Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Scotrail fail yet again

Our business focus is on you, the passenger. Our staff are trained to ensure you have a safe, comfortable and enjoyable journey, and you should find them helpful and courteous at all times.
If you have a problem at a station, please speak to a member of our staff, who will always be willing to help you. Our staff can be easily identified by their uniforms and name badges.
During times of severe service disruption, ScotRail will deploy Customer Action Teams to help station and ontrain staff provide the best possible information and customer service for our passengers.
During service disruption we aim to:
• Get you to your destination station.
• Or arrange alternative transport where possible.
• Or return you to a suitable station if you can’t continue your journey.
• Or make other arrangements, such as overnight accommodation, where appropriate.

This is what the Scotrail Passenger Charter says.

Aye, right.

Nobody's saying that they were dealt an easy hand after yesterday's storm, but, yet again, they have spectacularly failed to provide information to commuters stranded at rail stations.

When Bob went up to Livingston North this morning to try to get a train into Edinburgh, there was not a single announcement on the tannoy and the noticeboards appeared to be broken. He had to ring me to find out what was happening and what was on Journey Check online bore little resemblance to what happened in real life.  Trains that were supposed to appear did not and, much later, trains that were not supposed to appear did.

After an hour and a half on a cold platform, Bob gave up and came home. One train had been and gone but, even though there was room for more people in the carriages, they couldn't get on because of passengers blocking the doors and refusing to let them embark. It was ridiculous and that should have been managed better by the train staff.

The piece de resistance of the traditional Scotrail Farce of Fail is yet to come, though. Bob went up hoping to catch the delayed 9:49 train. He and other passengers were following its progress on their Smartphone app when, suddenly, a coach appeared in the car park on the other side of the station. The driver came over and said that there were no trains running all day and people were supposed to get the bus. Those who were tracking the 9:49 decided to stay, but 80% of the passengers waiting climbed the stairs and walked all the way to the other side. Just as they got there, the train they were waiting for pulled in so they all started running back. The Scotrail Grand Old Duke of York style of passenger management is still going strong this year, sadly.

Some passengers were left stranded and didn't manage to get either the train or the bus due to this incompetence.

Bob is now at his work, a journey that would normally take 21 minutes, after 3 hours of trying. Better information and management, not the most difficult things in the world to get right, would have made this a lot easier. The depressing thing is that Scotrail fail every single time. They never seem to learn anything and they don't seem to care.

1 comment:

tris said...

I see they were having one of their better days.

I've only once been on a train that was on time in the UK in the past 10 years. OK. I'm not a particularly regular traveller, but nonetheless, you'd think they could manage a slightly better record than that.

On one occasion, a visit to Bradford involving 5 trains resulted in not one of them running on time, and the last one being 2 hours late.

On the other hand, I was once in a taxi in a traffic jam in Geneva, trying to get to the station to catch the 19.00 train from Lausanne to Paris. I didn't think I was going to make it, and to cheer myself up, I suggested to my Geneva friend and the taxi driver, that the train might get into Geneva late...

The taxi driver looked more than a little bemused until my friend explained that I was from the UK (my accent must be better than I thought). The trains in Switzerland are, it seems, NEVER late, despite snow and gradients unheard of in this country.

And I was sure John Major promised us that privatization would solve all our problems.

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