Rail call cen­tre ‘com­pletely in­com­pe­tent’, says woman

The Oban Times - - News - EL­LIE FORBES eforbes@oban­times.co.uk

A CORPACH woman has been left out­raged af­ter ScotRail’s ‘ com­plete in­com­pe­tence’ meant her hus­band was late for a get-to­gether with friends in Glas­gow.

Jan­ice Stra­chan’s hus­band was head­ing to Glas­gow for a long week­end last Fri­day, July 29, to meet friends he hadn’t seen for more than six months.

Mr Stra­chan had booked a ticket for the 11.21am train from Corpach to Glas­gow Queen Street. Fol­low­ing re­cent train strikes, his wife ex­am­ined ScotRail’s web­site around 10.55am to dou­ble check the train was still on sched­ule. Mrs Stra­chan told The Oban

Times: ‘I checked on­line be­cause ScotRail had ad­vised to check dur­ing the strikes. The train he was meant to be get­ting wasn’t show­ing up on the web­site.’

Con­cerned the train wasn’t run­ning, she called ScotRail. ‘The first num­ber I called was from ScotRail’s web­site and I was trans­ferred to three dif­fer­ent de­part­ments. I was first told it had been can­celled be­cause of staff short­ages and then some­one else told me the train was run­ning but that it was only go­ing from Fort Wil­liam sta­tion, not Corpach.

‘I was pushed from pil­lar to post for more than 45 min­utes so it was too late to try to get into Fort Wil­liam to get it.

‘My hus­band is ab­so­lutely gut­ted – his week­end was been ru­ined. He took two days off work – Fri­day July 29 and Mon­day Au­gust 1 – to go and meet his friends.’

Mrs Stra­chan said her hus­band had cho­sen to travel by train as he was tak­ing an ex­pen­sive bike with him to Glas­gow and did not want to put it in the hold of a bus in case it was dam­aged.

She con­tin­ued: ‘ We were then told he could have got the train to Cri­an­larich and then a bus from there, but if he wanted to get a bus, he would have booked a bus. He got the train for his bike and they didn’t even tell us at the time of the book­ing that he would have to get a bus from Cri­an­larich.

‘They then told me he could get the train to Cri­an­larich, get off and press the help but­ton to see what would hap­pen.

‘Why would any­one travel all that way to just see what hap­pens?

‘He would have been bet­ter off cy­cling to Glas­gow.

‘They are to­tally un­re­li­able. It is through their com­plete in­com­pe­tence that my hus­band missed the train. If they had told me the cor­rect in­for­ma­tion to be­gin with, he would have never missed it.’

Mrs Stra­chan ex­pressed her frus­tra­tion at ScotRail’s re­fusal to take re­spon­si­bil­ity for the missed train: ‘ No one at ScotRail is ac­cept­ing re­spon­si­bil­ity and no one was will­ing to help me.

‘They could have of­fered to ar­range al­ter­na­tive trans­port for him – they should have or­gan­ised a taxi from Corpach to Glas­gow for him. We want com­pen­sa­tion.’

A ScotRail spokesman said: ‘The 10.10 Mal­laig to Glas­gow Queen Street ser­vice on Fri­day July 29 had to be ter­mi­nated at Cri­an­larich be­cause of a short­age of train crew.

‘The mis­in­for­ma­tion the cus­tomer was pro­vided with came from a call made to na­tional rail in­quiries which ad­vised that the ser­vice was can­celled, not par­tially can­celled from Cri­an­larich on­ward with al­ter­na­tive trans­port be­ing pro­vided.

‘The cus­tomer then con­tacted ScotRail’s cus­tomer re­la­tions

He would have been bet­ter off cy­cling to Glas­gow ” Jan­ice Stra­chan

depart­ment to com­plain about the can­cel­la­tion, which is when she was ad­vised of the cor­rect in­for­ma­tion re­gard­ing the train run­ning.

‘ We’re al­ways con­cerned to hear that a cus­tomer’s plans have been dis­rupted due to a can­cel­la­tion. We do ev­ery­thing pos­si­ble to alert trav­ellers as soon as we know of any chance to the ser­vice. We did so on this oc­ca­sion through our web­site, jour­ney check and our mo­bile app.’

Talk­ing to The Oban Times on Mon­day, Mrs Stra­chan said: ‘I ended up talk­ing to some­one from ScotRail on Face­book and we found out that his ticket would be valid for the later train just af­ter 5pm. So he got the train in the end. How­ever, the book­ing for his bike was not valid on that ser­vice so he had to take a gam­ble on whether it would get on and luck­ily it did.

‘They need to sort their call cen­tre out. If some­one from the com­pany tells you the train is can­celled, you’re go­ing to be­lieve them.’

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