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Cyclingant

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  1. I have now received an apology from Arriva Trains Wales for the 'poor customer service' I received. Both conductors will apparently be receiving further training- the first on the apparent rules that surfboards are never allowed (in which case Arriva Trains Wales should state that unequivocally in their guidance notes rather than the existing ambiguity) and the second conductor (who was positively unpleasant and I doubt this is the first such complaint) on customer service and use of discretion or of a modicum of empathy or understanding. My train fare, £69 taxi fare and mobile phone costs in calling Arriva and taxi are to be reimbursed. Arriva Trains Wales accepted that the telephone advice I received to wait another two hours and take my chances again was unhelpful. I will accept this reimbursement subject to it being in cash rather than vouchers. And yes, as for taking surfboards or other large items on trains, I accept that I have a degree of responsibility but isn't it time that the trains set aside a bit more space to encourage more cyclists (only 2 allowed per train generally) and even surfers to use the trains rather than clog up our roads. The space required would be far less than the old guard vans and they'd probably fill more seats more regularly as well. But that's a debate for another forum and no doubt there are financial reasons both ways. Thanks again for supportive comments.
  2. Thanks for the helpful comments and suggestions. The first conductor had ample opportunity to warn me that my surfboard might reasonably be a problem before we boarded the train. That he didn't bat an eyelid and even told me where to put the board, led me (an infrequent train passenger) to have good reason to think that there were no restrictions on the service. I had a vehicle nearby and would instead have driven if I had thought there was even a chance we might be refused passage back. And even had I checked beforehand the rules on the National Rail Enquiries website with specific reference to surfboards are ambiguous enough that I might reasonably have concluded that it was OK to carry a surfboard onto a train so long as I didn't need help carrying it. 'Articles and Animals not carried Articles exceeding one metre in any dimension that cannot be carried by the passenger concerned. This includes canoes, hang-gliders, sail/surf boards, large furniture and any large musical instrument that cannot be carried without assistance.' Whether or not it was the 'fault' of the first conductor, for the second conductor to be so rule-bound that he would abandon children in such a way in such a location with poor transport infrastructure and without checking that we had money, phone or any means of accessing an alternative means of transport is reprehensible. Notably he didn't say that we were causing an obstruction, he didn't say that we needed to pay an excess fee, he didn't acknowledge the fact that we had bought a return ticket 4 hours previously and he offered no apology simply a thrice-repeated mantra that surfboards aren't allowed. I will be lodging a claim.
  3. Hi, I'm pretty shaken up by what's just happened today when Arriva trains Wales refused me and my 2 children (aged 10 and 12) the return journey which we'd started this morning. The conductor refused to let us stay on the train, apparently because of my surfboard. We ended up having to catch a taxi from Borth to Newtown. At 10am this morning I checked with the conductor on the platform that we could buy the tickets on the train, he directed me to where I could place my surfboard and bought a day-return ticket to Borth to catch some waves. En route, he explained that we would need to change carriage in Machynlleth where the train divides and to carry my board along the platform. At no point did he mention that there might be any restrictions on surfboards and as this was the first time I'd taken it on a train and had previously seen others with boards on trains I had no reason to think there might be a problem. At 13:43 we boarded the return train in Borth (not overly full) and as I was placing my board in the cycle area where there was plenty of room (just one bike there), the conductor approached me and said: 'We don't take surfboards'. I tried to explain that I had bought a return ticket with my surfboard that morning with no mention of Arriva not taking surfboards but he was immovable even when my 10 year old, visibly distressed, asked: 'How are we going to get home?' 'We don't take surfboards' was all he said, no apology nor willingness to discuss further. Short of dumping my board, we had no option but to get off. I phoned Arriva customer service whose only suggestion was that I should wait 2 hours for the next train and 'explain' to the conductor what had happened. Considering that was what we'd just done, I rang for a taxi instead having told Arriva that I would be billing them for it. The Customer service crew told me that they had no way of contacting the on-board staff for the later train to intervene on our behalf and that they would not pay for a taxi for us to get home. I've now looked at the Arriva website and it says there may be restrictions on 'surfboards... that cannot be carried without assistance'. I can easily carry my board and had another bag in my other hand. Even if they do have restrictions surely by selling me, my kids and my surfboard a ticket this morning on behalf of Arriva which I bought in good faith, that's a contract and I could reasonably expect to be able to return. The fact that I was left stranded with children by a (second) conductor who clearly didn't give a fig is pretty shocking. Any assistance most appreciated, thanks.
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