Unhelpful Station Help Points

Discussion in 'UK Railway Discussion' started by extendedpaul, 24 May 2015.

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  1. extendedpaul

    extendedpaul Member

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    Yesterday evening I had cause to use a station help point for the first time and it was not a positive experience.

    This was at Charlton at just before midnight. Station unstaffed. There had been a fatality at Abbey Wood two hours earlier and no trains through to Dartford or beyond since. About 20 people trying to get home to Kent following a Paul McCartney gig at the O2 were at a loss what to do. When I arrived one person was being told on the help point to take local buses all the way to Gillingham which was clearly impossible. The lady was getting frustrated and a bit upset so I took over and explained that Gillingham was well outside London which the person did not seem to realise.

    I perhaps naively assumed that the help point on a southeastern station connected to a southestern staff member but the person clearly had no local knowledge. He said he was having difficulty getting through to someone at southeastern and all he knew was that rail tickets were being accepted on local buses. I asked about the provision of taxis or a bus but he said nothing had been agreed or arranged.

    After about 20 minutes holding on he told me he had just been informed that a train was a few minutes away which was the 00.01 to Gillingham and it did indeed turn up about 12 minutes late but failed to make extra stops at Belvedere or Erith for the cancelled 23.47 and 00.17 to Dartford so two couples were having to get taxis back from Dartford.

    I was home only 15 minutes later than expected in the end and have every sympathy with those involved on Saturday'y incident but is it typical for the help point operatives to be so lacking in knowledge ?
     
  2. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    Yes, it is very typical. In many cases I believe the operatives are not based in the UK.
     
  3. mbreckers

    mbreckers Member

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    Only ever had to use one once, ScotRail help point at Prestwick Town. The guy i got through to was definitely Scottish so I assume ScotRail have theyre contact centre for help points based locally.

    Also he was more up-to-date than the passenger information screens, as he was able to tell me the next train was cancelled before the screens did
     
  4. ComUtoR

    ComUtoR Established Member

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    They are awful. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE report the experience to Southeastern.

    I had to use one when a passenger was taken ill. Totally pointless. <(
     
  5. jon0844

    jon0844 Veteran Member

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    I've used them a couple of times and believe that FCC just outsourced to India, using the the standard National Rail enquiries service, and there's no caller ID (it appears to make a normal phone call) so they don't even know where you are.

    Not great for people wanting help who have to spend a fair time explaining where they are before being able to get help that appeared to be nothing more than someone overseas looking at much the same info as you can get on your smartphone via an app or website.

    I do assume things are better for emergencies!!
     
  6. scotraildriver

    scotraildriver Member

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    Scotrail ones connect to one of the CCTV centres and the operator automatically sees you on their screen when someone uses it so they know exactly where you are or are at risk/lone female etc.
     
  7. mbreckers

    mbreckers Member

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    Good Guy ScotRail :)
     
  8. WelshBluebird

    WelshBluebird Established Member

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    I've only used them a few times but the FGW and ATW ones do seem to just connect to NRE in india, which isn't particularly useful most of the time.
    And the only time I actually got through to a specific ToC member of staff based in the UK, they were useless too (basically were just told that "they didn't know", but that is a long story!).
     
  9. sheff1

    sheff1 Established Member

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