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Poor customer service SWT

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pethadine82

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Yesterday after an evening out in Clapham Junction, we arrived at platform 5 to take the Reading train at 11.20.

There were numerous passengers on the platform, and all the destinations were showing delayed, and there was no further information.

We pressed the help button at the information point only to be connected to a call centre in India, who was utterly useless.

There were no staff whatsoever, even having scoured the local platforms and the barrier staff had left the barriers open and vacated.

This is really poor customer service on SWT's part, and this is not the first time I have noticed this when there has been disruption.

I have been disrupted at waterloo on no less than 3 occasions, and when this happens the staff run and hide, there is no information whatsoever.

I accept that things happen, but not keeping passengers updated, and advising them of alternative travel arrangements is pretty poor.

We got to Staines and decided to continue our journey by taxi as there were no staff to be seen at the station. The Reading train was showing up as delayed but did not tell us for how long.

Unfortunately while inside the minicab office a Reading train did come, no warning was given, and we missed it. 20 mins later we took the Weybridge train, again the dot matrix sign said delayed, but no real time info.

This is such bad customer service.

I pay an extortionate amount for my Season ticket, but the customer service is the worst I have experienced.

In contrast when I lived on the ECML route, when there was disruption, East Coast were fantastic, they maintained a visible presence and laid on alternative transport. Yes, my journey was delayed, and I accept these things do happen, but the difference is how they treat the passenger.

SWT seems to have the attitude we have you money now F off!
 
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theironroad

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I'm sorry that someone decided that they wanted to end their life early in the evening while you were enjoying your night out in clapham.

Alas, these incidents end up with vast stock and crew displacement and 'delayed' will occur on screens when there is no accurate estimation of when the train will arrive as there may be no stock or crew for it.

I doubt that your assertion that there were no staff at clapham junction is true, maybe not in the small area you looked, but it's a big place.

How do you know and where is the evidence that your call to the help point was answered in India?. Pretty lazy assertion if you ask me.

East coast and Swt are very different, especially as Waterloo as the hub of Swt operations is the busiest station in the country according to the stats.
 

Mike11

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Staff DONT hide they are trying to find information to pass to our passengers. Also the help points centre is not based in India!!!
 

bb21

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During service disruption, help point lines may be diverted to NRE, as the control centre would need to focus all its efforts on coordinating services.

I also do not believe that Clapham Junction have no staff, even at that time of the night. Even if not on the Windsor side, the main side will.
 

Sacha

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I used SWT on friday night and was stuck on the train outside vauxhall for near an hour, and when I finally got into Waterloo It was too late to make my last train home and found there customer service very good, they call the duty manager I explained my problem and he arrange for a taxi to take me home at there expense.
 

Bigfoot

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The stock that would have formed the 2327 to Reading didn't reach Waterloo until 2347 (all available on rtt). That is why the train shows as delayed. Because there is no way in knowing when it will be arriving and turned round for the return trip. Once it then shows at Waterloo for the return trip and is departing the screens will then show the estimated time of arrival.
 

trentside

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I'm sorry that someone decided that they wanted to end their life early in the evening while you were enjoying your night out in clapham.

I remember an old manager of mine racing out of his office to basically shout that at two older ladies who were having a go at me about service disruption spoiling their plans for a day out. I've never seen people become so meek and apologetic. They actually came back twice to apologise further which wasn't really necessary.

The upshot of it is that I tend to be very firm with people in these situations now. We're instructed to tell the truth, so I do. It tends to put things in perspective for people.
 

47271

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Get on to RTT when something like this happens, it'll tell you as much as the staff will be able to, and you can keep checking back on it.
 

Urban Gateline

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SWT do have Platform staff who work night shifts but only on the Platform 9-12 side, the Reading platforms are only staffed till around 2300 and Gatelines until 2330 on Fridays IIRC.
 

londonboi198o5

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There are night shift staff at Clapham junction I have saw them loads of times when having to catch late night/early morning trains and I would hardly say they hide. Possibly trying to assist other people I find your comment rather rude if I am honest
 

al78

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To be fair, the OP did not know someone had died.

It doesn't sound like they were complaining purely about the delay, more the lack of information available during the delay, which was attributed to poor service.
 

pethadine82

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I had no idea that there was a person that took their own life.

As I said before Clapham Junction was heaving. I went to both the adjacent platforms, up and down, and by the exits where the barriers were and could not see any staff.

I am not familiar with that station, but given the fact that it pride's itself as Britain's busiest station, I was somewhat dismayed.

I am just expressing my own personal experience of SWT. To the person that mentioned that he managed to get SWT to provide additional transport, I am just overwhelmed in how you managed to pull this off, and where did you find the staff?

My other issue was when there is disruption on the Wimbledon branch, why does this affect the Reading / Windsor lines, as this is separate?
 

yorkie

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My other issue was when there is disruption on the Wimbledon branch, why does this affect the Reading / Windsor lines, as this is separate?
There are many trains from Waterloo to Waterloo via Wimbledon, Kingston and Richmond (and vice-versa) without reversal, as through trains. This route

See Kingston Loop Line
 

swt_passenger

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My other issue was when there is disruption on the Wimbledon branch, why does this affect the Reading / Windsor lines, as this is separate?

The train crew interwork between all the suburban routes, as does the rolling stock as Yorkie has already mentioned. The Wimbledon 'branch' as you call it is actually considered the main line...
 

43096

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The train crew interwork between all the suburban routes, as does the rolling stock as Yorkie has already mentioned. The Wimbledon 'branch' as you call it is actually considered the main line...

Train crews would be the issue. Generally stock sticks to routes during the day on the Windsor lines, so 450s on Reading turns stay on those turns, 458s on Windsors stick to that circuit etc etc. There are some that swap with main line side, but these are during the peak and very much the exception.
 

swt_passenger

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Train crews would be the issue. Generally stock sticks to routes during the day on the Windsor lines, so 450s on Reading turns stay on those turns, 458s on Windsors stick to that circuit etc etc. There are some that swap with main line side, but these are during the peak and very much the exception.

Yorkie's and hence my reply were referring specifically to the Kingston rounders, which do run on both sides, although they won't normally enter and leave Waterloo on different sides of the network.
 

43096

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Yorkie's and hence my reply were referring specifically to the Kingston rounders, which do run on both sides, although they won't normally enter and leave Waterloo on different sides of the network.

Fair point. But delays on the Kingston rounders after PHBT on the mainline side should not screw up the entire Windsor line side.
 

infobleep

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SWT do have Platform staff who work night shifts but only on the Platform 9-12 side, the Reading platforms are only staffed till around 2300 and Gatelines until 2330 on Fridays IIRC.
Are there signs directing people to the other platforms because perhaps that is all that is needed, better signage.

I use Real Time Trains but at Clapham Junction and fair number of other places, reception can be hit and miss if your with O2. Sometimes H+ and other times just E, with no Web Sites loading at all if E. I don't think you can get 4G there yet with O2. It's annoying when there's no reception as I find RTT and even NRE useful for a station like that.

Sent from my SM-G925F using Tapatalk
 
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Panda

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My other issue was when there is disruption on the Wimbledon branch, why does this affect the Reading / Windsor lines, as this is separate?

Having used the Reading line for 10 months now after using the Kingston loop (always via Wimbledon) for 2 years prior, is that this is not generally the case. Usually the Reading line seems to be fairly protected against knock-on impacts from other delays and issues. I am not aware of the incident on Friday night, but I am just making a general statement following another - even if it was that the Reading line ended up being impacted, I often feel that it ends up "protected". (Also know as my colleagues travel in via Woking, Surbiton and Wimbledon and they are affected at times that I am not and the other way around).
 

Stigy

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We pressed the help button at the information point only to be connected to a call centre in India, who was utterly useless.
India in Waterloo? That's where their help point Operators are based....Unless you used a video Help Point on a new ticket machine, in which case you'd be connected to Basingstoke.

Unfortunately, during times of disruption a lot of staff do seem to hide. Clapham Junction is staff 24 hours a day though. During times of disruption the railway as a whole, unfortunately grinds to a halt and the communication isn't as good or clear as it could be. Often just explaining why a train is terminating short of it's destination to customers is appreciated, even if you can't offer any other help. Little things like this often don't happen though, and I get annoyed by this when travelling as a passenger.
 
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talltim

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The fact that the OP did not even know that a person had been hit by a train shows that not enough information given to passengers
 

AngusH

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I've sometimes thought an emergency kit of posters and display boards could be useful, prepared in advance and kept in reserve for the most common problems.


With fill in the blanks sections to answer the most common questions too.


Sorry, line blocked at ______.
No trains to ____ until _____.
Please wait/Please travel via ___ instead/Bus replacement outside
All tickets will be accepted on other operators.

Maybe with a big diagrammatic map which an X could be marked to show where the problem is and which destinations are affected.

(essentially, like posters that get printed for longer term and planned disruptions, but something that could be pinned up and filled out in a few minutes by a single person in the station using a pen)
 

infobleep

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I suspect one gets connected to India during major disruption and outside of that control de with it.

Of course then you get times where are no major incidents but your delayed and you don't know why and the help point isn't answered. That happened to someone I know who missed the last train towards Woking when they split the service from Portsmouth into two halves and the second halve left before the first arrived.

Eventually some Taxis were sorted some hours later but they couldn't find anyone or get hold of anyone via the help. Admittedly not sure NRE would have been any help.

These incidences are rare of course. Less so I imagine on Govia Thameslink Railway.

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Stigy

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I suspect one gets connected to India during major disruption and outside of that control de with it.

Of course then you get times where are no major incidents but your delayed and you don't know why and the help point isn't answered. That happened to someone I know who missed the last train towards Woking when they split the service from Portsmouth into two halves and the second halve left before the first arrived.

Eventually some Taxis were sorted some hours later but they couldn't find anyone or get hold of anyone via the help. Admittedly not sure NRE would have been any help.

These incidences are rare of course. Less so I imagine on Govia Thameslink Railway.

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Trust me it's NEVER India that answer SWT's Help Points. Always Waterloo or Basingstoke. SWT are just very diverse.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
The fact that the OP did not even know that a person had been hit by a train shows that not enough information given to passengers
SWT/NWR don't announce over the tannoy or Customer Information System that a person has been hit by a train anymore, just that Emergency Services are dealing with an incident. This is because it was almost advertising for ideal locations for people to commit suicide when they used to publicise the exact reason for delays, and research has shown that interventions have reduced because of this, but fatalities have also, indicating this is the best way forward. Having said that, there's no issue with staff relaying it on a face to face basis, or customer services or the social media teams relaying such information, typically because those with mental health issues seriously contemplating suicide will be on a railway station platform somewhere, and not checking out Twitter for information. Likewise such individuals aren't likely to consciously make themselves known to staff so they're not detected.
 
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infobleep

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Trust me it's NEVER India that answer SWT's Help Points. Always Waterloo or Basingstoke. SWT are just very diverse.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---

SWT/NWR don't announce over the tannoy or Customer Information System that a person has been hit by a train anymore, just that Emergency Services are dealing with an incident. This is because it was almost advertising for ideal locations for people to commit suicide when they used to publicise the exact reason for delays, and research has shown that interventions have reduced because of this, but fatalities have also, indicating this is the best way forward. Having said that, there's no issue with staff relaying it on a face to face basis, or customer services or the social media teams relaying such information, typically because those with mental health issues seriously contemplating suicide will be on a railway station platform somewhere, and not checking out Twitter for information. Likewise such individuals aren't likely to consciously make themselves known to staff so they're not detected.
Fair enough. Deverise is fine with me.

If only all TOCs followed their example.

I wonder where Southern route their help points?

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Bigfoot

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Trust me it's NEVER India that answer SWT's Help Points. Always Waterloo or Basingstoke. SWT are just very diverse.

In times of major disruption the help points are diverted to NRE. Which is India. Trust me when I say this.
 

island

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Not sure pettifoggery about where SWT's help points are or are not answered from is useful to the majority of thread contributors.

Getting information to passengers is important and I don't think anyone would disagree with that, but I would hope that people would at least take into consideration that every minute a staff member spends giving detailed reasons for a delay to passengers is a minute that that staff member could be spending getting it fixed and/or getting people moving.
 

TRAX

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SWT/NWR don't announce over the tannoy or Customer Information System that a person has been hit by a train anymore, just that Emergency Services are dealing with an incident. This is because it was almost advertising for ideal locations for people to commit suicide



You don't have to tell the exact location. Just the line or even nothing about the location would be enough.
 
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DerekC

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The system for informing passengers does need improving. I have several times experienced the "Woking Effect" when main line services out of Waterloo are heavily disrupted. The advice is to get the first train to Woking then change there for a Portsmouth train. OK so far, but when you get to Woking you get extremely confused. All I want to know is what platform the next Portsmouth train will leave from. What you get is a continuous barrage of automatic apologies for trains which probably won't run at all. And when a train is announced it often turns out to be wrong. To be fair to the staff they don't hide and they do try to find out what's going on - but they don't know which platform a train will be routed to until it is approaching. My record for misinformation was four different destinations announced for a Class 455 standing in Platform 5. One on the front of the train, one by the CIS, one over the PA and another by the station manager using a megaphone. (That was a few years ago).
 
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