Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Everyone off sick

I was supposed to be on a spare duty today, so I was hoping to have an easy day. As soon as I booked on at my home station at 06:30, I was informed that a colleague at one of our group stations had phoned in sick at short notice, as I was spare I drew the short straw and got sent to supervise the station.

Get there about 06:45 and by the time I got there both the CSA (Customer Service Assistant) and the CSAMF(CSA Multi-Functional(Ticket-seller)) have decided to have the day off (sorry) "phone in sick". Unfortunately, there were no other spare staff on duty so I basically had to do all 3 jobs.

Manage to open the ticket office by 07:10, and a customer gets their ticket stuck in the gate, so I have to leave the ticket office and retrieve the ticket from the now defective gate. Then I report the said gate to CTS so they can send a technician to fix it. And on and on the day progressed, had to close the ticket office every few minutes to alter the customer information boards, do station checks, assist one or two train op's who couldn't see the platform cameras because of the sunlight, etc etc. I was glad when the late turn supervisor booked on duty.

From September we are supposed to be getting a new roster which takes the shorter working week into account. All the unions from RMT - TSSA have rejected the proposed rosters as they are just crazy. The new roster is supposed to more customer driven but it is seen as more of a way to reduce staff and save money.

Some stations are losing there entire quota of CSA's and the proposed rosters are for the supervisors to cover the gateline for the entire shift, as well as do platform check/duties, book on contractors, deal with complaints etc etc. Many stations are replacing full-time CSA's with part-time CSA's instead, but not at extreme hours (very early mornings & very late at night)

I hope it doesn't come to it, but I can foresee Mr Crow et al ballotting for strike action if the matter isn't resolved soon.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Diamond Mines & Pineapples

We had a small revenue exercise at my station today, and whilst interviewing one alledged fare-evader he started spouting rather strange things.

RCI "May I see your ticket please sir?"
Man "I've lost it!"
RCI" Where have you travelled from?"
Man "The previous station"
RCI "And what station would that be?"
Man "Can't f###ing remember can I, it was the previous one OK"
RCI "Are you aware that the penalty fare has now risen to £20?"
Man "You guys are f###ing parasites, all of you, you know whats wrong with this place - do you - its because there are no diamond mines and pineapples"
RCI at this point, is probably thinking "?????"
Man then jumps over the gates and runs out of the station before anyone thinks of pursuing him.

It does seem a tad unusual that the bulk of customers who have lost their tickets seem to have come from the previous station, or from a station with a mainline interchange (especially Ealing Broadway, Wimbledon & Richmond). I hate to think how much revenue the ATOC are losing on each and every train by not employing ticket inspectors on the trains or on the gates at stations with tube/rail interchanges.

Six more early turns to go until a 4 day long weekend. :)

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Chav's on bikes

Had a couple of Chav's trying to get through the gates during the evening peak. As you may or may not know, bikes are not allowed onto the system anywhere between 07:30 - 09:30 & 16:00 - 19:00. These guys are trying to get through the gates at 18:00. After politely informing them of the conditions of carriage, one of them started swearing at everyone, blaming all the immigrants because we wouldn't let him take his bike on the tube. So now you know the reason why bikes aren't allowed on the tube in the peak. (Its all because of mass immigration)

Oyster Effect

One of my colleagues spoke about the "Oyster Effect" on his blog and I can see where he is coming from.

A frequent problem we get, is the negative balance. A common situation is a customer has a zone 2&3 travelcard on their Oyster and they have incurred a negative balance of £1.70. Only way this can really happen is if the customer in question has travelled into or through zone 1, and they didn't have sufficient pre-pay on their Oyster card. Many customers will swear blind they never went into zone 1. We then have to interrogate the card and once we give them the exact time, date, and station that they went to, they automatically recall this journey.

All the new student photocards are now issued on Oystercards, so if they wish to purchase the discounted tickets they will have no choice but to pay for zone 1, if they are travelling through it, I've had a few of the students ask to go back to the magnetic tickets for this reason but we're not allowed to issue them anymore, if they have the new Oyster student photocards.

All the supervisors on my group got an email stating that we are no longer permitted to sell weekly magnetic tickets from the QTM (Quick Ticket Machine) except on Monday - Wednesday between 07:00 - 10:00 am. I think this is to try and encourage everyone to switch over to Oystercards.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Back to work

Alas, my 3 weeks off is over. Its back to shift-work again.

Started last night at 20:00 and finished at 08:00 this morning, at least I haven't got the whole week of nights though, just one more to go then I will be on late turns (15:00 - 23:00).

Fairly quiet night, no contractors for once, managed to complete the banking in the ticket office after correcting some of my colleagues mistakes.