“Please help me persuade Northern Rail to fix this: Poor facilities and customer service” – siobhan crombleholme

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siobhan crombleholme

To whom it may concern,
I am writing to express my sincere disappointment with your services, especially regarding some poor facilities and customer services. Last week on 10/05/2012, I used your services and had an unsatisfactory experience which has left me wondering why I should even consider continuing using your services. As a university student who attends Salford University, my main means of getting into Manchester requires me boarding a train from Salford Crescent train station and stopping at Manchester Victoria train station. As a customer who uses your services approximately five times a week, I have picked up a few problems but this mostly came to light last week.
I had a dental appointment in Manchester and was in a hurry to catch the train as I could not be late. There was a sizeable que at Salford Crescent, so as I ran down the steps into the station I jumped onto the train and went to pay at Manchester Victoria. So, as there was no attendant on the train to buy/check tickets from I went straight over to the attendants in Manchester Victoria to pay for my return ticket. There was two other people infront of me in the que and they, without questioning from the attendants, bought their tickets. However, when I got to the desk, I got questioned as to why I had not already bought a ticket. Being honest, I politely explained the situation and expected to be able to dash off to my appointment after buying my tickets. But did I actually manage to do this? No.
After explaining why I had not bought my ticket from Salford Crescent, I was met by the attendants bad attitude and a sarcastic response of "Wrong answer. That's £2.40." This, as expected, was not appreciated. I was not offered an explanation as to why my usual return fare of £1.60 had gone up to £2.40 until I asked why. His answer was "Read the handbook, you pay before you board the train."
And here is where my actual complaint begins. I could fully understand his reaction if I had tried to 'sneak' through without paying, but this was not the case; I had full intention of paying for a return ticket (without being asked). Also, I feel it is unwarranted to even be practically interrogated as to why I had not bought my train ticket at a different train station. And why did I get asked when the customers infront of me did not get asked at all? I feel a genuine case of age discrimination was taken upon me, as this could only be the case at to why the attendant did not ask the middle-aged people infront of me, yet he interrogated a student inconjuction with a sarcastic and bad attitude.
This brought to light my thorough disappointment with Northern Rain staff and Salford Crescent train station. Half of the time, there is never anyone at Salford Crescent to even buy a ticket from, so where is the justice really? And then when you do buy a ticket (because once in a blue moon there is actually someone there to buy a ticket from before you board the train) your tickets don't even get checked when you leave your train journey! So by using your services approximately five times a week, my £1.60 fare (which ends up equaling to £8 per week) is more or less a waste of money. And being a student, I feel that is a lot of money to have wasted on such poor services; let alone the £2.40 that I had to pay for a measly 5 minute train journey last week.
Nevertheless, when the attendant told me that it is not an acceptable 'excuse' to pay for your return at the alighting train station, I was met by an unavoidable circumstance. When he told me it was 'written in the handbook', I would like to know, where out of my own enjoyment, I would pick up such handbook and casually read, to know that this was a rule. There are no signs at ANY train station to inform customers of this rule, and I believe that my honesty was dismayed when the attendant told me that if I had just said there was no one at the boarding train station to buy a ticket from, he would have charged me the usual fare of £1.60 - so I was encouraged by your staff to lie (great customer service skills!).
So on a whole, considering all aspects of poor facilities: no train attendants being at the boarding station to buy a ticket from, predjudiced choosing of whom to interrogate over buying tickets and lastly, poor attitudes from attendants, I hope you take this letter seriously and find a solution to this cause of error because I think (and know from experience) that any paying customer would be exceedingly unsatisfied with such services.

Thank you.
Miss Siobhan Crombleholme.

If a reply is to be given, my email address is:
[email address redacted, but sent to Northern Rail]

Problem History

  • 1 siobhan crombleholme reported the issue on FixMyTransport. close 12:51 15 May 2012
  • 2 siobhan crombleholme wrote to Northern Rail close 12:51 15 May 2012

    Here is the letter that siobhan crombleholme wrote.

    Poor facilities and customer service

    To whom it may concern,
    I am writing to express my sincere disappointment with your services, especially regarding some poor facilities and customer services. Last week on 10/05/2012, I used your services and had an unsatisfactory experience which has left me wondering why I should even consider continuing using your services. As a university student who attends Salford University, my main means of getting into Manchester requires me boarding a train from Salford Crescent train station and stopping at Manchester Victoria train station. As a customer who uses your services approximately five times a week, I have picked up a few problems but this mostly came to light last week.
    I had a dental appointment in Manchester and was in a hurry to catch the train as I could not be late. There was a sizeable que at Salford Crescent, so as I ran down the steps into the station I jumped onto the train and went to pay at Manchester Victoria. So, as there was no attendant on the train to buy/check tickets from I went straight over to the attendants in Manchester Victoria to pay for my return ticket. There was two other people infront of me in the que and they, without questioning from the attendants, bought their tickets. However, when I got to the desk, I got questioned as to why I had not already bought a ticket. Being honest, I politely explained the situation and expected to be able to dash off to my appointment after buying my tickets. But did I actually manage to do this? No.
    After explaining why I had not bought my ticket from Salford Crescent, I was met by the attendants bad attitude and a sarcastic response of "Wrong answer. That's £2.40." This, as expected, was not appreciated. I was not offered an explanation as to why my usual return fare of £1.60 had gone up to £2.40 until I asked why. His answer was "Read the handbook, you pay before you board the train."
    And here is where my actual complaint begins. I could fully understand his reaction if I had tried to 'sneak' through without paying, but this was not the case; I had full intention of paying for a return ticket (without being asked). Also, I feel it is unwarranted to even be practically interrogated as to why I had not bought my train ticket at a different train station. And why did I get asked when the customers infront of me did not get asked at all? I feel a genuine case of age discrimination was taken upon me, as this could only be the case at to why the attendant did not ask the middle-aged people infront of me, yet he interrogated a student inconjuction with a sarcastic and bad attitude.
    This brought to light my thorough disappointment with Northern Rain staff and Salford Crescent train station. Half of the time, there is never anyone at Salford Crescent to even buy a ticket from, so where is the justice really? And then when you do buy a ticket (because once in a blue moon there is actually someone there to buy a ticket from before you board the train) your tickets don't even get checked when you leave your train journey! So by using your services approximately five times a week, my £1.60 fare (which ends up equaling to £8 per week) is more or less a waste of money. And being a student, I feel that is a lot of money to have wasted on such poor services; let alone the £2.40 that I had to pay for a measly 5 minute train journey last week.
    Nevertheless, when the attendant told me that it is not an acceptable 'excuse' to pay for your return at the alighting train station, I was met by an unavoidable circumstance. When he told me it was 'written in the handbook', I would like to know, where out of my own enjoyment, I would pick up such handbook and casually read, to know that this was a rule. There are no signs at ANY train station to inform customers of this rule, and I believe that my honesty was dismayed when the attendant told me that if I had just said there was no one at the boarding train station to buy a ticket from, he would have charged me the usual fare of £1.60 - so I was encouraged by your staff to lie (great customer service skills!).
    So on a whole, considering all aspects of poor facilities: no train attendants being at the boarding station to buy a ticket from, predjudiced choosing of whom to interrogate over buying tickets and lastly, poor attitudes from attendants, I hope you take this letter seriously and find a solution to this cause of error because I think (and know from experience) that any paying customer would be exceedingly unsatisfied with such services.

    Thank you.
    Miss Siobhan Crombleholme.

    If a reply is to be given, my email address is:
    [email address redacted, but sent to Northern Rail]

  • 3 Customer Relations responded to siobhan crombleholme close 12:56 15 May 2012
    Dear Customer

    Customer Relations

    Case Reference: NR/257873

    Thank you for taking the time to contact Northern, the train
    company serving communities 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 siobhan crombleholme close 16:54 23 May 2012
    [fix this: Poor facilities and customer service email]
    Northern Rail 257873

    23 May 2012

    Our Reference NR/ 257873

    Dear Ms Crombleholme.

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

    If you travel from a station that has a ticket office such as Salford Crescent, you must purchase a ticket before you board the train. I appreciate that this can be inconvenient, but it is a legal requirement. Any passengers who board without a valid ticket will be charged the full fare for their journey.

    I am sorry that it seems this was not communicated to you effectively by staff at Manchester Victoria station. All our employees are required to be courteous and professional at all times and complaints of this nature thankfully are isolated.

    Please accept my assurance that your complaint has been passed anonymously to station manager Dom Warren-Browne who will speak with the staff member concerned about the issues you have highlighted and the appropriate action will be taken.

    Thank you again for taking the trouble to offer this valuable feedback and I sincerely hope that future contact with us and our staff members will leave you with more favourable impressions.

    Yours sincerely

    Andy Tallon
    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 Northern Rail responded to siobhan crombleholme close 14:00 01 Jun 2012
    [fix this: Poor facilities and customer service email]
    Northern Rail 257873

    01 June 2012

    Our Reference NR/ 257873

    Dear Ms Crombleholme.

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

    I was concerned to learn about the conduct of our employee. All our employees are required to be courteous and professional at all times and complaints of this nature thankfully are isolated.

    Please accept my assurance that your complaint has been passed anonymously to manager Dom Warren-Browne who will speak with the staff member concerned about the issues you have highlighted and the appropriate action will be taken.

    Thank you again for taking the trouble to offer this valuable feedback and I sincerely hope that future contact with us and our staff members will leave you with more favourable impressions.

    Yours sincerely

    Andy Tallon
    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
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  • started 15 May 2012
  • supporters 1
Salford Crescent Rail Station in Salford Crescent Station operated by Northern Rail
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