Transport User Voice – Case Study

25 October 2017

Mr M was travelling from Glasgow Queen Street to Peterborough with two other passengers. He intended to catch the 9.45am service from Glasgow Queen Street, due to arrive at 10.50 Edinburgh Waverly, so he could make the 11am connecting service to Peterborough.

The customer information board at the station advised the service was due to depart at 9.45am from platform 9. The passengers showed the guard their tickets who told them to make their way to platform 9, however, when they were onboard they discovered the service was not due to arrive in Edinburgh until 11am.

The passengers went to the information desk for help and were advised that there were two trains from Glasgow Queen Street that departed at 9.45am. One train that arrived at 10.50am, the train they meant to catch and the one they took instead that arrived at 11am. The staff member advised they would have to purchase 3 brand new tickets as the ticket Mr M had were advanced singles which were only valid for a specific train. Each ticket was £122, this meant Mr M had to pay an additional £366 for all of the tickets for a journey he already bought leaving him out of pocket.

Mr M complained to ScotRail asking for a refund of the additional tickets he purchased however this claim was declined. ScotRail advised it was the passenger’s responsibility to ensure they were on the correct service. Mr M then came to us for help.

We approached ScotRail to ask for further information regarding the confusion with the train times as it seemed an easy mistake to make considering each train was departing at the same time, going to the same destination and arriving 10 minutes apart.

ScotRail advised that Glasgow Queen Street has two levels – the lower level being where slower services to Edinburgh originate from. ScotRail agreed this was a genuine mistake however did not feel it was its responsibility to pay as it was Virgin Trains East Coast staff at Edinburgh that charged Mr M for the new tickets.

We then approached Virgin which also felt it was not its responsibility as one of the ScotRail members of staff allowed Mr M and his party onto the platform with their tickets.

We felt both needed to take some responsibility as it was a genuine mistake to make and although Virgin staff were right in charging Mr M they could have shown more discretion in allowing him on another service. We decided to ask both ScotRail and Virgin if they would split the cost between them as a gesture of goodwill and pay £183 each, which they both agreed to.

Mr M was extremely happy with the outcome and we felt this demonstrated good customer service by Virgin and ScotRail.

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