints handling, and I would quite expect my disappointment to mirror the disappointment you would have engendered if people brought you a case and you and other bodies passed over it as being out of scope.

There are indeed multiple cases - the operational case, the passenger case, the legal case, the moral case, the political case, the sustainability case, the dogma case, the environment case, the business case, the financial case and the (wider) economic case. You have the cases short term, next-general-election term, medium term and long term. On some we are on stronger grounds than others.
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TaplowGreen
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« Reply #35 on: November 12, 2021, 07:16:26 am »

The Rail Ombudsman has declined to take the case - just passed it on. Transport Focus have restated "we are frustratingly unable to help."    The case has not been looked at; rather we are told "the buck does not stop here".  You draw on similarities to your experience of complaints handling, and I would quite expect my disappointment to mirror the disappointment you would have engendered if people brought you a case and you and other bodies passed over it as being out of scope.

There are indeed multiple cases - the operational case, the passenger case, the legal case, the moral case, the political case, the sustainability case, the dogma case, the environment case, the business case, the financial case and the (wider) economic case. You have the cases short term, next-general-election term, medium term and long term. On some we are on stronger grounds than others.

You need to temper your disappointment with reality and perspective - the Rail Ombudsman declined to take the case as it is clearly outside their scope and remit - they have no authority to look into the issues you've raised - that is not passing the buck, that is being straightforward and managing your expectations.

They referred you, in good faith, to another body that they thought may be able to help - you yourself praised them for the manner in which they did this.

I suspect your angst would have been greater had they launched an investigation and then come back to you 6 weeks down the road to tell you that it was outside their remit.

The difficulty with getting passionate about a cause is that it's easy to suffer with tunnel vision, albeit well intentioned no doubt.
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Mark A
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« Reply #36 on: November 12, 2021, 08:05:31 am »

Then I would ask what consultation requirements are in the franchise agreement. Have they broken any rules on this? If they have you have “got” them, if they haven’t they haven’t broken a rule there either.

Thanks, Robin, for this post, you make very good points. As ChrisB says elsewhere the franchises might be six feet under. Perhaps the DfT» (Department for Transport - about) might need to be a bit more on their toes about the requirements of the Equality Act(2010) as the decision disadvantages women and also people who are disabled, or perhaps someone ought to pull the cork out of the bottle labelled 'Judicial review' and waft that scent beneath their noses. Works for other issues after all!

One of the difficulties you will encounter is that there are no proposals to lose stations – each and every one remains open – and the journey(s) can still be made in full by rail, albeit with a change of trains at Salisbury.

Yes, and this must resonate with experiences of the rail closures of the 60s, with a swathe of the system being used by few passengers, something which was occasionally followed by the 'Cock up or conspiracy' question - when passengers found that trains that had previously connected no longer did so.

So in truth, your complaint boils down to a lack of convenience both in terms of having to change trains and having poor connections (call it poor customer service of you like) but even so the matter leans towards the subjective.

A gross historical example for this must be when in 1962, passengers arriving at Nottingham Victoria for stations north found the majority of northbound services had ceased to run - and station staff instructed them to make their own way to the (much inferior) connections available at the Midland station, a mile away at the edge of the city centre.

In terms of convenience, some women travellers will look upon a long term 50 minute evening connection between two train companies which have low aspirations for their customers, at a station which is habitually  sparsely populated... this is an experience they'd rather not risk even if the physical risk is low, and they feel this way no matter how many staff or security cameras there are. GWR (Great Western Railway)/ SWR» (South Western Railway - about) have a completely different perspective on this to their travelling public.

In addition of course, SWT (South West Trains) are one class 159 short at the moment as a result of the mishap at Salisbury. Now might not be a very good time to argue for more coaching stock to be in service for that reason alone.

Train operating companies simply lease their rolling stock, yes? No idea how it works when they pick up the phone and say 'Sorry, we've broken one' but is there a way for it not to end up being the customer's problem?
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grahame
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« Reply #37 on: November 12, 2021, 08:17:54 am »

You need to temper your disappointment with reality and perspective - the Rail Ombudsman declined to take the case as it is clearly outside their scope and remit - they have no authority to look into the issues you've raised - that is not passing the buck, that is being straightforward and managing your expectations.

They referred you, in good faith, to another body that they thought may be able to help - you yourself praised them for the manner in which they did this.

I suspect your angst would have been greater had they launched an investigation and then come back to you 6 weeks down the road to tell you that it was outside their remit.

The difficulty with getting passionate about a cause is that it's easy to suffer with tunnel vision, albeit well intentioned no doubt.

Indeed - the negative connotations of "passing the buck" are unfortunate and were not intended to be negative on the people there who responded. It was the correct thing they are mandated to do, which is indeed to pass on such serious systemic issues, and I am relieved they did it quickly.

There is much value to reading carefully everything that's written and indeed see the awkward as well as the supportive elements, and understanding them to be aware of the total picture.   But those elements will typically provide elements to be addressed within proposals and suggestion and rarely headlines.
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