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Neil Thomas-Childs

Before the summer holidays the 08.10 service had three carriages and was horrendously overcrowded due to the huge amount of commuters and school children using the service. As soon as the summer holidays arrived a four carriage service was in place, even though there were less people to use the service. Now, since Monday 5th September when all the schools went back, FGW have reverted back to a three carriage service and thus caused overcrowding again. Even the guards can't understand the reasoning behind this. One guard did mention today it was as a later service was busy, but that shouldn't mean that us who pay peak time fares should have to fit into trains like sardines. We may travel along the sea wall but we don;t live in the sea!

Problem History

  • 1 Neil Thomas-Childs reported the issue on FixMyTransport. close 17:30 08 Sep 2011
  • 2 Neil Thomas-Childs wrote to First Great Western Railway close 17:30 08 Sep 2011

    Here is the letter that Neil Thomas-Childs wrote.

    Overcrowding on the 08.10 service

    Before the summer holidays the 08.10 service had three carriages and was horrendously overcrowded due to the huge amount of commuters and school children using the service. As soon as the summer holidays arrived a four carriage service was in place, even though there were less people to use the service. Now, since Monday 5th September when all the schools went back, FGW have reverted back to a three carriage service and thus caused overcrowding again. Even the guards can't understand the reasoning behind this. One guard did mention today it was as a later service was busy, but that shouldn't mean that us who pay peak time fares should have to fit into trains like sardines. We may travel along the sea wall but we don;t live in the sea!

  • 3 First Group Response responded to Neil Thomas-Childs close 17:40 08 Sep 2011
    Thank you for contacting First Great Western. We confirm receipt of your e-mail and aim to forward a full response within 5 working days. If you have a more urgent issue that needs resolving please telephone on 08457 000125 where we will try to give a faster resolution.

    Please note that you will not be able to reply direct to this email, however if you wish to contact us further by email then please use the address below.

    [email address]
  • 4 FGW Customer Relations responded to Neil Thomas-Childs close 23:47 29 Sep 2011
    First Great Western
    Customer Services Team
    FREEPOST
    SWB40576
    Plymouth
    PL4 6ZZ

    Tel: 08457 000 125
    Fax: 08456 008 363
    [First Great Western Railway problem reporting email]

    www.firstgreatwestern.co.uk

    Ref: 6178468

    Dear Mr Thomas-Childs

    Thank you for your e-mail of 8 September 2011. Firstly, please accept my sincere apologies for the length of time it has taken us to get back to you. You patience has been appreciated, though.

    We really do understand your frustration with the current situation surrounding the 08:10 train between Dawlish and Paignton but I do hope the following will explain.

    During the summer period, we were able to cascade some spare units out to certain routes where we knew they were required the most and this train was one of them. However, this was only on a temporary basis as the units were required elsewhere. Please be assured though that we are not ignoring the issue and are doing everything we can to secure additional units, one of which will be introduced to the 08:10, so that it will become a permanent 4-car service.

    Once again, I am sorry you have had cause to complain but I do hope you have found this information positive.

    Yours sincerely

    Lynne Sleep
    Customer Relations Senior Officer

    *** Your feedback is really important to us so we would be very grateful for a couple of moments of your time to complete our customer satisfaction survey. If you would like to participate, please click on the link below. ***

    http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=1M...

    First Great Western Limited. Registered in England & Wales No. 05113733.
    Registered office: Milford House, 1 Milford Street, Swindon, Wiltshire, SN1 1HL.

    The contents of this email and any associated files are for the addressee only and should be treated as confidential. Unless you are the named addressee you cannot copy, use or disclose it to anyone else. If you have received this email in error please notify the sender immediately. The email has originated from First Great Western.

    First Rail Holdings Limited. Registered in England No. 5154485. Registered office: 50 Eastbourne Terrace, Paddington, London W2 6LG.

    This message is confidential. It may not be disclosed to, or used by, anyone other than the addressee. If you receive this message in error, please advise us immediately.

    Internet email is not necessarily secure. First does not accept responsibility for changes to any email which occur after the email has been sent. Attachments to this email could contain software viruses which could damage your system. First have checked the attachments for viruses before sending, but you should virus-check them before opening.

    For more information on our range of services or to book your tickets online, please visit:- http://www.firstgroup.com
  • 5 Myf Nixon commented close 09:53 30 Sep 2011

    Great news!

    anorak
    admin
  • 6 Neil Thomas-Childs added an update close 08:01 01 Oct 2011

    I have had three replies from FGW - post, email and Customer Panel. They all obviously state that they are doing all they can, except the Customer Panel member who states 'Regards overcrowding, this is not just an issue between Exeter-Paignton (e.g. my commute Newton Abbot to Plymouth) and can personally confirm this is raised at customer panel meetings, but without movement in item 2 (The issues with rolling stock, we still await the outcome of Dept. of Transport decisions.) there is very little we can do other than make sure the next franchise agreement is based on a more realistic projection of passenger numbers.' So whilst FGW are saying they are doing everything then can to secure additional units, this is not going to happen until after 2013 when they have re-negotiated their frnachise (and if they get it again). I always get the same reply from FGW - 'doing everything we can' - which is an extremely unclear answer. Maybe FGW can expand on what they are actually doing. In the past 2 and a half years I have not seen anything happen.

  • 7 Myf Nixon commented close 10:40 03 Oct 2011

    Very interesting, thanks for the update Neil.

    anorak
    admin
  • 8 Neil Thomas-Childs added an update close 09:15 27 Nov 2011

    Not words I use very often - 'Well done FGW'. Although the response from FGW was far from ideal, and they couldn't say when an extra carriage would be added to this service, one was added quite quickly and I have monitored this for ages now (two months approx) to ensure it has continued. I have now changed this problem to 'fixed'. Thanks for your help Fix My Transport (and also for changing the 'mark as fixed' button to make it clear to use it when fixed as it was confusing before)

  • 9 FGW Customer Relations responded to Neil Thomas-Childs close 23:47 16 Dec 2011
    First Great Western
    Customer Services Team
    FREEPOST
    SWB40576
    Plymouth
    PL4 6ZZ

    Tel: 08457 000 125
    Fax: 08456 008 363
    [First Great Western Railway problem reporting email]

    www.firstgreatwestern.co.uk

    Ref: FGW 6308892

    Dear Mr Thomas-Childs

    Thank you for your recent correspondence. I am sorry for the delay in my reply.

    I am sorry that you have had cause to complain about irregular ticket checks on our services on the Riviera line between Dawlish and Paignton. I understand that you are a Season Ticket holder and travel on this line on a daily basis.

    You are a regular user of our 08:10 service from Dawlish to Paignton and I am sorry that your ticket has only been checked once in a fortnight recently. It may help if I can explain the reason for this.

    Our Conductor Guards are operational members of Traincrew who must be present on every train in order for it to run. Their primary role is the safe working of the train and they will issue and inspect tickets when their safety duties allow them to do so.

    You have drawn a comparison with our colleagues at South West Trains. Their Guards operate in the same way although they do not issue penalty fares of any sort. They will also book Ticket Examiners on some local services for all or part of their journeys to provide assistance with ticket inspection to the Conductor Guard. South West Trains services now all terminate at Exeter St Davids and no longer operate over this section of line and therefore are not comparable.

    Our Revenue Protection Inspectors (RPI) travel on trains in an ad-hoc manner in order to maintain the deterrence of the penalty fare system and will report people for prosecution through the courts where appropriate.

    The 0810 departure from Dawlish to Paignton is a heavily loaded service as it is a train largely used by school children and workers. It frequently loses time between Dawlish and Newton Abbot due to the volumes of passengers trying to board. On a random day that I investigated, three minutes were lost in dwell time at Dawlish platform alone and another three minutes at Teignmouth that is six minutes at two consecutive stations! The impact that this can have on other services, including freight, can escalate very quickly causing further delays and missed connections further down the line.

    It is often impossible for the Conductor Guard to work through such a crowded service to collect revenue over the short stops as being in the wrong place to carry out the operational duties would cause further delay due to the difficulties faced in moving through the heavily loaded train.

    The 08:10 service does however, remain a priority and additional RPI's will be rostered to work this service in the New Year although I am not at liberty to state exactly when this will occur for obvious reasons. A similar arrangement will be put in place for the reciprocal working in the afternoon, the 16:13 service from Paignton.

    First Great Western do operate a 'Buy Before You Board' policy which states that a customer must purchase a valid ticket for travel before boarding the train where there is a opportunity to do so. If they fail to do so, then they may be issued with a Penalty Fare and possibly risk prosecution.

    The resources of our Revenue Protection Team can often be stretched as they cover an area from Taunton through to Penzance, including all branch lines. They will often operate a station block and recently Torre. Starcross and Exeter St Thomas have been targeted, as they have no ticket purchasing facilities. The RPI's can issue Penalty Fares along with the gateline staff whereas a Conductor Guard cannot do this.

    Recently the type of rolling stock used on the Exmouth - Paignton services have been class 142's working as 2 x 2-car units coupled together. These units do not have a corridor connection and so when working in multiple, there is no way for Traincrew to pass from one unit to another.

    One long-term solution is to install automatic gates at Newton Abbot and this is something that is being looked at by the Department for Transport (DfT). Until then it will not always be possible to check the tickets on services that are heavily loaded for these reasons.

    I hope that this information will be of help to you and I thank you for the opportunity to reply.

    Yours sincerely

    Mark Webber
    Customer Relations Senior Officer

    *** Your feedback is really important to us so we would be very grateful for a couple of moments of your time to complete our customer satisfaction survey. If you would like to participate, please click on the link below. ***

    http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=1M...

    First Great Western Limited. Registered in England & Wales No. 05113733.
    Registered office: Milford House, 1 Milford Street, Swindon, Wiltshire, SN1 1HL.

    First Rail Holdings Limited. Registered in England No. 5154485. Registered office: 50 Eastbourne Terrace, Paddington, London W2 6LG.

    This message is confidential. It may not be disclosed to, or used by, anyone other than the addressee. If you receive this message in error, please advise us immediately.

    Internet email is not necessarily secure. First does not accept responsibility for changes to any email which occur after the email has been sent. Attachments to this email could contain software viruses which could damage your system. First have checked the attachments for viruses before sending, but you should virus-check them before opening.

    For more information on our range of services or to book your tickets online, please visit:- http://www.firstgroup.com
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  • started 8 September 2011
  • supporters 1
Train route between Dawlish and Paignton operated by First Great Western Railway, Crosscountry
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