GWR incorrectly telling people how to travel

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ValleyLines142

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My fiancée had to make a journey from Gloucester to Cardiff this morning. He had an Advance ticket on the 08:58 departure, which is usually a Transport for Wales service but with the landslide at Lydney there are replacement buses in operation. It was odd that the app allowed him to buy a ticket for a service that clearly wasn't running (he was aware of the landslide, but assumed that it had been cleared and that the line had reopened as he was able to buy a ticket). He checked with GWR if he could travel via Filton Abbey Wood, as he didn't particularly want to get on a replacement bus with his suitcase and it would be more of a faff. He checked the train times via Filton and they all worked in his favour, and got confirmation from GWR that he could travel that way if he wanted to.

Upon arrival at Gloucester station this morning, a member of staff asked where he was travelling to, to which he said Cardiff. She directed him towards the replacement buses outside but politely declined, saying that he had had permission from GWR on Twitter to travel via Filton and had the screenshots on Twitter. She then refused him travel on the train, saying 'you're not allowed to go via Bristol' and once again insisted he got the bus, despite repeating several times that he had no desire to. He even showed her screenshots and she said 'I don't care'.

The replacement coach, for various reasons I'm unaware of, took over two hours to get from Gloucester to Newport. He then had to get a train from Newport to Cardiff, and then another from Cardiff to Heath High Level. The journey via Bristol should have taken 1 hour and 56 minutes; this morning it took almost 3 hours.

He has reached his destination now but the fact of the matter is the journey took considerably longer and since when have staff dictated how people travel? He politely declined the option of taking the bus, despite the journey planners saying this was the quickest (which it clearly wasn't), so why keep pressuring someone to do something when they've expressed a desire not to? I just find the whole situation pretty bizarre and having just gone through Gloucester station myself, nobody seemed to know what had happened when I asked who was involved, so clearly they must have changed staff for the afternoon.

I just find the whole situation just completely bizarre. Frankly, we live in a society where people's decisions/views should be respected, especially during current times (I certainly wouldn't want to go on a replacement bus in the height of a respiratory pandemic); why is this not happening?
 
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Doctor Fegg

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Just on a point of detail - are you sure it's GWR you spoke to on Twitter? I can find a Twitter thread and it looks like CrossCountry to me (but it might be someone else in the same boat, of course).
 

robbeech

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It is not for the passenger to determine which members of staff at which operator are allowed to give permission to board a service or use a route. If an operator has an issue with this then they should deal with internally and if they feel it necessary discuss changing of the rules which would need to be approved. Of course there is no need to do any of this in reality as they can just do and say what they want and get away with it and the only ones that are put out are the passengers.

In this instance it appears from what you have said that the passenger had permission to board a service(s) and use a particular route. This should be all that is required. They SHOULD be in a better position than many as they have evidence of this in text format. Alas, the railway wins again by not following the rules. I hope they're proud.
 

packermac

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My fiancée had to make a journey from Gloucester to Cardiff this morning. He had an Advance ticket on the 08:58 departure, which is usually a Transport for Wales service but with the landslide at Lydney there are replacement buses in operation. It was odd that the app allowed him to buy a ticket for a service that clearly wasn't running (he was aware of the landslide, but assumed that it had been cleared and that the line had reopened as he was able to buy a ticket). He checked with GWR if he could travel via Filton Abbey Wood, as he didn't particularly want to get on a replacement bus with his suitcase and it would be more of a faff. He checked the train times via Filton and they all worked in his favour, and got confirmation from GWR that he could travel that way if he wanted to.

Upon arrival at Gloucester station this morning, a member of staff asked where he was travelling to, to which he said Cardiff. She directed him towards the replacement buses outside but politely declined, saying that he had had permission from GWR on Twitter to travel via Filton and had the screenshots on Twitter. She then refused him travel on the train, saying 'you're not allowed to go via Bristol' and once again insisted he got the bus, despite repeating several times that he had no desire to. He even showed her screenshots and she said 'I don't care'.

The replacement coach, for various reasons I'm unaware of, took over two hours to get from Gloucester to Newport. He then had to get a train from Newport to Cardiff, and then another from Cardiff to Heath High Level. The journey via Bristol should have taken 1 hour and 56 minutes; this morning it took almost 3 hours.

He has reached his destination now but the fact of the matter is the journey took considerably longer and since when have staff dictated how people travel? He politely declined the option of taking the bus, despite the journey planners saying this was the quickest (which it clearly wasn't), so why keep pressuring someone to do something when they've expressed a desire not to? I just find the whole situation pretty bizarre and having just gone through Gloucester station myself, nobody seemed to know what had happened when I asked who was involved, so clearly they must have changed staff for the afternoon.

I just find the whole situation just completely bizarre. Frankly, we live in a society where people's decisions/views should be respected, especially during current times (I certainly wouldn't want to go on a replacement bus in the height of a respiratory pandemic); why is this not happening?
I am confused if he thought the service was running as he had purchased a ticket for what you say is a TfW service why had he contacted GWR in advance?
Also why would it not sell him a ticket if the rail company were providing replacement buses?
From a look at National Rail the anytime fare via Filton is the same was he on some advance fare?
 

father_jack

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Two things.

Firstly, TfW haven't removed the direct Cheltenham to Cardiff/Maesteg trains from the booking systems, I can buy a ticket with travel advice of a direct train for the same train tomorrow (Wednesday).

Secondly, the Crosscountry staff info system says-
Due to a landslip between Gloucester and Lydney all lines are blocked.

Impact:
Train services running through these stations will be suspended between Gloucester and Cardiff Central. Disruption is expected until the end of the day on 10/02/21.

Customer Advice:
Passengers travelling between Birmingham and Cardiff are advised to travel via Bristol Parkway, using CrossCountry services between Birmingham and Bristol, and GWR services between Bristol and Cardiff.

Alternatively, road transport is operating between Gloucester and Newport in both directions. All road transport will be fully accessible and is operated by Cymru Coaches. If you are a disabled customer requiring further assistance for your disrupted journey, please speak to railway station staff or use the customer help points if the station is unstaffed.

We are also available to help via our Social Media channels on Twitter: @CrossCountryUK or Facebook: http://m.me/crosscountrytrains 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Transport For Wales are conveying passengers between Cheltenham Spa and Cardiff Central in both directions until further notice.
Great Western Railway are conveying passengers between Gloucester and Cardiff Central via Bristol Temple Meads in both directions until further notice. Arrangements have been made for CrossCountry rail tickets to be accepted for these journeys.
This however doesn't seem to be reciprocated on the GWR staff info page, staff from each firm can look at each other's info if they know where to look.

It also begs the question I have been asking internally for years- what are "Cross country" tickets ? I'd prefer if they said tickets for journeys usually routed or operated by Cross Country or affected by the current issues. In my railway experience keeping people moving by rail is always far preferable than road transport around twisty lanes to link intermediate stations that takes hours.

Aside, the OP (Dan ?) and his acquaintances are often quite unfortunate in experiencing mishaps as above, just saying from what I see.....
 

CrispyUK

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The below is quoted from the National Rail service disruption bulletin, it sounds like CrossCountry have ticket acceptance in place via Bristol or road transport, but Transport for Wales are only offering road transport. As he held an Advance ticket only valid on TfW services then that would make sense why he wasn’t permitted to use the train via Bristol.

Description
A landslip between Lydney and Gloucester means that all lines are blocked. No trains can run between these stations.

Disruption is expected until the end of service on Wednesday 10 February.

Alternative travel advice:

CrossCountry

Replacement road transport is running between Gloucester and Newport South Wales.

You may also use your ticket on Transport for Wales services between Cheltenham Spa and Cardiff Central and also on Great Western Railway between Gloucester and Cardiff Central via Bristol Temple Meads.

Transport for Wales

Replacement road transport services are running as follows:
  • from Chepstow to Gloucester (in that direction only)
  • from Gloucester to Newport, via Lydney and Chepstow (in that direction only)
 

ValleyLines142

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Just on a point of detail - are you sure it's GWR you spoke to on Twitter? I can find a Twitter thread and it looks like CrossCountry to me (but it might be someone else in the same boat, of course).
If you've seen @DJBsass on Monday evening, that's me; I was originally speaking to CrossCountry as their app was still showing the usual direct trains, and didn't show any indication of a replacement bus.
It is not for the passenger to determine which members of staff at which operator are allowed to give permission to board a service or use a route. If an operator has an issue with this then they should deal with internally and if they feel it necessary discuss changing of the rules which would need to be approved. Of course there is no need to do any of this in reality as they can just do and say what they want and get away with it and the only ones that are put out are the passengers.

In this instance it appears from what you have said that the passenger had permission to board a service(s) and use a particular route. This should be all that is required. They SHOULD be in a better position than many as they have evidence of this in text format. Alas, the railway wins again by not following the rules. I hope they're proud.
Exactly. Couldn't agree more.
I am confused if he thought the service was running as he had purchased a ticket for what you say is a TfW service why had he contacted GWR in advance?
Also why would it not sell him a ticket if the rail company were providing replacement buses?
From a look at National Rail the anytime fare via Filton is the same was he on some advance fare?
Because I wanted to see if GWR would accept tickets via Filton, as at that point I hadn't checked NRE to see the situation with ticket acceptance.
Two things.

Firstly, TfW haven't removed the direct Cheltenham to Cardiff/Maesteg trains from the booking systems, I can buy a ticket with travel advice of a direct train for the same train tomorrow (Wednesday).

Secondly, the Crosscountry staff info system says-

This however doesn't seem to be reciprocated on the GWR staff info page, staff from each firm can look at each other's info if they know where to look.

It also begs the question I have been asking internally for years- what are "Cross country" tickets ? I'd prefer if they said tickets for journeys usually routed or operated by Cross Country or affected by the current issues. In my railway experience keeping people moving by rail is always far preferable than road transport around twisty lanes to link intermediate stations that takes hours.

Aside, the OP (Dan ?) and his acquaintances are often quite unfortunate in experiencing mishaps as above, just saying from what I see.....
This is the problem having rival operators over the same stretch of route.

I unfortunately have been caught in the crossfire between GWR/TfW/XC. Yes they're all separate TOCs but ultimately they should all be pulling together during times likes these.
The below is quoted from the National Rail service disruption bulletin, it sounds like CrossCountry have ticket acceptance in place via Bristol or road transport, but Transport for Wales are only offering road transport. As he held an Advance ticket only valid on TfW services then that would make sense why he wasn’t permitted to use the train via Bristol.
The gateline assistant didn't check his ticket, so it made no difference. It's pathetic really that the two TOCs that share the route (via Lydney) have got two completely different alternative arrangements in place.

Just a frankly bizarre situation which is over and done with now, but needs to be avoided for the future otherwise it'll just put people off trains!
 

ep_

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I thought Gloucester to Cardiff via Bristol is a permitted route in any case? (Disregarding that the ticket was an Advance, as you mentioned the station staff didn't know that.)
 

ValleyLines142

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I thought Gloucester to Cardiff via Bristol is a permitted route in any case? (Disregarding that the ticket was an Advance, as you mentioned the station staff didn't know that.)
So did I.

Frankly, I think it's ludicrous that GWR are accepting XC but not TfW, even though the latter share the same line to Cardiff! GWR are, in short, basically saying if you're with XC then feel free to use our services instead but if you've booked with TfW then get stuffed!

Ridiculously, the 18:08 service from Cardiff ran as far as Chepstow, where a replacement bus service was apparently, according to Ned on TfW Twitter, due to depart at 18:50 (the 18:08 service arrived at Chepstow at 18:43). That is due to arrive at Gloucester at 19:50 which is optimistic!! Yet, my other half has just successfully caught the 18:19 to London Paddington to Bristol Parkway and changed onto the 18:56 to Gloucester, where he's due to arrive at 19:31!! So he's left ten minutes later but will be arriving twenty minutes earlier (possibly earlier!) now! Why on earth would anyone in their right mind wait at Chepstow! Furthermore, live departures are showing a replacement bus from Chepstow at 19:25 (arriving at 20:10, again optimistic!), but not at 18:50, and after the farce he had yesterday, I advised him to get the Bristol train which will probably be the better option!
 

Class800

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If customer service was taken seriously, any staff saying 'I don't care' would be a summary dismissal - the fact it isn't shows customer service doesn't matter to TOCs
 

185143

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Why was your fiancé asked where they were travelling to when arriving at the station? That's not normal.
At a guess so that they could be directed to the replacement buses and/or informed of the disruption if they were travelling to somewhere affected by the disruption.
 

island

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If customer service was taken seriously, any staff saying 'I don't care' would be a summary dismissal - the fact it isn't shows customer service doesn't matter to TOCs
I’ve had the exact same words used to me by GWR staff in the past when I challenged a request to wear a face covering on an open platform.
 

father_jack

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False. It is not law to wear a face covering in an open area of a station in England.
Accepted. But splitting hairs/making poor comparisons to have a go at the staff is a tad facetious. The situation at Gloucester is clearly wrong but what has wearing a mask on a platform got to do with it....
 

MikeWh

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False. It is not law to wear a face covering in an open area of a station in England.
At risk of going further off-topic, the message (if not the law) is that you must wear a face covering whilst on trains or stations. If a number of people are standing close together for a reasonable time waiting for a train then I'd say that there are risks of transmission. It's the same reason that they won't let spectators in to racecourses and other largely open sporting events, even in restricted numbers keeping 2m apart.
 

yorkie

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The law refers to "any enclosed part of premise" in relation to transport hubs, thus not including open air platforms.

This makes sense* as risk of transmission outdoors is miniscule

(* notwithstanding any debate about the effectiveness of masks, which is of course an entirely different subject its own right)
 

Haywain

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It may not be law that a mask must be worn when on a station, but the railway are perfectly entitled to set their own requirements.
 
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Bensonby

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I(t may not be law that a mask must be worn when on a station, but the railway are perfectly entitled to set their own requirements.
Not really, unless they have put it into the terms and conditions of their contract with you they would be in breach of contract if they removed you/denied you travel etc for breaching some rule they had subsequently invented.
 

Haywain

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Not really, unless they have put it into the terms and conditions of their contract with you they would be in breach of contract if they removed you/denied you travel etc for breaching some rule they had subsequently invented.
I'm sure that a failure to comply will be covered somewhere or other in either RoRA or the bye-laws.
 

Tazi Hupefi

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I don't think it is.

I've had this argument before on this very forum, and my position is that the railway CAN enforce mask compliance to their own requirements and policies, using the provisions of Byelaw 12.

12. Safety instructions​

  1. an operator may issue reasonable instructions relating to safety on any part of the railway by means of a notice on or near that part of the railway. No person shall, without good cause, disobey such notice
  2. an authorised person may, in an emergency or in other circumstances in which he believes he should act in the interests of safety, issue instructions to any person on the railway. No person shall, without good cause, disobey such instructions

Now, again, for the benefit of the forum moderators and administrators, I am not claiming that the above is currently being used in such a manner, or that the TOCs intend to do so, however, in my opinion, they would be perfectly within their legal powers to produce notices (or issue instructions by other suitable means) mandating the use of masks, as long as they ultimately comply with the Equality Act in any subsequent enforcement.

I am, however, asserting, that services (and stations, trains etc) managed by TfL Byelaws DO utilise Byelaw 12, which further cements my position that Byelaw 12 of the Railway Byelaws is a perfectly valid means of enforcement, if the operators wished to use it.


TRANSPORT FOR LONDON PASSENGER EMERGENCY SAFETY NOTICE Made under paragraph 12(1) of the TfL Railway Byelaws
 

MikeWh

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Leaving aside the issues as to the differences in amount of air circulating, platforms can come in a variety of scenarios from a rural shack with no shelter at all through varying amounts of canopy right up to virtually enclosed like parts of Birmingham New Street. They probably want to keep the message simple, which in my opinion is a good thing.

It's not dissimilar to the smoking ban which applies on all platforms as well as in trains.
 

yorkie

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Now, again, for the benefit of the forum moderators and administrators, I am not claiming that the above is currently being used in such a manner, or that the TOCs intend to do so, however, in my opinion, they would be perfectly within their legal powers to produce notices (or issue instructions by other suitable means) mandating the use of masks, as long as they ultimately comply with the Equality Act in any subsequent enforcement.

I am, however, asserting, that services (and stations, trains etc) managed by TfL Byelaws DO utilise Byelaw 12, which further cements my position that Byelaw 12 of the Railway Byelaws is a perfectly valid means of enforcement, if the operators wished to use it.

Notwithstanding any debate questioning whether this is genuinely about 'safety', yes I agree.

It's therefore enforceable on TfL but not (non-TfL) National Rail TOCs.

I think this thread has run its course.
 
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