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What annoys you about railway companies?


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Having hijacked too many threads to moan about train companies, I thought I ought to start a separate thread where folk can tell what annoyed them about the train company they use.

 

This is supposed to be a consumer pressure site, and we seem to spend a lot of time 'advising' people who for various reasons are being prosecuted by railways for them not being 'good customers'.

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For starters, my local train operator has 'quiet carriages'. I know they are quiet carriages, because every five minutes, the peace is shattered by a mechanical (and very condescending) voice that says 'coach A ia a quiet carriage. Do not play music or use electronic devices that may annoy people.' (or words to that effect)

 

Just how stupid is that? The train company does the very thing that it tells the passengers not to do.

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A head above the parapet! Well done.

 

My local station used to have a 'night turn' who was there to see all us 'early birds' safely onto our first train of the day. He also did the station cleaning, so that there were no puddles of pee and vomit when the first morning passengers arrived, or piles of discarded tickets strewn around the place. Most mornings, the station looks like there was an explosion in the ticket box.

 

But the night turns all went shortly after 'privitisation'. Cleaning is now done after the contract cleaner can get to the station from somewhere east of Suez.

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For starters, my local train operator has 'quiet carriages'. I know they are quiet carriages, because every five minutes, the peace is shattered by a mechanical (and very condescending) voice that says 'coach A ia a quiet carriage. Do not play music or use electronic devices that may annoy people.' (or words to that effect)

 

Just how stupid is that? The train company does the very thing that it tells the passengers not to do.

 

Ha..Sounds like you are on the C2C line, whilst I can understand C2C's introduction of quiet carriages, the continual voice telling you its a qiuet carriage is rather amusing, although the other carriages hear it too, it also has no legal backing so in reality people can and do get on and make a racket anyway.

 

On a more serious note, the most annoying things prob are:-

 

1. The cost (a trip to Europe will make you see that many countries run cheaper far more efficient services).

 

2. The speed, although many of the new trains are very fast, my journey time to London is about the same time as about 100 years ago (this isn't the fault of the TOC's, its down to the actual lines themselves, plus adding new stations can only make journeys longer).

 

3. Ticket Inspectors, fair enough they have a job to do, but I'm sure many of us have had the pleasure of dealing with patronising, unhelpful staff, many of us who commute daily will no doubt make a mistake at some point but its rather dissapointing to be dealt with like a criminal when you make such a mistake, especially bearing in mind you may have spent many tens of thousands of pounds over the years on tickets.

 

4. Delays. Whilst my local service (C2C) is the most punctial and reliable in the UK, when things go wrong it often falls apart, there have been occasions when I have been stuck on a train for hours with occasional comments from the driver such as 'eerr..I dont know whats going on', in fairness though, after some major cockups, C2C are well aware of these criticisms and promise new procedure and better trained stuff, the problem is, when the next dealy comes along, it all falls apart and the staff often run off and hide.

 

Andy

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Not sure about 'no legal backing' for quiet carriages. There are byelaws which cover 'annoyance', I think if a passenger stated 'Andy is annoying me by playing with his computer, it makes an irritating noise', then one or other of the paragraphs in Byelaw 6 would cover it. It would rely on some evidence of annoyance.

 

If I were defending such an accusation, I would probably say 'but it was quieter than the automatice announcements of it being a quiet carriage'!

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What's C2C? :???:

 

Anyway, what annoys me about railway companies, from a different perspective:

 

They treat their staff like crap, pay peanuts, as a consequence have a huge staff turnover, which means that they're always short of staff, and that of course ends up with the customer at the receiving end of that. Oh yes, and you do have to wonder about what the union reps are being paid for, because they seem to have a timeshare in 2 braincells between them.

 

They try to change contracts of employment terms and enforce them by custom, and do not like it when confronted with, but will do anything to avoid resolving the situation or work WITH the staff instead of against. Their attitude towards the staff is 19th century style, and you can tell they really miss them good old days, where they had life and death power over their employees! :rolleyes:

 

I could go on and on. This is just to remind everyone that when you get a surly employee, more often that not, it's because he has a crap employer. ;-)

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Cost for me! I travel from Isle of Wight to Midlands regularly with my 2 sons (6 & 16 years old) on a family rail card. It costs around £130 return. If I go in the car it works out about £20 cheaper (inc car ferry) so where is the incentive to get me onto public transport? And what's happend to the so called 'advanced tickets'? I look at least a month before travelling and they are never available!

 

Please Note

 

 

The advice I offer will be based on the information given by the person needing it. All my advice is based on my experiences and knowledge gained in working in the motor and passenger transport industries in various capacities. Although my advice will always be sincere, it should be used as guidence only.

I would always urge to seek professional advice for clarification prior to taking any action.

 

Please click my reputation button at the bottom of my profile window on the left if you found my advice useful.

 

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What's C2C? :???:

 

Anyway, what annoys me about railway companies, from a different perspective:

 

They treat their staff like crap, pay peanuts, as a consequence have a huge staff turnover, which means that they're always short of staff, and that of course ends up with the customer at the receiving end of that. Oh yes, and you do have to wonder about what the union reps are being paid for, because they seem to have a timeshare in 2 braincells between them.

 

They try to change contracts of employment terms and enforce them by custom, and do not like it when confronted with, but will do anything to avoid resolving the situation or work WITH the staff instead of against. Their attitude towards the staff is 19th century style, and you can tell they really miss them good old days, where they had life and death power over their employees! :rolleyes:

 

I could go on and on. This is just to remind everyone that when you get a surly employee, more often that not, it's because he has a crap employer. ;-)

 

You may be right, personally I cant think of many worse jobs to have, especially if its a customer facing role, having said that there are a few familiar faces of staff that have stuck with the job for a while and are helpful.

 

Another 'moan' is that staff at the barriers seem to have been replaced fromn helpful train company staff to glorified bouncers who have zero knowledge of the train company or the ticketing system, I once had a run in with an ape who refused to let me leave telling me my ticket was invalid, I had to walk round to the other gate where a proper staff member let me out, I then heard him over the radio telling the 'ape' that I was correct, so I walked back round expecting some apology but he refused to recognise me and just blanked me..very helpful.

 

Andy

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Cost for me! I travel from Isle of Wight to Midlands regularly with my 2 sons (6 & 16 years old) on a family rail card. It costs around £130 return. If I go in the car it works out about £20 cheaper (inc car ferry) so where is the incentive to get me onto public transport? And what's happend to the so called 'advanced tickets'? I look at least a month before travelling and they are never available!

 

Please Note

 

 

The advice I offer will be based on the information given by the person needing it. All my advice is based on my experiences and knowledge gained in working in the motor and passenger transport industries in various capacities. Although my advice will always be sincere, it should be used as guidence only.

I would always urge to seek professional advice for clarification prior to taking any action.

 

 

Please click my reputation button at the bottom of my profile window on the left if you found my advice useful.

 

Yep SS quite agree with you, me and hubby went to Blackpool over the weekend and the rail costs including the cat and underground connections cost almost twice as much as our hotel room 3 nights half board

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You may be right, personally I cant think of many worse jobs to have
Good pension, GREAT travel perks, and little or no qualifications needed. In this day and age, sadly, that has its advantages. We went to Paris a couple of weeks, Eurostar 1st class, return for 2 = £152.
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What's C2C? :???:

 

Anyway, what annoys me about railway companies, from a different perspective:

 

They treat their staff like crap, pay peanuts, as a consequence have a huge staff turnover, which means that they're always short of staff, and that of course ends up with the customer at the receiving end of that. Oh yes, and you do have to wonder about what the union reps are being paid for, because they seem to have a timeshare in 2 braincells between them.

Without wanting to sound too much like a jobsworth here, I disagree with the point above (as a whole at least!), in that from my experience the Rail industry pays very well when you look at comparable jobs in other industries, particularly retail! For example, a train driver earns between £30,000 and £45,000pa depebding on location and company, a standard, non-commercial (doesn't sell tickets) Train Guard or Conductor can earn up to £27,000pa, again depending on location etc. A commercial Guard or Conductor can earn around £30,000pa, plus often get commission on top of that, too! A Revenue Protection Assistant often earns around £10 an hour, and an Inspector, although few and far between now, from what I've heard, get around £28,000pa (give or take...).

 

Yes, there's the other end of the scale, where you have staff that aren't paid as much, but even Platform Staff get paid what you'd expect on an entry level job in any company, which equates to around £7.50 an hour (more than working in a supermarket!), and Gateline Assistants get around £6.00 an hour, which, again is above minimum wage. Obviously the salaries would differ depending on location, as i said, for example, in the Highlands of Scotland, you'd probably be paid less than in Central London!

 

Also, staff turnover, from experience, is far less than in any other industry I've been in! I mean, I've known people who have work on the railway for 45-years or so, and that's not just the odd one or two, there are loads about! Where ever you go you'll have those that are never happy with the terms and conditions and pay etc etc etc, and I agree that you should sqeeze all you can out of a company, but the way I look at it is, I get paid quite well and if I compare my role and salary with a comparable role (I use that of a PCSO), I quickly find that I earn around £10,000pa more than a home office force PCSO, and have a good pension to boot.

 

You'll hear alot of Train Drivers whinging about their T&Cs etc, but for £40,000pa?

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My husband has been in the company for 10 yrs this December and is on £16k pa gross. :rolleyes: And in a supermarket, he wouldn't be responsible for the safety of thousands of people with all the strain it entails.

 

As for staff turnover, we'll have to disagree, put it this way, with his 10 yrs with them, he is now one of the longest running employees where he is stationed. :-( What you say may have been true when it was BR, but since privatisation and parcelling off to highest bidders, I'm afraid that is definitely the case where we are.

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My husband has been in the company for 10 yrs this December and is on £16k pa gross. :rolleyes: And in a supermarket, he wouldn't be responsible for the safety of thousands of people with all the strain it entails.

 

As for staff turnover, we'll have to disagree, put it this way, with his 10 yrs with them, he is now one of the longest running employees where he is stationed. :-( What you say may have been true when it was BR, but since privatisation and parcelling off to highest bidders, I'm afraid that is definitely the case where we are.

You're not in the Highlands of Scotland are you? ;)

 

£16,000? From what you say, it sounds like he is a Train Guard or something, and that's definitely the lowest paid I've seen! Now, I might have tomatoes etc thrown at me for what I'm about to say, but oh well. I actually prefer it now to what it was like as a Nationalised service, and I'll give examples as to why, too;

 

  • Newer, cleaner trains
  • Staff as a whole are more politre, better mannered and better trained
  • Better pay and conditions....though it seems there are exceptions

It seems now that there's less of a "couldn't care less" attitude from staff and TOCs as a whole, maybe I'm wrong? Also, if for argument's sake the railway in its entirity was re-nationalised, everybody would soon be whinging about how it's terrible and the coalition Government is ruining the contry, as they would if the Country was Labour run, Lib-Dem run or Green Party run.

 

Sorry for going slightly off topic here!



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No, he's platform staff and based at East Croydon, one of the busiest stations in the country (I believe, but don't quote me on this, that Clapham Junction is the busiest!), just as well he gets free travel really, otherwise it probably wouldn't be worth him staying in the job!

 

And I am definitely going to disagree about the privatisation, where their only interest is profit, and that means cutting corners at every angle. The horror stories I hear!.... :-(

 

Anyway, as you say, we're going OT, but I just wanted to present the angle from the inside looking out so to speak.

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No, he's platform staff and based at East Croydon, one of the busiest stations in the country (I believe, but don't quote me on this, that Clapham Junction is the busiest!), just as well he gets free travel really, otherwise it probably wouldn't be worth him staying in the job!

 

And I am definitely going to disagree about the privatisation, where their only interest is profit, and that means cutting corners at every angle. The horror stories I hear!.... :-(

 

Anyway, as you say, we're going OT, but I just wanted to present the angle from the inside looking out so to speak.

I believe Platform Staff was one of the exceptions I made? Although the hourly rate equates to about £7 I believe, which is more than Tesco pay. I take your point though, in that he has more responsibility than your average Tesco worker. Unfortunately Platform Staff are paid about the same everywhere bar London Underground, where, apparently they get around £25,000pa? It seems that nigh on ALL other jobs on the Railway bar Gate Staff (not Revenue), pay more than on the Platform, which I do find rather strange.

 

You say you disagree about Privatisation, presumable you agreed with the points I raised for it?

 

In a bid to get on-topic again, what bugs me as a Staff member, let along a passenger, is when the company don't communicate with passengers at times of severe disruption! And then, the occassional staff member gets aresy when a disgruntles punter starts gettingt stroppy!

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Lively debate! Nothing too far 'off track' here, although I don't think they pay anything like as much in Essex.

 

A lot of the staff that I see are not actually employed by the TOC, minimal pay, no career prospects, and no free travel.

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Qoute from Stigy: 'In a bid to get on-topic again, what bugs me as a Staff member, let along a passenger, is when the company don't communicate with passengers at times of severe disruption! And then, the occassional staff member gets aresy when a disgruntles punter starts gettingt stroppy! '

 

Andy earlier mentioned disruption. The automatic train announcing system on our route just keeps going with whatever the next train should be announced as 57 minutes late. Apparently, 'the voice' is difficult to turn off.

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C2C is my local train company running from Shoeburyness (Essex) to Fenchurch Street (London), it has quite a long history, it was previously known as LTS (or unofficial 'The Misery Line'), however since rail franchising came in it has been a bit of a success story, it is now the most punctial and has modern air-con trains, which are only let down my 'gremiln's, ie. automatic toilet doors goe bonkers, the electronic system sometimes forgets where it is and annouces (as happened to me the other day upon approaching london), "we are now approaching Thorpe Bay, this train is running 67 minutes late", it was on time.

 

On the other side of the coin is an almost identical line running from Southend to Liverpool Street (London) run by NXEA (National Express East Anglia), this uses the rather old crappy train, manual; doors, no air-con and often is delayed, due to the bizzare history of the two lines costs quite a bit more than the C2C line for an identical journey, it was due to lose its franchise but I see that the Con-Dems have allowed it to keep it.

 

Andy

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What do I hate? a so called "privatised" industry that the government try and run by stealth! if its private let the TOCs run it themselves!

Views expressed in this forum by me are my own personal opinion and you take it on face value! I make any comments to the best of my knowledge but you take my advice at your own risk.

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Here's a good one! My son is 16 nad is staying on at school (6th form). He usually travels to and from school by train (as its cheaper than the bus) using a weekly ticket costing £6.40 which is half fare. Now he is 16, he now has to pay full fare so I've looked into the '16-25 young person's railcard' which costs £26 per year. This shaves a third of the normal fare (like the family railcard). But here's the best bit; to qualify my son has to be in full time education (which he is) but the card cannot be used before 10am! Can someone explain what use that is to someone traveling to school who has to be in full time education to qualify? :???:

 

Please Note

 

 

The advice I offer will be based on the information given by the person needing it. All my advice is based on my experiences and knowledge gained in working in the motor and passenger transport industries in various capacities. Although my advice will always be sincere, it should be used as guidence only.

I would always urge to seek professional advice for clarification prior to taking any action.

 

Please click my reputation button at the bottom of my profile window on the left if you found my advice useful.

 

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because the 16-25 railcard is a leisure product, season tickets are for people travelling to and from work/school!

Views expressed in this forum by me are my own personal opinion and you take it on face value! I make any comments to the best of my knowledge but you take my advice at your own risk.

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because the 16-25 railcard is a leisure product, season tickets are for people travelling to and from work/school!

 

I didn't know that it is a 'leisure product', and it still dosn't explain why he needs to be in full time education to qualify which seems strange as Its hardly much use to him if he can't use it before 10.00am and it costs £26 per year. His season ticket now costs double what he was paying which is now £12.80 per week so is there a student card he can obtain? There is one which is valid on the buses so it looks like he will be taking his custom to them in future which is a pity.

 

Please Note

 

 

The advice I offer will be based on the information given by the person needing it. All my advice is based on my experiences and knowledge gained in working in the motor and passenger transport industries in various capacities. Although my advice will always be sincere, it should be used as guidence only.

I would always urge to seek professional advice for clarification prior to taking any action.

 

Please click my reputation button at the bottom of my profile window on the left if you found my advice useful.

 

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also, a 16-25 railcard can be used before 1000 but there is a minimum fare of £12.00, it is mainly aimed at leisure use (i.e. going home to see mum at the weekends), lets not forget that season tickets are discounted tickets!

Views expressed in this forum by me are my own personal opinion and you take it on face value! I make any comments to the best of my knowledge but you take my advice at your own risk.

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