Passenger altercations

Discussion in 'UK Railway Discussion' started by Steam Man, 15 Aug 2019.

  1. Steam Man

    Steam Man Member

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    I had an altercation between myself and a passenger on Tuesday on the steam train I was quite shaken up by the experience. I had to write a report out about what happened how do other staff bounce back from things like that and how common are altercations between staff and passengers I find that some passengers are just looking for confrontations if I’m wrong please correct me. I find that most passengers are fine it’s the odd few that look for trouble
     
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  3. ComUtoR

    ComUtoR Established Member

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    Don't take it personal.

    Rightly or wrongly, people are angry at 'the service' 'the railway' 'the timetable' 'the ticket price' very rarely the passenger is actually angry at you. There have been a couple of times where a passenger has been angry at me personally for something I did or didn't do but in those cases just accept responsibility and that tends to deflate the situation.

    I have been spat at, sworn at, and had various hand gestures given. Luckily nothing has got physical. I don't accept the mantra of it being part of the job but I find that you have to accept that they are frustrated or whatever situation led to them being angry.

    There are some very nasty people out there but overall most are ok. Many are rude and many are ignorant but most just walk past and go about their days.

    The best thing you can do is to leave it all at the door. The second I spin that key, I'm in go home mode. I get in my car and leave it all at work. I used to be a Retail Manager and I took work home with me pretty much every day. Now I can compartmentalize work/life a lot better. Its the same when I book on. Every day is a new day and I start fresh.

    Yesterday I was late on every trip, passed a signal at danger due to a signal failure, covered someones turn because of late notice sickness.
    Today I was on time at St Albans and then dropped minutes because I was given a special stop order. Egressed due to a passenger passing out right in the peak, Tanked to +15 and got late back to depot. Not a single customer complaint or bad looks as I came into stations.
    Tomorrow will be different but you can't take the baggage from the previous days or you will eventually snap.

    Couple of months back we got delayed into Blackfriars. Many many announcements, full customer service and great communication. Got into Blackfriars and 1 passenger out of everyone who got off decided to take their frustration out on me. That passenger had to walk the length of the train (from where they got out), find the Driver, and voice their opinions. 1 out of an entire 8 car.. I'll take that as a win.
     
    Last edited: 15 Aug 2019
  4. Sprinter107

    Sprinter107 Member

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    I'm sorry to hear that happened to you mate. That's how it is now. Sometimes you dont even need to have done anything to be on the receiving end of abuse or threats of violence. I sometimes get abuse from passengers getting off the train, who I've never seen before. Just smile nicely and thank them for the compliment, and bid them good day. Hand gestures are also common, from people on the platform, sometimes for no reason, sometimes because theyve been delayed. It's only the minority. Most of the passengers are fine, so just put it behined you and carry on as normal.
     
  5. Tube driver

    Tube driver Member

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    When I was on stations many moons ago I was subject to tirades of abuse regularly, been spat at, threatened with physical violence but thankfully never actually assaulted. Most of the time they’re shouting at the uniform rather than the person and whilst it’s never acceptable, you do learn to let it go over your head. Remember, they’re the ones who have to live with that obnoxious personality, you are actually all right.

    As a driver, I’ve thankfully never had any real problems. If there’s a problem I’ll always try and explain what’s actually gone wrong in layman’s terms rather than simply ‘defective train ahead’ type message. I don’t sugar coat messages so if there’s a ‘oneunder’ you’ll know it rather than ‘person on the track’ which is ambiguous at best and I think this helps. A lot of people get frustrated because of a lack of credible and up to date information which you can counter quite easily.

    Try not to take it home though, they’re the one with the issue not you.
     
  6. jamesst

    jamesst Member

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    Yeah I've gone the full spectrum from being punched on the stations years ago by a drunk to a couple spitting at me as they walked past my cab a couple of months ago for no reason other than they wanted to.
    Try not to take it personally and the second you leave work leave all the problems there!
     
  7. Steam Man

    Steam Man Member

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    The good thing is that if he does take it further my managers are behind me 100%
     
  8. theageofthetra

    theageofthetra Established Member

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    Which steam train was this?
     
  9. Jonfun

    Jonfun Established Member

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    Reducing workforce assault and abuse is a key priority for the industry. Unfortunately, it's getting significantly worse year on year which is something that the train companies alongside BTP want to get tailing off. Revenue protection issues are generally the biggest trigger for assaults and abuse, which is why you'll often hear a sigh of relief from everyone involved when ticket gates go in at a station.
     
  10. Steam Man

    Steam Man Member

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    South Devon Railway
     
  11. 221129

    221129 Established Member

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    Haha funny. If you can get BTP to attend and even if they do they aren't interested.
     
  12. Stigy

    Stigy Established Member

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    What was this passenger angry at? Usually people on heritage lines are generally good natured, due to being more of a leisure outing?

    I’ve dealt with angry people on an almost daily basis in my previous job, sometimes rolling around on the floor with them (it was the nature of the job to be called upon to deal with incidents so it happened occasionally). Most people are easy enough to deal with, whereas others (irrespective of what the management or customer service trainees might say) there’s just no reasoning with (alcohol/drug fuelled violence for example).

    Part of the reason I left to become a Trainee Driver was because I was sick and tired of ‘dealing’ with the same miscreants on a daily basis, and it was a vicious circle. They commit offences - I report them - they get summonsed to court - they get found guilty in their absense - they commit offences - I report them....etc etc.

    At least being up the front I can distance myself from what I used to deal with. I’m happy to offer assistance to customers, but glad of no longer having to enforce any legislation. I used to love going out and getting stuck in, but it takes its toll after a while, especially when colleagues don’t have the same ideas lol.

    To answer the initial question; all staff are different, but being customer facing we generally get a thick skin.
     
    Last edited: 15 Aug 2019
  13. pt_mad

    pt_mad Established Member

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    Have being able to walk away in your itinerary as well. Many employers have a policy of walk away once the person becomes threatening or abusive. Nobody would blame you from walking away from someone swearing at you or personally insulting you.
    Keep safe above all. If that meant walking away and the person starting abusing others or causing damage it would then need a police response.
     
  14. cambsy

    cambsy On Moderation

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    I sometimes chat with drivers, if they delayed ill just be inquisitive about reasons, ie signal checks or tsr’s, but not angry as know its personally not their fault, but also say looks like you had a clear run today, if the run was sprightly etc, ill say nice run driver or good run, compliment if run early, as always nice to have hard nosed run to speed limits.
     
  15. Steam Man

    Steam Man Member

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    I was so close to telling the passenger to bleep off
     
  16. sharpley

    sharpley Member

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    Once witnessed a visually impaired guy get punched and his white stick snapped after he knocked into some nutter. Occurred at London Bridge LUL a few years ago... some people are fvcking animals.
     
  17. Jonfun

    Jonfun Established Member

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    BTP attend somewhere between two thirds and three quarters of all workforce assault and abuse events which are reported to them. There is some room for improvement there but equally it isn't half bad considering the geographically dispersed nature of the network.

    Unfortunately some rail staff - and I'm sure you've known people like it in the past - waste BTP's time by having them come out to things like ticket irregularities which could be dealt with via the TIR processes, making false accusations against passengers like suspecting them to have drugs or weapons for whatever reason, or - and probably the most frustrating for everyone involved - getting them to blue light down the M5 or whatever from 30 miles away to arrive at a reported staff assault to find the guard who'd been thumped was actually on his going-home train so closed up and went 10 minutes before. It's these things that prevent the BTP from responding to actual issues where the staff member wants to make a complaint against the assailant, wants to make a statement and wants to see them in court prosecuted.

    If there's a local issue at your location with BTP not dealing with crime, raise it, the TOCs pay a fair whack for the privilege of having BTP so generally speaking they have people tasked with making sure they're doing what they should be.
     
  18. Melancholia

    Melancholia Member

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    I do not regret leaving working on the front line. The grief we have to deal with on the railway from the general public can really bring a person down, and ruin their dream of working on the railway.
     
  19. Mitchell Hurd

    Mitchell Hurd Member

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    If I'm honest, I think the more common passenger altercations are when seat reservations aren't working or someone's in your booked seat but won't move.

    Another one in a way is if you're in a Quiet Coach and a passenger is talking on the phone or too loud, then someone reminding passengers of the Quiet Coach rules isn't always likely to get a polite response. That's probably one reason why East Midlands Trains got rid of the Quiet Coach and XC on their Voyagers.

    I'm glad I've not yet had an altercation with a passenger!
     

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