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Scotrail Update

On a final note regarding my Scotrail “incident” a few weeks ago – here is the response I’ve received from Customer Relations today:

“Dear Ms Heywood

Thank you for your email dated 18 October 2011. I am sorry that you have had cause to complain.

On most routes we offer a combination of fares being an Anytime single, Anytime return and Off-Peak return. On the Edinburgh/Glasgow route the Off-peak return fare has been reduced to less than the Anytime single and as a result it has created an Off-Peak single fare which is only 10p less expensive than the return. The Off-Peak return fare was reduced to less than the Anytime single to try and encourage passengers to travel at Off-Peak times. The Off-Peak single is an anomaly in the system and cannot be removed.

I understand that on this occasion you purchased a single fare instead of a return, and although I appreciate that the similarity in fares may cause some confusion when ‘rushing’ to buy your ticket it is the customer responsibility to ensure that they have left enough time to purchase their tickets, and that the ticket they have bought is valid for the journey they wish to make.

I also note that you tried to upgrade your ticket at Haymarket station. Since you were no longer in possession of your outward ticket it was not possible to change or upgrade your ticket. I can only add that the member of staff who did eventually upgrade your ticket was actually acting out with ScotRail policies and should not have carried out your request. Any ticket for 10p issued without the outward single ticket would generally not be valid for travel.

On a separate matter, I notice that we have not responded to your comments within 7 working days. I apologise for this delay and am happy to inform you that you are entitled to a Rail Travel Voucher for £5.00, in accordance with the conditions set out in our Passengers’ Charter. The voucher can be redeemed for tickets with any UK domestic Train Operating Company within the next 12 months. In order for us to send this to you, we will require that you reply to this email with your postal address and quoting the reference number above.

Thank you for contacting ScotRail.”


Note to self – must read this Passengers’ Charter that they refer to – wasn’t expecting the £5 voucher – this might actually get me almost half way to Edinburgh next time I need to go!!!

Sense of humour failure?

Following on from my Can’t be Arsed post ( I thought I’d share with you some of the comments that I’ve received from people on the RailUK forum who took exception to my blog post.  People who clearly haven’t a clue what irony is and, to be frank, take themselves and their love of all things “trains” just a tad too seriously!

CompactDStrxion – 18/10/11 @ 12.53
“You obviously didn’t give yourself enough time at the station to purchase your ticket without rushing. It would only have been 15 minutes until the next train.The return ticket is a day return and the tiny difference is essentially due to the return journey being ‘free’ if you’re going back the same day. The real injustice on this route is that there is no period return available.I would also have expected the barrier to retain my ticket and exited through the manned barrier at Haymarket. Your labelling of staff as ‘couldn’t be arsed’ is more than a bit sharp considering the circumstances.”

firespire – 18/10/11 @ 15.43 
“They obvious “couldn’t be arsed” wait for the next train.It just sound like an irate person who after noticing their mistake, didn’t bother to take any time to sort it out at Glasgow station, simply preferring to get annoyed with the train guard was unable to do anything and didn’t like getting told that Glasgow station was the place they should have sorted it out.”
Deerfold – 19/10/11 @ 11.55
“Sounds like someone with a sense of entitlement wanting to publish her woes far and wide. I doubt she’ll be back to see any responses anyway.Yes, the guard on the train could have helped but it was her initial mistake.I’ve done the reverse – accidentally bought a return from a TVM when all I needed was a single – and the difference was rather more than 10p.  What did I do? Told myself not to do something so silly again.”

170401 – 24/10/11 @ 16.10
“You’ve got off quite lucky here, had your “excessed ticket” been picked up by some of Scotrails more enthusiastic staff then best case scenario you would have been looking at paying the single fare again (possibly with a £10 admin fee on top) or worst case you might have currently been at the center of a fraud investigation.The outcome, sadly, for your friendly gateline staff is likely that they’d now be looking for a new job and probably would also be at the center of said fraud investigation.”

When you write things like this you can never be sure of the reactions you’re going to get – these are priceless!  What next I ask myself?????

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?

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