Monday, April 28, 2008

Buffet, or no buffet? That is the question

Did everyone catch Dom Joly's Complainers tonight? I'm quite glad I wasn't in it to be honest, as he did rather take the mickey out of everyone, to say the least, but well done everyone who took part, it's always nice to see FGW getting a bit of a roasting. It was particularly good in the way it highlighted the ridiculous situation where FGW doesn't have enough carriages, as it is still one of those issues I simply can't get my head round.
In other news, I hear on the grapevine of something really scandalous. An e-mail arrived in my inbox, bearing the following message:
"Did you know that FGW are experimenting with doing away with the buffet car on at least 6 sets running between Cardiff and London? It's being done completely on the quiet and they're waiting to see how many complaints they get, which I reckon is going to be an awful lot. In fact, we need to encourage everyone to write in or that's going to be it - no buffets."
Now this really is serious. We finally get our much-deserved First Class Off-Peak Upgrade and then they threaten to take away our flapjacks?
Please, someone say it's not so!


Anonymous said...

even though the buffet car is going on certain trains, there will still be an at seat trolley service in ist and 2nd class accomadation

mamf45 said...

That may be, but on most services the trolley would not be able to get through the passengers standing in the aisles.....

Lord Hutton said...

Lots of trains have trolleys. On a few the trolley wont get through but then you go and look for it. like you look for the buffet, And maybe the buffet space will be replaced with seats and luggage space?

Anonymous said...

FGW are not going to take any buffet's off that make them money.

"Trolley" Trials have gone on where some routes take lots of money in the buffet, and where the buffet makes no money. The trolley was successful in the latter, but it would pay to keep the buffet on the high sales routes.

Remember, people do not want to leave seats for fear of losing their seat, having something stolen, so a trolley service is ideal.

Truth is that the buffet causes the most damage on the tracks as far as weight distribution goes, so where it is taking very little money, all it is doing is causing work for Network Rail = headaches for customers ;)

While I do not know the final outcome, it is my opinion that some buffets will be taken off, where a trolley is more commercially viable, and some will be kept that obviously make FGW money.

The comment about not enough carriages... what should FGW do exactly? The Government will not allow them to have them. Crosscountry are restarting HST service, so unfortunately the spares just are not there. Of course if some buffets were to go.... :)

Anonymous said...

A few red herrings here. First, losing the buffet will NOT liberate seat space. FGW's plan is to lose the entire carriage, seats and all. Secondly, where is the evidence that people are worried about leaving their seats for the buffet? Utter tosh, and FGW's contention about theft risk is utter tosh. Where exactly are the thieves going to take all their loot pray? Thirdly, FGW has made great play of the new coffee machines, Travelling Chef etc. in the refurbished buffets. Quite a u-turn to say overnight this is just as acceptable as a cruddy trolley service with some instant coffee and some scabby stale croissants.

Anonymous said...

FGW are removing the buffet cars by stealth.
They have 'promised' staff there wont be any compulsory redundancies -scarcely reassuring when staff turnover is 25%+ p.a. in any case.
Staff all know that removal of the buffet poses serious service and safety concerns for Train managers and catering staff, The RMT union are balloting staff for strike action and they are likely to achieve this too, despite management bombarding the staff with promises none in writing or legally binding of course!! lol that would never do.

Anonymous said...

I would STRONGLY suggest that passengers who wish to see a Buffet at all in future on FGW (or any catering for that matter) write into FGW and possibly their MP too, or it wont be there in 2 years time!

Richard, FGW said...

Most of this is a load of tosh...

They're only really looking at removing buffets from trains that have never really had them. They brought in bigger trains last year to increase capacity in the Oxford routes - they've never had a full buffet service before. All FGW are doing is looking at whether they need them or if a trolley will do a better job. Makes sense to me,

They've also gone urther than promising no redundancies to staff - they've promised there will be no job losses at all - all the things they are looking at need at least as many people as they have at the moment. They've done this in writing out to all staff - I know cause I got one...

RMT are a bunch of eejits playing politics - trolleys run on hundreds of services on dozens of train operating companies every day. there's no safety case here at all.

Most of the conductors on the train are laughing at the RMT, they don't know why they've been balloted (they have nothing to do with catering!), and they think the RMT have lost touch with their members overthis issue.

Anonymous said...

Politics by the RMT, Never!

This is a dispute manufactured by the RMT for their own purposes. The proposal to remove buffet cars has been around for about 2 years, and the RMT had done diddly-squat about it until now. The funny thing about their timing is that the company has already decided NOT to remove the buffet cars, and are looking at how to put mini-buffets on the 3 trains that they are unable to lease buffet cars for.

I have not spoken to ANY train managers who think that it is an issue worth striking over, and I am very curious as to the motives of the RMT in postponing their ballot, and inundating us with leaflets and mail-shots encouraging us to vote for a strike (is it because the feedback is that the vote will be against striking?). This is politically motivated, and is another case of Bob Crow having his head up his ass. Don't bother writing to your MP, it's a red herring.

Anonymous said...

i can see the point of fgw's trollys i know when i go to plymouth at plymouth they close the buffet at plymouth but trollys take room and make passengers angry at this point they scrapped the fgw barbie so more space is needed

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