Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Please may I fly first class to the moon?

You may remember that last week I was introduced to First Great Western's fascinating "Conditions of Carriage", a document which suggests that, for the payment of a certain sum of money, the company has no responsibility to take you anywhere, at any time, unless it feels like it.
Reading on, however, I found a paragraph saying that if the standard class carriage is full, you can ask the train manager if you can sit in the first class carriage. This sounded promising, I had visions of travelling to work in a much more civilised fashion in the future and looked forward to putting this new knowledge into action.
This morning, my route to work was different, as I stayed overnight with a friend in Reading, so went direct to Reading station. As is well known by the commuting population of Reading, all fast trains to London are full in the mornings, so you have to stand. "A-ha!" thought I, and approached the train manager to ask if it was true that I could ask to sit in the first class carriage when standard class was full.
"You can ask" he said, "but the answer should always be no, because you pay for the carriage, and not for a seat".
Righty ho, so the Conditions of Carriage allow me to ask the question, but it will almost always be answered with a no. So the document might as well say: "If the train is full, you can ask to fly to the moon", or "If the train is full, you can ask to be carried to your destination on the back of a giant golden pigeon".
Also, did you know that if the train is so full that you end up standing in the first class carriage, you can be fined for not having the correct ticket? Luckily, no train manager has ever been brave enough to try and enforce this rule.
I might write myself a new contract at work along the following lines, following FGW's example:
"I might turn up to work, but I might not, and I still want to be paid a lot of money. If I don't fulfil any of my duties, there's nothing you can do about it. You can ask me to do various tasks, but if you do, I'll probably say no. Please can I have the contract to do this job across the country and make vast sums of cash? Thanks"


Billyo said...

This sums up everything that's wrong with the railway. It's the same as the compensation. There is no rules about how much or when it should be paid. Just a suggestion.

And frankly it's typical of FGW that they ignore these suggestions.

I've been on packed Virgin Trains where the conductor has told people sitting in the vesibules that they could sit in First Class.

In contrast I've been on a packed FGW train where I was told I wasn't even allowed to stand in the vesible of the first class section. Couldn't possibly allow the business men to have to look at us low-fare paying low-lifes...

Richard said...

Incredulously, I had this text message from a work colleague the other day:

"The train manager has announced that one of the 1st class carriages is out of order so can anyone travelling on a railcard please give up their seat to 1st class passengers. The class system in action!"

This was on 16th May. I think it was the 18:00 from London Paddington.

Anonymous said...

Richard you tell em better than J. K. Rowling.

As for sitting in first, read your conditions of travel, Your ticket does not guarentee you a seat, stop whinging you moaning fucktard. You should reserve your seat, if a double booking as been made and there are no other seats then your upgraded to first. It costs fuck all to reserve a seat, also where else can you turn up with a moments notice and travel anywhere, you cannot just turn up at an airport and fly, you have to buy a ticket and have a seat reservation. I'm sick of moaning fuckers like you who spoil my day when I am traveling. If I can find time to reserve a seat then you can.

Billyo said...

Anonymous, if you're gonna get all moaning, you could at least do it without resorting to foul language and name-calling. That was un-called for. You could also have the guts to let us know where you are so that we can come and call you rude names on your blog too.

For what purpose do you travel on the trains? Because I, and I imagine all the other people who "moan" on this site commute to work, and we cannot guarentee what time we will be leaving work each day, and to reserve a seat you need to do so before 6 pm the day before....

If you're the kind of clock-watcher who gets up and leaves work at 5 no matter what work is left to do, then I'm very glad I don't work with you.

I hate FGW said...

Yes, thanks Bill, the only person that gets to call anyone a Fucktard on this site is me, thanks very much.
Let's not fight now, if you don't hate First Great Western, that's fine, but we do, so please let us get on with it and don't be nasty.

Anonymous said...

Yoyo, <
My purpose of traveling on trains is to get from A to B. I travel in access of 60,000 miles per year by rail. Oh as for leaving work by 5pm, I work 18 hour days, seven days a week, so next time your traveling take a walk down to carraige H. You'l see me there. Most days, either coming into London or out. You'l reconise me. My laptop will be on, connecting through a vodafone data card and my PA, will also have the same. Shes the one with big tits. And before you comment, she doesnt mind me saying that after all I pay her 100k a year.

gezkc said...

Anonymous said...
"You'l reconise me... and my PA, will also have the same. Shes the one with the big tit".

Never a truer word... ;-P

Julian Whitby said...

This anonymous chap, well he sounds a lot like someone on a rail forum I frequent. However he works for GNER (a company I class almost as bad as Third World Western). Point is they are both as rude as each other and only serve to undermine everyone else.

Someone posted about a 'class system' on GW. Pretty much the same treatment on GNER if you ask me! However I've never heard anything like it actually announced or whatever on GW!

However, back to this anonymous chap...18 hours a day, seven days a week? Sorry but this should be and probably is illegal. Paying a PA £100k a year? What privileges come with that for you? Because I know no-one on God's Green Earth who would pay someone that much money for any job...

Foul language was certainly not called for!

As for reserving your seat on your train every time you travel, that isn't always possible! Besides, I prefer not to reserve a seat as I will be sitting somewhere else on the train than where they allocate me I daresay!

Back now to the topic at hand, maybe it's time we marked standing spaces in the vestibules and asked Farce to reserve us a standing space in the vestibule on our journeys? Maybe we should take to sitting in the lavatory compartment of the carriages, thus ensuring we not only have a space but should we also get a call of nature we would be in the right place anyway?

I've stood in the First Class vestibule of a Virgin Voyager from Birmingham International to Birmingham New Street before (I had overslept from Manchester, woke just in time to find myself at International!), but there were a lot of people doing so as the entire train was full. Never got checked by the TM whatsoever as a result, would have saved myself £2.65...

Anonymous said...

I posess a standard class annual Didcot - London season ticket. I once travelled in the 1st class vestibule, standing up, along with many others, on a Paddington to Swansea train once. It was absolutely packed, as usual, and the train manager managed to squeeze through checking tickets. He didn't question me being there, so I assumed it was OK. I got off at Didcot. Then I was assailed by two grippers who tried to prosecute me for travelling in 1st class without the valid ticket.

I asked for the Terms & Conditions of carriage, according to which they were intent on prosecuting me for contravening a byelaw(!) and it states clearly that if you have permission from the train manager (and he'd checked my ticket, remember), it's OK to do as I did.

Anyway, long story short - police called, I had to surrender my season ticket, letters and phone calls to the press, MP (Ed Vaizey), Alison Forster, 3 weeks of buying weekly tickets whilst they retained my annual(!!!), and I got it back plus a refund for the weeklies. Several months later they were still sending me notices of intended prosecution.

I gave up trying to get any sense out of the dumbwit arseholes at this point, and realised the solution to my woes would be to get tattoos all over my arms, dress like a builder not a city boy, and carry a can of cheap lager with me on all future FGW journeys. The f*ckers wouldn't dare mess with me then. I mean, why risk messing with someone who in all likelihood will twat you, when you can pick on someone who's paid nigh on £4 grand for his ticket and has a responsible job in the city, therefore isn't likely to want a conviction for assault against him?

Forgive stereotypes, rant over.