“Please help me persuade Northern Rail to ensure tickets are checked on all trains” – Martin Gleadow

Description

Martin Gleadow

I travel this route every day, and pay a not insubstantial amount for the privilege. For 3 consecutive journeys I have not had my ticket checked, despite every train carrying a guard.
I resent paying for a ticket when there are no checks to prevent fare evasion.

Fare evasion is being used as an excuse to push for the controversial installation of ticket barriers in Sheffield station which will disrupt the flow of many legitimate for journeys through the station. I feel it makes far more sense to actually check tickets using the staff already on trains, especially given the lack of such controls at other stations on the route, and that the barriers are an unnecessary hindrance in an otherwise well flowing station.

Problem History

  • 1 Martin Gleadow reported the issue on FixMyTransport. close 17:59 26 Sep 2011
  • 2 Martin Gleadow wrote to Northern Rail close 17:59 26 Sep 2011

    Here is the letter that Martin Gleadow wrote.

    lack of ticket inspectors

    I travel this route every day, and pay a not insubstantial amount for the privilege. For 3 consecutive journeys I have not had my ticket checked, despite every train carrying a guard.
    I resent paying for a ticket when there are no checks to prevent fare evasion.

    Fare evasion is being used as an excuse to push for the controversial installation of ticket barriers in Sheffield station which will disrupt the flow of many legitimate for journeys through the station. I feel it makes far more sense to actually check tickets using the staff already on trains, especially given the lack of such controls at other stations on the route, and that the barriers are an unnecessary hindrance in an otherwise well flowing station.

  • 3 Customer Relations responded to Martin Gleadow close 18:01 26 Sep 2011
    Dear Customer

    Customer Relations

    Case Reference: NR/225424

    Thank you for taking the time to contact Northern, the train
    company serving commmunities across the north of England.

    We aim to respond within 20 working days.

    In the meantime we can confirm receipt of your feedback/enquiry.

    Kind regards

    Customer Relations Officer

    show quoted sections
  • 4 Northern Rail responded to Martin Gleadow close 18:13 26 Sep 2011
    [ensure tickets are checked on all trains email]
    Northern Rail 225424

    26 September 2011

    Our Reference NR/ 225424

    Dear [ensure tickets are checked on all trains email]

    Thank you for your e-mail, which I received recently.

    Thank you for your recent email. Please rest assured that your feedback has now been passed on to the relevant teams in Northern. Should you wish to know more please contact us directly at [Northern Rail problem reporting email].

    Thank you again for taking the trouble to contact me.

    Yours sincerely

    Debby Corbett
    Customer Relations Officer
    FREEPOST RLSL-ABEC-BGUU
    Northern Customer Relations
    First Floor, The Travel Centre
    City Railway Station
    Leeds
    LS1 4DY

    Tel 0845 00 00 125
    Fax 0113 2479 059

    http://www.northernrail.org

    show quoted sections
  • 5 Myf Nixon commented close 15:46 27 Sep 2011

    Hi Martin,

    This seems rather a pat response from Northern Rail, and not terribly satisfying. How do you feel about it?

    anorak
    admin
  • 6 Dave H commented close 18:08 27 Sep 2011

    Sheffield Station is managed by East Midlands Trains, and the variety of ticket types means that a barrier line will need to be left open when no staff are available or high volumes of passengers are passing through.

    Strong case by one Mr R Malins (respected specialist ex-BR in field) shows barriers are a waste of money for most locations

  • 7 Martin Gleadow wrote to Northern Rail close 09:33 04 Oct 2011

    Thank you for letting me know that this has been passed to the relevant teams. I would be delighted to know what their response is.

  • 8 Customer Relations responded to Martin Gleadow close 09:34 04 Oct 2011
    Dear Customer

    Customer Relations

    Case Reference: NR/225424

    Thank you for taking the time to contact Northern, the train
    company serving commmunities across the north of England.

    We aim to respond within 20 working days.

    In the meantime we can confirm receipt of your feedback/enquiry.

    Kind regards

    Debby Corbett
    Customer Relations Officer

    show quoted sections
  • 9 Martin Gleadow added an update close 09:35 04 Oct 2011

    I have emailed Northern Rail to ask for the feedback of the 'relevant teams' which the email was forwarded to.

  • 10 Northern Rail responded to Martin Gleadow close 09:39 04 Oct 2011
    04 October 2011

    Our Reference NR/ 225424

    Dear [ensure tickets are checked on all trains email]

    Thank you for your e-mail, which I received recently.

    If the customer requires a full detailed reply then they would need to contact us directly, not via fix my transport.

    Thank you again for taking the trouble to contact me.

    Yours sincerely

    Debby Corbett
    Customer Relations Officer
    FREEPOST RLSL-ABEC-BGUU
    Northern Customer Relations
    First Floor, The Travel Centre
    City Railway Station
    Leeds
    LS1 4DY

    Tel 0845 00 00 125
    Fax 0113 2479 059

    http://www.northernrail.org

    show quoted sections
  • 11 Martin Gleadow added an update close 09:40 04 Oct 2011

    Apparently Northern refuse to provide more detailed updates to Fix My Transport - what now?

  • 12 Martin Gleadow asked for advice. close 09:42 04 Oct 2011

    Northern Rail appear to have a policy of requiring customers to contact them directly rather than through Fix My Transport in order to get anything other than empty gestures of a response. they are basically saying 'Yes, of course we will look at that' and then putting it straight in the bin.

    What would you recommend be done to encourage Northern Rail to engage with it's customers and start to provide answers as I have seen other operators doing?

  • 13 Myf Nixon commented close 10:00 04 Oct 2011

    Hi Martin,
    We're aware of Northern Rail's policy. Our advice is to reply (via the yellow 'email' button at the top of this page) and request that they use FixMyTransport as your preferred channel of communication.

    We believe there is no valid reason for an operator not to use FMT, although we are very open to discussion if Northern Rail would like to let us know of any issues.

    Clearly there are huge benefits for operators in engaging fully online as well as for you, the customer. Good luck!

    anorak
    admin
  • 14 Martin Gleadow wrote to Northern Rail close 13:03 04 Oct 2011

    Hi

    Fix My Transport is my preferred method of communication, please continue to send replies through this channel. If there is a reason you would prefer not to use Fix My Transport please let me know

  • 15 Customer Relations responded to Martin Gleadow close 13:03 04 Oct 2011
    Dear Customer

    Customer Relations

    Case Reference: NR/225424

    Thank you for taking the time to contact Northern, the train
    company serving commmunities across the north of England.

    We aim to respond within 20 working days.

    In the meantime we can confirm receipt of your feedback/enquiry.

    Kind regards

    Debby Corbett
    Customer Relations Officer

    show quoted sections
  • 16 Martin Gleadow added an update close 13:12 04 Oct 2011

    "Northern as a company are happy to deal with and address any concerns and comments from our customer however, we will not deal with comments via a 3rd party such as fix my transport. Therefore you will need to contact us directly at the e-mail address in my previous correspondence or at the address below. "

  • 17 Northern Rail responded to Martin Gleadow close 13:12 04 Oct 2011
    04 October 2011

    Our Reference NR/ 225424

    Dear [ensure tickets are checked on all trains email]

    Thank you again for your e-mail.

    Northern as a company are happy to deal with and address any concerns and comments from our customer however, we will not deal with comments via a 3rd party such as fix my transport. Therefore you will need to contact us directly at the e-mail address in my previous correspondence or at the address below.

    Northern Rail
    PO Box 208
    Leeds
    LS1 2BU

    Thank you again for taking the trouble to contact me.

    Yours sincerely

    Debby Corbett
    Customer Relations Officer
    FREEPOST RLSL-ABEC-BGUU
    Northern Customer Relations
    First Floor, The Travel Centre
    City Railway Station
    Leeds
    LS1 4DY

    Tel 0845 00 00 125
    Fax 0113 2479 059

    http://www.northernrail.org

    show quoted sections
  • 18 geoff kendall commented close 18:40 04 Oct 2011

    What an arrogant response from the operator.
    Perhaps a FOI request to ascertain why this policy is in place.
    If they have nothing to hide then publicity s GOOD FOR THEM.
    If the opposite then one can see why they refuse to allow this access.
    Do they further intend to refuse to allow any further communication from them to be published on this site and how do they intend to enforce any restriction!!!!

  • 19 Myf Nixon commented close 10:28 05 Oct 2011

    Hi Geoff,
    Unfortunately, as NR are not a public body, they are not subject to the FOI act. However, we are in complete agreement that FixMyTransport can offer massive benefits to the operators and we are doing our best to help them see that.

    Meanwhile we hope that FixMyTransport users will continue to use pages like these to gather support and encourage debate. NR ought to find it a useful resource to be able to see what their customers are talking about, address any concerns and put right any misapprehensions.

    anorak
    admin
  • 20 geoff kendall commented close 12:30 05 Oct 2011

    Surely ATOC would be interested??? as presumably they would prefer good publicity.

  • 21 Myf Nixon advised Martin to write to Passenger Focus. close 12:05 07 Oct 2011

    Hi Martin,

    I've got some advice for you. You could try Passenger Focus - they are an independent body who will follow up complaints if the passenger doesn't feel he has had a satisfactory response. I think that's pretty much the case here.

    We also very much encourage our users to reply to operators such as NR to let them know that FixMyTransport is their preferred method of communication.

    Good luck!

    Myf Nixon

    anorak
    admin
  • 22 Martin Gleadow commented close 14:05 15 Nov 2011

    I finally got the following update today after repeated requests. I had to email them directly as they refuse to engage on Fix My Transport:

    Thank you for advising us that the conductor was unable to get through the train due to the number of standing passengers. I have passed this information to the manager in charge. Unfortunately, when a train is busy, it is often difficult for conductors to move through the train and sell tickets. We are aware of this problem and employ staff at key stations, which don’t have ticket office facilities, to sell tickets during peak hours. This ensures a larger number of passengers are able to obtain a ticket before they travel and relieves the pressure on our conductors.

    Conductors are paid commission which is designed to encourage staff to undertake revenue protection duties. As well as giving information to passengers, liaising with Network Rail regarding operational decisions and assisting disabled passengers, other activities may have prevented the conductor from checking tickets. Priority is given to safety related duties many of which are not immediately visible to passengers. I would like to assure you that inspectors are often present on trains performing random checks to ensure that conductors are carrying out all their duties correctly, including revenue collection.

    I am also sorry that you are unhappy with your regular commute. The issue of matching demand to resource is one that drives considerable activity at train operating companies around the country. Regrettably, at this time of year a large number of our units are removed from service for an annual service. Unfortunately, like a car we are unable to operate our units unless the annual service is passed and unlike a car the service can take between 1 - 3 days to complete.

    The fundamental issue behind the problems you are highlighting is caused by two specific factors: the size of the current fleet of trains operated by Northern and the continuing growth of passenger numbers.

    As you may already know, the Northern franchise was created based on the expectation that passenger numbers would remain steady and that the existing fleet would be suitable. However, with passenger numbers increasing by approximately 10% per year, this has certainly not been the case! The day-to-day management of overcrowding is therefore a significant challenge for Northern and the Rail Industry as a whole.

    This is not to say that overcrowding is acceptable. It is uncomfortable and stressful for our customers and we will continue to do everything we can to keep such instances to a minimum.

    Since the start of our franchise in December 2004, more and more passengers have chosen to travel with Northern. We have experienced an enviable 38% growth in customer demand in just five years but carrying an additional 24 million people every year.

    Regrettably, there is no easy or quick win to securing additional rolling stock for Northern due to the nature of our franchise agreement with the UK Government, the lack of available train units in the UK market and the cost exceeding the benefits.

    Northern currently has 644 train carriages which is a 10% or 61 more then when we first started our franchise. When adding the recent agreements with government for extra carriages and other changes to Northern this will increase to around 691 carriages making the increase around 19%.

    Thank you again for taking the trouble to contact me.

  • 23 Myf Nixon commented close 14:57 15 Nov 2011

    Thanks for updating your page, Martin - I'm glad you got a reply, though obviously, sorry that Northern Rail felt unable to engage through our site. It's a novelty to see such a long and detailed reply from Northern!

    anorak
    admin
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  • started 26 September 2011
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Train route between Kiveton Park and Sheffield operated by Northern Rail
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