Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Irish Rail

Here is an email (well, via their on-line 'complaints' system) I sent yesterday to the Customer Service in Irish Rail (as there is no phone number published for them). Will be interesting to see what happens if anything...

"To whom it concerns,
I wish to raise a complaint regarding the behavior of one of your conductors yesterday, Sunday Dec 17th. It was on the Cork-Cobh train. At present there is no timetable or time displayed in Kent Station in Cork so when I arrived at the station yesterday I went in search of the Cobh train. Myself and three other people were at the gate (for the 16:55 train) and the train was still in the station (as there is no clock we couldn't tell what the actual time was). The conductor on the platform had just closed the gate before we arrived and was on his phone. We called and he did not respond and had no waved the train off yet. We shouted again and still no response. Then the train driver opened the window and called us forward.

As we ran to the train the conductor told us we could not get on the train and told the driver to take off. One the others there, at the same time as me, was carrying a TV and did shout at the conductor and did use fowl language - but what do you expect really? The conductor then proceeded to shout at us all in a very threatening and intimidating behavior. He stated that it was "his decision as to who did and did not get on the train". He then said that he would not take that language (which is fair enough) but then stated that we all would be lucky to get on the next train (18:15 - 1hr 20 mins later) as he would be on the platform and would decide who was get on the train. The man with the TV engaged in a debate with him but as we all walked off the conductor continued to follow us and shout at us all stating that we were "cheeky" and reminded us again that he would be on the platform.

I find this type of intimidation disgusting for a service orientated company. I think that just because one man shouted at him he had no right to talk to the rest of us like that. I did say the words "customer service" to him in a very derogatory tone as it fitted the situation perfectly at which time the conductor veered towards me and was raising his voice again in a manner not befitting his public position.

The conductor was asked his name and refused to give it and instead asked the customer for his name.

In the end, due to the fact that we would have to wait almost 1.5 hour's for the next train and the fact that even if we did we may not be allowed to board the train, I had to get call for a lift and the others had to get taxis. All extra unnecessary expense.

I trust that this matter will be dealt with but no doubts the conductor will have a different story.


I think I will count the days it takes them to respond if ever. I might, after consultation with my lawyer Damien , instead every week email someone different about this. Minister for Transport, local TD's or other politicians.

I did get the bog standard auto-response from their system:

"Thank you for contacting Iarnrod Eireann.
Your email will be forwarded to the individual best suited to answeryour query.



Cian said...

You should write to them - it's your best chance of getting a response.

Luke said...

Any update from CIE yet? It doesn't surprise me I used the train from Kildare to Limerick for six years while at college and have often experienced, although not often directed at me, a commuter being talked down-to by a member of CIE staff in an abusive manner. If it wasn't a state company they'd be out of business long ago.

It wasn’t so long ago I asked a member of staff at a station can remember where the time of the next train, and he replied, “it fucking better be along soon”, the pleasantries of it all.

What are the legal grounds for you to sue due to the emotional stress of the ordeal and the humiliation suffered. I can only imagine that you fear getting the train in future due to abusiveness of this member of staff…