I blogged a couple of years ago about the uselessness of signs telling people not to run in the train station. My point: people don’t run in the station because they think it’s fun, or because they’re unaware of the dangers; they run in the station because the passenger experience encourages people to run, and posters saying the opposite will do very little to change that.
Don’t tell me not to run in the station.
Announce my platform well in advance so that if I reach the station in good time, there’s no need to hurry at any point.
Signpost my platform properly so I don’t have to run around as I struggle to find it.
Hire more staff. A 20-minute queue to buy my ticket turns “plenty of time” into “maybe I can make it if I sprint”.
Typical: of course the ticket machine chooses a busy time to go wrong. In Oxford station, queues were forming at a machine that refused to display Network Railcard as a valid railcard. The woman at the front of the queue tried for quite some time to make it work, then gave up and sought assistance. I was eavesdropping on her conversation with James, a busy member of station staff, when I got to the front of my own queue and encountered an identical problem. Soon it became clear that all the ticket machines had the same issue: refusing to display Network Railcard as an option.
“A postcard from Twyford Down, where the car’s progress is bought at the expense of place. And what place. Once full of exquisite natural beauty, Twyford Down was carved up for a road, to save motorists three minutes of time and now it is just a nowhere, a cutting between places. The progress of the car was the only important thing, not that of walkers, of kite-flyers, of lovers or of children. Road protesters stood in front of bulldozers to stop it.”
Jay Griffiths, Pip Pip
As we know, those road protesters failed.
Over the past few weeks I have been very cross about Post Office home and contents insurance, writing three blog posts about it for The Restless Consumer.
I should offer warm thanks to Stagecoach Oxfordshire for providing me with a perfect example of the behaviour I’ve blogged about: responding slowly to direct complaints but paying rapt attention to social media.
I’ve written a lot recently about how organisations set up their channels of communication to make complaining difficult or fruitless.
What’s causing the current unemployment problems? According to Iain Duncan Smith, it’s a failure to look beyond your home town for work. He gives the example of Merthyr Tydfil, whose inhabitants “didn’t know that if they got on a bus, an hour’s journey, they’d be in Cardiff and they could look for the job there”.
Today's tale is my experience of buying train tickets from the First Great Western website. I was trying to buy a ticket from Oxford to London, returning on the following day.
I wanted to see all the return tickets available
- What I did: chose “return” and typed in the dates of travel.
- What I got: lots of different single ticket types, then one choice of return ticket (an off-peak return).
The rising price of crude oil is affecting the price of all sorts of things, from the food on your table to the clothes you’re wearing. But the most direct effect has been on transport costs. The mainstream media bemoans the plight of two-car families, but people on lower incomes have been hit much harder. Here’s how to save money on your transport costs.