In­dif­fer­ent man­agers?

Rail (UK) - - Open Access -

I read with in­ter­est Paul Bigland’s three-part Rail Rover re­port. I found it to be a very in­ter­est­ing piece, which cer­tainly pro­vides a good snap­shot of the cur­rent state of rail travel around the coun­try.

How­ever, what struck me in the last episode ( RAIL 866) was the sec­tion de­tail­ing when Paul trav­elled on the North­ern ser­vice be­tween Carlisle and New­cas­tle, on a strike day.

Can it be true that se­nior and op­er­a­tional man­agers at North­ern are ei­ther so in­ept, or have so lit­tle care and con­cern for pas­sen­gers (pay­ing cus­tomers), that they seem to make no ef­fort at all to try to en­sure the pro­vi­sion of max­i­mum ca­pac­ity on the trains that do op­er­ate, in or­der to com­pen­sate for those that do not?

There can surely be no pos­si­ble ex­cuse for fail­ing to make what is nor­mally a 2/3-car ser­vice into a 4/6-car ser­vice if the pre­vi­ous or next train is can­celled, in or­der to at least com­pen­sate for the re­duc­tion in fre­quency?

In ad­di­tion to ap­par­ently fail­ing to put into place any sort of con­tin­gency plan­ning, to cover the prob­lems aris­ing from a strike that was known of well in ad­vance, did those man­agers then leave their “safe” of­fices to stand along­side those mem­bers of their staff who were work­ing - in par­tic­u­lar those mem­bers of sta­tion staff who have to face the trav­el­ling pub­lic on what must be very difficult days.? This is not only treat­ing the trav­el­ling pub­lic with con­tempt, but also their own staff.

If I were a cyn­i­cal per­son, I might be tempted to sug­gest that the man­ner in which the man­agers of train op­er­at­ing com­pa­nies are han­dling this long-run­ning dis­pute is ac­tu­ally a de­lib­er­ate strat­egy de­signed to en­sure that trav­ellers suf­fer to the max­i­mum de­gree on strike days, in or­der to put pres­sure onto the trade unions.

No mat­ter what the rights and wrongs are of this dis­pute, it is be­holden on the man­age­ment of any train op­er­a­tor (not just North­ern) to en­sure that at times of

dis­rup­tion, par­tic­u­larly when there is ad­vance no­tice, those ser­vices that do run are at the very least strength­ened to pro­vide as many seats and spa­ces as pos­si­ble.

This would at least pro­vide some sup­port for those who of­ten have no op­tion than to travel and for whom al­ter­na­tive ar­range­ments are sim­ply non-ex­is­tent. Gra­ham Mumby-Croft, Lin­coln

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