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From Bev A

Thursday, 30 March 2017

I was tonight what I can only describe as gobsmacked upon leaving Hebden Bridge Train station.

Six people forming a circle at the doorway and stood in your way as you left asking to see your train tickets. No warning prior to leaving the station that tickets needed checking and one of these people's attitude of not having your ticket ready left a lot to the imagination.

None in uniform or wearing any high Vis to identify them as in any form of Authority, some in track suit type clothing, some looking like they more suit standing at the door of a nightclub keeping trouble at bay. A badge round their neck that did not clearly say who or what they were. One person tucked the badge inside her sweatshirt?

Chaos caused as a busy train left people queued up and frustrated and unaware of what was happening.

Whilst waiting for my lift I watched their process on passengers arriving on other trains. It was a farce causing chaos and frustration everytime. I heard one of them swear at a passenger who queried who they were.

Are/were these people legitimate?  Sadly my phone was not charged enough for me to take footage of this as it did need seeing to believe it I am sure people who were at the station tonight and were involved in this would agree.   

From Jon T

Friday, 31 March 2017

Yes, they usually wait outside the station door . I don't know whether this is corporate space or public space. If public they have no rights to impede you. I am not a lawyer though so you would have to ask them under what law they are stopping you.  

The ticketing facilities are  inadequate at many stations.

From Alex W

Monday, 3 April 2017

The usual staff at the station are great. But other people have been at the station behaving in the way described by Bev previously several times. Each time they had no real ID but only some generic card with a company name on which I expect is something which anyone could get. 

Most worrying was the time a couple of years back when they blocked the top of the stairs, after dark and during wet weather, forcing the people coming off a peak time train and coming up the stairs to find tickets tucked in pockets and bags, while other passengers unaware of what was happening came up behind. A five year old would see how dangerous that is.  

If they do ask to record personal details - like details on a railcard - they might be in breach of the data protection act unless they told you exactly why they want the details, and give you details of who you can contact to check.  If their attitude is just to swear at people who ask, then it doesn’t sound promising.  

If Northern are commissioning them they have a responsibility to make sure they act professionally and if they are not working for Northern what are they doing there harassing passengers?  If whoever it is that is doing this is not paying their staff enough to act professionally that is still Northern’s responsibility – they need to make sure they get people paid properly or don’t spend the money on this at all. I get the idea that rail companies, not just Northern, simply think passengers are would-be fare dodgers and are so desperate to catch people that they lose sight of treating passengers decently.  

Apart from the behaviour of these ticket check people at the station I have over the past few years witnessed some shocking and sometimes just weird treatment of passengers all of whom had tickets.  Judging by how poor the services can be, it would be good if the companies gave more attention to service provision and perhaps realised that when they treat passengers this badly, passengers are hardly going to have high opinions of them. In fairness though Northern probably don’t have much more to lose on that score.  From what I can tell with the strikes, their own staff don’t much like them either.  I’d complain to Northern, though probably not via their complaints system  if this is true

But Companies House says their Director is Alan Chaplin, and their address is C/O Arriva Plc 1 Admiral Way, Doxford International Business, Park, Sunderland, Tyne & Wear, SR3 3XP.  Rant over.

From Dave R

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

I too had the misfortune to meet this 'gang' at the station entrance. They were rude, obstructive and abusive. 

I understand from the one who accosted me, that they are contracted by network rail to catch fare dodgers. 

The chap I spoke to was very abrupt when I couldn't quickly find my ticket. I did tell him that his attitude was discriminatory (as I am older and naturally a bit slower) and rude. He was incredibly pompous, as is usually the case with those given some authority without training.

He told me to 'get used to it' as they will be patrolling regularly. 

Very unpleasant bunch and whilst I accept they may have been doing their job, there are ways and means to do so.

From Tim B

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

They are nothing better than Northern Rail's bully boys and girls. Nightclub bouncers are far politer.  They are a poor reflection on Northern, or maybe they are indicative of Northern's corporate standards.

From Marnie Clarke

Thursday, 6 April 2017

The chaps who I see most mornings at the doors to the station are always pleasant and it is never a problem for me.

As someone who pays an extortionate amount to get to Manchester and back, I welcome any attempts to deal with fare dodgers. However, I would say that people only get away with what you let them; Northern would be better employing guards on trains to check and issue tickets rather than go mobhanded every few months. They miss a lot in revenue by not doing this surely? Considering the state of the trains and service, it galls me the amount I pay over. 

The bigger issue here is that regardless of fare dodging or not, people deserve to be treated with respect and dignity. It seems that those with tickets don’t even get afforded this. I don’t respond well to bully boy tactics so I hope I am not confronted by these people. 

Can anyone enlighten me as to where people are dodging to/from? I am guessing anywhere between Leeds and Rochdale where there are barriers?