Keith, Graham and Iain

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Complaints flood in about Northern Rail

by Iain Roberts on 25 November, 2015

Last week we said that we had been receiving complaints about Northern Rail fining people for not having a ticket at Piccadilly Station when there was no chance to buy one beforehand.

We didn’t realise that it would open the flood-gates! Complaints about Northern Rail’s behaviour have poured in over the last few days and we’ve agreed to have a meeting with their Revenue Collection manager.

Gatley Village Partnership have started a petition calling for Northern Rail to act. At the time of writing it’s fast heading towards 500 signatures and we urge you to sign it here.

Here are just a few of the many comments we’ve received.

The office at Gatley is often unmanned – the conductors don’t usually venture down the train and I have personally been verbally attacked and had hands placed on me by your staff at Piccaddilly station.

I was rudely greeted getting off at gatley station having just travelled from East Didsbury, asking where my train ticket was. It was physically impossible for me to purchase a ticket due to the fact the ticket offices were closed both ends, else I would have purchased a ticket. I was then questioned and humiliated as to where my ticket was and then received a fine in the post, there was Also a poor school girl in tears who was in the same situation next to me.

I don’t get the train from Gatley but I’ve had hands laid on me, verbal abuse from Piccadilly Station staff. It happens less now with my white cane, but I’ve always been partially sighted and it’s always scary

On a couple of occasions I have been accused, by Northern Rail staff, of lying when I have said that the ticket desk at Gatley is shut. On one particular occasion a member of staff was so sure that he was in the right and that I, as the customer, was obviously lying that I asked him to contact the station – he did and there was no response, thus proving that I was right. He then sold me a ticket, after humiliating me and making me late.

Cllr Keith Holloway said “The volume of complaints, and the similarity between them, is impossible to ignore. Northern Rail need to fix this.”

   5 Comments

5 Responses

  1. TLG says:

    You have identified a genuine problem here. The train companies rightly want to protect their revenue but they are doing so on the cheap. Too many Northern Rail stations have neither ticket machines nor a booking office. The company should be investing in these to ensure people can buy tickets, but rather than spending money on improvements, they are reaching for fines. This system also results in long delays to customers. Why should we be forced to stand in a long queue at Manchester Piccadilly to buy a ticket when it was impossible to buy one at the boarding station or on the train? Investment not fines is required.

  2. John Ellis says:

    Surely a ticket machine at gatley should solve the problem, failing that a smartphone ticket system should be rolled out asap.

  3. parent says:

    Yes Northern rail disgust me with their bully tactics. My son was accosted by their conductors from Gatley to East Didsbury…he called me and was very upset as the staff wouldnt let him leave unless he gave his name, address, date of birth etc…they threatened him with the police and made him 30 minutes late for school…all because he was unable to buy a ticket prior to getting on the train.(;due to their poor ticket system may I add). My son offered to buy a ticket from the staff but they wouldnt allow him…they grabbed him and blocked him from leaving the station…..i was absolutely livid at how he was treated…he was 13 years old. Northern rail should be ashamed of themselves.

  4. Steve Atkinson says:

    Isn’t the problem G4S? I understood that they have the contract for checking tickets, and pursue this aggressively.
    Their standard tactic appears to be to threaten criminal prosecution to get people to pay, and seem to have no idea as to which stations are unmanned or have no ticket machines.
    If you consider the mess that G4S have made of other public service contracts it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise they have got this wrong

  5. […] Keith and the Lib Dem team have been very pleased to support the Gatley Village Partnership campaign on Northern Rail. There have been a number of issues with the way Northern Rail are treating law-abiding passengers who have not been able to buy a ticket, as we detailed here. […]

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