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Author Topic: Qn.4 for Mark Hopwood: When things go wrong...  (Read 2745 times)
martyjon
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« Reply #15 on: August 06, 2019, 08:52:36 pm »

I appreciate that obtaining taxis can be challenging at remote locations.
What however is not acceptable to the average passenger is when it takes GWR an hour or more to obtain taxis at a station with a queue of empty taxis on the station forecourt.
I have observed this at Taunton, loads of taxis for hire, but of no help to those stranded by a missed connection.

We have no facility to use taxis off the rank unless they are already signed up to our central supplier (CMAC) and we do not keep petty cash at stations for local staff to pay for customers at the start of their journey.  I appreciate this is frustrating when customers are waiting at the station. If there are any local taxi companies who wish to sign up to our central supplier, Id be happy to put them in touch.

One time I travelled and things were going wrong and I missed my connection at Temple Meads I was given a docket off of a pad, it was signed by the duty member of customer services on the platform 3/4 desk and my instructions were to pass it to the taxi driver on the rank at TM and I had a taxi all to myself from Bristol to Taunton.

Another time the train didn't stop at my station and the train manager claimed the train wasn't booked to stop there but I had a line timetable booklet in my jacket pocket which said it did. Also the displayed line timetable showed it as stopping. I decided the best way to get myself out of the predicament was to stay on the service to Cheltenham and return to Bristol Parkway on the last Cross Country service of the day and taxi home. When I got to Cheltenham I explained my predicament to the sole staff member on duty and without hesitation after consulting the line timetable posted on the station footbridge and the train manager as the train platformed for the final trip of the day to Gloucester arranged a taxi back to my home town.

So use of a taxi rank taxi HAS been done in the past, why not again ?  In the second case above the station staff arranged for a cab from a local business, why not again ?

Reminiscent of the days of Fraser Eagle when all RR services had to conducted through that organisation and we had coaches supplied by a Swindon operator running RR services from Parkway to Patchway when an operator had vehicles parked up in the former Patchway Coal Yard.
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didcotdean
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« Reply #16 on: August 06, 2019, 08:59:13 pm »

I'll give another example of the difficulty of knowing what to do, and what is in place when things have gone wrong at a busy station where GWR is a minor operator.

On 23 July I got to the station at Gatwick Airport to find that the train I was down to take to Reading at 17:00 had been cancelled, and after a few minutes I could tell from online checks that the 18:00 and 19:00 were also already cancelled.

There was no information available at the station as to what I could or should do, either from screens or the person I asked at assistance. My ticket was a not via London off-peak return which would under normal circumstances not be accepted on many other routings.

The end of the story for me was not that unhappy because I travelled via London on the sole authority of a twitter message from @GWRhelp. Interestingly no one at any of the ticket barriers in London (National Rail or TfL) knew anything about acceptances but seemed to just take my word for it. However, I do wonder how many people who don't know anything about twitter, or indeed since it was Gatwick know anything much about rail in the UK, might have just been stuck there for hours.
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grahame
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« Reply #17 on: August 22, 2019, 02:34:32 pm »

b. At stations that average over 10 passenger journeys per train calling, can you not arrange for a bus or taxi to be at the station for normal train departure time if the train is cancelled hours in advance and there is no further train in that direction due for over 100 minutes?

Every cloud has a silver lining.

Performance (in terms of cancellation rates) has not been good at Melksham for the last week, but I'm pleased to report that a bus is running and planned in good time ... actually connecting at Chippenham with the next train from Swindon.    It also appeared on the departure boards / train displays earlier in the week when I was at the station, though that doesn't seem to be the case at the moment.

Getting there.   Step in the right direction.   Tuning needed - a delicate balance between "Thank You, Mark" and the Oliver Twist "Please Sir, I want some more".   More really coming down to the should-be-easy customer info stuff when things go wrong, and trains that actually run so that (ironically) we don't need this special stuff.

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TaplowGreen
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« Reply #18 on: August 22, 2019, 03:20:17 pm »

b. At stations that average over 10 passenger journeys per train calling, can you not arrange for a bus or taxi to be at the station for normal train departure time if the train is cancelled hours in advance and there is no further train in that direction due for over 100 minutes?

Every cloud has a silver lining.

Performance (in terms of cancellation rates) has not been good at Melksham for the last week, but I'm pleased to report that a bus is running and planned in good time ... actually connecting at Chippenham with the next train from Swindon.    It also appeared on the departure boards / train displays earlier in the week when I was at the station, though that doesn't seem to be the case at the moment.

Getting there.   Step in the right direction.   Tuning needed - a delicate balance between "Thank You, Mark" and the Oliver Twist "Please Sir, I want some more".   More really coming down to the should-be-easy customer info stuff when things go wrong, and trains that actually run so that (ironically) we don't need this special stuff.



Nothing wrong with good manners but it wouldn't hurt to lose the excessive deference.

As customers and taxpayers
we have the right to expect a good service,  it's not something for which we should have to bow, scrape or beg for or show excessive gratitude.

IRO this week's farce on the Transwilts,  if anything,  it should be GWR senior management donning sackcloth & ashes and providing explanations, apologies & illustrating how measures are urgently being put in place to prevent a repeat performance.

A bus is the absolute minimum mitigation.
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grahame
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« Reply #19 on: August 22, 2019, 03:50:24 pm »

A bus when the train fails may be a Tiny step in Taplow ... but it's a major miracle in Melksham.  Praise and thanks for a significant step in the right direction.

However, GWR are not providing what is in the franchise.  And they can't realistically turn around and suggest that's due to the weather, or due to the passengers, or act of god.   Nor can they turn around and suggest the need to run the service is new or has taken them by surprise, or that it wasn't being well used.  They can't claim the bus is an adequate replacement - for a 17:36 departure from Swindon, an 18:02 arrival at Melksham is in the timetable they themselves authored.  That's 26 minutes.   Since Thursday of last week, arrive at Swindon for the 17:36 and you won't reach Melksham until 18:40 - that's 64 minutes, i.e. 38 minutes late.

But yet ... that's an improvement on a 19:15 arrival from 17:36 which is the history, and it's better that being left at Trowbridge of Melksham Station without knowing what's going on for 90 minutes after your service was due! Praise and thanks for a significant step in the right direction.   With that "thank you" we establish a better relationship to get the next significant step or steps - to a train service that runs consistently to the franchise spec, as timetabled by GWR.  Someone coined the term "Reliability, reliability, reliability" .
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