Can’t be arsed

Did you know that the price of a single off-peak fare from Glasgow to Edinburgh is just 10p less than an off-peak return fare for the same journey?  No?  Nor did I until yesterday.  The “wonderful” organisation that is Scotrail had me blowing steam out of my ears (and probably various other orifices!) with their “can’t be arsed” attitude and complete lack of customer service skills.  Had there not been 2 helpful people based at Haymarket, it would not be a blog posting but a stiff letter of complaint to Head Office I can tell you!

So, what got me all of a lather?  Well, rushing to get the train through from Glasgow Queen Street, I inadvertently pressed the wrong button on the ticket machine and seeing the cost was £11.30 I didn’t realise until only one ticket and a receipt dropped into the tray.  As the train was due to leave and I didn’t want to miss it, I decided to make a run for it and talk to the guard on the train.  This I duly did, to be told that he “can’t do anything about it” and I’d have to go to the ticket office in Glasgow – great idea since I was heading in totally the opposite direction and anyway this clearly wasn’t going to sort out my problem as I still needed to get a return ticket and was unwilling to fork out yet another £11.30 for the privilege.  My first “can’t be arsed” Scotrail person.

When I reached Haymarket, the ticket barrier retained my ticket but I made sure I kept hold of my receipt.  After my meeting I went to the ticket office to be told by the lady at the desk that there was nothing she could do about my dilemma and that I’d have to buy another single ticket.  My second “can’t be arsed” Scotrail person.  Fortunately she was overheard by one of her colleagues who suggested it was worth talking to the man at the gate to see if he could do anything.  My first “helpful” Scotrail person.

The first man at the gate (third “can’t be arsed” person) said that he wouldn’t be able to help me as I didn’t have the original ticket!  I explained that this had been retained by the ticket barrier (naturally) and he said that the original guard on the train should have upgraded me when I still had the ticket in my possession.  Without the ticket there was nothing that could be done and I’d have to buy a new single ticket for another £11.30.

Haymarket Station

Fortunately my knight in shining armour was standing listening to the conversation –  Another Scotrail employee who said he was sure that he could process an “upgrade” for me which would mean me just paying the 10p difference between the tickets.  I could have kissed him.  He dutifully plugged all the details into his little machine and produced the relevant ticket and I handed across my 10p with grateful thanks.

So what does this story illustrate?  Well to me it’s perfectly clear that there is always a solution to a problem if only someone is prepared to make that little bit of effort to help.  All to often our “can’t be arsed” society takes over however and we are left with little faith in human nature. 

On this occasion I would definitely like to thank the lovely man who saved me just over £11 for bringing some sunshine into a cold, grey, rainy day – you are a star.  To the three people who “couldn’t be arsed”, perhaps some customer service training wouldn’t go amiss?  And finally, to Scotrail … what idiot dreamt up such a ludicrous fare policy?


Posted on October 18, 2011, in Edinburgh, Glasgow and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. Ha Ha Ha Ha LOL
    That lovely man must of fancied you Tessa
    At least he made your day

  2. Strictly speaking a single can’t be changed into a return. The best solution though would have been for the original conductor to charge you 10p.
    Once you get to Glasgow, there is always a chance that you could have found a ticket on the floor and try (at someone elses expense) to get to Edinburgh for 10p.
    Sometimes in life we all make mistakes and sometimes we have to accept to consequences for our mistakes.

  3. Actually your ‘star’ is lucky he isn’t on his way out the door with his P45!

    He has issued you with a ticket that has no validity whatsoever. An excess ticket MUST be accompanied with the original ticket to be valid. Its also not possible to excess a single ticket to a return ticket. To do this you would have to got to a ticket office at the issuing station and have your original ticket cancelled/refunded before buying the correct ticket. All of the ‘can’t be arsed’ employees were actually already doing their jobs in accordance with Scotrails training.

    The lesson to be learnt here is to take more care when selecting your tickets and not blame everyone else for your own mistakes.

  4. I agree with the person above. It’s good to see common sense prevail however an excess (or “upgrade” as you called it) is not valid without the original ticket, and must not be issued without the original ticket. It is not Scotrail’s fault that singles are 10p less than returns. That is the case with most off-peak tickets from BR days. Market forces I’m afraid. Next time always remember to check that you have purchased the right product before paying for it, as unfortunately running late other than due to the railway’s fault is not an excuse that will normally be accepted. To be fair the guard should have excessed the ticket onboard so I’m not sure if it is Scotrail’s policy or if he really “couldn’t be arsed”. Also if you need to keep hold of your ticket for whatever reason: delay compensation claim, company expenses, etc, you need to go through the manual gate at gatelines and not insert your ticket into the gateline itself or it will be retained if finished with. There should always be someone at the gateline if it is in operation.

  5. In response to the above comments…rather than a ‘can’t be arsed’ attitude its more like a ‘head up the a**e’ attitude!!! In this day and age we have too much technology, rules and regulations and political correctness that to seems to have drowned out the simple human gift of common sense. My youngest son (15) was refused entry onto a train and had his half fare ticket taken off him by ‘can’t be arsed meglamanic’ ticket collector at Edinburgh station the other day because….wait for it…’he must be 18 because he was smoking’!!!!!! My son did not have ID on him and as he has spent all his money on an overpriced single ticket was unable to purchase another ticket to get home!!! It was only when a police officer intervened and spoke to us on the phone that he was allowed to go on his way. So be warned…it seems that this may now be that the policy for determining a persons age is now based on their behaviour!!! If thats the case 90% of the adult population who catch the train home after a night out should be eligible for half fares….dont we all act like kids after a couple of drinks and a giggle with our pals???? The world has gone mad!!!!

    • Maybe next time your son should carry some form of ID, huh? How exactly was the “megalomaniac” supposed to know your son was 15 when a) he had no ID, and b) he was smoking (something you seem to have no problem with btw), the legal age of which in this country is 18! How typical your response is of the “it’s always someone else’s fault” attitude that permeates our society.

    • Your fault for having a 15 year old son who smokes.

      I’ll get my coat.

    • I wouldn’t say it was behaviour that made the ticket collector judge your son’s age, more the fact that he shouldn’t legally have cigarettes at his age. It also appears that he is breaking the law given that the ticket collector *saw* him smoking, obviously before he had gone past the ticket barriers, therefore while he was still on the station premises and therefore breaking the law by smoking inside a station.

      I believe you need to rethink your idea of a ‘can’t be arsed’ attitiude. If the ticket collector had a ‘can’t be arsed’ attitude, he would have just waved your son through the gates; also it is the person who sold your son the cigarettes who had the ‘can’t be arsed’ attitude as they obviously didn’t do their job properly in selling age-restricted products to a minor. Or maybe your son does *look* 18 or older, hence him being able to purchase age-restricted products illegally, and being picked up for having an child fare ticket.

    • Louise. Seriously? In that case, you should feel very lucky that your son is not in much bigger trouble. Firstly he is 15 and smoking. Secondly it is illegal to smoke on station premises. It might not be the most appropriate to confiscate a ticket from a minor, however maybe before pointing your fingers at other people, you should look at yourself and reflect on why your son did what he did. Finally highjacking another person’s blog in this way is hardly polite.

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