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“Please help me persuade First Great Western Railway to stop conductors from bullying passengers who are unable to buy tickets” – Elaine S

Description

Elaine S

I am writing to complain about the conductor, Jason, on the 9.25 train from Dawlish to Newton Abbot today, 11/04/12.

I regularly travel on this train en route to Plymouth via Newton Abbot. It is becoming a regular occurrence at Dawlish Station that the ticket office is closed during peak hours including peak holiday periods like today. There is only one ticket machine but it is often not working and also holiday makers who are not used to using it take a long time to buy tickets.

This morning I arrived 15 minutes before I was due to travel. The ticket office was closed again and there was a long queue of at least 20 passengers queuing in the pouring rain as there is no shelter. By the time the train was due to arrive, only half of those people had been able to purchase a ticket. This was observed by the platform staff. I was unable to purchase a ticket before boarding the train.

When I boarded the train, I and an elderly lady went to look for the guard to buy a ticket. He shut himself in the cab of the train and did not appear until Teignmouth when he had to come out to open the doors. I approached him and requested to buy a ticket. He was angry and shouted at me in front of all the other passengers that I couldn't buy a ticket on the train and must buy one before I travel. I explained that many people had been unable to buy a ticket as the queue was too long and the ticket office was closed again. He continued to shout that I must not board the train without a ticket, that I was lucky that the revenue inspectors were not on the train and that I would get a £20 fine and that I must be more careful. I explained again that I had no option and asked what I should do as I had been unable to buy a ticket, the platform staff were aware that passengers were unable to buy tickets and I had not sat down but immediately made my way through an overcrowded train to find the guard and pay for my ticket. He continued to shout, I asked him to stop shouting and sell me my ticket, he continued to shout and gave me a ticket but threw the change at me so that I had to scrabble on the floor for it. Still shouting he said I must get the later train if I haven't managed to buy a ticket. I asked how I could get to work on time. He just shouted that the Revenue Inspectors would fine me.

I went and sat down at the far end of the train leaving the conductor with the other person who purchased a ticket. He then came down the carriage five minutes later to where I was seated and started shouting again. I asked the person sitting opposite to witness the verbal abuse and she said she would report it and took his name. I asked the conductor to stop abusing me and go away. He did so but only because another passenger intervened.

As he did not come round and collect tickets, many people got off at Teignmouth and Newton Abbot without purchasing tickets. I only received abuse because I tried to pay for a ticket. This is the same conductor who I have seen ignore people who are evading fares even when they are pointed out and shuts himself in his cab. He would rather pick on a 54 year old woman who he sees as an easy target for bullying.

I reported the incident at Newton Abbot station, I felt very unwell and was still shaking two hours afterwards. I would like an apology from the rail company. I would like the conductor to receive training in customer care and supervision. Dawlish is a busy holiday town which needs a ticket office and staff especially at peak holiday times. One ticket machine is insufficient.

I would also like to know how I can travel to work if the ticket machine is either not working or too busy and the ticket office is closed. Later in the journey a similar problem occurred at Totnes but the conductor on this train (Cross Country) made an announcement asking people to buy their tickets when he made his way through the train before arriving in Plymouth. The conductor, in this case, never appeared.

Problem History

  • 1 Elaine S reported the issue on FixMyTransport. close 22:12 11 Apr 2012
  • 2 Elaine S wrote to First Great Western Railway close 22:12 11 Apr 2012

    Here is the letter that Elaine S wrote.

    Verbal abuse by train conductor

    I am writing to complain about the conductor, Jason, on the 9.25 train from Dawlish to Newton Abbot today, 11/04/12.

    I regularly travel catch this train en route to Plymouth via Newton Abbot. It is becoming a regular occurrence at Dawlish Station that the ticket office is closed during peak hours including peak holiday periods like today. There is only one ticket machine but it often not working and also holiday makers who are not used to using it take a long time to buy tickets.

    This morning I arrived 15 minutes before I was due to travel. The ticket office was closed again and there was a long queue of at least 20 passengers queuing in the pouring rain as there is no shelter. By the time the train was due to arrive, only half of those people had been able to purchase a ticket. This was observed by the platform staff. I was unable to purchase a ticket before boarding the train.

    When I boarded the train, I and an elderly lady went to look for the guard to buy a ticket. He shut himself in the cab of the train and did not appear until Teignmouth when he had to come out to open the doors. I approached him and requested to buy a ticket. He was angry and shouted at me in front of all the other passengers that I couldn't buy a ticket on the train and must buy one before I travel. I explained that many people had been unable to buy a ticket as the queue was too long and the ticket office was closed again. He continued to shout that I must not board the train without a ticket, that I was lucky that the revenue inspectors were not on the train and that I would get a £20 fine and that I must be more careful. I explained again that I had no option and asked what I should do as I had been unable to buy a ticket, the platform staff were aware that passengers were unable to buy tickets and I had not sat down but immediately made my way through an overcrowded train to find the guard and pay for my ticket. He continued to shout, I asked him to stop shouting and sell me my ticket, he continued to shout and gave me a ticket but threw the change at me so that I had to scrabble on the floor for it. Still shouting he said I must get the later train if I haven't managed to buy a ticket. I asked how I could get to work on time. He just shouted that the Revenue Inspectors would fine me.

    I went at sat down at the far end of the train leaving the conductor with the other person who purchased a ticket. He then came down the carriage five minutes later to where I was seated and started shouting again. I asked the person sitting opposite to witness the verbal abuse and she said she would report it and took his name. I asked the conductor to stop abusing me and go away. He did so but only because another passenger intervened.

    As he did not come round and collect tickets, many people got off at Teignmouth and Newton Abbot without purchasing tickets. I only received abuse because I tried to pay for a ticket. This is the same conductor who I have seen ignore young people who are evading fares even when they are pointed out and shuts himself in his cab. He would rather pick on a 54 year old woman who he sees as an easy target for bullying.

    I reported the incident at Newton Abbot station, I felt very unwell and was still shaking two hours afterwards. I would like an apology from the rail company. I would like the conductor to receive training in customer care and supervision. Dawlish is a busy holiday town which needs a ticket office and staff especially at peak holiday times. One ticket machine is insufficient.

    I would also like to know how I can travel to work if the ticket machine is either not working or too busy and the ticket office is closed. Later in the journey a similar problem occurred at Totnes but the conductor on this train (Cross Country) made an announcement asking people to buy their tickets when he made his way through the train before arriving in Plymouth. The conductor, in this case, never appeared.

  • 3 First Group Response responded to Elaine S close 22:16 11 Apr 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]
  • 4 Elaine S wrote to First Great Western Railway close 22:23 11 Apr 2012

    I am writing to complain about the conductor, Jason, on the 9.25 train from Dawlish to Newton Abbot today, 11/04/12.

    I regularly travel catch this train en route to Plymouth via Newton Abbot. It is becoming a regular occurrence at Dawlish Station that the ticket office is closed during peak hours including peak holiday periods like today. There is only one ticket machine but it often not working and also holiday makers who are not used to using it take a long time to buy tickets.

    This morning I arrived 15 minutes before I was due to travel. The ticket office was closed again and there was a long queue of at least 20 passengers queuing in the pouring rain as there is no shelter. By the time the train was due to arrive, only half of those people had been able to purchase a ticket. This was observed by the platform staff. I was unable to purchase a ticket before boarding the train.

    When I boarded the train, I and an elderly lady went to look for the guard to buy a ticket. He shut himself in the cab of the train and did not appear until Teignmouth when he had to come out to open the doors. I approached him and requested to buy a ticket. He was angry and shouted at me in front of all the other passengers that I couldn't buy a ticket on the train and must buy one before I travel. I explained that many people had been unable to buy a ticket as the queue was too long and the ticket office was closed again. He continued to shout that I must not board the train without a ticket, that I was lucky that the revenue inspectors were not on the train and that I would get a £20 fine and that I must be more careful. I explained again that I had no option and asked what I should do as I had been unable to buy a ticket, the platform staff were aware that passengers were unable to buy tickets and I had not sat down but immediately made my way through an overcrowded train to find the guard and pay for my ticket. He continued to shout, I asked him to stop shouting and sell me my ticket, he continued to shout and gave me a ticket but threw the change at me so that I had to scrabble on the floor for it. Still shouting he said I must get the later train if I haven't managed to buy a ticket. I asked how I could get to work on time. He just shouted that the Revenue Inspectors would fine me.

    I went at sat down at the far end of the train leaving the conductor with the other person who purchased a ticket. He then came down the carriage five minutes later to where I was seated and started shouting again. I asked the person sitting opposite to witness the verbal abuse and she said she would report it and took his name. I asked the conductor to stop abusing me and go away. He did so but only because another passenger intervened.

    As he did not come round and collect tickets, many people got off at Teignmouth and Newton Abbot without purchasing tickets. I only received abuse because I tried to pay for a ticket. This is the same conductor who I have seen ignore young people who are evading fares even when they are pointed out and shuts himself in his cab. He would rather pick on a 54 year old woman who he sees as an easy target for bullying.

    I reported the incident at Newton Abbot station, I felt very unwell and was still shaking two hours afterwards. I would like an apology from the rail company. I would like the conductor to receive training in customer care and supervision. Dawlish is a busy holiday town which needs a ticket office and staff especially at peak holiday times. One ticket machine is insufficient.

    I would also like to know how I can travel to work if the ticket machine is either not working or too busy and the ticket office is closed. Later in the journey a similar problem occurred at Totnes but the conductor on this train (Cross Country) made an announcement asking people to buy their tickets when he made his way through the train before arriving in Plymouth. The conductor, in this case, never appeared.

    Comment

    Problem History

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    1 Elaine S reported the issue on FixMyTransport. close22:12 11 Apr 2012
    2 Elaine S wrote to First Great Western Railway close22:12 11 Apr 2012

    3First Group Response responded to Elaine Sclose 22:16 11 Apr 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]

    Reply to this message by email

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    started 11 April 2012
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    Train route between Dawlish and Plymouth operated by First Great Western Railway, Crosscountry

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    Elaine S
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    Description

    I am writing to complain about the conductor, Jason, on the 9.25 train from Dawlish to Newton Abbot today, 11/04/12.

    I regularly travel catch this train en route to Plymouth via Newton Abbot. It is becoming a regular occurrence at Dawlish Station that the ticket office is closed during peak hours including peak holiday periods like today. There is only one ticket machine but it often not working and also holiday makers who are not used to using it take a long time to buy tickets.

    This morning I arrived 15 minutes before I was due to travel. The ticket office was closed again and there was a long queue of at least 20 passengers queuing in the pouring rain as there is no shelter. By the time the train was due to arrive, only half of those people had been able to purchase a ticket. This was observed by the platform staff. I was unable to purchase a ticket before boarding the train.

    When I boarded the train, I and an elderly lady went to look for the guard to buy a ticket. He shut himself in the cab of the train and did not appear until Teignmouth when he had to come out to open the doors. I approached him and requested to buy a ticket. He was angry and shouted at me in front of all the other passengers that I couldn't buy a ticket on the train and must buy one before I travel. I explained that many people had been unable to buy a ticket as the queue was too long and the ticket office was closed again. He continued to shout that I must not board the train without a ticket, that I was lucky that the revenue inspectors were not on the train and that I would get a £20 fine and that I must be more careful. I explained again that I had no option and asked what I should do as I had been unable to buy a ticket, the platform staff were aware that passengers were unable to buy tickets and I had not sat down but immediately made my way through an overcrowded train to find the guard and pay for my ticket. He continued to shout, I asked him to stop shouting and sell me my ticket, he continued to shout and gave me a ticket but threw the change at me so that I had to scrabble on the floor for it. Still shouting he said I must get the later train if I haven't managed to buy a ticket. I asked how I could get to work on time. He just shouted that the Revenue Inspectors would fine me.

    I went at sat down at the far end of the train leaving the conductor with the other person who purchased a ticket. He then came down the carriage five minutes later to where I was seated and started shouting again. I asked the person sitting opposite to witness the verbal abuse and she said she would report it and took his name. I asked the conductor to stop abusing me and go away. He did so but only because another passenger intervened.

    As he did not come round and collect tickets, many people got off at Teignmouth and Newton Abbot without purchasing tickets. I only received abuse because I tried to pay for a ticket. This is the same conductor who I have seen ignore young people who are evading fares even when they are pointed out and shuts himself in his cab. He would rather pick on a 54 year old woman who he sees as an easy target for bullying.

    I reported the incident at Newton Abbot station, I felt very unwell and was still shaking two hours afterwards. I would like an apology from the rail company. I would like the conductor to receive training in customer care and supervision. Dawlish is a busy holiday town which needs a ticket office and staff especially at peak holiday times. One ticket machine is insufficient.

    I would also like to know how I can travel to work if the ticket machine is either not working or too busy and the ticket office is closed. Later in the journey a similar problem occurred at Totnes but the conductor on this train (Cross Country) made an announcement asking people to buy their tickets when he made his way through the train before arriving in Plymouth. The conductor, in this case, never appeared.

    3First Group Response responded to Elaine Sclose 22:16 11 Apr 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]

    Reply to this message by email

    Comment

    Facebook Twitter Email
    started 11 April 2012
    supporters 0

    Train route between Dawlish and Plymouth operated by First Great Western Railway, Crosscountry

    Problem Reporter

    Elaine S
    Managing 1 Issue

    Supporting 0 Issues

    Top of page

    Built by mySociety, which is supported by the Indigo Trust, the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, the Omidyar Network and many small donors.

    Dedicated to Angie Martin.

    .

  • 5 Elaine S added an update close 22:24 11 Apr 2012

    I have emailed a copy of the complaint to First Great Western.

  • 6 Elaine S asked for advice. close 22:25 11 Apr 2012

    Please advise me on what action I should take if the ticket office is not open and I have been unable to purchase a ticket at the ticket machine but need to get to work.

  • 7 First Group Response responded to Elaine S close 22:28 11 Apr 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]
  • 8 Peter Dixon commented close 22:43 11 Apr 2012

    Hello Elaine

    I am one of the FixMyTransport volunteers.

    When a ticket office is not available, you should use any other ticketing facilities which are available such as a ticket machine.

    If that is unavailable, you should purchase it on the train.

    The problem that you have is proving that the ticket machine has been unavailable. That is something that FGW need to answer,

    Kind regards

    anorak
    admin
  • 9 Elaine S commented close 23:01 11 Apr 2012

    Hi Peter

    The ticket machine was working but the queue was too long and people were having to wait more than 15 minutes and therefore missing the train or boarding the train without tickets. Dawlish is not a mainline station and trains are often infrequent and becoming more infrequent therefore people cannot wait for the next train without being late for work. As it is, I catch a train for a 1 hour journey two hours beforehand in order to arrive at work on time.

  • 10 Myf Nixon commented close 09:11 12 Apr 2012

    I'm also FixMyTransport Admin.

    Elaine - let's wait and see whether you receive a full apology from FGW, and a commitment to discipline/retrain this particular member of staff. If not, we can suggest further recourse - such as Passenger Focus, an independent watchdog who will step in once an unsatisfactory response has been given to a problem.

    (On a personal note - I have holidayed in Dawlish and very much hope I haven't hogged the ticket machine for commuters!!)

    anorak
    admin
  • 11 Elaine S commented close 19:54 12 Apr 2012

    Hi Myf

    Holiday makers are needed and very welcome in Dawlish but they need to be able to ask for rail information and buy train tickets and these facilities are often not available. More provision needs to be made for the increased population during holiday periods.

  • 12 Neil Thomas-Childs commented close 21:59 13 Apr 2012

    Fully support you Elaine. Guards should inspect tickets and sell when ticket office is closed, which it regularly is due to staff sickness and holidays, or when the ticket office clerk has to travel to another station to fix their ticket machines.

    One ticket machine at Dawlish is not enough for such a busy station.

    Please also support my Dawlish problem at http://www.fixmytransport.com/campaigns/check-tickets-and-ensure-all-passeng (maybe someone at fix my transport can link that properly if it doesn't work?)

  • 13 FGW Customer Relations responded to Elaine S close 23:47 13 Apr 2012
    First Great Western
    Customer Services Team
    FREEPOST
    SWB40576
    Plymouth
    PL4 6ZZ

    Tel: 08457 000 125 (option four)
    Fax: 08456 008 363
    [First Great Western Railway problem reporting email]

    www.firstgreatwestern.co.uk

    Ref: 6513284

    Dear Customer

    Thank you for your email of 11 April 2012. I was very concerned to learn what happened when you travelled from Dawlish on the same date. I realise how disconcerting this experience must've been, and I sincerely apologise.

    As you may be aware, we operate a Buy Before you Board policy on our services. This means that if the station a passenger boards from has either a manned Booking Office or ticket vending machine, then the passenger is expected to make use of such facilities prior to getting on any train. This then allows them to buy their tickets at the discounted rate.

    We realise that problems can sometimes arise, such as short notice staff shortages that close the Booking Office, or technical faults with the machine etc. If these occur, then station staff will report this to our Control office, who will in-turn brief this our to our train crews. This means they should know when to waive the normal application of the Buy Before you Board policy.

    This said, the problem we face is if there's a smaller or unmanned station, whereby problems aren't always immediately known. If our crew do not know of a certain problem, then we have to recognise the difficult position this puts them in too.

    Whilst it may sound harsh or unsympathetic, the application of the Buy Before you Board policy would not normally be waived merely for a ticket machine being busy. This said, I do accept that a queue of 20 does seem excessive at Dawlish, so I recognise the difficult situation this would've put you in too.

    Ultimately, how long someone leaves to buy their ticket remains entirely at their personal discretion. In this sense, our customers in the same position as us here - in being able to predict just when there will be unusually busy times. There just isn't any recommendation I can make as to how long any customer should leave in order to buy their tickets; as the demands on our station facilities can vary from day-to-day, including unusually busy periods.

    You did the right thing in proactively seeking the Train Manager in order to pay for your ticket at the first opportunity. It was therefore concerning to learn how he subsequently responded to the situation though, and I sincerely apologise.

    We realise that an unfortunate reality of day-to-day rail travel is that sometimes difficult situations can arise. However, we also realise that there's still a customer-focused and polite way of responding to them. There's just no excuse for rude or inappropriate behaviour, so what you've reported is of genuine concern to us.

    All complaints of this nature are taken very seriously, and your comments will be forwarded to the Head of Train Crew, for further investigation. As I am sure you can appreciate we have a duty of care to both our customer's and our colleagues so a full investigation will take place before any action can be taken. This will also include your comments with regard to the Train Manager not checking the tickets of the other customers too.

    We will request a statement from the Train Manager, and based on our findings the line manager will make a recommendation. If further action is deemed necessary this could range from additional training through to dismissal. For reasons of confidentiality we do not make any details of our internal investigations, or of actions taken public and therefore I can't advise you of the outcome, but you have my assurance that we will take any necessary measures to prevent this from happening again.

    Given what happened I do realise why you'd seek assurances for future journeys. The problem is, there are no hard-and-fast rules here, and no absolute promises I can make. If there is a working ticket machine at the station that the passenger boards from, then technically the passenger is meant to use this before boarding any train - even if it does come as an inconvenience.

    Our crews are briefed when to exercise a little discretion though; but as I'm sure you can appreciate, the application of this is not always going to be an exact science (otherwise, we could make it a matter of policy). But, my report to the Head of Train Crew will highlight this issue, so that they can re-brief all our crews operating on the Dawlish-Newton Abbot route on when it's appropriate to exercise a little leniency and consideration.

    I realise that you hold concerns about the ticketing facilities at Dawlish, and I'm sorry for this. We do our best to keep our ticket offices open, although at times this isn't always possible. If we are short of resources we first check whether we can alter individual schedules and use someone else from the team to keep it open. If that isn't possible, we then see if we can bring in somebody from another station. It is only when we cannot use either of these options that we have to close the office temporarily.

    It's clear from your correspondence that you indicate something more chronic with the opening of the Booking Office at Dawlish. I'll therefore also ensure that your concerns are referred to the Station Manager too. They'll be able to take this into consideration when reviewing the staffing levels in future.

    For future bookings you may prefer to consider booking over the telephone with our Telesales office. They can sell tickets for any UK rail service, including many of the promotional fares and cheaper Advance tickets. Telesales are open on weekdays from 07:00 until 22:00, and on weekends from 08:00 until 19:00. They can be contacted on 08457 000 125 (option two, then option one) and would be happy to help you.

    Many passengers prefer using our Telesales service as they can discuss the available ticket options from the comfort of their own home. Telesales can then arrange for the tickets to be posted to your home address, or even via a Next Day Delivery service. You can then arrive at the station ready for your journey already with your tickets in-hand. This saves having to use the booking office or ticket machine at all.

    Our website (www.firstgreatwestern.co.uk) is also very popular as it allows our passengers to book their tickets before getting to the station. The popularity of our website also stems from the frequently updated information it offers on live service performance bulletins, as well as the latest promotional details.

    Both our website and Telesales department have also been designed to allow for multiple bookings. This allows passengers to book several journeys-worth of tickets in one convenient transaction, which has proven to be very popular for our regular travellers.

    Of course, I accept the point that if a customer does prefer to use the station facilities, then they have every right to expect this. I do not mention Telesales and our website to negate our responsibilities here, but rather to illustrate that we do support our station facilities with alternative purchasing methods. At the least, this helps to keep the queues at the station to a minimum.

    I realise that the crux of your concerns centers on how our Train Manager handled the situation, and I do appreciate just how upsetting this must've been at the time. I hope I've been able to illustrate just how seriously we view what happened. To this end, I hope you'll feel able to accept my sincere apologies.

    Thank you again for letting us know what happened. I really do hope that future journeys (and ticket purchases!) will be trouble-free.

    Yours sincerely

    Calvin Abelar
    Customer Service 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. ***

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    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.

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  • 14 Neil Thomas-Childs commented close 17:22 14 Apr 2012

    Elaine, FGW must defintiely be taking your complaint seriously if you have had a reply within two days. That's unheard of! Please keep us updated on what they come back to you with.

  • 15 Penalty Fare Appeal Support commented close 21:36 15 Apr 2012

    Hi somthing that FGW haven't said is that They have a Passengers Charter. In this rare to find document it does state what is deemed to be an excessive queue length.
    It also goes on to state what to do if ticket facilities are unavailable (broken not long queue).

    Buying online will not help in your case as you'd have to queue at the machine to get them!!

    Next time anything like this happens again email Sue.Evans@firstgroup.com she is the commuications director.

  • 16 Peter Dixon advised Elaine to write to Passenger Focus. close 22:08 15 Apr 2012

    Hi Elaine,

    I am rather concerned that the response still leaves you without any protection or confirmation of where you lie if you are found. I am concerned that if you were to face a similar situation and have an RPI who could issue you with a Penalty Fare, you may find yourself left with a fine because you rely on the discretion of a rail operator and its staff. As a result, I am going to provide you with the details of Passenger Focus, who are the rail watchdog

    What you need to state is that you have not had it clarified whether or not you will get a penalty fare if you arrive at a railway station with a long queue at the ticket machine. You should also state that you are unhappy with relying on some undefined discretion which could result in a penalty fare.

    This is something that needs to be raised across the industry.

    Here is some guidance of what you need to send to Passenger Focus

    http://www.passengerfocus.org.uk/advice-and-complaints/complaints/asking-us-to-follow-it-up.asp

    If you do face a similar situation in the future, take a picture of the queue when you arrive and take a picture of the queue when you leave. This will provide evidence that there was a queue. Most phones now have cameras so please use this resource.

    Kind regards

    anorak
    admin
  • 17 Neil Thomas-Childs commented close 21:19 16 Apr 2012

    Elaine,

    We got on the train to Exmouth from Dawlish this morning and the ticket office was, yet again, closed (the reason given on the door this time was staff sickness).

    We queued for the ticket machine ( 5 people in front) and only just managed to buy our tickets before the train arrived. There were approx 8 people behind me in the queue and as the train arrived they all left the queue and got on the train. There were 4 members of staff on the train - 1 manager and 3 staff - and they were happy to sell tickets from Dawlish. There were a few people who worriedly approached the staff as the train left but the staff said it was fine to buy tickets.

    This is yet another case of FGW not being consistent in their approach to not selling / selling tickets to customers on the train and it is an extremely confusing situation to be in as a customer.

    We were travelling for leisure today and it takes the joy out of going out for the day when you have to worry whether you will be able to buy a ticket / have a good journey. As it was, the train (2 coaches) was packed and standing and even the FGW staff were moaning between themselves about the use of the particular stock that didn't give enough capacity for the service.

  • 18 Paul Hollinghurst commented close 20:58 17 Apr 2012

    Elaine,

    There is a copy of the Passenger's Charter which was mentioned in an earlier message here:
    http://www.firstgreatwestern.co.uk/About-Us/Customer-services/~/media/PDF/About%20us/Passenger%20charter/Passengers%20Charter%20Booklet%20B_006_0409%20FOR%20WEB.pdf
    (or simply search for first great western passenger charter)

    This states that "When purchasing a ticket from our ticket offices you should not have to queue for more than five minutes during
    peak periods, and no more than three minutes outside of peak periods."

    There is a paragraph later in the document about "Travelling without a ticket" which states that tickets should always be bought before a journey commences, but then lists some exceptions and explains "It is your responsibility to contact a member of our on board staff as soon as you board a train if you do not have a valid ticket, advising that you wish to buy one for the journey you intend to make, ensuring also that you have the means to buy a valid ticket.

    However the document doesn't mention about what to do if the queue is longer than the time they specify in the charter.

    The only reassurance they give to the target times is that "Regular checks will be carried out to ensure that these standards are consistently met and any shortfall rectified" which is not much reassurance at all when faced with what you have encountered.

    Good luck trying to get something helpful out of this as I am sure this is an issue which has concerned many passengers at some time. Perhaps you can make the point to FGW about the expected queueing time in their charter. It should be clear to them that is more than a certain number of people board the train at an station which has a booking office closed then the chances are they will not have had time to buy tickets.

    Paul (FixMyTransport Volunteer)

    anorak
    admin
  • 19 FGW Customer Relations responded to Elaine S close 00:14 15 May 2012
    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: 6513288

    Dear Ms Slingsby

    Thank you for your e-mail, which has been referred to us by FixMyTransport.

    I was very concerned to read of the attitude displayed by one of our colleagues when you travelled with us on 11 April between Dawlish and Newton Abbot. First Great Western expect all staff members to demonstrate a high quality of service and be polite and professional at all time. I am very sorry if you have found this not to be the case.

    We do ask that customers get their tickets before they board the train, but of course, there will be times where queues are particularly long, especially during public holidays and so we appreciate that this cannot always be done before the train arrives. This is where we expect our Train Managers/Conductors to be a little more understanding and sell the ticket the customers wants, especially if the customer has approached them - a clear sign that they are not trying to avoid payment.

    You have my assurance that First Great Western view this matter with the utmost seriousness, and I have therefore forwarded the details of your case on to the relevant Manager, who I know will want to take this up with the staff member concerned.

    Thank you again for getting in touch and I do hope that future journeys are far more enjoyable.

    Yours sincerely

    Lynne Sleep
    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 Greater 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.

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  • 20 innocent passenger commented close 17:08 12 May 2013

    I was verbally and physically attacked by a great western conductor, He hit me and then immedietly started shouting that ide hit him. Luckily i was filming him from my mobile.my video is going on youtube in afew days when i get time, check it out in afew days.Ill probably name it "Assulted by not so great western fat ticket conducter" he was a very big guy just shouting and spitting in my face whilst walking into me shoving me back down 2 carriges. Hope more people can film these conducters on power trips. email me at emaourlee@gmail.com

  • 21 innocent passenger commented close 13:49 17 May 2013

    Hi Elaine,
    The Ticket Inspector who attacked me i have no found out is named [name redacted for security reasons]. Could this be the same excuse for a man that was out of control when you approached him ?
    I have viewed the trains cctv camera with the police aswell as my own video footage and i have read his statemtent,. He as made a false statement which as been which as been proven to the police, and he his clearly seen acting like a maniac pushing me back down the carriage shouting and spitting in my face.
    My video footage as audio unlike the cctv on the train, the police can clearly hear him shouting the odd's and acting totally out of control, his statement does not match any of the video footage and as told bare face lies to the police and myself wasting everyones time. I will not settle from this day on untill i see him sacked.
    Ive been asked kindly to hold back from putting the video onto youtube but i can tell you it will be there very shortly. Ill post something on here to you.
    All the best and please , let me know if this is the same man as it will go against him ? Take care Elaine S.

  • 22 Mark Jones commented close 17:03 17 May 2013

    Hi, This is just a short message to say I've removed the guard's name as it would have been visible to the public, It will have been sent to the supporters and the original reporter.

    I hope you get this issue sorted soon!

    Mark Jones
    FixMyTransport Admin

    anorak
    admin
  • 23 Love Britain commented close 22:54 27 Nov 2013

    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=660749400637168&set=a.118644491514331.7546.100001063420129&type=1&theater Says it all

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  • started 11 April 2012
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Train route between Dawlish and Plymouth operated by First Great Western Railway, Crosscountry
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