Complaint to SWT!

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Daniel

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An Angry Memmy said:
I am writing to complain about the Driver of the 20 : 12 SWT service to London Waterloo from Reading.

Upon arrival at Wokingham, I spotted several youths on the Reading bound platform repeatedly ramming the vending machine. After watching them expecting them to give up, I decided to speak to the driver (as I want in the from 1st class area) and ask him to call the British Transport Police. My father, also with me in first class, had seen a group of youths on our train
vandalising a carridge further down. Again, we felt this called for the BTP to attend.

One short knock on the drivers door, (this is while the train was still stationary, so it was safe to ditract the drivers attention), and the door wasn't even opened, the driver simply shouted "Go Away."

This is APPALING behaviour by a representitive of South West Trains. The train being formed of two class 458 units did not have a corridor connection. As such, the driver was the only representitive for South West Trains immediatley contactable.

I left my father in first class and made my way towards the guard, transferring to the rear unit at the next station. The guard aggreed with me, saying that as a representitive of SWT, and being stationaty, the driver SHOULD have opened his door and dealt with whatever I had to say.

The guard promised that upon arrival at Waterloo, he would check the CCTV from Wokingham station to see if the youths were caught on tape. However, you driver *needs* dicipline, not only do railway staff not talk to passengers like that, they do not talk to First Class ticket holders like that. Besides, perhaps I was in dire need of the Police, say I was being thretend with a knife? Would "Go Away" be appropriate then?
.



Rant over. Right thing to do, do you think? To complain, I mean? The guard agreed with me :\
 
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class 313

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I don't think that comment was needed Tom. Anyway, I think you should complain because like you say you could be against an armed person...
 

theblackwatch

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But, looking at it from the other side of the coin, how did the driver not know you were armed, or wanting to kick off some trouble?
 

Daniel

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Well, by the time id got to the guard, we'd have left the station. Then id have to wait until the next station for the doors to open - no in service corridor connections.
 

yorkie

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They used to, but why don't they now? ;)
There are, I'm told, reliability problems with 458 corridor connections that are a safety issue, so they are locked out of use. In addition refurb 455s have had them removed, to save money.

Guards never check tickets apparently (at least that's my experience!), and I guess they feel that there is no reason to want to get from one unit to another. Obviously they don't think it important to be able to contact the guard in the event of a problem - if that is the case, then the driver should be contactable.

However, it could be argued that if you see vandalism occuring, and you have no way of contacting BTP, you should use the emergency alarm to speak to the driver, rather than ask the driver to open his door?

Anyway, ask SWT what procedure they'd recommend for reporting vandalism, and post it here if possible?

Bear in mind that, if the train is stopping frequently it is unlikely that BTP will be able to get the culprits, and if the train waits for BTP to arrive then it is going to accrue a very hefty delay. How bad exactly was the vandalism, as it has to be quite bad to suffer the sort of delays that you get when waiting for BTP. For example, the last train I was on that had BTP called was a GNER service at Leeds. The delay was 25 minutes (sadly passengers for onward connections were not told to change at Leeds instead of York,so their 15 min connection at York became a needless missed connection at Leeds, but that's another story) and that's a station with BTP right there!! Imagine if it was somewhere BTP would have to travel to....

If it's serious enough to warrant that delay, pull the alarm.

However I do think the letter should not be sent as it is, there are several adjustments that could be made. They may be tempted to ignore the letter simply for the fact it's snobbish "not only do railway staff not talk to passengers like that, they do not talk to First Class ticket holders like that." I am not aware of any reason why FC passengers should be spoken to differently.
 

Dennis

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The guard promised that upon arrival at Waterloo, he would check the CCTV from Wokingham station to see if the youths were caught on tape.

You could have assisted with this if you had taken some shots of the 'action' (providing this could be done without compromising your own safety).
 

devon_metro

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I'm not so sure on the comment about first class ticket holders. They are not superior to standard class tickets so i feel that comment is un-fair.

Also dont *do* this in a *letter*
 

73109

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Must have been a reason for the driver to say go away. Well unless they were like a certain Clapham dispatcher jim knows what i mean
 

compsci

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If your letter has the appearance of a rant it is likely to be thrown away or replied to with whatever form letter comes to mind. I try to be firm, outlining the facts and what the company/staff/etc has done wrong. They can then use the facts to come to their own conclusion regarding what the appropriate cause of action is.

Another option is to phone the company. Depending on who answers the phone you may get someone who isn't a jobsworth, and hence listens to what you are saying. You can usually judge if they are taking you seriously. Also try to find something positive, even if this is from a separate occasion, as this avoids you looking like too much of a serial complainer.
 

AlexS

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Ever since the 'reliability mods' to the 458s it's now impossible to extend the connection, apparently.

As for the driver, as a general rule you should stay in the cab - the train is the guards responsibility, the station is the area station managers or the duty station manager, depending on how large it is. In the West Midlands our bus drivers have apparently been recently not to leave their cabs no matter what, or they will void their insurance. In some areas I could easily see where the same would apply to train drivers.
 

Respite

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As said it is the guards responsibility to report these things,however the driver shouldnt of said "Go away". Having said that though the amount of idiots we get knocking on the door for a laugh does get You worked up & I can see why the driver said that. Personally I've had two people break open the door on a 158 & come into the cab.One thought the cab was the toilet (guess the traincrew only sign on the door confused them),the other was furious that he had been given the wrong connection information & demanded that I found out what train he could catch from newport to bristol.This was whilst I was driving at 90mph.After I had stopped the train & got the guard down to assist with getting the idiot out of the cab the delay was enough that at least 30 people then missed there connections at newport.

I dont really think You should complain about the drivers actions,I would say the driver thought You were just another idiot messing about like the other 50 times it had probably happened to him that day already.
 

Guinness

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Safety is more important then Vandalism. I think that letter needs to be rephrased and re-thought. The driver's responsiblity is to drive the train and ensure the safety of the train and not vandalism. It's a problem but the driver has the right to stay in his Cab, it's the Guard's problem (Except in DOO circumstances).

I think you need to point out lack of On Train Communication because that was the problem. You couldn't contact the Guard until you were stopped at a Station. It's not the Driver's fault, it may of been rude of him/her but he's well within his/her right to stay in the cab.
 

Coxster

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There are, I'm told, reliability problems with 458 corridor connections that are a safety issue, so they are locked out of use. In addition refurb 455s have had them removed, to save money.
I seem to recall the tightlock coupler had a part to play with the unreliabilty of the Class 458 retractable gangways, but I can't confirm that. As for the Class 455s, it is Southern's who's corridors are no longer in use and NOT South West Trains'.

Guards never check tickets apparently (at least that's my experience!), and I guess they feel that there is no reason to want to get from one unit to another. Obviously they don't think it important to be able to contact the guard in the event of a problem - if that is the case, then the driver should be contactable.
On SWT that's not because they cannot be bothered, it's because a lot of guards in the London area are simply just guards - not commercial guards. Therefore it's not their job to check tickets. As for Southern, their 455s work DOO routes.

However, it could be argued that if you see vandalism occuring, and you have no way of contacting BTP, you should use the emergency alarm to speak to the driver, rather than ask the driver to open his door?
Indeed. The safety notices clearly state to use the intercoms and in some trains there are stickers clearly visible that say "Do not distract the driver" which is common sense IMHO anyway. For all we know the driver in question may have been on the cab phone to someone, or dealing with another matter.
 

16CSVT2700

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Yes, you should contact the guard first. But if that isn't possible, surely you contact any on train crew you can?
If you cannot contact the guard, another member of train crew might be available (such as buffet/trolley staff or RPIs).

The driver is a last resort and should be contacted only in emergency.
 

Gizmogle

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If you cannot contact the guard, another member of train crew might be available (such as buffet/trolley staff or RPIs).

The driver is a last resort and should be contacted only in emergency.
But if there wern't any other staff around then the driver is the only person you can contact...
Plus the driver wasn't doing anything, so he should help.
 
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