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“Please help me persuade Network Rail to provide a cheaper number for their Community Helpline” – Peter Dixon

Description

Peter Dixon

One of the frustrations of being a mobile phone user is that 0845 numbers are extortionate to use, which makes it very difficult to justify contacting you when an issue is spotted because my mobile operator wants me to pay an arm and a leg to ring you.

Do you have a non 0845 number for your community helpline? I would prefer an 01/02/03 or even 07 number but 0800 is a number I could personally cope with having.

Please ignore the location data on this email.

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Problem History

  • 1 Peter Dixon reported the issue on FixMyTransport. close 16:49 10 Jun 2012
  • 2 Peter Dixon wrote to Network Rail close 16:49 10 Jun 2012

    Here is the letter that Peter Dixon wrote.

    Provide a non 0845 number for your 24/7 Community Helpline

    One of the frustrations of being a mobile phone user is that 0845 numbers are extortionate to use, which makes it very difficult to justify contacting you when an issue is spotted because my mobile operator wants me to pay an arm and a leg to ring you.

    Do you have a non 0845 number for your community helpline? I would prefer an 01/02/03 or even 07 number but 0800 is a number I could personally cope with having.

    Please ignore the location data on this email.

    anorak
    admin
  • 3 CRHQ responded to Peter Dixon close 16:24 26 Jun 2012
    Hi Peter

    Thank you for your e-mail and please accept my apologies for the delay in getting back to you. Network Rail operates a national helpline primarily for use by Local Authorities and residents who live next to the railway. Our National Helpline (local rate number - 08457 11 41 41) can be used as a first point of contact for any railway infrastructure related issue.

    Many businesses of every size choose to use 0845 local rate telephone numbers to promote their services and also as their main contact number. In this way any caller knows that they will only pay the price of a local call, important for an organisation like Network Rail which covers all of England, Wales and Scotland. This is obviously dependent upon a caller's own selected call provider.

    Like all of the Train Operating Companies, Network Rail does not provide a freephone number. Such a number could encourage the many millions of passengers who use the railway to contact Network Rail for train times and ticketing enquiries (for which we are not responsible) rather than the Train Operator, who is. A freephone number would, as a consequence, be prone to misuse and due to the inevitable increase in call volumes, lead to longer waits for those who have a relevant Network Rail enquiry from getting through easily.

    08457 11 41 41 is a long-standing contact number into the Network Rail National Helpline and is well publicised on hundreds of thousands of advertisements, websites, signage and well known to our stakeholders. This has been in place for a number of years and there is a significant risk involved in changing this number considering it handles safety related calls. We are required to make it as easy as possible to report an issue to Network Rail and changing our number poses a significant risk in this regard.

    Additionally, a freephone number has a significant cost attached as we receive 150,000+ contacts per annum and these would have to be subsidised by Network Rail. It is worth noting that we do not receive any financial gain from having a 0845 number, which is often a misconception. In a highly regulated industry, the service we provide is effective and accepted as meeting the requirements on Network Rail.

    In order to answer enquiries from local residents and local authorities as quickly as possible, we also have a twitter account (@networkrail) and a dedicated 'contact us' webform on our website (http://www.networkrail.co.uk/aspx/1346.a...). We are currently reviewing our webform to make it more intuitive and direct when providing information and contact details.

    Many thanks

    Brian Wortman
    Communications Manager (Community Relations)
    Corporate Communications
    Network Rail

    show quoted sections
  • 4 Bill Harrop commented close 19:46 26 Jun 2012

    http://www.saynoto0870.com/search.php offers alternatives to 0845 no's as well

  • 5 Luke Bacon commented close 10:49 27 Jun 2012

    Credit to National Rail for such a detailed and comprehensive response. However, I'm not sure it explains why an 01/2/3 number couldn't be provided in addition; my understanding is that the majority of 0845 numbers re-direct to such a standard landline anyway. The debate isn't about changing National Rail's phone number, rather providing an alternative which offers the same benefits to mobile phone users - i.e. fixed (national) rate calling which is more often included in minutes on a contract-based package.

  • 6 Peter Dixon commented close 16:29 01 Jul 2012

    It is a bit frustrating because I would prefer a phone number. However, I do understand the issue with the timetabling enquiries.

    anorak
    admin
  • 7 Peter Dixon wrote to CRHQ close 16:36 01 Jul 2012

    Hello Brian

    Thank you very much for your thorough response to my query. I understand the issues that Network Rail would face replacing or even supplementing the 0845 number you currently provide.

    A possible alternative for mobile users might be a monitored text service for infrastructure issues offering a ring back facility if that is deemed important enough. Could that be considered?

    I understand that East Coast have put a similar system in for issues on their rail carriages and it may prove a useful supplement for those who do not have Twitter or strong enough internet connection. I understand that it could be swamped by those asking for timetables or the next train but it may prove a useful extra option for some.

    The interim solution (I am thinking aloud here to be honest) might be to suggest that phone users use their Twitter account and text the message to your Twitter account (if they have linked their phone number up to their Twitter account).

    Thank you for help Brian

    Kind regards

    Peter

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

    Hi Peter

    Thank you for your e-mail and please accept my apologies for the delay in getting back to you. Network Rail operates a national helpline primarily for use by Local Authorities and residents who live next to the railway. Our National Helpline (local rate number - 08457 11 41 41) can be used as a first point of contact for any railway infrastructure related issue.

    Many businesses of every size choose to use 0845 local rate telephone numbers to promote their services and also as their main contact number. In this way any caller knows that they will only pay the price of a local call, important for an organisation like Network Rail which covers all of England, Wales and Scotland. This is obviously dependent upon a caller's own selected call provider.

    Like all of the Train Operating Companies, Network Rail does not provide a freephone number. Such a number could encourage the many millions of passengers who use the railway to contact Network Rail for train times and ticketing enquiries (for which we are not responsible) rather than the Train Operator, who is. A freephone number would, as a consequence, be prone to misuse and due to the inevitable increase in call volumes, lead to longer waits for those who have a relevant Network Rail enquiry from getting through easily.

    08457 11 41 41 is a long-standing contact number into the Network Rail National Helpline and is well publicised on hundreds of thousands of advertisements, websites, signage and well known to our stakeholders. This has been in place for a number of years and there is a significant risk involved in changing this number considering it handles safety related calls. We are required to make it as easy as possible to report an issue to Network Rail and changing our number poses a significant risk in this regard.

    Additionally, a freephone number has a significant cost attached as we receive 150,000+ contacts per annum and these would have to be subsidised by Network Rail. It is worth noting that we do not receive any financial gain from having a 0845 number, which is often a misconception. In a highly regulated industry, the service we provide is effective and accepted as meeting the requirements on Network Rail.

    In order to answer enquiries from local residents and local authorities as quickly as possible, we also have a twitter account (@networkrail) and a dedicated 'contact us' webform on our website (http://www.networkrail.co.uk/aspx/1346.aspx). We are currently reviewing our webform to make it more intuitive and direct when providing information and contact details.

    Many thanks

    Brian Wortman
    Communications Manager (Community Relations)
    Corporate Communications
    Network Rail

    anorak
    admin
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  • started 10 June 2012
  • supporters 1
Leeds Rail Station in Leeds
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