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Description

Gary Deards

i had booked passenger assistance (PASSENGER-ASSIST BOOKING REF: PA-20120208-00169) prior to my travel as i need assisance with the ramps to get my wheelchair on the train. Upon arriving at Reading station, there were no staff on duty and the ticket barriers were blocked. i eventually made my own way to the platform and asked the despatch team for assistance. whilst they were getting me onto the train, the station manager eventually arrived and said there were no staff on duty before 7am and he was "too busy" to assist! I replied that i had booked assistance in line with their stated policy and so had expected to be met even if it was the duty manager otherwise what was the point of booking assistance. he was not very apologetic and rather unhelpful. In addition, i had to wait 20 minutes to get off the train at Manchester as no staff were available despite them being advised by the Guard on the train prior to arrival.

I often travel by train and sometimes cannot book assistance 24 hours beforehand due to unforseen circumstances eg meetings finishing late/early etc and normally receive an excellent service for such ad-hoc travel - i must ask what is the point of going through the hassle of pre-booking assistance when it is often ignored?

Travel is difficult enough as a disabled peson without having to jump through hoops other passengers don't need to do and then have such requests ignored. If I hadn't booked I would have no issue of taking my chances with everyone else, however having gone through the proper process, i expect a proper service.

This is not the first time this has happened at Reading station when customer service staff aren't available and i'd like to see the station managers etc receive some disability awareness training and appreciate that if a booking is made, it should be honoured or more staff put in place.

Problem History

  • 1 Gary Deards reported the issue on FixMyTransport. close 14:21 29 Feb 2012
  • 2 Gary Deards wrote to Crosscountry close 14:21 29 Feb 2012

    Here is the letter that Gary Deards wrote.

    Journeycare failure on 9/2/11

    i had booked passenger assistance (PASSENGER-ASSIST BOOKING REF: PA-20120208-00169) prior to my travel as i need assisance with the ramps to get my wheelchair on the train. Upon arriving at Reading station, there were no staff on duty and the ticket barriers were blocked. i eventually made my own way to the platform and asked the despatch team for assistance. whilst they were getting me onto the train, the station manager eventually arrived and said there were no staff on duty before 7am and he was "too busy" to assist! I replied that i had booked assistance in line with their stated policy and so had expected to be met even if it was the duty manager otherwise what was the point of booking assistance. he was not very apologetic and rather unhelpful. In addition, i had to wait 20 minutes to get off the train at Manchester as no staff were available despite them being advised by the Guard on the train prior to arrival.

    I often travel by train and sometimes cannot book assistance 24 hours beforehand due to unforseen circumstances eg meetings finishing late/early etc and normally receive an excellent service for such ad-hoc travel - i must ask what is the point of going through the hassle of pre-booking assistance when it is often ignored?

    Travel is difficult enough as a disabled peson without having to jump through hoops other passengers don't need to do and then have such requests ignored. If I hadn't booked I would have no issue of taking my chances with everyone else, however having gone through the proper process, i expect a proper service.

    This is not the first time this has happened at Reading station when customer service staff aren't available and i'd like to see the station managers etc receive some disability awareness training and appreciate that if a booking is made, it should be honoured or more staff put in place.

  • 3 Customer Relations responded to Gary Deards close 14:26 29 Feb 2012
    THIS IS AN AUTOMATED EMAIL FROM CROSSCOUNTRY

    Thank you for your email.  We will reply again soon with a
    unique reference number.  We aim to respond in full with 10
    working days.  If your email is urgent then please call us on
    08447 369 123. 

    Frequently Asked Questions: 

    Where can I get a cheaper train ticket?

    [1]www.crosscountrytrains.co.uk has many tips, tricks and tools
    to help you find the best deal.  We offer the same tickets as
    other ticket websites, such as theTrainline.com, for all
    journeys in Great Britain.  We also offer free methods of
    delivery (e-ticket or self service collection if e-ticket is not
    available) and we donÂ*t charge a booking fee. 

    How do I apply for a refund?

    If you havenÂ*t used your ticket and you booked it online with
    crosscountrytrains.co.uk just log onto My CrossCountry or a
    create an account using the same email address you entered when
    you booked your ticket.  From here, go to your booking history
    and select refund.  Remember, all Advance tickets are
    non-refundable.  Alternatively call us on 0844 811 0124 and say
    Â*existing bookingÂ*. 

    How do I change my ticket?

    You can change the date and time of your journey by paying the
    difference between yours and the next available fare by calling
    us on 0844 811 0124.  When you call just say Â*existing
    bookingÂ*.  We will charge a £10 administration fee for this
    service which we will deduct from the cost of the ticket you
    currently hold. 

    My train was late or cancelled Â* can I claim compensation?

    Yes, if CrossCountry caused a delay to your journey because your
    train was late or cancelled you can make a claim for
    compensation under our Delay Repay scheme.  Simply forward your
    original email to us with scanned copies of your tickets
    including your journey details and your full postal address. 
    For more information about delay repay click here:
    [2]http://www.crosscountrytrains.co.uk/Site...

    References

    Visible links
    1. http://www.crosscountrytrains.co.uk/
    2. http://www.crosscountrytrains.co.uk/Site...
  • 4 CrossCountry Customer Relations responded to Gary Deards close 07:56 01 Mar 2012
    Dear FixMyTransport 

    Thank you for your email.  

    We welcome comments from our customers and ask that Gary
    Deards contact us directly on the phone number or email
    address below where our experienced customer relations team are
    able respond to the issues raised.  

    Kind regards 

    Customer Relations    

    CrossCountry  

    5^th Floor, Cannon House 

    18 The Priory Queensway 

    Birmingham 

    B4 6BS 

    Email: [1][Crosscountry problem reporting email] 

    Phone: 08447 369 123 

    Fax: 0121 200 6005 

    References

    Visible links
    1. mailto:[Crosscountry problem reporting email]
  • 5 Myf Nixon commented close 09:31 01 Mar 2012

    Hello Gary,

    I see CrossCountry have asked you not to use FixMyTransport for correspondence.

    We believe there is no good reason for an operator not to engage with its customers through the site, so our advice would be to write back (using the 'reply to this message by email' button below their message) and say that this is your preferred method of communication.

    However if you prefer to follow their own guidelines and take communication offline, please do come back and update us on any progress you've made. This way there will be a public record, plus a chance for others to add their support and discuss the issue.

    Meanwhile, you might be interested in a similar issue which was reported to South West Trains last week - http://www.fixmytransport.com/problems/2853. I wonder if there might be some benefit in bringing your issues together somehow under a wider campaign for disability awareness training across all TOCs.

    anorak
    admin
  • 6 Gary Deards wrote to CrossCountry Customer Relations close 09:43 01 Mar 2012

    Thanks for the reply. Unfortunately, your email address is not shown and therefore, please use this site to reply or provide a valid email address as this is my preferred method of communication.

    Gary

    -----Original Message-----

    Dear FixMyTransport 
        

    Thank you for your email.  
       
    We welcome comments from our customers and ask that Gary
    Deards contact us directly on the phone number or email
    address below where our experienced customer relations team are
    able respond to the issues raised.  

     

    Kind regards 

     

    Customer Relations    

    CrossCountry  

      

    5^th Floor, Cannon House 

    18 The Priory Queensway 

    Birmingham 

    B4 6BS 

     

    Email: [1][Crosscountry problem reporting email] 

    Phone: 08447 369 123 

    Fax: 0121 200 6005 

    References

    Visible links
    1. mailto:[Crosscountry problem reporting email]

  • 7 Customer Relations responded to Gary Deards close 09:45 01 Mar 2012
    THIS IS AN AUTOMATED EMAIL FROM CROSSCOUNTRY

    Thank you for your email.  We will reply again soon with a
    unique reference number.  We aim to respond in full with 10
    working days.  If your email is urgent then please call us on
    08447 369 123. 

    Frequently Asked Questions: 

    Where can I get a cheaper train ticket?

    [1]www.crosscountrytrains.co.uk has many tips, tricks and tools
    to help you find the best deal.  We offer the same tickets as
    other ticket websites, such as theTrainline.com, for all
    journeys in Great Britain.  We also offer free methods of
    delivery (e-ticket or self service collection if e-ticket is not
    available) and we donÂ*t charge a booking fee. 

    How do I apply for a refund?

    If you havenÂ*t used your ticket and you booked it online with
    crosscountrytrains.co.uk just log onto My CrossCountry or a
    create an account using the same email address you entered when
    you booked your ticket.  From here, go to your booking history
    and select refund.  Remember, all Advance tickets are
    non-refundable.  Alternatively call us on 0844 811 0124 and say
    Â*existing bookingÂ*. 

    How do I change my ticket?

    You can change the date and time of your journey by paying the
    difference between yours and the next available fare by calling
    us on 0844 811 0124.  When you call just say Â*existing
    bookingÂ*.  We will charge a £10 administration fee for this
    service which we will deduct from the cost of the ticket you
    currently hold. 

    My train was late or cancelled Â* can I claim compensation?

    Yes, if CrossCountry caused a delay to your journey because your
    train was late or cancelled you can make a claim for
    compensation under our Delay Repay scheme.  Simply forward your
    original email to us with scanned copies of your tickets
    including your journey details and your full postal address. 
    For more information about delay repay click here:
    [2]http://www.crosscountrytrains.co.uk/Site...

    References

    Visible links
    1. http://www.crosscountrytrains.co.uk/
    2. http://www.crosscountrytrains.co.uk/Site...
  • 8 Myf Nixon commented close 14:45 01 Mar 2012

    Apologies Gary,
    Our anti-spam filter strips out email addresses. If you do prefer to conatct CrossCountry direct, please use customer.relations@crosscountrytrains.co.uk.

    anorak
    admin
  • 9 Steve Banks commented close 18:58 01 Mar 2012

    Responsibility for stations does not necessarily rest with the train operator who runs the service you are using. In this case neither Reading or Manchester Picadilly are managed by Cross Country. Whilst I personally support the privatisation of the railways, without which we would not have seen much of the investment, I do find that it is sometimes difficult to get answers when the company running the train is different from the company running the station. I believe in you case Reading is First Great Western and Manchester Picadilly is staffed by Virgin West Coast.

  • 10 Myf Nixon commented close 09:07 02 Mar 2012

    Ah, many thanks for this clarification, Steve. I hadn't noticed that the issue was reported on the route rather than at the station - FixmyTransport makes the distinction for precisely this reason. I will forward Gary's message to the correct operator now.

    anorak
    admin
  • 11The problem report was resent to First Great Western Railway 09:09 02 Mar 2012
  • 12 Myf Nixon advised Gary to write to Network Rail. close 09:13 02 Mar 2012

    Hello Gary,

    Additionally, if you would like to send a message about the Manchester end of your journey, Manchester Piccadilly is operated by Network Rail as it turns out - here is the email address for them.

    Good luck!

    Myf Nixon

    anorak
    admin
  • 13 First Group Response responded to Gary Deards close 09:28 02 Mar 2012
    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]
  • 14 Steve Banks commented close 13:16 04 Mar 2012

    Hi Myf. Although Network Rail manage London Termini and some large stations such as Manchester Piccadily they do not normally provide the staff that attend for booked assistance, therefore my thoughts about Virgin West Coast.

  • 15 Peter Dixon commented close 16:55 04 Mar 2012

    Hi Myf

    My advice would be to not forward this on to too many operators because this will lead to a lot of confusion within the industry.

    anorak
    admin
  • 16 Myf Nixon commented close 09:47 05 Mar 2012

    Aha, thanks for the clarification Steve - let's see what response Gary gets and then take it from there.

    anorak
    admin
  • 17 CrossCountry Customer Relations responded to Gary Deards close 15:01 07 Mar 2012
    Dear Mr Deards  

    I am sorry that you didn't get the help you needed at Reading
    station when you travelled with us on 9 February.  

    I know how frustrating this must have been, especially as you
    took the time and trouble to arrange things before hand.  I
    am also sorry that you had to wait such a long time to be helped
    off the train at Manchester Piccadilly station.  It's certainly
    not what I would have wanted for you.  

    I have taken the opportunity to review the booking that Daniel
    in our team made for you and also check the advertised
    assistance times at Reading station, just to make sure
    everything was booked correctly.  I can see that First Great
    Western advertise that staff help is available at Reading
    station 24 hours a day, so you should have received the help you
    needed. 

    I have passed a copy of your email to First Great Western and
    Network Rail (who are responsible for assistance at Manchester
    Piccadilly station) so they can sort out any staffing issues
    they may have.  I have asked that they respond to you directly,
    which they may do via the FixMyTransport website. 

    I hope this hasn't put you off using our trains and that your
    next journey with us goes much more smoothly. 

    Kind regards  

    Matt Foster     
    Customer Relations  
    CrossCountry  

    Please rate my response at
    [1]www.crosscountrytrains.co.uk/crsurvey   

    CrossCountry  
    5th Floor, Cannon House  
    18 The Priory Queensway  
    Birmingham   
    B4 6BS   

    Email:  [2][email address].uk  
    Phone: 08447 369 123 (option 3)   
    Fax:  0121 200 6005    

    show quoted sections
  • 18 Gary Deards added an update close 10:53 18 Mar 2012

    I received a letter from First Great Western on 16 March in which they apologised for the problem and confirmed that a mistake was made at Reading station and that the Station Manager has been advised to "ensure all staff are fully aware of the importance of every request for assistance". Reading Station advertises itself as offering 24 hour support but the customer service staff are only available between 7am and maybe 10pm; anytime thereafter, you are reliant on the duty manager and that is often where the problem happens. Hopefully, this complaint will mean that they fully meet the 24 hour offer. Thanks to everyone on this site for the support.

  • 19 Gary Deards wrote to CrossCountry Customer Relations close 10:54 18 Mar 2012

    Thanks for the reply Matt - i've now heard from FGW who admitted there was an error at their end.

    -----Original Message-----

    Dear Mr Deards  
      

    I am sorry that you didn't get the help you needed at Reading
    station when you travelled with us on 9 February.  

       

    I know how frustrating this must have been, especially as you
    took the time and trouble to arrange things before hand.  I
    am also sorry that you had to wait such a long time to be helped
    off the train at Manchester Piccadilly station.  It's certainly
    not what I would have wanted for you.  
           
    I have taken the opportunity to review the booking that Daniel
    in our team made for you and also check the advertised
    assistance times at Reading station, just to make sure
    everything was booked correctly.  I can see that First Great
    Western advertise that staff help is available at Reading
    station 24 hours a day, so you should have received the help you
    needed. 
      
    I have passed a copy of your email to First Great Western and
    Network Rail (who are responsible for assistance at Manchester
    Piccadilly station) so they can sort out any staffing issues
    they may have.  I have asked that they respond to you directly,
    which they may do via the FixMyTransport website. 
     
    I hope this hasn't put you off using our trains and that your
    next journey with us goes much more smoothly. 

         
    Kind regards  
       
    Matt Foster     
    Customer Relations  
    CrossCountry  
       
    Please rate my response at
    [1]www.crosscountrytrains.co.uk/crsurvey   

        
    CrossCountry  
    5th Floor, Cannon House  
    18 The Priory Queensway  
    Birmingham   
    B4 6BS   
       
    Email:  [2][email address].uk  
    Phone: 08447 369 123 (option 3)   
    Fax:  0121 200 6005    

     

  • 20 Customer Relations responded to Gary Deards close 10:55 18 Mar 2012
    THIS IS AN AUTOMATED EMAIL FROM CROSSCOUNTRY

    Thank you for your email. We aim to respond in full with 10
    working days. If your email is urgent then please call us on
    08447 369 123.

    Frequently Asked Questions:

    Where can I get a cheaper train ticket?

    [1]www.crosscountrytrains.co.uk has many tips, tricks and tools
    to help you find the best deal. We offer the same tickets as
    other ticket websites, such as theTrainline.com, for all
    journeys in Great Britain. We also offer free methods of
    delivery (e-ticket or self service collection if e-ticket is not
    available) and we don’t charge a booking fee.

    How do I apply for a refund?

    If you haven’t used your ticket and you booked it online with
    crosscountrytrains.co.uk just log onto My CrossCountry or a
    create an account using the same email address you entered when
    you booked your ticket. From here, go to your booking history
    and select refund. Remember, all Advance tickets are
    non-refundable. Alternatively call us on 0844 811 0124 and say
    “existing booking”.

    How do I change my ticket?

    You can change the date and time of your journey by paying the
    difference between yours and the next available fare by calling
    us on 0844 811 0124. When you call just say “existing booking”.
    We will charge a £10 administration fee for this service which
    we will deduct from the cost of the ticket you currently hold.

    My train was late or cancelled – can I claim compensation?

    Yes, if CrossCountry caused a delay to your journey because your
    train was late or cancelled you can make a claim for
    compensation under our Delay Repay scheme. Simply forward your
    original email to us with scanned copies of your tickets
    including your journey details and your full postal address. For
    more information about delay repay click here:
    [2]http://www.crosscountrytrains.co.uk/Site...

    References

    Visible links
    1. http://www.crosscountrytrains.co.uk/
    2. http://www.crosscountrytrains.co.uk/Site...
Comment
  • started 29 February 2012
  • supporters 3
Train route between Manchester Piccadilly and Reading operated by Crosscountry
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