Thursday, 25 January 2018

Dodgy Detail At Denby Dale (3)

What They Don't Tell You
We take a look round Denby Dale station to see how well Northern Railway (Arriva) informed their customers of the arrangements for engineering work timetable on Saturday 20th and Sunday 21st January.

There are some posters down at the foot of the viaduct on the main road. Correspondent Roy, who was passing through, chose not to sprint down the long approach road or the steep footpath to check on these, but a glimpse from the window of the bus suggested they were general posters, not specific to the weekend's closure.
Because of engineering work, replacement buses were running between Penistone and Huddersfield on both days.

Approaching the platform via steps, long path and subway ...
... what information would you have found?

Not much!
The electronic sign does not tell us anything we might want to know. It does NOT tell us that there are NO TRAINS. It does NOT tell us that there is a replacement bus. It does NOT tell us that the timetable is radically different from normal.

It refers us to the web site and we saw the limitations of that information source yesterday.

Yes. But much like the electronic sign, it is generic and has no detail specific to Denby Dale or, for that matter to the whole Penistone to Huddersfield Line.

But it gets worse.
There isn't even a "normal" timetable for the line; the departure by destination is a helpful facility but surely there should be a timetable somewhere.

Does the station have one of those slightly fearsome "help points".
Apparently not. There is nothing in he solitary shelter either ...
... except no smoking signs.

There is a useful poster warning about the rail strike ten days previously ...
... but it was ON the replacement bus! Again - no version on the station at all.

We will return later to the generous offer of accepting rail tickets on the Arriva buses that serve Denby Dale Station. You may not be surprised by what we discover!

BUT, dear frustrated traveller, there may be hope. There IS a help point at the station. You have to leave the platform via the car park ...
... and leave the station area completely. There is the help point, in a hedge at the bottom of a farm track.
There are no direction signs to it from the platform, and, if you have arrived by foot, you would have no idea it was there.
But you are on closed circuit TV - wonderful!
Neither are there any signs or directions on-line or in reality to direct you to the bus stop.
Remember that, approaching by foot, you would not even know it was there.
Of course, we know the score. We know that rail companies and bus companies have been bamboozled into believing that all their customers only seek information on line ...
... so don't bother with a leaflet when you can look at one on your phone. 

fbb has seen some figures for a large national bus company. In one of the cities where they operate they have fewer users of their web site than fbb has page reads for this blog!

It is all beyond belief. 

But one tale from Roy's trip by train and bus really highlights the appalling lack of concern for passengers. He returned by bus to pick up a train back to Sheffield from Penistone.
Roy takes up the story.
Truly, beyond belief!

Welcome to Northern
At Northern we are passionate about making sure that your journey with us is a great experience. Our Customer Promise replaces what was previously known as the Passenger’s Charter. It sets out our promise of the service we will deliver for you.

Our Customer Experience Centre is staffed 24 hours a day on days when trains are running and can help with complaints, assistance bookings (if you need help during your journey) and general enquiries: 0800 200 6060

Great Experience? Customer Service? Customer Promise?

Not at Denby Dale.

And a PS. This was the "bad weather" message for the Huddersfield to Penistone line for Saturday 20th.
Whoops-a-daisy; there weren't and trains to disrupt!

There was a subsequent addendum to this page, telling customers that the buses would not be able to get to some of the stations because of snow and ice. Stops would be on the nearby (???) main road A616.

Perhaps young Torquil, who works the interwebnet for Arriva at weekends, didn't quite understand about buses, trains, stations and weather.

But. never mind, we can all go digital - it will be so much easier!

 Next Denby Dale blog : Friday 26th January 

1 comment:

  1. Andrew Kleissner25 January 2018 at 14:12

    As soon as I hear a company saying "we are passionate about ...", all my alarm bells start ringing! Perhaps "lessons need to be learned"!