TPE and seat reservation confusion

Discussion in 'UK Railway Discussion' started by TUC, 28 Apr 2015.

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  1. TUC

    TUC Established Member

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    Passengers can regularly be seen being confused when searching for their seat reservations on TPE's core cross pennine services. TPE use multiple linked two or three car sets on these routes. It is therefore perhaps inevitable that sometimes passengers find themselves having got onto the 'wrong' part of the train and unable to get to their reserved seats. However, TPE add to this confusion by regularly not labelling their carriages and/or taking bizarre approaches to it.

    For example, on the Leeds-Hull service last night, a group of passengers were searching for their reservations in coach B, but no reservations could be seen. On asking the guard, they were advised that there were two coach B's in the train and that they were in the wrong one. On getting off the train, I checked the window labels. There were six coaches, some of which lacked any paper labels to identify them. Bizarrely, given it was a six car set, the middle two were labelled E and F!

    TPE can't help not having trains that can be walked through end to end, but they could at least clearly label them in a logical manner.
     
  2. driver9000

    driver9000 Established Member

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    There is a logic to it based around first class. First is always coach C on single 185 and 350 units. With pairs it becomes C and F on 185s and C and G on 350s. However there shouldn't have been 2 coach B in the train even if it was due to split en route.

    The problems with confusion arise when units aren't the same way round and it isn't possible to letter them in order so you can end up with trains formed CBAFED or DCBAEFGH etc. To counter this the formation is advertised at some stations on the platform indicators.
     
  3. BurtonM

    BurtonM Member

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    An oddity I saw today: someone had evidently got a cycle reservation, as a 'reserved' ticket had been stuck in the tip-up seats, numbered A99.

    Also, don't the 350s have gangway ends? Why aren't they being utilised?
     
  4. driver9000

    driver9000 Established Member

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    They are.
     
  5. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    I guess he is referring to yet another poor design feature of the Class 185, that they were specified without gangways despite a clear intention to run them in multiple. Gangways can be specified on the 23m Desiro body - they are present on the Class 444.
     
  6. dggar

    dggar Member

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    The OP stated "core cross pennine services".

    350s can't cover them yet.
     
  7. Crossforth

    Crossforth Established Member

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    This is quite normal. For wheelchairs, C99 is used
     
  8. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    I rarely bother with seat reservations on TPE, however this also happened to me on ATW, there was absolutely no label stating Coach A, however I guessed at the front coach, which turned out to be correct (this was a 4-car train Birmingham-Holyhead). Later in the day a Milford Haven-Manchester train had no reservations and no mention was made of this. I think reservations are a bit of a lottery away from the main 'Inter City' TOCs.
     
  9. TUC

    TUC Established Member

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    Given that they're just paper labels, I wouldn't have thought it should be difficult though to make sure that coaches are correctly labelled. They could just be stuck on at the same time as the seat reservations.
     
  10. bunnahabhain

    bunnahabhain Established Member

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    I carry sets of letters around for when I need to label up carriages, believe it or not it can take me as long or longer to put them up than reservation labels, depending upon how well the doubled sided tape is stuck on them.

    Lack of reservations can be down to many reasons, sometimes it's the cleaners jobs , sometimes it's the guards jobs, it depends on whether services are on time or not. I had to throw an entire set in the bin once when they'd been printed upside down, leaving the black printed text inside a dark blue box rendering the illegible, on other occasions it's simply been impossible to get them out due to a train late from a depot or a last minute set swap. However, it's a free service, and as long as everybody gets a seat I'm happy.
     
  11. ajdunlop

    ajdunlop Member

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    This is constantly a problem on TPE. Sometimes you are lucky on a 3 or 4 coach single train if the coaches are labled.
    I think things could be helped with electronic displays to indicate coach letters. They would also be much easier to read than the paper stickers they use now. But given how bad TPE are at using the passenger displays already in their trains I'm not sure it would fix the problem.
     
  12. Crossforth

    Crossforth Established Member

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    Can you back this up with evidence about "how bad TPE are at using passenger displays"?
     
  13. thelongestroad

    thelongestroad Member

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    Indeed, there are a quite few 158s in my company running about with plastic trays in the door windows in which paper coach letter signs can be put into.

    Quite simple really...
     
  14. GrimsbyPacer

    GrimsbyPacer Established Member

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    Last time I saw a class 185 with "TPex" at the front and the website on the side display instead of the destination.
    Also one time the voice said the wrong station was next.
    And their maps are out of date too.
     
  15. Starmill

    Starmill Established Member

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    They are categorically rubbish at getting seat reservations out and in the right place. The number of times I've seen a new reservation stuck in front of old ones and all of the old ones still in place :roll:

    If there's not enough time to get all of them out, fine. But at least bin the old ones!!!
     
  16. Crossforth

    Crossforth Established Member

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    For those of you who don't know, I work for TPE and in my time as a conductor, I have seen one instance with the auto announcements and PIS screens not working and this was due to a trainee driver still learning how to work the train, and I've had one day where there were no seat reservations on any TPE train and this was due to a failure of the reservation system. These things happen unfortunately.

    It strikes me that those of you who say they are "rubbish" have travelled on our trains a handful of times and these have also been the times when someone has not changed the reservations or inputted the PIS data. I'll admit, there are people out there who don't make the effort to change them but I have not met them yet.

    The cleaning staff at out terminus stations who put on the reservations do a smashing job of preparing the trains for service even when the have to deal with some of the awful mess that is left behind by the passengers. I bow down to them.

    For those of you who are complaining about the lack of reservations, I'll ask you to contact our HR department and see if you can shadow one of our cleaners for the day to see the conditions they have to work in and the pressures they're under to do the work as I wouldn't want to do their job.
     
  17. TUC

    TUC Established Member

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    It's hard to see how staff pressures can used as an excuse for TPE anymore than for any other TOC when it comes to seat reservations.
     
  18. Starmill

    Starmill Established Member

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    If the contract cleaners are being put under too much pressure to get the reservations out, don't you think it's up to the company to increase the requirement for them? Ah, but then, they'd have to pay more wouldn't they! Better to put up with the occasional complaint, slightly reduced passenger satisfaction and occasionally having to pay out the compensation to people who join heaving trains for which they have a seat reservation and have to stand than have to pay more to their contractors.

    I don't know about HR, but I have contacted Customer Relations more times than I can remember about the awful reliability of the seat reservation service. How many VT East Coast services do you see without seat reservations? I can think of only one that I've seen in months. And when do you ever see their services with the reservations for the previous journey still out? Or a journey from hours ago on a completely different route (Barrow - Manchester reservations on a late afternoon Middlesbrough - Manchester service anyone?).
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    http://www.railforums.co.uk/showthread.php?t=108045&page=3

    This thread may provide further reading.
     
    Last edited: 30 Apr 2015
  19. CC 72100

    CC 72100 Established Member

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    Could it be that turnaround times come into this? I have no idea how long the turnaround times are on TPE diagrams, but if they are shorter than other operators who also have to clean/restock/relabel trains then this could mean more pressure on staff -> less likely reservations are put out.
     
  20. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Some may recall that Central Trains abolished reservations after finding they could not reliably implement them. If that's true of TPE, they should go the same way. There's little point having them if they are not reliable.
     
  21. CC 72100

    CC 72100 Established Member

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    Once again I admit to have little/no knowledge about the actual situation, so I'm only speaking hypothetically here, but in the case that you've suggested, how to decide at what point doing reservations is no longer 'worth it'?

    If 80% of trains are correctly labelled, does that mean they should stay?

    The difficulty is deciding at what point reservations are 'abandoned' because of being too unreliable.
     
  22. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    80% seems low, but I don't know what the cut off point would sensibly be. I would think for the system to have credibility it would have to be well into the 90s.
     
  23. Deerfold

    Deerfold Established Member

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    They could certainly improve the displays at York. I caught a TPE late last year from platform 5 with a 93-year old. Platform 5 is large enough to hold two EC sets. EC are announced as arriving at Platform 5a or 5b, TPE just as Platform 5.

    I had been hoping to wait in about the right place for our reserved seats but when I did find some staff (which involved me going over the bridge and back) they were unable to help me as to where on this huge platform the train might stop, never mind where an individual carriage would be.
     
  24. TUC

    TUC Established Member

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    Are you saying that cleaning staff board the train at each and every turnaround point and clean and place new seat reservations? I've boarded a number of TPE trains at turnaround sstations and havn't regularly noticed cleaners boarding.
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    In what way is that a customer focussed approach-'we're not doing well at this so let's stop doing it at all'?
     
  25. richardio123

    richardio123 Member

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    Well MIA and MAN both have the "Carlisle" contract cleaners either based there or going back and forth between the station cleaning the trains on route.

    The only time I've seen reservations not being used if a train arrives seriously late .
     
  26. darloscott

    darloscott Member

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    My main experience is on the Middlesbrough trains but quite a few times I've seen the conductors placing the seat reservations for the return journey once past Northallerton on the inbound run. Makes sense as it's fairly quiet usually up the top end. I'm guessing they don't have cleaners at Middlesbrough?
     
  27. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    It's an honest approach, and is better in my view than claiming to offer the reassurance of a reserved seat and yet not delivering it in a not insignificant number of cases. People can therefore make an informed decision on whether they travel or not, if a reservation is important to them.

    I didn't often applaud the awful Central Trains, but this is one case where I did.

    FWIW it would be better if the situation was fixed. An option might be giving guards access to the list of reservations for a given train via a smartphone and for them to be able to put out generic "reserved" cards in cases where the printer has failed. I've seen this approach (the re-usable generic cards) used on VT.
     
    Last edited: 30 Apr 2015
  28. Crossforth

    Crossforth Established Member

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    We do have cleaners at Middlesbrough, just sometimes, very early in the morning or late at night, we put out the reservations ourselves as there are no cleaners.

    As for stopping on platform 5, the train usually stops by the footbridge.

    As I've said before, the staff on the ground ground will do everything they can to ensure that the reservations are out for your seat and that the mess you made is cleaned up.

    I, of course, can only speak for those trains on the North route.
     
  29. pdq

    pdq Member

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    I can also only speak for trains between Dewsbury and Manchester but in the 5 yrs I've been commuting, and therefore finding unreserved seats, reservations have been unavailable only a handful of times. On the 8.35 arrival from Hull the conductor often swaps the reservations after Huddersfield.
     
  30. Deerfold

    Deerfold Established Member

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    That might be the case, but there's nothing to say that and the staff I asked didn't know - and "usually" isn't great when you're trying to board a busy service with a 93-year old companion.
     
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