Possibly left stranded by LM tonight (15/04)

Discussion in 'Fares Advice & Policy' started by gray1404, 15 Apr 2015.

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  1. gray1404

    gray1404 Established Member

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    My friend has just called me in a panic. The 21:36 service from Birmingham New Street to Liverpool Lime Street tonight (15/04/2015) has been cancelled. My friend is catching the train back from Birmingham to Formby and should have been able to get a connection via Liverpool South Parkway.

    He's now been told to get the 22:36 as far as Crewe and London Midland will be providing a rail replacement bus service which he's been told to get to Liverpool Lime Street. He won't arrive at Crewe until 23:58 so by the time he gets to Liverpool Lime Street he will have certainly missed the last connection to Formby.

    He is worried that Liverpool Lime Street station will actually have closed by the time the bus gets there and there will be no staff in attendance. This is a clear cut case that they need to get him a taxi to Formby. What is he best doing guys? Will there be staff in attendance at Lime Street at say around 1am in the morning in a couple of hours? Who is he best speaking to.

    I've told him to be proactive in finding the guard on the 22:36 to Crewe and asking him or her to advise the London Midland control centre of his situation so a taxi can be arranged. Did I tell him the right thing or is there anything else he can do? Thanks guys!

    Worst case situation he pays for a taxi, gets a receipt and complains to London Midland to get the money back - but really they should be putting this on their account..
     
  2. Mike395

    Mike395 Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    Liverpool Lime Street is staffed from first to last train, so if your friend has no luck with the guard (who should help him out) then in all likelihood station staff will be able to help. :)
     
  3. gray1404

    gray1404 Established Member

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    My friend just text me. He said the guard on the LM rang the control centre who said that there should still be staff at Liverpool Lime Street and confirmed they will arrange him a taxi. When a guard calls the control centre will a log or record me made of that call for future reference if needed. I'm not sure if there actually any train services due into Liverpool Lime Street at around 1am this morning - but hopefully it will now all work out fine
    and he can get his taxi easily. I'll help him sort out a delay repay claim too tomorrow :)
     
    Last edited: 15 Apr 2015
  4. Merseysider

    Merseysider Established Member Fares Advisor

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    Liverpool Lime Street has a member of staff on the station 24/7 - but finding them might be difficult!
     
    Last edited: 15 Apr 2015
  5. gray1404

    gray1404 Established Member

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    What is he best doing when he arrives then? (having a good look around for someone)
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    As predicted he could not locate staff at Liverpool Lime Street. He arrived off the rail replacement bus that was provided from Crewe at 01:20 approx (16/04/2015). Called LM this morning and they said that they will refund the taxi and can receipt please be sent in with delay repay form. Enclosed letter asking them to look into why passengers were left stranded without assistance.

    Also complaining to Network Rail as they manage the station. However, looked on their site on it says Liverpool Lime Street is open only to 00:30 Mon-Fri at this address:
    http://www.networkrail.co.uk/liverpool-lime-street-station/departures-arrivals/

    Would that mean then that there would not have been staff in attendance and it is NOT at 24 hour manned station?
     
  6. Merseysider

    Merseysider Established Member Fares Advisor

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    Really not acceptable to be left stranded. How large was the overall delay?

    After about 00:30 they "close" and get some cleaning done but you've got the 03:38 to Manchester and there has to be a driver/guard/dispatcher on the station for that, who tend to be around a little bit earlier. Then an hour later you'll have staff checking in for the 05: xx departures. As said though finding staff is the difficult part.
     
  7. First class

    First class Established Member

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    Station is NOT manned to the public, 24 hours.
    There is a Network Rail Security Officer on the station who closes/locks up, but is not customer facing.
     
  8. gray1404

    gray1404 Established Member

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    That makes sense now. He said the shutters in the station were down. LM should not have said that someone would be meeting the bus.
     
  9. TUC

    TUC Established Member

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    It's really not acceptable to leave passengers without assistance late at night when it's known there is a late running service that will arrive too late for connections. Just what are passengers meant to do, especially if thry have a long onward journey and don't have money for a taxi? TOCs should arrange for a staff member to work late to attend to the passengers in those circumstances and/or have arrangements for the train guard to issue taxi vouchers.
     
  10. LowLevel

    LowLevel Established Member

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    There's no such thing as a taxi voucher. Most TOCs will have a contract with a national supplier such as Cab line who subcontract local firms according to availability. These can be sourced from Control or a station supervisor/manager. The guard could advise control of the need for taxis, but not knowing the time of arrival of the bus, it would be very hard to deal with. It's times like this firms like EMT having 24/7 social media teams on duty in the actual control room come in very useful and I've known them resolve several similar situations as a result.
     
  11. TEW

    TEW Established Member

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    Emergency taxi dockets do exist. At SWT we use Cabline primarily but can also write out taxi dockets to hire taxis off the rank when control authorise it, typically when Cabline can't provide sufficient cabs. In a situation where a passenger is potentially going to be stranded it would seem ideal for a guard to be able to write out a taxi docket for a passenger, although it would probably be a change of process from the current arrangements.
     
  12. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    This reminds me of an unusual occasion when some passengers from Leeds had asked if it was possible to get to Northallerton. As it was a Saturday night, the answer was no. But the booking clerk presumably didn't check and, perhaps with knowledge of the weekday timetable (2200 Kings Cross - Newcastle, which goes via Askern and departs York quite late, around 0042), said yes and sold a day single to Northallerton.

    At York they were unable to locate any station staff. I had to call a member of East Coast staff (I know a few) who was able to tell me how to locate someone for them. It was very difficult to do that, and very difficult to get someone to accept some sort of responsibility for assisting the passengers.

    So, the experience at Liverpool Lime Street isn't surprising.

    I agree with LowLevel that a 24/7 twitter team can be useful at times like this (there are only two TOCs I know of currently who have this; namely Virgin and EMT, though there may be others), although there are several who operate late enough that they would have been contactable when this incident started to unfold (e.g. East Coast is an impressive 2300 finish).

    My advice would always be to try to get the taxi authorised by someone, but in an absolute last resort if there is absolutely no way to get assistance, then take the taxi and get a receipt and haggle with the relevant TOC(s) later.
     
  13. Qwerty133

    Qwerty133 Established Member

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    But of course LM is an early 7pm finish, and at weekends a ridiculously early finish at 4pm.
     
  14. Merseysider

    Merseysider Established Member Fares Advisor

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    The brilliant Southeastern also claim to man their Twitter feed 24/7, however whether they can actually contact staff on the ground is debateable. Whether they can actually persuade staff on the ground to take a particular course of action is more debateable still.

    Out of interest, if the passenger chose to wait overnight and catch the first train out in the morning, eg at 5am, (instead of paying for a taxi out of their own pocket and claiming that back), would he or she be eligible for a full refund via Delay Repay?
     
  15. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    If you waited for the next train then absolutely delay compensation would be calculated accordingly. However waiting around 5 hours is unlikely to be a productive use of time, and I'd rather have a taxi and a greatly reduced delay.
     
  16. Clip

    Clip Established Member

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    Indeed they should and many do - however this relies on goodwill from the staff member on late shift to stay over their shift time - we don't know if this was possible due to various reasons stemming from not wanting too to possibly being over their hours if they did which could affect the next days shift.

    The NR team on could've been found at reception and from my experience can normally help but without knowing where their reception is at Liverpool I cant possible comment on that either. But they really should've had a fleet of taxis ready and waiting for the bus to arrive.

    LO's twitter team seem to stay on till last service has finished I think too which is really good for late running services should they arise.
     
  17. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    LM's used to (David Whitley would run it himself if he had to), but they have now been cut right back, one of LM's many "death by a thousand cuts". A mere shadow of what they were.
     
  18. gray1404

    gray1404 Established Member

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    I've since had change to speak to my friend face to face and get the full account of events.

    1. He held a Birmingham to Formby Off Peak Return and was traveling on the return portion of the ticket and looked on NRE online and was provided with the following itinerary (copy attached). Paid £32.35 with a RTV using 16-25 Railcard.
    2. Arrived at New Street to find 21:36 on 15/04/2015 (LM to LIV) train was cancelled (as he'd previously brought up these train times in advance of travel) and was advised by booking office staff to go to Network Rail Office (by the left luggage counter).
    3. Lady in office told him that his itinerary AND TICKET (!) was not valid because he had not allowed 10 minutes to change a Liverpool South Parkway so there was nothing she could do to help. He advised her that he had allowed the minimum connection time of 7 minutes at LPY. She then said "I cannot find this on the computer." and did not help any further. He went out of the station and brought up the itinerary on his phone taken from NRE and returned to the office to show her.
    4. She insisted that there was nothing she could do because those same times were not coming up on her computer. However, advised him to catch the 22:36 (LM to Crewe) and then LM would be providing a bus service to Liverpool Lime Street (advised to travel as far as Lime Street rather then South Parkway as Lime Street is near to actual intended destination of Formby) and he should then speak to staff on arrival at Lime Street.
    5. When he boarded the 22:36 he was pro-active in finding the guard, who was very helpful, and phoned the LM Control Centre. The CC confirmed that he would be provided with a taxi to Formby and that staff would be meeting the replacement bus on arrival at Lime Street and they would arrange the taxi. Guard passed this information onto passenger.
    6. Upon arrival at Lime Street at 01:20 approx the bus was not meet by any member of staff and the shutters at the station where down. It was not possible to enter the station as doors were locked and shutters down. Driver of bus was unable to help either when my friend asked.
    7. Left stranded he called a taxi with a private hire company and took this to Formby Station (I advised him to do this in case getting it to his home address half a mile from the station might give LM excise to get out of paying) and paid the taxi out of his own money and obtained a receipt.
    8. Time of arrival at Formby was 02:14 in the morning (2 hours 08 minutes late). Time of arrival is reflected on taxi receipt along with £22.00 fare paid.

    I phoned LM on his behalf on 16/04/15. They confirmed they would pay the taxi fare because it was the only way he could complete his journey however they needed this requested to be submitted in writing. We filled out a delay repay form (120+ minutes). When the system had emailed back with a generated reference number we replied explaining the above and attached copy of taxi receipt and are not waiting to hear back.

    We have requested that as the value of the ticket exceeds £30, they refund the ticket element under delay repay by cheque - although they might not do this as the ticket was paid for by RTV. Have also requested a cheque refunding the taxi fare.

    Question: - Given that they left him stranded and broke their promises, would it be reasonable to request additional compensation/goodwill gesture if first reply is not satisfactory?

    It is totally unacceptable for them to leave passengers stranded partially when this was foreseeable and they had expressly promised that the bus would be meet. Although I guess there would actually be very few passengers requiring onward connections from Liverpool (i.e. only to stations within the Merseyside PTE area) but this is not acceptable anycase.

    Have also complained to Network Rail about the service failing at New Street and about Lime Street being closed on arrival with passengers left stranded. The other annoying factor is the wait time he is gong to have to wait to get his money back for the taxi. His case will be at the back of the LM customer relations que and then once they authorise the cheque this will have to be sent to their Finance Department which can take uoto another 28 days (I speak from experience personally of getting a cheque from them before).

    If we're not satisfied though will certainly escalate this internally at LM before complaining to Passenger Focus.

    What is interesting though is that I am no longer seeing this 21:36 itinerary being provided by NRE or any other journey planners. Have LM cancelled their 21:36 Birmingham to Liverpool Lime Street (with a connection at LPY for FBY)
     

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  19. najaB

    najaB Veteran Member

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    It shows up for me using Rail Planner Live on my phone.
     
  20. Merseysider

    Merseysider Established Member Fares Advisor

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    It doesn't run on the weekend; it only goes as far as Crewe. Maybe that's why you can't see the connection :)
    I would make sure something is done about this. The woman is plain wrong; either ignorant, untrained or just plain stupid. Refusing to help like that is unacceptable. Incompetence is inexcusable.
     
  21. bb21

    bb21 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Yes, I hope your friend got that booking office clerk's name.

    I am not sure about additional compensation since your friend was not actually stranded, but it doesn't hurt to ask, and I would certainly consider this a reasonable request.

    I am not sure what you are getting at by complaining about the cancellation of the service to Network Rail, but I do agree that it is not acceptable for there to be no one to help passengers who may need assistance at Lime Street.
     
  22. gray1404

    gray1404 Established Member

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    He sadly didn't get her name, but he did give me a description of her. The complaint to Network Rail was not about the cancellation of the service (that was London Midland's fault) but rather about what happened at New Street and also about them having no staff on hand to help passengers who may be left stranded at Lime Street. He was left stranded in the sense that he was left to who fend for himself and pay for his own taxi - even though the LM control centre had promised to provide one.
     
  23. craigwilson

    craigwilson Member

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    Maybe you can't ever be completely stranded in such a busy place as Lime Street station, but they did promise assistance that they reneged on.
     
  24. bb21

    bb21 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    My point is that since she wasn't actually stranded, the case might be weaker than had she been.

    Not that it excuses the lack of staff presence as I already mentioned.
     
  25. Merseysider

    Merseysider Established Member Fares Advisor

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    If she had no money for a taxi and the last bus had gone, what does one do in that situation - walk home? That would be left stranded, which thankfully isn't what happened.
     
  26. bb21

    bb21 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Then we wouldn't be having this discussion. We would be having a different one.

    "What if...", "What may...", "What could have..." all mean very little.
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    Also I forgot to mention earlier that there is no point complaining to Network Rail about what happened at New Street, as they only operate the infrastructure, not the ticket office. If the complaint was regarding the service she received at the ticket office, then she needs to complain to Virgin West Coast for that.
     
  27. bicbasher

    bicbasher Established Member

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    I think LO's Twitter feed is administered by TfL's social media team who operate the LUL, Bus, Tram and DLR accounts.
     
  28. 221129

    221129 Established Member

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    I read it as the ticket office told him to go to the station reception which is Network Rail.
     
  29. John @ home

    John @ home Established Member Fares Advisor

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    Agreed. When travelling with a disabled person and using Advance tickets, we've missed a connection at New Street due to a lift being out of order. We were sent to the Network Rail office to have the back of the tickets stamped. This authorised onward travel and was later used for Delay Repay purposes.
     
  30. bb21

    bb21 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Yes, I see now. Ignore what I said earlier in that case.

    In my defence, it was a very detailed account of events and I was repeatedly having to refer back every time I came back to the thread. :p
     
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