“Please help me persuade First Great Western Railway to install a Self Service Ticket Machine at Castle Cary Station” – Nigel Alexander

Description

Nigel Alexander

Many people are purchasing Advance fares from Castle Cary and the collection of tickets at the ticket office increases the pressure on staff, especially as they undertake multiple roles at the station and are not always available. GWR charge some very high prices and could at least invest in a minimal level of technology to assist their customers

Problem History

  • 1 Nigel Alexander reported the issue on FixMyTransport. close 17:25 31 Aug 2011
  • 2 Nigel Alexander wrote to First Great Western Railway close 17:25 31 Aug 2011

    Here is the letter that Nigel Alexander wrote.

    Ticket Collection at Castle Cary

    Please could you install an Automated ticket Machine at the Station. Apart from easing the pressure on the Ticket office staff, who also dispatch trains, it would make a lot of sense to have this installed for the collection of pre booked tickets, rather than having to queue up to collect the tickets. Alternatively make advance fares available on a ticketless system so that they could be validated by using secure QR codes readable from a smartphone. All the technology is there, it just requires a willingness to execute and realise the business and cost benefits.

  • 3 First Group Response responded to Nigel Alexander close 17:33 31 Aug 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 Nigel Alexander added an update close 17:35 31 Aug 2011

    Well they have set their own time frames. Let us see if thay can adhere to them. Past experience suggests that we should not hold our breath

  • 5 FGW Customer Relations responded to Nigel Alexander close 23:46 01 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: 6165669

    Dear Mr Alexander

    Thank you for your email of 31 August 2011. We welcome suggestions for improvements and are always keen to incorporate passengers' views and ideas where possible.

    Your comments regarding the Automated Ticket Machine at Castle Cary station and the advance fares being made available on a ticketless system have been logged for the attention of the Station Manager. We review all customer feedback on a regular basis, to allow us to identify any areas where there is a clear need for improvement. If I receive any feedback from the Station Manager regarding your suggestion, I will certainly pass it on to you.

    Thank you again for taking the time to contact us with your suggestion.

    Yours sincerely

    Flavi Dsouza
    Customer Services Advisor

    *** 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
  • 6 Myf Nixon commented close 10:11 02 Sep 2011

    Good luck Nigel,
    It sounds like at least your voice has been heard.

    If you'd like to show FGW there's real demand for this, you might like to try and get some more people to put their name to your page - maybe leave the link in a few local blogs, or on your Facebook page if you have one.

    You could even hand out the url to your fellow passengers if you feel brave enough...

    anorak
    admin
  • 7 Tony Moore commented close 15:56 04 Sep 2011

    I notice that the reply from FGW said "IF" I receive a reply from the station manager - surely it should be "WHEN" I receive a reply from the station manager.

    Who is running this outfit ?

  • 8 Nigel Alexander wrote to FGW Customer Relations close 09:50 28 Sep 2011

    Plenty of time to consder a response, or do you have such a low regard for your paying customers that you do not deign to reply?

    Don't fall into the corporate trap and think that this does not matter

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

    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: 6165669

    Dear Mr Alexander

    Thank you for your email of 31 August 2011. We welcome suggestions for improvements and are always keen to incorporate passengers' views and ideas where possible.

    Your comments regarding the Automated Ticket Machine at Castle Cary station and the advance fares being made available on a ticketless system have been logged for the attention of the Station Manager. We review all customer feedback on a regular basis, to allow us to identify any areas where there is a clear need for improvement. If I receive any feedback from the Station Manager regarding your suggestion, I will certainly pass it on to you.

    Thank you again for taking the time to contact us with your suggestion.

    Yours sincerely

    Flavi Dsouza
    Customer Services Advisor

    *** 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=1MYjF0kJVkeM0_2fyAP79_2feA_3d_3d

    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

  • 9 Nigel Alexander added an update close 09:51 28 Sep 2011

    I have asked for a response form FGW.

  • 10 First Group Response responded to Nigel Alexander close 09:56 28 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]
  • 11 Nigel Alexander added an update close 12:00 28 Sep 2011

    The automated system acknowledges but no response. Typical!

  • 12 Tony Moore commented close 13:10 28 Sep 2011

    They really don't care, do they ?

  • 13 Myf Nixon advised Nigel to write to Bob Little. close 14:10 30 Sep 2011

    Hi Nigel,

    I can see this is an important issue to you and also that you've had no proper response. For that reason, I'm going to suggest that you mail your county councillor, Bob Little.

    Ensuring that public transport is adequate for the region is one of his specific areas of responsibility, so this is well within your rights.

    I've drafted an email for you - do feel free to amend it, overwrite it, or indeed just ignore it if you don't want to take the issue further.

    Good luck!

    Myf Nixon

    anorak
    admin
  • 14 Nigel Alexander wrote to Bob Little following Myf Nixon's advice. close 16:44 03 Oct 2011

    Dear Mr Little,

    I wonder if you might be able to help me in my efforts to get a ticket machine installed at Castle Cary station. Thus far, my efforts to correspond with First Great Western have been frustrating - you can see a record here: http://www.fixmytransport.com/campaigns/install-a-self-service-ticket-machine-at-castle-ca.

    A ticket machine would substantially enhance the convenience of travel for all Castle Cary passengers, as well as easing the load for station staff, who seem particularly overstretched at times.

    I hope you may be able to find a channel for discussion where I have been unable to on this matter.

  • 15 Bob Little responded to Nigel Alexander close 12:58 15 Oct 2011
    Nigel,

    Thanks for your initial e-mail. I agree that a ticket machine at
    Castle Cary station would be a good thing (I currently have to
    use either Templecombe or Sherborne) and I have been making
    enquiries with members of the Heart of Wessex Rail Partnership.

    In summary, the advice I have received is as follows :

    “The train operator very much agrees with this suggestion, and
    in fact has already looked into the possibility of installing a
    ticket machine at Castle Cary. However, as there is likely to be
    a new generation of ticket machines (with improvements to the
    benefit of customers) coming on stream within the next 2 years,
    we have to be frank and say that Castle Cary is unlikely to have
    one of the current style of ticket machines installed, although
    should one of these become available from elsewhere, First Great
    Western would certainly look at Castle Cary as a priority.”

    I hope you agree that this is an encouraging response.

    I would be grateful if you could let me have your private e-mail
    address and phone number. Some of those with whom I have been
    speaking on this subject are reluctant to send a response which
    is published on-line (see below)

    show quoted sections
  • 16 Myf Nixon commented close 11:24 17 Oct 2011

    Oh, that is encouraging, Nigel! I'm glad Cllr Little has taken up the cause.

    We do encourage operators and councils to engage in correspondence via FixMyTransport, for several reasons: it means that the debate is transparent, and it creates an archive that any future visitors to the site can see. Where there are concerns about private details appearing online, we would advise that the operators omit these from their responses.

    Therefore our advice would be to reply to Cllr Little and tell him that FixMyTransport is your preferred mode of communication. On the other hand, I understand if you feel this might get in the way of the main problem, of getting the ticket machines installed.

    If you would like to provide Cllr Little with your email address and personal details, I would advise you not to publish them online. You may find an email address for him here: http://www1.somerset.gov.uk/council/member.asp?member_id=162

    As a final note it is worth saying, I think, that if FGW had been willing to engage via FixMyTransport in the first place, they could have given you this very helpful insight directly, rather than having to involve Cllr Little.

    anorak
    admin
  • 17 FGW Customer Relations responded to Nigel Alexander close 23:47 26 Oct 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 6209422

    Dear Mr Alexander

    Thank you for your further email regarding your suggestion for the installation of a Ticket Machine at Castle Cary station.

    We did explain in our initial reply to you that if we received any further information regarding this, then we would be happy to pass this on to you and I can confirm that some ongoing discussions have taken place although these are not conclusive.

    The placing of a Ticket Machine is not always determined by footfall. We have to take into account the vulnerability of placing such machines very carefully. Our experience has shown all too often that the machines can be instantly targeted by thieves and vandals, therefore rendering them useless.

    Currently the type of machine suggested will not sell tickets but will be more a Ticket on Day (ToD) fulfillment terminal. Therefore customers will still need to have purchased their tickets on line before arriving at the station.

    Thank you once again for contacting First Great Western, I hope that you will find this information useful.

    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
  • 18 Nigel Alexander added an update close 17:22 30 Oct 2011

    Well at least they have thought about it. What will it take to get some action!

  • 19 Nigel Alexander added an update close 17:23 30 Oct 2011

    A small step, but still nowhere near enough to actually do something!

  • 20 Shaun McDonald commented close 22:39 31 Oct 2011

    You don't necessarily have to have bought the tickets before arriving at the station. I have on some occasions when the ticket machine wasn't able to sell the ticket that I wanted, stood beside it and bought the ticket on my phone. Then straight away put the card I used online via my phone, to print those tickets.

    Whether it be advance fare, some other days (but walk up fare, as I've been caught too often just missing a train due to having to pickup/buy tickets), or it's cheaper to get some other station combination.

    anorak
  • 21 Dave H commented close 07:15 01 Nov 2011

    Castle Cary is the railhead for Glastonbury and the station is transformed from its normal level of use at this time. I am not sure what extra resources are deployed for this, although the move by National Express to set up a temporary 'coach station ' at the site may have reduced the demand in recent years.

    The other detail to bear in mind is that First recently gave notice that they will take the option to 'hand back the keys' at the earlier break point, and the franchise may well be passed over to the DfT's Directly Operated Railways company for a period until a new bidding round is run through. Franchisees are generally reluctant to commit to spending regimes as the franchise period draws to a close, especially as in this case the process of valuation of the assets, and liabilities to pass on to the new franchisee may be 'parked' on the table until the new franchise is awarded.

    I wonder if, like the trainline offers a source of ticket purchase outside the TOC's (and is one of the few that add a charge for every type of transaction) there might be a role for ticket machines like the pay to use 'independent' ATM's placed speculatively by the supplier in places where there is a shortage of bank owned machines.

Comment
  • started 31 August 2011
  • supporters 1
Train route between Castle Cary and London Paddington operated by First Great Western Railway
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