For staff - do you ever want to just pack it all in?

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EM2

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Let me explain.

I'm a Station Control Supervisor, having previousy been a Customer Service Assistant, so when things go wrong, I know what it's like at the sharp end, how hard it is to get accurate information and updates.
As a matter of course, I read the Twitter feeds of a number of TOCs, and during a disruption the amount of vitriol and abuse that gets sent their way is absolutely shocking.

Reading FCC's timeline yesterday just brought home to me how bad it's getting, with one guy in particular (whose Twitter bio says he's a union rep within the Police) giving the Twitter team a really horrible time.

The thing is, this made me think if this is really what I want to do now. We all know that the industry will never be 100% reliable, there are too many systems and interactions for that, and the reactions to that really do frustrate and annoy me, that people will never understand what it is that we do and how hard we're working to a) get the information they want and b) to actually get the issues fixed.
 
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MR_P

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Not a member of Staff yet, Problem is nowadays people love to moan, its more popular that the great topic of the weather!
Guess its one of those industries where you hardly ever get the praise when things go right and working well.
 

Ferret

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Reading FCC's timeline yesterday just brought home to me how bad it's getting, with one guy in particular (whose Twitter bio says he's a union rep within the Police) giving the Twitter team a really horrible time.
Sounds about right.
 

TheEscapist_

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I love my job, but when there is disruption, I get shouted at quite sometimes and was called a fat idiot a few days ago! Stuff like that makes me want to quit.

Sent from my LT18i using Tapatalk 2
 

hairyhandedfool

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Every job has it's ups and downs, it's how you deal with it that makes the difference. As front line rail staff, you have to accept some people are going to be rude and aggressive, and that they are going to moan and complain when things aren't going their way.

The 'mobile revolution' is making it easier for people to make quicker complaints and, rather than being able to calm down or vent steam before complaining, the full brunt of the situation is thrust on customer relations staff and that is here to stay I think.

I think most staff would be kidding themselves if they said they hadn't had a day that made them stop and consider their options.
 

Bellwater

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Twitter's no different to here really, making comments with little chance of a comeback.

No, not really. I'm glad I'm not on the Intercity routes as the abuse you get on there when something goes wrong is something else as opposed to local ones where passengers are more understanding.

If I get treated with respect I give it back.. If not well 'evil laugh'
 

EM2

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The thing is, it's not me getting it in the neck, it's the industry as a whole, and it's making me wonder if I really want to work in an industry where no matter what is done, it's seen as not being good enough.
 

175001

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As a guard, I take the rough with the smooth.

Some Saturday nights around here I think to myself why am I doing this job for the hassle its worth, then on other days, I think to myself, this is the life, seeing green lush countryside, passing me by as I do my job :)
 

Minilad

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I get really frustrated with people who moan about things that are outside the railways control but make it sound like its the railways fault.
Trouble with commuters is their train can be on time 15 or 20 times on the trot but they will always remember the one time when it was delayed
 

Nym

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I get really frustrated with people who moan about things that are outside the railways control but make it sound like its the railways fault.
Trouble with commuters is their train can be on time 15 or 20 times on the trot but they will always remember the one time when it was delayed
Quite true indeed...

London is the worst, they wait more than 3 mins for anything and they feel hard done by.
 

CC 72100

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Quite true indeed...

London is the worst, they wait more than 3 mins for anything and they feel hard done by.
Exactly. Try coming to the Forest of Dean where your 1 bus an hour to Gloucester turns up 1 hour 20 minutes late!

On a general note, I think people just like somebody to blame when things aren't quite going right. Most passangers don't have a clue about what's behind Speed restrictions, failed freight trains, animals on the line, signalling problems and vent out all their anger on the TOC they want to use and the first member of staff they see!
 

table38

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It happens a lot in my industry too (aka "Blamestorming" :().

In the old days, I'd go on site to fix something, and because it was probably just on the edge of failing completely and hadn't been switched off for a while, just the process of restarting it would cause a major outage, for which they would try to blame me, again showing a lack of understanding of the reality of "how things work".

Of course, the guy blaming me has got his boss on his back and so on, so it can be understandable.

We just used to take it on the chin. The rest of the job made up for the occasional contretemps.
 

WCMLaddict

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As a guard, I take the rough with the smooth.

Some Saturday nights around here I think to myself why am I doing this job for the hassle its worth, then on other days, I think to myself, this is the life, seeing green lush countryside, passing me by as I do my job :)
But there are many people that appreciate your work. Just yesterday I saw how a Northern guard dealt with some young troublemakers with calm but no nonsense approach. I rarely go on commuter trains so don't see such things often so I was really impressed with his stance. Other passengers as well even as he delayed the train slightly. He was praised by quite a few.
 

AndyBoo

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just have to be very thick skinned. ive never done station work, and i think its easier for on-board staff. Customers will always complain, but if your working on-board a delayed train its easy to remind the customers that all the staff on-board are in the same situation. We all gonna be late getting home. And no matter what you are called, just remember they are only shouting at the uniform. Ive been in many sticky situations, but have found that if you just keep on agreeing with their complaints they soon stop.
 

ChrisTheRef

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just have to be very thick skinned. ive never done station work, and i think its easier for on-board staff. Customers will always complain, but if your working on-board a delayed train its easy to remind the customers that all the staff on-board are in the same situation. We all gonna be late getting home. And no matter what you are called, just remember they are only shouting at the uniform. Ive been in many sticky situations, but have found that if you just keep on agreeing with their complaints they soon stop.
Agree. A lot of people who use our network seem to have this mindset that we're ridiculous and unreliable etc etc, despite being one of the most punctual TOCs in the country.

As/when the verbals begin, I try and sympathise and explain, whilst letting the insults go flying over my head. It's only because I'm wearing this uniform.
 

455driver

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As/when the verbals begin, I try and sympathise and explain, whilst letting the insults go flying over my head. It's only because I'm wearing this uniform.
When the verbal starts I walk away, I am not there to take abuse I am there to help, if they just want to hurl abuse they are not getting any help from me.

They may be "taking it out on the uniform" but if I wasnt in the uniform I wouldnt take it so I am b*ggered if I will take when in uniform.

I may be a member of railstaff but I am still a human being and expect to be treated as one!
 

Minilad

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When the verbal starts I walk away, I am not there to take abuse I am there to help, if they just want to hurl abuse they are not getting any help from me.

They may be "taking it out on the uniform" but if I wasnt in the uniform I wouldnt take it so I am b*ggered if I will take when in uniform.

I may be a member of railstaff but I am still a human being and expect to be treated as one!
Nail hit on head. Firmly
 

Flamingo

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I'm afraid I think that the only person who is allowed shout at me because they are having a bad day is my wife (despite what we get told to the contrary). The level of service someone receives from me depends on their attitude, and I don't apologise for that.

Reading some of the TOC's twitter feeds, I must admit, I wonder why they bother paying someone to respond to the drivel that is posted - not to mention the replies that seem to constantly undermine the front-line staff.
 

185

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Generally on the railway, if people up sticks and leave, it's usually to head to another operator. Back in 2002, First North Western staff referred to Arriva Trains Northern as "the great escape" or "the escape committee".... unfortunately everyone who got out of North Western, (to get away from FirstGroup and their backstabbing management), found themselves back working for FirstGrunt several years later when they got the TPE franchise. Since then quite a few staff have left to go to other companies across the UK.

People rarely leave the railway, they just move around and head for a better TOC.
 

Beveridges

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When I worked on the despatch side of things I only ever thought that the occasional crap from passengers would be more than made up for the fact that the job is rediculously easy 95% of the time when everything is running smoothly, and even when things go wrong there was not always abuse, it seemed to be very rare when there was. Probably once every 3 months there was someone who gave abuse, but as always you dont have to take it, you can fob them off with a complaints form then leave it at that, or you can threaten to call the police, you can give abuse back (if no managers are around), or you can just walk off to your office and shut the door on them. But as said before it is so occasional that the fact that the job is normally so easy makes up for it.
Anyway since then I've moved onto Depot work and there is no bad passengers to put up with at all now.
 
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PaxVobiscum

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Anyway since then I've moved onto Depot work and there is no bad passengers to put up with at all now.
But from the books on railways I've read, aren't some of the engines a bit moody? And all these Troublesome Trucks! Doesn't the Fat Controller have to sort them out sometimes? :D
 

Cundy66

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I may not be mainline staff but I am still on the rails (sometimes thinking I've gone off them) yh i am a young babyfaced conductor and seem to get people trying to take me as a push over, which they find I'm not.

I will take you back to a few situations I have had recently that made me think am I in the right job.

Few week ago i had two passengers attempting to avoid paying a fare this time stooping to an all time low in my opinion by pretending to be disabled saying forgot passes and to let them off with going 5 stops these two being regulars I knew different I said no pass full fare to which they refused so i pressed the bell to which the driver saw what was happening so they jumped up one went to throw a punch to which i was prepared something would happen and stepped back in time.

Adults getting on for one stop asking for child fares and getting abusive when asked to see a pass for the fare then most they offer is 2/3 of the fare but the abuse and threats is unbelievable but glad when they are off.

Last night I had a group of adults got on going 4 stops saying they wasnt paying and one asked if there was a B.O.G.O.F offer I said Yh it is called the next stop and the sensible women told them to pay as they wasn't walking. Nice when that happens.

When it comes to delays or cancelation due to incidents further up the line you explain and tell them that busses will accept tickets but still not good enough we get asked if we can go round say the broken down bus I always ask if they going to get off the tram with their spade and spare track and build some points round the bus one driver asked it i knew which button it was for the wings. Some passengers see the humour of our comments and ask us still if we found the button

If anything it is pushing me more to mainline rail as i want to see more and go for a on track career and see how long I'm on the rails because no matter how awkward someone is they wont break me as the person I am
 

2Dogbox

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I don't want to pack it all in but it does get very close on some Saturdays. This day seems to bring out the worst people. Yesterday my train was at one point full of stupid drunk blokes chanting and shouting at one another and spilling lager all over the floor. Felt sorry for the 'ordinary' passengers. But a lot of times working on trains to me is far better then anything else I could do. I would hate to be in an office all day, even if you do get Saturdays off.
 

Bellwater

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I don't want to pack it all in but it does get very close on some Saturdays. This day seems to bring out the worst people. Yesterday my train was at one point full of stupid drunk blokes chanting and shouting at one another and spilling lager all over the floor. Felt sorry for the 'ordinary' passengers. But a lot of times working on trains to me is far better then anything else I could do. I would hate to be in an office all day, even if you do get Saturdays off.
Hmmm, wonder which train you were on mate...

My last working yesterday, 2 BTP and 2 Security Guards travelling with us, 1 Arrested, Newspaper all over the floor but no Sick or smoking in the toilet which was a bonus.
 

455driver

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One of the ones that stick in my mind (when I was a guard) was, on a Saurday about 8pm, 2 girls asking where the toilets were (on a 455) on being told there werent any and the best idea would be to get off the train at Richmond, use the toilets there and board the following train. They went into the (half full) front coach and urinated on the front seats. I was already making my way down there when a couple of passengers met me and told me what they had done. Got to Richmond where they were removed with the assistance of a couple of platform staff, got the usual "you effing bee" etc off the girls but when I said (rather loudly) "well dont p155 on the seats then you wont get thrown off the train will you", they went rather quiet as about 50 people on the platform started staring at them with that disapproving look. :lol:
 

2Dogbox

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Hmmm, wonder which train you were on mate...

My last working yesterday, 2 BTP and 2 Security Guards travelling with us, 1 Arrested, Newspaper all over the floor but no Sick or smoking in the toilet which was a bonus.
Were you working the Robin Hoodie line then or the last Liverpool? I'm sure saturday people are getting worse!
 

Rugd1022

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Reading some of the above posts, I am so glad I'm a freight driver sometimes!

We all have bad days I suppose but I can honestly say I've never felt like packing it in, however tired and grumpy I might become. I' know many railwaymen who have done so for one reason or another and very soon regretted it. I had a bit of a 'moment' early on in my shift today when it really dawned on me just how lucky I am - working the Drain Train, I was sat at Hanslope Junction waiting for a possession to be given up with a fresh brew on the go and out of nowhere the Battle Of Britain Memorial Flight Lancaster flew across the railway from east to west in gorgeous sunshine.... I thought to myself 'it doesn't get much better than this'... ;)
 
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Reading some of the above posts, I am so glad I'm a freight driver sometimes!

We all have bad days I suppose but I can honestly say I've never felt like packing it in, however tired and grumpy I might become. I' know many railwaymen who have done so for one reason or another and very soon regretted it. I had a bit of a 'moment' early on in my shift today when it really dawned on me just how lucky I am - working the Drain Train, I was sat at Hanslope Junction waiting for a possession to be given up with a fresh brew on the go and out of nowhere the Battle Of Britain Memorial Flight Lancaster flew across the railway from east to west in gorgeous sunshine.... I thought to myself 'it doesn't get much better than this'... ;)
Only things missing were a secondman and guard :)
 
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