Dale Haslam train blog: 'Hostile inspectors add even more stress to journey'

The Bolton News: Dale Haslam train blog: 'Hostile inspectors add even more stress to journey' Dale Haslam train blog: 'Hostile inspectors add even more stress to journey'

REPORTER Dale Haslam continues his regular blog on his daily train commute in and out of Bolton

PICTURE the scene. You arrive to get your train to work and know you will be late if you miss it.
And just as you are about to board, four ticket inspectors surround you and order you to buy a ticket — and you have never seen such inspectors there before.

This is what happened to me — and scores of others — last Thursday morning at Chorley station and it left me with a sour taste in my mouth.

For one thing, I always pay for train tickets on the way to work. It is impossible not to because of strict ticket checks on trains and at Bolton station.

Sadly, the team of Northern Rail ‘revenue protection officers’ did not see it that way. For those unfamiliar with Chorley station, there are two entrances, one with a ticket office and one with a ticket machine and it is perfectly fine to use both.

Comically, the inspectors were preventing people from walking to the ticket machine and then interrogating them on their lack of a ticket.

“Why didn’t you buy your ticket from the ticket office?”, “You should have a ticket already”, “It’s not my problem if you’re late for work, pal.”

Eventually, they let me on and I arrived at work on time and paid on the train, but it was an irritating start to the day. There is seldom an excuse for poor manners.

I can imagine that the inspectors are used to dealing with unfriendly and abusive characters, but it irks me that they then treat others with a tone approaching outright hostility.

Northern Rail paints itself as a ‘happy to help’ kind of company and, mostly, it is. But hostile inspectors run the risk of scuppering those efforts and alienating customers if they forget to be polite.

Comments (14)

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10:24am Mon 3 Mar 14

movedto says...

Try boarding a plane without a ticket!!!! So why should a train be any different.
This was the first time you hadnt a ticket and the first time you saw the inspectors - what a coincidence!!!!
Try boarding a plane without a ticket!!!! So why should a train be any different. This was the first time you hadnt a ticket and the first time you saw the inspectors - what a coincidence!!!! movedto
  • Score: -13

10:27am Mon 3 Mar 14

movedto says...

You cant board a flight without a ticket - why should a train be any different.
Is it the train companies fault you would have been late for work?
Was it just a coincidence the first time you traveled without a ticket the inspectors boarded!!!!
Inspectors have a job to do because of people like you - and I bet they have heard every possible excuse 10 times over.
Look in the mirror!!!!
You cant board a flight without a ticket - why should a train be any different. Is it the train companies fault you would have been late for work? Was it just a coincidence the first time you traveled without a ticket the inspectors boarded!!!! Inspectors have a job to do because of people like you - and I bet they have heard every possible excuse 10 times over. Look in the mirror!!!! movedto
  • Score: -14

10:56am Mon 3 Mar 14

Darren1951 says...

Comparing air travel to domestic rail travel is worse than likening chalk to cheese! Besides, there are conductors on trains who ha\ve the facility to issue tickets.
Comparing air travel to domestic rail travel is worse than likening chalk to cheese! Besides, there are conductors on trains who ha\ve the facility to issue tickets. Darren1951
  • Score: 11

12:35pm Mon 3 Mar 14

The Righteous One says...

This is taken from National Rail Conditions of Carriage

2. Requirement to hold a ticket
Before you travel you must have a ticket or other authority to travel which is valid for the
train(s) you intend to use and for the journey you intend to make.
If you travel in a train:
(a) without a ticket; or
(b) the circumstances described in any of Conditions 10, 11, 12, 18, 19, 22,
30, 35 and 39 apply;
you will be liable to pay the full single fare or full return fare or, if appropriate, a Penalty
Fare (see Condition 4) for your journey. You will not be entitled to any discounts or special
terms unless either:
(i) at the station where you started your journey:
-there was no ticket office
-there were no self- service ticket machines or no self-service ticket machines were in full working order
- in Penalty Fares areas you bought a Permit to Travel unless no Permit to Travel issuing machine was in full working order
or
(ii) the notices and other publications issued by the Train Company in whose
train you are travelling indicate that you can buy tickets in that train.
In circumstances where (i) or (ii) apply, you only need to pay the fare that you would have
paid if you had bought a ticket immediately before your journey.
Special arrangements may apply if you are disabled. You will find details of these
arrangements in each Train Company’s ‘Disabled People’s Protection Policy’.
For the purposes of this Condition, and Conditions 4, 39 and 41, “full single fare or full
return fare” means the highest priced single or (if requested by the passenger) return fare
appropriate to the class of travel for the journey you are making.

As it is according to Northern Rail Passenger Charter:
If the ticket office is open they will try to serve you within 3 to 5 minutes - if any longer you may use the ticket machines. If Ticket machines are not working then one can buy tickets from any revenue inspector that is based at the station for the same prices. IF none of the above apply, or you are in a hurry for a specific service or/and there is no ticket office then one can buy tickets from the conductor on the train or from the ticket office at the destination (but if you got on at a station with ticket facilities then you will not be entitled to the discounts and can only be achrged for the full fare)

In other words there are may options and chances to buty a ticket and the revenue inspectors are totally working against their own company's charter!!!!
This is taken from National Rail Conditions of Carriage 2. Requirement to hold a ticket Before you travel you must have a ticket or other authority to travel which is valid for the train(s) you intend to use and for the journey you intend to make. If you travel in a train: (a) without a ticket; or (b) the circumstances described in any of Conditions 10, 11, 12, 18, 19, 22, 30, 35 and 39 apply; you will be liable to pay the full single fare or full return fare or, if appropriate, a Penalty Fare (see Condition 4) for your journey. You will not be entitled to any discounts or special terms unless either: (i) at the station where you started your journey: -there was no ticket office -there were no self- service ticket machines or no self-service ticket machines were in full working order - in Penalty Fares areas you bought a Permit to Travel unless no Permit to Travel issuing machine was in full working order or (ii) the notices and other publications issued by the Train Company in whose train you are travelling indicate that you can buy tickets in that train. In circumstances where (i) or (ii) apply, you only need to pay the fare that you would have paid if you had bought a ticket immediately before your journey. Special arrangements may apply if you are disabled. You will find details of these arrangements in each Train Company’s ‘Disabled People’s Protection Policy’. For the purposes of this Condition, and Conditions 4, 39 and 41, “full single fare or full return fare” means the highest priced single or (if requested by the passenger) return fare appropriate to the class of travel for the journey you are making. As it is according to Northern Rail Passenger Charter: If the ticket office is open they will try to serve you within 3 to 5 minutes - if any longer you may use the ticket machines. If Ticket machines are not working then one can buy tickets from any revenue inspector that is based at the station for the same prices. IF none of the above apply, or you are in a hurry for a specific service or/and there is no ticket office then one can buy tickets from the conductor on the train or from the ticket office at the destination (but if you got on at a station with ticket facilities then you will not be entitled to the discounts and can only be achrged for the full fare) In other words there are may options and chances to buty a ticket and the revenue inspectors are totally working against their own company's charter!!!! The Righteous One
  • Score: -29

1:12pm Mon 3 Mar 14

Darren1951 says...

Righteous One , et al.....aren't the revenue protection officers a different company to NR?
Righteous One , et al.....aren't the revenue protection officers a different company to NR? Darren1951
  • Score: 0

2:25pm Mon 3 Mar 14

Womble says...

movedto clearly hasn't read the article properly, particularly the sentence "the inspectors were preventing people from walking to the ticket machine and then interrogating them on their lack of a ticket. "
movedto clearly hasn't read the article properly, particularly the sentence "the inspectors were preventing people from walking to the ticket machine and then interrogating them on their lack of a ticket. " Womble
  • Score: 5

2:42pm Mon 3 Mar 14

The Righteous One says...

Darren1951 wrote:
Righteous One , et al.....aren't the revenue protection officers a different company to NR?
The actual people are employed by a job agency who, through an outsourcing contract with Northern Rail, are used to be Revenue Protection Officers.. Basically it is Northern Rail!
[quote][p][bold]Darren1951[/bold] wrote: Righteous One , et al.....aren't the revenue protection officers a different company to NR?[/p][/quote]The actual people are employed by a job agency who, through an outsourcing contract with Northern Rail, are used to be Revenue Protection Officers.. Basically it is Northern Rail! The Righteous One
  • Score: -33

3:57pm Mon 3 Mar 14

Darren1951 says...

The Righteous One wrote:
Darren1951 wrote:
Righteous One , et al.....aren't the revenue protection officers a different company to NR?
The actual people are employed by a job agency who, through an outsourcing contract with Northern Rail, are used to be Revenue Protection Officers.. Basically it is Northern Rail!
Don't think that's correct - according to what I've found, this role is contracted out to G4S, and we all know what an on-the-ball and well-organized set-up that is, don't we?
[quote][p][bold]The Righteous One[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Darren1951[/bold] wrote: Righteous One , et al.....aren't the revenue protection officers a different company to NR?[/p][/quote]The actual people are employed by a job agency who, through an outsourcing contract with Northern Rail, are used to be Revenue Protection Officers.. Basically it is Northern Rail![/p][/quote]Don't think that's correct - according to what I've found, this role is contracted out to G4S, and we all know what an on-the-ball and well-organized set-up that is, don't we? Darren1951
  • Score: 3

4:10pm Mon 3 Mar 14

Darren1951 says...

Righteous One - sounds like we may both be partially right. Apparently, NR have outsourced the job to G4S who, in turn, are accused of hiring agency staff at low rates of pay. In other words, NR's contract is directly with G4S, and not with one or more agencies.
Righteous One - sounds like we may both be partially right. Apparently, NR have outsourced the job to G4S who, in turn, are accused of hiring agency staff at low rates of pay. In other words, NR's contract is directly with G4S, and not with one or more agencies. Darren1951
  • Score: 1

8:34pm Mon 3 Mar 14

BWFC71 says...

Department for Transport
Great Minster House
33 Horseferry Road
London
SW1P 4DR
Tel: 0300 330 3000
Web Site: www.gov.uk/dft


Our Ref: 96879

Your Ref:


19 February 2014



Dear Mr Postlethwaite,


Thank you for your email of 27 January to Stephen Hammond MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport, regarding Bolton train services; I have been asked to respond.


When the Northern franchise was let in 2004 there was not expected to be any growth in passenger demand. Since the start of the franchise Northern has seen passenger numbers increase by around 40% across the franchise. Although the popularity of the railway is to be welcomed, it has led to some trains being crowded, particularly at peak times. Additional carriages were provided to Northern in 2008 and 2011 because of this growth.


Within their franchise agreement, Northern is required to use all reasonable endeavours to provide a minimum number of places on around 250 peak services each week day. The delivery of this capacity is monitored by Northern and discussed regularly with the DfT and Transport for Greater Manchester as well as other stakeholders.


The train service between Manchester and Bolton is sponsored and specified by Transport for Greater Manchester. You may wish to make your concerns known to them if you have not done so already.


It is important to remember that safety is the first priority of rail operations and a recent European Union report found that the UK has the safest rail network of all EU members – see http://ec.europa.eu/

commission_2010-2014

/kallas/headlines/ne

ws/2013/01/doc/swd(2

013)-10-part3.pdf for details.


With regard to the safety implications of overcrowding, I should explain that the body that monitors and enforces compliance with health and safety legislation on Britain’s rail network is the Office of Rail Regulation (‘ORR’).


It is for each train operating company to use its train fleet to best match the train capacity to the passenger demand expected on individual services. Operators are required to use all reasonable endeavours to minimise overcrowding. ORR has advised me that there is no legal limit on the number of passengers that can travel on a train. This is because trains differ from other modes of transport, such as buses and aeroplanes, where passenger numbers can affect stability. Trains are designed to operate safely and effectively even when they are loaded to maximum capacity.


The structural design of rail vehicles takes account of the maximum load including crowded conditions. In addition, the interior design contain features that minimise passenger injury in the event of an accident


It is true that in the event of a serious accident – a rare event in itself – on a heavily loaded train, it is an inescapable fact that the more passengers there are on the train, the greater the number of passengers at risk. However, research into a number of train accidents has shown that crowding itself did not contribute to the severity of the incident or to any injuries incurred.


You may wish to look at the policy statement issued by ORR on its website at http://www.rail-reg.

gov.uk/upload/pdf/tr

ain_crowding_positio

n_statement.pdf


As you may be aware, the Department for Transport has also announced additional investment in the railways of Northern England over the next few years. This includes electrification between Liverpool and Manchester, in Lancashire and in due course, between Manchester and York via Huddersfield. The works to deliver electrification between Manchester, Newton-le-Willows and Liverpool are under way. As well as offering longer trains and faster journeys on these routes, electrification means that diesel trains currently used between Liverpool, Manchester and Blackpool will become available to provide additional capacity for passengers across the railways of Northern England.


The second section of the Liverpool to Manchester line – between Liverpool and Newton-le-Willows – will be available for use by electric trains from December 2014. Once electric trains are able to operate on the Liverpool to Manchester line, it will be possible for the diesel trains used on local services along the route to transfer to provide additional capacity for passengers on other routes. It will be for the rail industry to develop plans for the redeployment of these diesel trains after 2014.


If Northern were to provide additional diesel trains for services between Bolton and Manchester prior to December 2014, they would have to come from within the Northern fleet or from a Rolling Stock Company. The Northern Franchise Agreement requires the operator to use its entire fleet of trains (allowing for normal maintenance) at peak times. It is for Northern to determine, based on the passenger demand on individual services, whether any changes can be made to reallocate carriages between the routes that they operate.


As I said, Transport for Greater Manchester sponsor and specify local services within Greater Manchester. If diesel rolling stock can be made available prior to December 2014, it would be for them to work with Northern on how best carriages might be redeployed from other local train services. It would be for Transport for Greater Manchester and the operators to develop the business case and any necessary funding for the provision of additional carriages for train services that call at Bolton.


Kind regards


Alistair Hobbs
Correspondence Manager
Rail Commercial
Department for Transport Great Minster House 33 Horseferry Road London SW1P 4DR Tel: 0300 330 3000 Web Site: www.gov.uk/dft Our Ref: 96879 Your Ref: 19 February 2014 Dear Mr Postlethwaite, Thank you for your email of 27 January to Stephen Hammond MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport, regarding Bolton train services; I have been asked to respond. When the Northern franchise was let in 2004 there was not expected to be any growth in passenger demand. Since the start of the franchise Northern has seen passenger numbers increase by around 40% across the franchise. Although the popularity of the railway is to be welcomed, it has led to some trains being crowded, particularly at peak times. Additional carriages were provided to Northern in 2008 and 2011 because of this growth. Within their franchise agreement, Northern is required to use all reasonable endeavours to provide a minimum number of places on around 250 peak services each week day. The delivery of this capacity is monitored by Northern and discussed regularly with the DfT and Transport for Greater Manchester as well as other stakeholders. The train service between Manchester and Bolton is sponsored and specified by Transport for Greater Manchester. You may wish to make your concerns known to them if you have not done so already. It is important to remember that safety is the first priority of rail operations and a recent European Union report found that the UK has the safest rail network of all EU members – see http://ec.europa.eu/ commission_2010-2014 /kallas/headlines/ne ws/2013/01/doc/swd(2 013)-10-part3.pdf for details. With regard to the safety implications of overcrowding, I should explain that the body that monitors and enforces compliance with health and safety legislation on Britain’s rail network is the Office of Rail Regulation (‘ORR’). It is for each train operating company to use its train fleet to best match the train capacity to the passenger demand expected on individual services. Operators are required to use all reasonable endeavours to minimise overcrowding. ORR has advised me that there is no legal limit on the number of passengers that can travel on a train. This is because trains differ from other modes of transport, such as buses and aeroplanes, where passenger numbers can affect stability. Trains are designed to operate safely and effectively even when they are loaded to maximum capacity. The structural design of rail vehicles takes account of the maximum load including crowded conditions. In addition, the interior design contain features that minimise passenger injury in the event of an accident It is true that in the event of a serious accident – a rare event in itself – on a heavily loaded train, it is an inescapable fact that the more passengers there are on the train, the greater the number of passengers at risk. However, research into a number of train accidents has shown that crowding itself did not contribute to the severity of the incident or to any injuries incurred. You may wish to look at the policy statement issued by ORR on its website at http://www.rail-reg. gov.uk/upload/pdf/tr ain_crowding_positio n_statement.pdf As you may be aware, the Department for Transport has also announced additional investment in the railways of Northern England over the next few years. This includes electrification between Liverpool and Manchester, in Lancashire and in due course, between Manchester and York via Huddersfield. The works to deliver electrification between Manchester, Newton-le-Willows and Liverpool are under way. As well as offering longer trains and faster journeys on these routes, electrification means that diesel trains currently used between Liverpool, Manchester and Blackpool will become available to provide additional capacity for passengers across the railways of Northern England. The second section of the Liverpool to Manchester line – between Liverpool and Newton-le-Willows – will be available for use by electric trains from December 2014. Once electric trains are able to operate on the Liverpool to Manchester line, it will be possible for the diesel trains used on local services along the route to transfer to provide additional capacity for passengers on other routes. It will be for the rail industry to develop plans for the redeployment of these diesel trains after 2014. If Northern were to provide additional diesel trains for services between Bolton and Manchester prior to December 2014, they would have to come from within the Northern fleet or from a Rolling Stock Company. The Northern Franchise Agreement requires the operator to use its entire fleet of trains (allowing for normal maintenance) at peak times. It is for Northern to determine, based on the passenger demand on individual services, whether any changes can be made to reallocate carriages between the routes that they operate. As I said, Transport for Greater Manchester sponsor and specify local services within Greater Manchester. If diesel rolling stock can be made available prior to December 2014, it would be for them to work with Northern on how best carriages might be redeployed from other local train services. It would be for Transport for Greater Manchester and the operators to develop the business case and any necessary funding for the provision of additional carriages for train services that call at Bolton. Kind regards Alistair Hobbs Correspondence Manager Rail Commercial BWFC71
  • Score: -6

8:43pm Mon 3 Mar 14

BWFC71 says...

The Righteous One wrote:
Darren1951 wrote:
Righteous One , et al.....aren't the revenue protection officers a different company to NR?
The actual people are employed by a job agency who, through an outsourcing contract with Northern Rail, are used to be Revenue Protection Officers.. Basically it is Northern Rail!
Yeah, ok, I have lost my rag today.

I am fed up of the same people turning threads into racially abusive or racial hatred threads even from nothing. Sick to death of the verbal abuse not just I get but many others from the same individuals and sick to death of the constant same old same old, again from the same sick individuals! A cull of these so-called Boltonians (or a I call them internet trolls) ought to be the exercise of the day and try to get this website back to how it was only 6 months ago when people were not frightened of posting their views or were not given political rhetoric about UKIP or more or less every thread. Yes I am in the minority against these trolls as I am fed up of the way this website has become - a voice piece for anger and racial hatred!!! And if that means I get booted off for trying to defend this paper from these idiots, then so be it!!!

Fed up of the mis-use of the thumbs - if anything they ought to be disabled until or amore secure system can be used, as we all know it is one or two people using a macro program of some sort. If anything the thumbs are a prime example on what not to do with people's comments as, which has been seen over the last 4 months, become very hostile!!!
[quote][p][bold]The Righteous One[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Darren1951[/bold] wrote: Righteous One , et al.....aren't the revenue protection officers a different company to NR?[/p][/quote]The actual people are employed by a job agency who, through an outsourcing contract with Northern Rail, are used to be Revenue Protection Officers.. Basically it is Northern Rail![/p][/quote]Yeah, ok, I have lost my rag today. I am fed up of the same people turning threads into racially abusive or racial hatred threads even from nothing. Sick to death of the verbal abuse not just I get but many others from the same individuals and sick to death of the constant same old same old, again from the same sick individuals! A cull of these so-called Boltonians (or a I call them internet trolls) ought to be the exercise of the day and try to get this website back to how it was only 6 months ago when people were not frightened of posting their views or were not given political rhetoric about UKIP or more or less every thread. Yes I am in the minority against these trolls as I am fed up of the way this website has become - a voice piece for anger and racial hatred!!! And if that means I get booted off for trying to defend this paper from these idiots, then so be it!!! Fed up of the mis-use of the thumbs - if anything they ought to be disabled until or amore secure system can be used, as we all know it is one or two people using a macro program of some sort. If anything the thumbs are a prime example on what not to do with people's comments as, which has been seen over the last 4 months, become very hostile!!! BWFC71
  • Score: -1

9:23pm Mon 3 Mar 14

wsw69 says...

FFS - There really are some VERY SAD anoraks .

Revenue Protection Officers are low paid workers who are utterly p155ED with power, just like so called Civil Enforcement Officers. What a complete load of utter 80LLock5!

Had one these thickos approached myself at a train station and referred to me as 'pal', then he or she would be told in no uncertain terms to change their attitude, and most certainly never refer to me as pal.

Employ monkeys, pay them peanuts and that's exactly what you get.
FFS - There really are some VERY SAD anoraks . Revenue Protection Officers are low paid workers who are utterly p155ED with power, just like so called Civil Enforcement Officers. What a complete load of utter 80LLock5! Had one these thickos approached myself at a train station and referred to me as 'pal', then he or she would be told in no uncertain terms to change their attitude, and most certainly never refer to me as pal. Employ monkeys, pay them peanuts and that's exactly what you get. wsw69
  • Score: 1

9:25pm Mon 3 Mar 14

wsw69 says...

PS - I forgot the main part - Tw*ts in hats
PS - I forgot the main part - Tw*ts in hats wsw69
  • Score: 1

9:33pm Mon 3 Mar 14

Rememberscarborough says...

Interesting that the rail authorities say safety is their first priority yet they continue to cram far more people in to carriages than they were ever designed to accommodate. If there was ever an accident it would be nearly impossible to evacuate that number of people without serious crushing injuries.

In every other mode of transport there are strict regulations about the number of people who can be transported safely so why is the rail industry exempt?
Interesting that the rail authorities say safety is their first priority yet they continue to cram far more people in to carriages than they were ever designed to accommodate. If there was ever an accident it would be nearly impossible to evacuate that number of people without serious crushing injuries. In every other mode of transport there are strict regulations about the number of people who can be transported safely so why is the rail industry exempt? Rememberscarborough
  • Score: 2

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