‘Not enough staff’ at every stage of £50 trip
GRUMP alert. I rarely travel on public transport so I was really looking forward to taking a train last week. A proper one, with reserved seats and (oh joy) coffee served at the table.
I felt as excited as a child going on a steam train to the seaside.
Unlike the Underground, I’d have a window with a view. Cows and sheep would wave at me from green fields, untainted by motorway grime and sandwich wrappers.
I could make eye contact with the friend who was accompanying me, rather than gazing gloomily into the distance at smelly lorries.
As I was busy, Mr F offered to book the train tickets – he didn’t tell me he’d chosen a quiet carriage. Yes, very funny.
Ten seconds after my friend and I took our reserved seats at Euston, we were told off by a passenger, for talking. She grimly pointed to the notices which banned mobiles (good) and unnecessary noise (hmm).
Were we really noisy? Or unnecessary? Possibly…
We slunk off to find different seats, which (grrr) had no view. Why can’t trains be designed to give all passengers at least a decent window?
We also had to travel backwards, which we both hate. There was no trolley service, so we slumped into our seats and fell into a sulky doze.
At Birmingham New Street, the escalator leading from the platform had broken and there was no sign of a lift or stairs; not even any staff to help people.
Everyone – including elderly people and those carrying children – struggled up the steep escalator steps with heavy cases.
At the summit I reported this, but was told there were not enough staff; an echo of the young man serving in my Virgin train’s empty buffet car, when asked why there was no trolley service.
But those who are employed don’t seem to care. Having paid more than £50 for my ticket, I did not have to present it once – not at any barrier nor to any person. Anyone could have travelled on that train for nothing. I bet many do.
No wonder travel is so expensive and keeps rising for those of us who do cough up.
Heaven help HS2 – and now possibly HS3. With staff and bosses like this – and why should it be any different? – it’ll never recoup its costs. And we’ll all go mad.
Catch up with Barbara at www.getwestlondon.co.uk/authors/barbara-fisher/
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