Now passengers need to train staff ?

Discussion in 'Fares Advice & Policy' started by sheff1, 27 Oct 2011.

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  1. sheff1

    sheff1 Established Member

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    Plymouth yesterday.

    I was travelling on a Club 55 Cheltenham - Plymouth return. Broke my journey overnight in Exeter on Tues, arrived in Plymouth around 1230 on Wed. Ticket wouldn't open the barrier. Usual response from the attendant - "ticket isn't valid".

    Half expecting such a situation to arise, I had printed off the Club 55 T&Cs and so handed them over. Cue much bafflement, Revenue Inspector called. Two people now reading the T&Cs. Third person (not sure of status) then arrives and joins the reading club. Inspector says "Well I didn't know anything about this, do you need to keep the copy of the T&Cs" ? Clearly I did, as without them who knows what might have happened. "OK then, do you mind if I take a photcopy ? Passengers often find out about things before we do."

    Now, considering these conditions have been online since early September, and the T&Cs were exactly the same last year, it seems FGWs staff communications really do take a long time to get out to the people who need to know.

    Happy to be of assistance, but should I ask for a consultancy fee :D ?



    As a postcript, the return portion was rejected by the barrier this morning. The attendant said that they were getting so many valid tickets rejected that, when passsengers were exiting, they were keeping all the tickets in a box with a view to sending them off to the powers that be to try and get things changed - good luck with that one !
     
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  3. Welshman

    Welshman Established Member

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    [sorry - misread original post]
     
  4. Solent&Wessex

    Solent&Wessex Established Member

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    Sadly this is very common at most TOCs.
     
  5. rail-britain

    rail-britain Established Member

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    I would suggest you make a complaint to First Great Western
    Yet again, staff unaware of the specifics of the NCoRC
     
  6. Greenback

    Greenback Emeritus Moderator

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    I am sure that some passengers could train railway staff in a far more effective manner than some TOC's can manage.
     
  7. ANorthernGuard

    ANorthernGuard Established Member

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    With the utmost respect, some toc's bring out that many different tickets its almost impossible to remember the specifics of each one, luckily northern tend not to go down that route unlike others like arriva, first etc.

     
  8. NSEFAN

    NSEFAN Established Member

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    Indeed. Dealing with the public is an important life skill, I've found!
     
  9. Greenback

    Greenback Emeritus Moderator

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    That's true, there are so many different types (particularly when you include PTE type tickets) that it must be difficult for TOC's to brief and for staff to remember.

    Training does seem to be more effective for on train staff as opposed to gateline staff though.
     
  10. Polarbear

    Polarbear Established Member

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    To be fair, it's not a new thing having to educate (a small number of) rail staff.

    When I used to be out & about in the 1980's & 1990's. the great majority of staff knew what they were doing. However, there was always someone, somewhere that didn't appear to know about the rover I had, where it was valid to & in some instances, the applicable time restrictions.

    Someone I knew had an All Line rover in the 1980's (in the days of no restrictions) & had the validity challenged on at least 3 occasions. The first was at Canterbury where he wanted to board a train before 09:00 & was stopped from doing so by the barrier staff. A visit to the station manager's office sorted that one out.;)

    On the same 14 day all line, a guard ranted at him on an Edinburgh - Kings Cross service as the All Line "wasn't valid beyond Berwick"!:roll: Cue a face off where the guard was told in no uncertain terms what the ticket was, the guard threatining the BPT at Newcastle & storming off - never to return. Oh, and no police welcome at Newcastle either.

    Finally, another All Line & a guard saying it wasn't valid in the morning peak - this time between Leeds & London in the 1990's. The response was "It say's "All Line Rover" on the ticket. Ican use any train on the network. Just how open do you want the ticket to be? The guard walked off...;)
     
  11. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    True, but the over-riding principles of the NRCoC apply, and that is break of journey is allowed unless it is "made clear in their notices and publications" that it isn't.

    So if a TOC is bringing out loads of tickets and it cannot be remembered which ones prohibit break of journey, then if it isn't immediately obvious that it is "made clear" that BOJ is prohibited, then it is allowed.

    It was incorrect for the member of staff to take the opposite view and assume the ticket wasn't valid for BOJ unless proven that it is. Tickets are valid for BOJ unless it is "made clear" that they are not. It appears that some members of staff are not trained in the National Rail Conditions of Carriage, and that is cause for concern.

    An alternative to carrying the conditions of the specific ticket, would be to carry the NRCoC and if a member of staff tried to claim a ticket was not valid for BOJ, then the question could be asked "Can you show me where it is made clear in the notices and publications of the company that break of journey is prohibited for this ticket?" If they are unable to show this, then NRCoC makes it clear the ticket is valid for BOJ.
     
  12. Greenback

    Greenback Emeritus Moderator

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    I certainly did not receive nay training in the NRCoC (or the RG come to that) back in the day. Training was very reliant on shadowing, and therefore what could be passed on by colleagues, rather than any formal training on such subjects.

    In fact, during my period of employment I worked on formalising the training we gave to new staff at my ticket office. This included setting up a sort of training contract, outlining different areas of knowledge and what the person shouldlearn. This was then signed off when the new employee was happy that it had been covered in sufficient depth.

    As I have said a few times, I am disappointed that the training of rail staff does not seem to have progressed much since my poor experiences in 1998, if at all.
     
  13. LondonJohn

    LondonJohn Member

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    With the same utmost respect what would have happend had the OP not taken the printed T&C with him ? Would he have had an UPFN that he would have had to pay and try to get back, or would he have been delayed by a few minutes whilst the eligibility was checked..either way there should be a quick reference guide to the matter, cheat sheets or something that he could refer to quickly and without inconveniencing the passenger too much.
     
  14. 455driver

    455driver On Moderation

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    So the staff checked (and accepted) the validity, took a copy for future reference and sorted everything out in a few minutes but that still isnt good enough, they are also saving all rejected tickets so they can try and get that problem sorted as well, what more do you want?

    Maybe you should learn about every ticket type with all possible restrictions and validity (dont forget the rover tickets ;)) and tell us how easy you find it?

    There are way to many tickets and restrictions and to expect any member of staff to know them all (with instant recall) is ridiculous in the extreme!

    If you are offering, off you go then!
    I await this "easy to read, quick reference guide" with much anticipation.;)
     
  15. sheff1

    sheff1 Established Member

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    Well, other respondents understood the point I was making. Sorry it was too complicated for you.
     
  16. RJ

    RJ Established Member

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    I had a comprehensive four week training course, plus three weeks of shadowning, in which a huge variety of things were covered. It's wrong to blame the training - some people naturally have people skills which can be used to forge positive interactions with customers, others don't. No amount of training can correct that.

    During shadowing, I refused to pick up habits that I knew were not correct from longer serving colleagues and didn't feel two ways about challenging appropriately, other staff, supervisors and management about things that I knew were wrong. That's just my personality - training would never teach one to do this and it's rather naive to assume that a uniform level of behaviour from clerks can be achieved through training alone. A ticket office clerk could know absolutely nothing and excel in the role, if they know where to look to find out what they need to and are willing to do this. The willingless is something that many people do not have instilled into their personality and like I said, no amount of training can change a person's personality. It is also something that is nigh on impossible to detect during the recruitment stage rather unfortunately.
     
    Last edited: 3 Nov 2011
  17. heart-of-wessex

    heart-of-wessex Established Member

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    I don't think the point was them not remembering types, more like they had no idea in the first place as they weren't told about it at all in any training/meetings/communication and took a member of public to show them a T&C sheet to show them what is valid, rather than ranting at the staff in hand.

    Am I on the right lines?
     
  18. stut

    stut Established Member

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    I think it's the difference between:

    "Don't know it, so it's not valid and you have to pay a penalty."

    and

    "Sorry sir, I'm not familiar with that ticket type, could you wait one moment while I double check?"
     
  19. 185

    185 Established Member

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    Sometimes staff need to remember that no matter how keen you want to be on tickets, when things go wrong, and passengers complain or the press get involved, all companies, especially FirstGroup will blame you, even when the passenger is totally wrong or abusive.

    Leave the real enforcement to the better paid and better protected RPI/M's

    Just get on with the job and enjoy it; be like Liverpool Lime St's barrier - library tickets and Tranmere Rovers season tickets usually work there. ;)
     
  20. sheff1

    sheff1 Established Member

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    You are indeed !

    Staff should not need to take photocopies of T&C information printed off by passengers. They should be supplied with the information by their employer. In cases such as this, a web link (or internal system location) coupled with easy access to internet/internal system would be fine. Then, if an unfamiliar ticket is rejected by the the barrier the attendant could say, "I am not certain of the conditions/validity of that ticket, I will just look it up for you".
     
  21. RJ

    RJ Established Member

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    That's working under the assumption that once they find the relevant rules, they interpret them correctly. It has happened to me before, a TM wasn't sure if my tickets were valid, so she checked with the revenue team. Two of them emailed back, both incorrect with their response. So I had to end up calling the pricing manager, who then had to call ATOC to verify that my tickets were indeed valid. I requested a bulletin be issued to staff so I don't get any hassle in future, never had any issues since!
     
  22. ess

    ess Member

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    Surely if a member of staff doesn't know a ticket type and had no means to check then it should be accepted as valid rather than treating the passenger with contempt?
     
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