Friday, 23 February 2007

Response to the second complaint

Ah it’s been a little while (again!)
My response to my 2nd complaint about the response to my first complaint is as follows: (well, this came after they sent me a blank e-mail as a response. Very helpful. I then had to wait for a response to my response to the blank email!)

COPY- (We have been experiencing problems with sending of emails,so please see copy body text as follows) Our ref: February 2007

Dear .. Thank you for your further email.

Please accept my renewed apologies for the problems you experienced onyour journey from F to W.

As you mention, engineering work was taking place requiring customers totravel forward by a special bus service. I am sorry to note the delaythat occurred with the replacement bus service, and it is very muchregretted that this caused you so much inconvenience.

However; as muchas we would like to we are unable to guarantee that train and busjourneys will run as per the published timetable. I note that you refer to reimbursement of your consequential costs suchas petrol etc. I am afraid that we do not normally meet such costs andthis is explained in the National Rail Conditions of Carriage. TheConditions explain that when a train is late or cancelled, a connectionis missed or the railway is closed, the train company is not responsiblefor meeting additional expenses or resulting losses.

I am afraid that Iam unable to agree your request. If you would like a full copy of theConditions, they can be obtained from station ticket offices, or byvisiting

I trust this clarifies our position and we do endeavour to satisfy ourcustomers; but if you remain unhappy with my response you may contactPassenger Focus. This is an independent body set up to protect railusers interests. Their address is as follows: PassengerfocusFreepost WA1521WarringtonWA4 6GP Telephone 08453 022 022Email: I assure you of our best intentions at all times

So that’s it!
I don’t know what I was expecting really. I think my expecations had been raised by Bluesoup and others when they told me stories of success when they complained. Somehow, I was expecting more. However, they did not provide. And I shall continue travelling with them forevermore like a mug!

Well, not forevermore, but you know what I mean. For a little while at least.

A good note though is that it is half term here. You know what that means don’t you. Yes, a nice quiet, peaceful journey with no terrible teenagers. Oh it’s great. I have even started listening to my Ipod again now that I can actually hear myself think. Take That’s new album is on the playlist this week. You’ve got to love those chaps. You just can’t help it.

Thursday, 15 February 2007

Response to my complaint

15 February 2007
Dear ……..
Thank you for your email of 1 February 2007.

Please accept my apologies for the problems you experienced on yourjourney from F… to W…. on 1 February 2007.

As you mention, engineering work was taking place requiring customers to travel forward by a special bus service. I am sorry to note the delay that occurred with the replacement bus service, and it is very muchregretted that this caused you so much inconvenience. However; we do need to point out that in our published engineering work timetable itdoes state that customers should allow extra time as many bus and trainjourneys will take longer than normal. Also as much as we would like towe are unable to guarantee that train and bus journeys will run as perthe published timetable.

Thank you for advising us about this delay you experienced and onceagain, please accept my sincere apologies for the unexpectedinconvenience you were caused.
Kind Regards
Customer Relations Officer

I'm not sure I feel all that happy about that response. So, I aimed for the 7.15am (15 minutes earlier than normal) thinking this would get me to work by 9am (when I normally get there for 8.30am) , but I still should have left more time?? In theory I had 45 minutes to spare, but I was still 45 minutes late! Do you think it is worth another response? I know they are probably inundated with complaints, but I feel this is response is silly. We do say that we might not necessarily be able to stick to the published timetable..what on earth is the point of it then!?!? Rah!

Monday, 12 February 2007

A bad week on the trains last week

Hope everyone is well!!!

I’ve discovered the joys of FaceBook which is why I am blogging less! It’s one Internet fad after another for me!

However, the last couple of weeks on the trains have not been good. For the first time since I have started taking this route, last week I was in a situation where I really needed to be back home for a certain time. I was involved in a production for three nights which started at 7.00pm. This caused me a certain amount of stress as I am aware of how unreliable the trains are at the moment. I was worried that I would get stuck on a train and end up missing my commitment. Which would not look good, and would let people down. I ended up having to get BF to pick me up from the station and take me straight there. It was a tiring week. I was never at home!

There’s a lot in the local news about South West Trains at the moment. Articles about how the engineering works are going to continue for another 6 weeks because, surprise surprise, they have over-run. There are also articles about how South West Trains have changed from white trains with bigger seats and more leg room, to shorter blue trains with smaller seats and less leg room.

In fact, I completed a pen-and-paper survey about it last week while I was on the train. The questionnaire was horrendously worded and didn’t make sense at all (trust me, I know) . however, I felt it my duty to fill it in AND post it back like a good market research respondent. Naturally, my responses indicated a very disgruntled commuter because of course the white trains are better than the blue trains. More leg room is good!

Actually, that is one good thing that has come out of the engineering works. Since they began, my route has been white trains (with bigger seats) rather than the cramped blue trains. So that, I suppose, is a good thing!

I haven’t had a response to my letter of complaint yet. Although, I suppose that is optimistic as I only sent it last week.

I have also realised that I haven’t had any of my benefits from the Annual Gold Card yet. I assumed I would receive these through the post (such as the magazine, and 6 free weekend tickets, and all the other amazing things they promised me).

It’s now been over 6 weeks since I purchased the Gold Card. Can anybody enlighten me here about what I need to do? Do I have to go and ask for these things from the station? I thought they would post me them!! Ticket collector, do you know?

Apparently, yesterday was the start of a new era for South West Trains. A new franchise. Now, I don’t really understand what that means. I just hope it means they are better than they are at the moment.

Thursday, 1 February 2007

Letter of Complaint to South West Trains

It's not original, but my complaint to South West trains for this morning's appalling bus replacement service!!!

I would like to complain about today's replacement bus service from Fr... to F..... I arrived at Fr... today at 07.10am. The bus was late arriving. It then took 1 HOUR 20 MINUTES to get to F.... This is normally a 20 minute train journey. While I appreciate that buses take longer than trains, I did not expect it to take so long. The revised timetable says that the replacement bus service will arrive into F... at 8.09am. However, I arrived at F... at 8.55am making me very late for work (I still had to wait for the train to W...!)

Such gross estimation of the timetable is inacceptable in my book. I understand the works need to be done, but the replacement bus timetable is wildly inaccurate !! I am an annual gold card holder, and I feel this service that I have already paid for is not acceptable. Tomorrow I shall have to drive to work, as I assume the bus will take equally as long, and I cannot be late for work again. Therefore, I shall have to incurr petrol and parking costs.

Furthermore, my train yesterday (07.33 from Fr...n) was cancelled with no notice, and no replacement bus service was offered to take us to our destination. Again, yesterday, I was very late for work.
I look forward to hearing from you.

Girl on a Train