Scotrail absolving themselves of responsibility?

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tbtc

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we've not been able to secure more replacement buses this evening

It was posted after eight o'clock on a Friday night during a period where many bus companies have had to cut their established services to accommodate the number of drivers off work with Covid / self isolating due to coming into contact with people with Covid (so very little slack in the system) - e.g. First have trimmed back their Edinburgh - Livingston journeys because they simply don't have enough drivers right now (some other bus operators have had to subcontract routes to independent operators to try to make up for staffing shortfalls)...

...any bus drivers who may have been available earlier in the day will already have had a drink inside them by that time on a Friday night and therefore not be able to drop everything to get behind the wheel...

...it's the middle of the school holidays, which means some local drivers will be far away from Edinburgh...

...what contingency should there be in such circumstances?

It's obviously not great news and I feel sorry for affected passengers, but I think that this is one of those unfortunate situations where we have to accept that a bad thing has happened and there's no chance of getting much of a "Plan B" into operation - I don't know what the alternative should be?

Easy to blame the TOC, sure, but I don't think there's any "blame" here
 

Furrball

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How about "we will have staff available to assist you"?

I can understand the lack of buses but "make your own arrangements"?

You are out, planned to get the train home and now no trains and no buses. You do not have 30 quid for the taxi. What do you do?
 

T-Karmel

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You are out, planned to get the train home and now no trains and no buses. You do not have 30 quid for the taxi. What do you do?
My guess is that either station staff or support team on Helpline or Help Points will help those who really really need arrangements being made by TOC but putting it in those words on Twitter will make a wee more people who are able to figure out something themselves, do it themselves and release the pressure placed on staff a bit.
 

Merseysider

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I would imagine a significant proportion of those forced to “make their own arrangements” will not know or think to claim the money back.
 

Ianno87

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My guess is that either station staff or support team on Helpline or Help Points will help those who really really need arrangements being made by TOC but putting it in those words on Twitter will make a wee more people who are able to figure out something themselves, do it themselves and release the pressure placed on staff a bit.

This.

Encourage anybody who genuinely can make their own arrangements to do so, to let staff focus on the passengers that need the most assistance.

Yes, I know that's not what the contract formed when buying a ticket says, but we're all in a very unusual situation right now.
 

43066

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I can understand the lack of buses but "make your own arrangements"?

Seems reasonable enough to me.

You are out, planned to get the train home and now no trains and no buses. You do not have 30 quid for the taxi. What do you do?
Walk? Ask someone to pick you up?

If you aren’t able to get a few quid out of an ATM for a taxi you probably can’t afford to be out in the first place.

Ultimately any journey more than walking distance away from home is going to involve some non-infallible method of transport and things sometimes go wrong. If you drove somewhere and your car broke down what would happen if you didn’t have money for a recovery service?
 

43096

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This.

Encourage anybody who genuinely can make their own arrangements to do so, to let staff focus on the passengers that need the most assistance.

Yes, I know that's not what the contract formed when buying a ticket says, but we're all in a very unusual situation right now.
And next time they go on a night out they’ll remember how poor ScotRail’s attitude was last time and not take the train. The railway seems to have had a heightened death wish during the last 18 months, determined to put people off as much as possible. No way to run a business - it frankly deserves to fail.
 
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Falcon1200

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Perhaps not so much as 'absolving themselves of responsibility' as giving passengers the facts straight, to save them waiting hours for a bus that might never come ? A very disruptive situation, and no, passengers should not be 'abandoned', but if the railway cannot source sufficient alternative transport, which from a station as busy as Edinburgh Waverley is highly likely, what else can they do ?
 

ComUtoR

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You are out, planned to get the train home and now no trains and no buses. You do not have 30 quid for the taxi. What do you do?
Take some personal responsibility and probably leave earlier.

Or

Stay out all night and make my way home in the morning.

Or

Call my Mum.
 

Robertj21a

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How about "we will have staff available to assist you"?

I can understand the lack of buses but "make your own arrangements"?

You are out, planned to get the train home and now no trains and no buses. You do not have 30 quid for the taxi. What do you do?
I would hope that you wouldn't have gone out without some forethought - enough money (ATM, even if only a credit card), find an ordinary service bus, walk, phone family/a friend......
 

tspaul26

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Fixed it:

UPDATE: Despite our best efforts, we've not been able to secure more replacement buses this evening. There may not be space for you to board, given physical distancing requirements.

You may have to make your own arrangements to complete your journey. If you do, we will reimburse you for the cost. If you can’t make alternative arrangements, speak to station staff or use the station help point and we’ll sort it.

This is what ScotRail should have said, not just leaving passengers to fend for themselves.
 

Davester50

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Take some personal responsibility and probably leave earlier.

Or

Stay out all night and make my way home in the morning.

Or

Call my Mum.

I would hope that you wouldn't have gone out without some forethought - enough money (ATM, even if only a credit card), find an ordinary service bus, walk, phone family/a friend......
You'd have thought a multi-million pound transport operator would have better contingency than a customer, or at the very least, better communication. Damn those contracts you have with the operator when you buy a ticket, eh?

Fixed it:



This is what ScotRail should have said, not just leaving passengers to fend for themselves.
Exactly. Trying to get out of paying for taxis.
 

43066

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Fixed it:



This is what ScotRail should have said, not just leaving passengers to fend for themselves.

Reimbursement of *reasonable* costs of alternative arrangements would indeed be due, AIUI (as long as evidence is kept in the form of unused train tickets, taxi receipts etc.), but that still requires the passenger to be able to front the cost of alternative transport in the first place.

If people are physically unable to make these arrangements for themselves because insufficient taxis are available, I’m not sure what the railway can be expected to. It cannot magic buses and taxis out of nowhere at the drop of a hat, late on a Friday evening, to accommodate potentially thousands of stranded passengers.
 

Robertj21a

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You'd have thought a multi-million pound transport operator would have better contingency than a customer, or at the very least, better communication. Damn those contracts you have with the operator when you buy a ticket, eh?


Exactly. Trying to get out of paying for taxis.
Too many people expect everybody else to do everything for them, even in times of crisis. As others have suggested, there are times when the individual has to be prepared to look after themselves (and possibly others who may be in greater need).
 

Davester50

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Too many people expect everybody else to do everything for them
Welcome to 2021. If I agree a contract, I'd expect it to be honoured. If they can't provide the service then I'd expect the situation to be put right.
Ask as much as you like for people to make other arrangements, but at the end of the day, the company that took your money needs to step up. If it means when they can't get buses, then it's taxis.

I'd take a different stance if it was out with their control, like a fatality, but for an infrastructure failure where they will receive compensation, or a train fault, then I'm afraid they need to step up.
 

Darandio

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The whole physical distancing thing becomes a complete mess in these situations. It's bad enough being told to make your own arrangements with no clear offer of reimbursement, it's a whole magnitude worse if you are being told this after being left on a platform while the train departed half full. It's public transport for gods sake.
 

AlterEgo

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The moral of the story is don't go out for a night on the town if you don't have the money for a taxi back. Not that this makes Scotrail's actions acceptable in any way.
 

JN114

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There were more people attempting to travel than the operator could reasonably make alternative arrangements for.

You can’t magic people onto a bus or into a taxi that doesn’t exist.

I fail to see what further practical alternatives the operator could have offered.
 

Class320

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If the problem was between Waverley and Haymarket, couldn't they have run some diesel services around the sub? Even a very limited service?
 

Randomer

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I fail to see what further practical alternatives the operator could have offered.

Surely the answer would be provide accommodation in line with the conditions of travel:

28.2. Where disruption prevents you from completing the journey for which your Ticket is valid and is being used, any Train Company will, where it reasonably can, provide you with alternative means of travel to your destination, or if necessary, provide overnight accommodation for you.
(My italics for the relevant section taken from NRE NRCOT PDF)

If that wasn't practicable make it clear they would reimburse people for accommodation or travel expenses. People will have almost certainly incurred them yet Scotrail are yet to say they will follow the contract established when the ticket was purchased.
 

flitwickbeds

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Too many people expect everybody else to do everything for them, even in times of crisis. As others have suggested, there are times when the individual has to be prepared to look after themselves (and possibly others who may be in greater need).
How do you respond to this statement?

"Scotrail expect everybody else to do everything for them, even in times of crisis. As others have suggested, there are times when companies have to be prepared to look after their customers (and especially those who may be in the greatest need)"?
 

JN114

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Surely the answer would be provide accommodation in line with the conditions of travel:


(My italics for the relevant section taken from NRE NRCOT PDF)

If that wasn't practicable make it clear they would reimburse people for accommodation or travel expenses. People will have almost certainly incurred them yet Scotrail are yet to say they will follow the contract established when the ticket was purchased.

My point was rather more around the practical elements rather than contractual obligations. Although I’ll address them:-

If it is impractical to source transport for a couple of thousand people, then sourcing accommodations is going to be at least as equally impractical, likely more so. I don’t know what the surplus hotel capacity is in Edinburgh on a Summer Friday night but I’d wager there wouldn’t be anywhere near enough rooms within walking distance of the station. Any rooms further afield then go back to the lack of transport problem.

NRCOT 28.2 requires train operators to make reasonable efforts to transport customers by other means or reasonable efforts to accommodate them. It doesn’t at any point require them to reimburse customers who are out of pocket who have to make their own arrangements once it is no longer reasonable for the operator to manage - although most decent operators will do so in such circumstances. That said have ScotRail actually refused to reimburse people? All I see is cynical comments from members here suggesting that they nefariously are deliberately trying to get out of paying for them. Can they substantiate those allegations or do they just have an axe to grind?

But my point wasn’t around contractual minutiae. It was around practicalities.
 

Randomer

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My point around reimbursement was more that by not mentioning the possibility the majority of passengers (i.e. unlike the members here) would not even think to ask for it.

The messaging didn't even mention the possibility or arranging accomodation or paying for those able to find it. Just a flat we are unable to help you.
 

Davester50

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My point around reimbursement was more that by not mentioning the possibility the majority of passengers (i.e. unlike the members here) would not even think to ask for it.

The messaging didn't even mention the possibility or arranging accomodation or paying for those able to find it. Just a flat we are unable to help you.
That's my issue with the whole ScotRail Twitter service. It's all sweetness and light, especially when it's their usual clique of followers.
When the hard stuff happens, and that's where Twitter should come in to it's own, the information is often slow to come out, or vague.
While at times of disruption, I understand that a lot can change quickly, and limited staff are dealing with enquiries, and in this case, there's a lot of information about refunds and delay repay, which is fine, (it's the minimum it should provide though).

I doubt too many younger folk would keep a spare £50 in their wallets just in case they were left to their own devices to get a taxi home. I know my kids would have spent it in the pub!
 

APT618S

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