Visible staff: CrossCountry cleaners and the First Capital Connect ghost train

02 September 2013

All of our research confirms a number of basic facts. Passengers like seeing staff around to provide both reassurance and a visible face to the companies they are travelling with. Passengers’ expectations are nearly always exceeded in their dealings with staff. However, passengers always want to see more staff around.

Often these days on longer-distance journeys the main member of staff you have contact with is the litter picker – presumably the lowest paid staff member who will often work for another company under an outsourcing arrangement. It’s really good to hear that CrossCountry gave their agency cleaning staff a day off to talk to them about their experiences. Managers volunteered to take their place for the day and see what it feels like to clear up passenger’s rubbish.

This is in sharp contrast to a recent First Capital Connect trip to and from King’s Lynn. It was a ghost train. No ticket check at King’s Cross, on the train or at King’s Lynn. This two-hour journey had no trolley or buffet. No litter picker. No word from the driver. Automated announcements supplemented a sporadic dot matrix system. It all felt much neglected.

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