Should the guard do the trolley?

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notadriver

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In Rail magazine, it was reported there was a shortage of catering staff on a Virgin service running non stop from Preston to London Euston. Should the guard have helped out with the catering service on this long non-stop section of the journey?
 
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scotsman

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Hahahaha, good one.....oh wait, you're serious. Erm, no. The Guard is there to ensure the safety of the passengers and the TOC's revenue. He's not there to serve the drinks - if he did help out, there's the danger that his, or the CSAs', roles could be undermined and this could become an expected part of their duties - possibly without extra pay. Any unexpected event with, for example, revenue, would be to the detriment of the catering service.

Virgin have been short of CSAs for donkey's years, a situation not helped by DfT or some managers within the company.
 

Ze Random One

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I think it's a very bad idea:
You are taking someone with a safety critical role, in a highly skilled job, and asking them to provide a purely customer service function, with product lines and methods of service with which they are not familiar, where this function could be achieved by an employee with much more limited skills.
You are likely to get poor customer service (sorry, you can have the soup in 5 minutes when I've dealt with this alarm/station stop/...) from an employee who doesn't want to do the job (I spent months training to serve instant coffee??), and would therefore be disenchanted and harder for the company to keep good employees.

The real solution is to look to continental experience (Norway, France...), where a coffee / snack vending machine is provided on the train, with a full catering provision when journey length / clientelle / time of day are appropriate, thereby shifting your staffing costs to the times of day where they are most likely to make a profit, while continuing to provide a limited catering service 24/7 where appropriate.
 

AlterEgo

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You are taking someone with a safety critical role, in a highly skilled job, and asking them to provide a purely customer service function, with product lines and methods of service with which they are not familiar, where this function could be achieved by an employee with much more limited skills.
That's pretty offensive to catering staff. There's a lot more to the job than first appears.

You are likely to get poor customer service (sorry, you can have the soup in 5 minutes when I've dealt with this alarm/station stop/...) from an employee who doesn't want to do the job (I spent months training to serve instant coffee??), and would therefore be disenchanted and harder for the company to keep good employees.
:lol: A cynic writes. ;)

You know that on occasion Virgin Trains office staff have helped with the catering when they travel to and from work?
 

WestCoast

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The real solution is to look to continental experience (Norway, France...), where a coffee / snack vending machine is provided on the train, with a full catering provision when journey length / clientelle / time of day are appropriate, thereby shifting your staffing costs to the times of day where they are most likely to make a profit, while continuing to provide a limited catering service 24/7 where appropriate.
I really don't understand why vending machines are seemingly not even considered in the UK, when most European operators have embraced them fully. I've seen them on trains in many countries. A nice set up on DB's Regional Express services is a hot/cold drinks machine and snacks machine with a few stand up tables. You could easily set up a full buffet counter there at busy times.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
In Rail magazine, it was reported there was a shortage of catering staff on a Virgin service running non stop from Preston to London Euston. Should the guard have helped out with the catering service on this long non-stop section of the journey?
The guard would have to man the shop, since Virgin don't usually have a trolley in standard class. Or push the trolley for complimentary goodies in first class! It's the way it should be IMO (the shop, not the guard doing catering) as I loathe clumsy unreliable trolleys on busy long-distance InterCity services.
 
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embers25

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I think it's a very bad idea:
You are taking someone with a safety critical role, in a highly skilled job, and asking them to provide a purely customer service function, with product lines and methods of service with which they are not familiar, where this function could be achieved by an employee with much more limited skills.
You are likely to get poor customer service (sorry, you can have the soup in 5 minutes when I've dealt with this alarm/station stop/...) from an employee who doesn't want to do the job (I spent months training to serve instant coffee??), and would therefore be disenchanted and harder for the company to keep good employees.

The real solution is to look to continental experience (Norway, France...), where a coffee / snack vending machine is provided on the train, with a full catering provision when journey length / clientelle / time of day are appropriate, thereby shifting your staffing costs to the times of day where they are most likely to make a profit, while continuing to provide a limited catering service 24/7 where appropriate.
Whilst I agree vending machines on trains does seem to be a good idea the idea that the guards job is "highly skilled" is a bit of a stretch! On most days all they do is open/close doors and check tickets and that's on lines where they still have to open the doors. Most trains even have auto-announcements now. Actually most don't even check tickets now. On all my recent Pendolino trips up to Carlisle and beyond apart from the doors the guard has either sat in his "office" the whole trip reading the paper or chatted with the shop staff who also spend most of their trip sitting down chatting in the coach. Clearly making sure his newspaper doesn't get stolen is very safety critical. All over the world including the UK trains run as driver only without any issue it's just RMT scaremongering as usual to preserve the pretty much unnecessary role of their members. The significant amount of money that could be saved from abolishing guards through OPO could be passed on in fares reductions to passengers. I know guards claim these savings would be offset by loss in fares revenue which may have been true until guards on many routes stopped checking/issuing tickets anyway. I realise in the event of an accident a guard should be able to assist passengers but OPO trains manage. They also don't usually come running when there are issues with yobs on trains so they certainly aren't there for passenger safety. You may argue dealing with yobs isn't their job but that is all part of train safety so it is their job. A guard is equivalent to a airline steward/ess and yet we expect them to serve us and you don't hear people saying they are risking the planes safety by serving us drinks. Steward/esses also deal with behaviour issues on planes too unlike guards. Now there is a safety critical, passenger safety focussed job guards should try to emulate but then again their paper is way too interesting to tear themselves away from. The same also applies to driverless trains which we accept on Docklands but not on the tube due again to the scaremongering unions.
 

SS4

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How long before any vending machines would be vandalised?

I don't think (correct me if I'm wrong!) that there would be much provision for cold snacks and sandwiches. I'd expect the demand to be for those items which are hard to get from the shop before, namely hot or chilled drinks.
 

martin2345uk

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Whilst I agree vending machines on trains does seem to be a good idea the idea that the guards job is "highly skilled" is a bit of a stretch! On most days all they do is open/close doors and check tickets and that's on lines where they still have to open the doors. Most trains even have auto-announcements now. Actually most don't even check tickets now. On all my recent Pendolino trips up to Carlisle and beyond apart from the doors the guard has either sat in his "office" the whole trip reading the paper or chatted with the shop staff who also spend most of their trip sitting down chatting in the coach. Clearly making sure his newspaper doesn't get stolen is very safety critical. All over the world including the UK trains run as driver only without any issue it's just RMT scaremongering as usual to preserve the pretty much unnecessary role of their members. The significant amount of money that could be saved from abolishing guards through OPO could be passed on in fares reductions to passengers. I know guards claim these savings would be offset by loss in fares revenue which may have been true until guards on many routes stopped checking/issuing tickets anyway. I realise in the event of an accident a guard should be able to assist passengers but OPO trains manage. They also don't usually come running when there are issues with yobs on trains so they certainly aren't there for passenger safety. You may argue dealing with yobs isn't their job but that is all part of train safety so it is their job. A guard is equivalent to a airline steward/ess and yet we expect them to serve us and you don't hear people saying they are risking the planes safety by serving us drinks. Steward/esses also deal with behaviour issues on planes too unlike guards. Now there is a safety critical, passenger safety focussed job guards should try to emulate but then again their paper is way too interesting to tear themselves away from. The same also applies to driverless trains which we accept on Docklands but not on the tube due again to the scaremongering unions.
A well thought out and reasonable post. That would be nice, instead we get the above nonsense...

Where to start?? I think I will let some of the guards on here reply, and as for scaremongering about driverless trains... aargh...
 

WestCoast

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How long before any vending machines would be vandalised?

I don't think (correct me if I'm wrong!) that there would be much provision for cold snacks and sandwiches. I'd expect the demand to be for those items which are hard to get from the shop before, namely hot or chilled drinks.
Vending machines wouldn't appear on surburban trains, we're talking medium and long-distance services with guards/CCTV and plenty of other passengers, where the risk of vandalism is only going to be the same as vandalism to the toilets/window shades/tray tables or whatever. They seem to manage fine in the rest of Europe anyway. I don't really think that's a reason not to install them.

I am thinking of CrossCountry services where the trolley can either be absent for a part of the journey, in the other set on a double Voyager or just nowhere to be seen! Not great if you want a coffee after a few hours - and many people do!
 

Ferret

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A well thought out and reasonable post. That would be nice, instead we get the above nonsense...

Where to start?? I think I will let some of the guards on here reply, and as for scaremongering about driverless trains... aargh...
How would a guard do the trolley, respond to panic alarms, driver calls, do dispatch and check tickets?! Cripes!

This Guard often helps his catering crew pack deliveries away or count stock but that's only if I have nothing to do in terms of my own duties. I don't see any problem with this because it's called teamwork - and I may need assistance from catering crew at times with my non-safety critical duties so it works both ways!
 

Jock

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Whilst I agree vending machines on trains does seem to be a good idea the idea that the guards job is "highly skilled" is a bit of a stretch! On most days all they do is open/close doors and check tickets and that's on lines where they still have to open the doors. Most trains even have auto-announcements now. Actually most don't even check tickets now. On all my recent Pendolino trips up to Carlisle and beyond apart from the doors the guard has either sat in his "office" the whole trip reading the paper or chatted with the shop staff who also spend most of their trip sitting down chatting in the coach. Clearly making sure his newspaper doesn't get stolen is very safety critical. All over the world including the UK trains run as driver only without any issue it's just RMT scaremongering as usual to preserve the pretty much unnecessary role of their members. The significant amount of money that could be saved from abolishing guards through OPO could be passed on in fares reductions to passengers. I know guards claim these savings would be offset by loss in fares revenue which may have been true until guards on many routes stopped checking/issuing tickets anyway. I realise in the event of an accident a guard should be able to assist passengers but OPO trains manage. They also don't usually come running when there are issues with yobs on trains so they certainly aren't there for passenger safety. You may argue dealing with yobs isn't their job but that is all part of train safety so it is their job. A guard is equivalent to a airline steward/ess and yet we expect them to serve us and you don't hear people saying they are risking the planes safety by serving us drinks. Steward/esses also deal with behaviour issues on planes too unlike guards. Now there is a safety critical, passenger safety focussed job guards should try to emulate but then again their paper is way too interesting to tear themselves away from. The same also applies to driverless trains which we accept on Docklands but not on the tube due again to the scaremongering unions.

"RMT Scaremongering"

Care to explain how protecting (or at least trying to) the vested interests of their membership is scaremongering???

Isn't a trade union supposed to protect its members?

"They also don't usually come running when there are issues with yobs on trains" - there is a unfair assumption if I've ever seen one... I've been on many a train over the years (and worked to boot) and witnessed many a guard assisting due yobs on trains, 99.99% of the time managing to solve the trouble before it escalates.

Is your real name McNulty perchance?. "OPO Savings" will never be passed down to the public in fare decreases. Remember in the great failed privatised industry that money tends to go into shareholders pockets before anywhere else.
 

martin2345uk

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How would a guard do the trolley, respond to panic alarms, driver calls, do dispatch and check tickets?! Cripes!

This Guard often helps his catering crew pack deliveries away or count stock but that's only if I have nothing to do in terms of my own duties. I don't see any problem with this because it's called teamwork - and I may need assistance from catering crew at times with my non-safety critical duties so it works both ways!
Hoping you realised I was against the post above mine..! :)
 

notadriver

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Can I just add : I'm not suggesting guards should do this as part of their normal duties - just to help out during staff shortages. The article states the train in question was running non stop from Preston to Euston.

On the coaches which are double manned the other driver will serve the teas and coffees while the other drives. Doesn't the new megabus sleeper work this way?
 

SS4

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Can I just add : I'm not suggesting guards should do this as part of their normal duties - just to help out during staff shortages. The article states the train in question was running non stop from Preston to Euston.

On the coaches which are double manned the other driver will serve the teas and coffees while the other drives. Doesn't the new megabus sleeper work this way?
Nobody was suggestion you were. Merely that it could set a precedent and it would become part of their normal duties meaning dedicated staff are no longer needed. Additionally how would you define a staff shortage? It's not hard but you'd need it to be defined

Essentially guards should not be mandated to but there is nothing to stop them conditions permitted if they so wanted
 

34D

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Whilst I agree vending machines on trains does seem to be a good idea the idea that the guards job is "highly skilled" is a bit of a stretch! On most days all they do is open/close doors and check tickets and that's on lines where they still have to open the doors. Most trains even have auto-announcements now. Actually most don't even check tickets now. On all my recent Pendolino trips up to Carlisle and beyond apart from the doors the guard has either sat in his "office" the whole trip reading the paper or chatted with the shop staff who also spend most of their trip sitting down chatting in the coach. Clearly making sure his newspaper doesn't get stolen is very safety critical. All over the world including the UK trains run as driver only without any issue it's just RMT scaremongering as usual to preserve the pretty much unnecessary role of their members. The significant amount of money that could be saved from abolishing guards through OPO could be passed on in fares reductions to passengers. I know guards claim these savings would be offset by loss in fares revenue which may have been true until guards on many routes stopped checking/issuing tickets anyway. I realise in the event of an accident a guard should be able to assist passengers but OPO trains manage. They also don't usually come running when there are issues with yobs on trains so they certainly aren't there for passenger safety. You may argue dealing with yobs isn't their job but that is all part of train safety so it is their job. A guard is equivalent to a airline steward/ess and yet we expect them to serve us and you don't hear people saying they are risking the planes safety by serving us drinks. Steward/esses also deal with behaviour issues on planes too unlike guards. Now there is a safety critical, passenger safety focussed job guards should try to emulate but then again their paper is way too interesting to tear themselves away from. The same also applies to driverless trains which we accept on Docklands but not on the tube due again to the scaremongering unions.
Good post. On SWT they even have "non-commercial guards" who aren't even trained to check/sell tickets!
 

ralphchadkirk

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Whilst I agree vending machines on trains does seem to be a good idea the idea that the guards job is "highly skilled" is a bit of a stretch! On most days all they do is open/close doors and check tickets and that's on lines where they still have to open the doors. Most trains even have auto-announcements now. Actually most don't even check tickets now. On all my recent Pendolino trips up to Carlisle and beyond apart from the doors the guard has either sat in his "office" the whole trip reading the paper or chatted with the shop staff who also spend most of their trip sitting down chatting in the coach. Clearly making sure his newspaper doesn't get stolen is very safety critical. All over the world including the UK trains run as driver only without any issue it's just RMT scaremongering as usual to preserve the pretty much unnecessary role of their members. The significant amount of money that could be saved from abolishing guards through OPO could be passed on in fares reductions to passengers. I know guards claim these savings would be offset by loss in fares revenue which may have been true until guards on many routes stopped checking/issuing tickets anyway. I realise in the event of an accident a guard should be able to assist passengers but OPO trains manage. They also don't usually come running when there are issues with yobs on trains so they certainly aren't there for passenger safety. You may argue dealing with yobs isn't their job but that is all part of train safety so it is their job. A guard is equivalent to a airline steward/ess and yet we expect them to serve us and you don't hear people saying they are risking the planes safety by serving us drinks. Steward/esses also deal with behaviour issues on planes too unlike guards. Now there is a safety critical, passenger safety focussed job guards should try to emulate but then again their paper is way too interesting to tear themselves away from. The same also applies to driverless trains which we accept on Docklands but not on the tube due again to the scaremongering unions.
What a load of rubbish. You clearly have no idea of the role of the guard.


Sent from my iPhone 4 using Tapatalk
 

Parham Wood

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On purely technical point how can guards respond to alarms or driver calls if they are checking tickets? How do they know there is an alarm or driver call? Not that I am saying they should serve drinks as they have to be available at stops at least etc. . If they are pushing a trolley what do they do with it? It can't be left otherwise the drinks and cash would no doubt walk! I am all in favour of multiskilling as this should reduce operating costs and therefore ticket prices but there are situations where this is appropriate and situtations where it is not.
 

HSTEd

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On purely technical point how can guards respond to alarms or driver calls if they are checking tickets? How do they know there is an alarm or driver call? Not that I am saying they should serve drinks as they have to be available at stops at least etc. . If they are pushing a trolley what do they do with it? It can't be left otherwise the drinks and cash would no doubt walk! I am all in favour of multiskilling as this should reduce operating costs and therefore ticket prices but there are situations where this is appropriate and situtations where it is not.
You can stop checking tickets in the time it takes to hand the ticket you are holding back to the person you took it from.

It could easily take two minutes or more to move a trolley to the end of the coach and secure it there, before you even know what is going on.
 

tirphil

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In Rail magazine, it was reported there was a shortage of catering staff on a Virgin service running non stop from Preston to London Euston. Should the guard have helped out with the catering service on this long non-stop section of the journey?
No. Let the guard guard.
 

TEW

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I have seen it happen on a couple of occasions, with the guard serving complimentary refreshments in First Class at seat or from the buffet for all when there has been no catering crew.
 

ANorthernGuard

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Whilst I agree vending machines on trains does seem to be a good idea the idea that the guards job is "highly skilled" is a bit of a stretch! On most days all they do is open/close doors and check tickets and that's on lines where they still have to open the doors. Most trains even have auto-announcements now. Actually most don't even check tickets now. On all my recent Pendolino trips up to Carlisle and beyond apart from the doors the guard has either sat in his "office" the whole trip reading the paper or chatted with the shop staff who also spend most of their trip sitting down chatting in the coach. Clearly making sure his newspaper doesn't get stolen is very safety critical. All over the world including the UK trains run as driver only without any issue it's just RMT scaremongering as usual to preserve the pretty much unnecessary role of their members. The significant amount of money that could be saved from abolishing guards through OPO could be passed on in fares reductions to passengers. I know guards claim these savings would be offset by loss in fares revenue which may have been true until guards on many routes stopped checking/issuing tickets anyway. I realise in the event of an accident a guard should be able to assist passengers but OPO trains manage. They also don't usually come running when there are issues with yobs on trains so they certainly aren't there for passenger safety. You may argue dealing with yobs isn't their job but that is all part of train safety so it is their job. A guard is equivalent to a airline steward/ess and yet we expect them to serve us and you don't hear people saying they are risking the planes safety by serving us drinks. Steward/esses also deal with behaviour issues on planes too unlike guards. Now there is a safety critical, passenger safety focussed job guards should try to emulate but then again their paper is way too interesting to tear themselves away from. The same also applies to driverless trains which we accept on Docklands but not on the tube due again to the scaremongering unions.
You really do have no idea of the guards role do you? :roll:
 

spacehopper

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Thought it had been a couple of weeks since we last had a DOO thread all guards are lazy and just sit and read the paper and it is a totally unskilled job that in this day and age shouldn't exist except bob crow(E) and his loony members scaremongering again. :roll:

What would you like us to do- dig a hole as well.

Get rid of booking office- replace with reliable, knowledgable TVM.

Get rid of cleaners- punters will clear own mess away.

Get rid of platform staff- Mr Tony can do ramp himself.

Get rid of guard- trains are safe enough such a victorian concept.

Get rid of buffet- who likes hot food and cold beer anyway.

Get rid of driver- look at DLR it is so alike to ECML we can have ATO anywhere.

I'd love the cheap value for money faceless railway where we are safe under the watchful eye of CCTV and help points. Why do we need to staff the railway? All over paid, lazy militant morons pulling a few levers, pushing a few buttons. I much prefer my freeze dried instant maxpac.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4QDEPoMNvWM&feature=youtube_gdata

(2.03 onwards)
 

dk1

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Anglia's Crosslink service was hoping to persued unions to allow the guard to operate the buffet & hence their compartment & door controls where either side of the counter. Staff where having none of it & an early problem managment had not thought of was that certain religious beliefs do not allow them to come into contact with pork products. Bang went the service of bacon rolls & the BLT.
 

Pumbaa

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You know that on occasion Virgin Trains office staff have helped with the catering when they travel to and from work?
Must say - I've not had you serve me coffee on the way to work before, but it does happen. The Glasgow TMs seem to be very happy to do trolley runs in first when there's a crew shortage, its happened to me 3 times before.
 
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