Seriously bad time with First Great Western this morning. In fact I'd go as far as saying it was probably the worst so far and that's saying quite a bit considering some of the other issues I've had with them in the past.
I arrived at the station for about 0630/0635 bicycle in tow as usual. My train comes rolling in about 0643ish, pop up to the top of the carriage where the bike rack is only to be told by the conductor that "too many bikes, only one!" there was one other bike on the train and another chap in front of me.
That chap got on but the conductor was quite insistent that no more bikes to pass, a gentleman behind me asked why the unused disabled seats couldn't be used on the basis that should they be needed the bikes were to be alighted at that station.
The only response was "health and safety, can't do that, health and safety". The guard previously on the service even told the guy "just use the disabled seats for now" even she got the same response, clearly not happy about the situation herself she said "fine, it's your train!" and walked off.
The majority of the bikes were coming off at Bath Spa, when I said to the chap "I'm going to Pewsey via Westbury, the next train isn't until 10am, what am I supposed to do?" I got a response of "there isn't anything I can do about that, it's your problem."
A few moments later a "manager" appeared, no name tag, no uniform, no name but said he was "this mans manager". He also said there was "nothing he could do about it" and that "the risk assessment says only two bikes", he also commented on other conductors discretion and that "it wasn't going to happen today".
Absolutely refused to do anything, budge and actually said that getting where I needed to was not his issue or concern. When I said "this is down to you refusing me service to which I've paid for and use on a daily basis without issue" he still insisted it wasn't his problem.
I asked if FGW would provide alternative transport or put in to writing for my employer why I as made late, he again told me it was (you guessed it) not his problem and "why should I?".
I went to the customer information point to speak with somebody to resolve the fact that I was just left high and dry as my train left the station (they despatched it in front of our faces) and seek a viable solution to the problem. Instead of having staff around as per the opening times, it was vacant.
(this photo was taken at 0659)
I took the opportunity to wait for somebody at the station as a quiet place (with free water) to call customer services and formally lodge a complaint seeing as station staff weren't bothered enough to speak with a customer.
I gave all the details to a chap called David, he did very well considering I was quite upset and probably his first call of the day.
After being told by "the manager" earlier that I should have reserved a space, I spoke with the after sales team who passed me on to the season ticket line, who then told me to email in.
I emailed all the details across for future reservations and earlier this evening I called after sales to book for tomorrow morning.
I was then informed that this train can't have reservations made. After speaking with them I recalled customer services to update my complaint as clearly it was quite the catch 22.
So tldr; of all this is, in customer service it's not about what you can't do and in fact completely about what you can do and if you can't do anything at all, have a perfectly good reason why not and explain it reasonably.
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