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Northern and West Yorkshire Metro Dreadful in almost every respect...
Member Name: Robert MSc
Date: 01/06/07, updated on 01/06/07 (1566 review reads)
Disadvantages: Customer service, systems, reliability, punctuality, rolling stock all rubbish
If I were asked to rate West Yorkshire Metro and their Partners, Northern, on a scale of 1 to 10 I certainly wouldn't be rating them any higher than a 4, and even that would be generous.
I am a Metro Card holder and use this on buses and trains on my daily commute between Leeds and Halifax.
I use the trains (trains and stations are operated I believe by Northern) between Leeds and Halifax on a daily basis and have been appalled by the level of punctuality and reliability. Trains are routinely late; it is very rare a train will be on time. The reliability of the services is poor as well and it can make commuters lives a misery. In the last 2 months, 4 of my trains have been cancelled and I have been made to wait for at least twenty minutes for the next one. The train that does come along is then woefully overloaded with passengers. It isn't a particularly complex network that is being operated and I think it is totally unacceptable that the service provided is so bad. My commute only involves travelling 2 stops (it amounts to about 12 miles "as the crow flies") so for the jounrey to some times take nearly 50 minutes is just pathetic. People travelled more quickly than that in the nineteenth century.
The rolling stock is generally rubbish, consisting of trundling old diesels. Some times it feels like being on a crappy, old bus on rails. In fact, some of their trains seem to be pass-me-downs from Merseyrail as they haven't changed the livery on some of them. Any operator that is accepting 30 year old junk from other operators is obviously pretty desperate.
MY MAIN GRIPE: The customer service is chronic. I made the silly mistake this morning of leaving my wallet in the house. My wallet contained my Metro Card. I was dropped off at the station today which is miles from home, and only then realised my awful error (how could I do such a thing!?) and so was effectively trapped there without any money or my Metro Card. There was no way for me to get back home and nobody I could call. I had no choice but to board my train and go to work in the hope that I could borrow money from colleagues to get back home. As it happens, the ticket inspector, despite being a bit grumpy and OTT at first, could see that I was genuine and simply trying to get to the office. At first he complained that I should have told him before getting on the train, but I explained that I was worried he wouldn't let me on. He simply said "I am not like that", which leads me to think that others are and wouldn't have let me on the train. He took my address and telephone number for some reason.
Once I arrived at Halifax station I decided to visit the ticket office/information centre to try to find a solution. After all, I had paid my £82.00 Metrocard for the month and innocently left it, and my money, at home- surely there would be a way to get around this as a one off?
I explained the situation to the guy in the ticket office. I'm not sure what his name was but he seemed to be in his twenties. His customer service skills were abysmal and I found him to be totally unpleasant. Considering the amount that I have to tolerate from WY Metro/Northern on a weekly basis, it would be nice if they could at least provide staff who are friendly and helpful. The staff in the Halifax station were not. It seems that this puss-filled blister of a company not only provides crappy trains, poor punctuality and unreliability, but also provides sour faced and truculent staff to add to the woes of their paying customers.
I explained what had happened and asked the member of staff whether WY Metro/Northern have a database with customer details on. My reasoning was that any modern company would have a computer system containing such information. That way, somebody like myself who did not have their Metrocard and wallet (in my case out of human error, but in other instances people could be mugged or lose their posessions for some other reason) would be able to make some unqiue arrangement by proving they have in fact paid for their pass and therefore should be allowed to travel under the circumstances.
Me: "... I don't have my wallet, I don't have my money, I don't have my pass.... so is there a database of some kind? Or is it possible for you to phone another department? I'm really desperate here, it's an innocent mistake. I've paid to use the trains, I just don't have the card."
"No", he grunted back, with a gormless and unhelpful look on his face.
"Well what can I do in this situation? I'm trapped here. I've paid 82 quid for my pass, is there not any way around this- an exceptional occurence?"
"You have to buy a ticket, don't you?"
"But I've just explained to you I have no money! Surely there is a system that registers customers who buy passes? I even paid with my debit card."
"Well I think that is poor."
"Well it's poor that you left your wallet at home", he replied in an unpleasant and confrontational manner.
"Yes, I'm aware of that!" I walked out of the station as this individual was clearly uninterested in helping me.
Once I arrived in work I phoned WY Metro in an attempt to find out if there was a system in place for people who end up in my situation (as explained, there are various ways in which paying customers could end up in the position I was.) It seems that there is not. WY Metro/Northern, on top of everything else that they do badly, do not have the robust systems in place that are taken for granted in most other modern-day companies
Despite the fact that I gave address details etc when I registered for my Metro Card, no record is kept of these details by the company. You simply fill in a form for the sake of it and it is not recorded electronically. So even if you have paid for their over priced pass, if you happen to be dispossessed of it somehow, you can expect no help whatsoever.
Am I the only one who thinks all of this is a bit poor for the twenty first century, in an advanced nation?
Whilst WY Metro/Northern make plenty of mistakes on a weekly basis, and provide a generally substandard service, make damned sure you don't make any mistakes yourself, becuase you will not be helped and you will not be forgiven. Luckily for me I was able to borrow money at work to get back home. Annoyingly, the train home was late, and the one before it had been cancelled, so it was packed to the point of being hazardous and the environment was uncomfortably hot.
Summary: Rubbish. Everything about it is rubbish in West Yorkshire.
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