Thursday, 14 August 2008

What is it about train Ticket Inspectors?

I read this latest story of outrageous conduct by a train ticket inspector (or is that an Onboard Revenue Enforcement Partner) is in today's Daily Mail. It concerns Rifleman Zachary Hoyland (what a very Sharpish name) of 1 Bn, The Rifles travelling home on leave from Iraq. He bought his ticket from the railway station without a travelcard (common sense and decency working fine there) because his barracks in Chepstow where his railcard (should have carried it with him in Iraq of course) was kept was closed. On the train however, the ****ing idiot of a ticket clipper demanded an extra £50.50 from the soldier because the discount ticket was not valid without a railcard. A helpful fellow passenger chipped in for the excess but the Rifleman was ordered off the train at the next station because he swore (very reasonably in the circumstances, ie after three days travelling from Iraq) at the stupid twerp of a clippy who said "I don't know what you are complaining about, it's not as if you took a bullet".
Predictably, the train company said " Cross Country Trains takes allegations of verbal assault on its staff very seriously. There will be no discounts available without an Armed Forces railcard. We will investigate this if the gentleman concerned wishes to contact us directly."
I am not surprised by the ****-off attitude of the train company to its honoured passenger. Non -First Class train tickets are merely pieces of card indicating that money (only refundable at the train company's advantage) has been taken off you. You are not guaranteed punctuality, cleanliness or a seat.
When I commuted daily to Birmingham, I often took the Silverlink train in the evening. This consisted of three or four (sub)standard carriages jam-packed with tired commuters and a virtually empty First Class carriage. It was awful when preceding trains were late or cancelled. The entire job description of one twat of a clippy appeared to be ensuring that First Class ticket holders did not have their purdah disturbed by standard ticket holders no matter how crowded the cattle-trucks were. I cannot stand for long and would sit in the empty First Class carriage until Captain Shithead arrived to turf me out. Now, you might think that Slimeyslug would adopt an enlighted attitude to disabled customers or indeed anyone on a crowded train. Unfortunately, when I phoned the "help"line, I was told in an almost inpenetrable Indian accent that I had no right to a seat on a train and that I should buy a First Class ticket if I wanted one. Subsequently, a sign went up on the First Class carriage doors stating that if there were no seats available in standard, disabled passengers should phone to arrange a discretionary seat in First Class before the train departed ie before one knew whether a seat was available or not. I was glad when the bastards lost the franchise.
One point about First Class tickets: who buys them with their own money? Most are business perks or charged to clients. Any train company that removes First Class is to be saluted as it indicates a smigeon of humanity.

Update: Read this excellent post at Cherie's Place entitled System Failure. On reflection I think we are all only here to fill up the machine. It's not just an excellent blog but as I was a member of PCS from when it was the NUCPS I still support PCS's work to protect civil servants. (btw Did you know that DWP has the highest percentage of staff receiving Working Tax Credits of any UK government department?- so much for being overpaid).


CherryPie said...

I have lots of 'mis'adventures on trains. The most recent one I blogged about last week...

My grandfather used to work on the railways, he would be horrified if he could see what was happening now!

CherryPie said...

Thank You I just notice your update :-)

James Higham said...

Excellent piece, sir. I have a little tale to tell myself on this sort of thing.