Friday, 16 January 2015

I was talking to my good friend who works on London Overground yesterday and he told me that while he was at South Tottenham during the morning peak he’d been approached by an irate passenger wanting to complain.  The passenger was furious that for the third day in a row the pedestrian crossing outside the station wasn’t working, for the third day in a row it had made him ten minutes late as he’d been unable to cross the very busy road outside and he demanded to know what my friend was going to do about it.

While it is true that TfL are responsible for traffic signals in London exactly what an employee of a train operating company can do about them that an ordinary person could not is beyond me but I had similar complaints about the buses and mainline trains when I was working on stations.  It seems that if you’re wearing a uniform people assume that you have some sort of connection with everything transport related and feel that you are an appropriate target for their ire.

After the passenger had departed and my friend had a spare moment he went online to find where he could report the problem.  He finally found a telephone number tucked away on the TfL website and was rather perturbed to find that it was a premium line,  had he been able to get through he would have been charged for his act of civic consideration but for whatever reason no one was picking up.

With little other option he asked his controller to pass the message onwards although the controller was equally uncertain about who to contact.  This turned out to be a good idea as somehow the message reached the right person and a technician turned up to fix the traffic signal.  It seems that the traffic signal was supposed to send an indication to the control centre that it was malfunctioning but whatever bit of technology that sends this message was malfunctioning too.

Sadly the only conclusion to be drawn from this tale is if there’s something wrong with the roads go tell someone who works for the railways, who knows if you complain to Network Rail  you might get the potholes filled……


  1. We get this all the time on the stations and it's getting more common with all the shop space we're renting out now. I get complaints regarding Car parks not giving change, Tesco orders not have the correct food in them at collection points and so on. The most bizarre is when people pass a crime/incident 5 minutes away and proceed to come to the tube station to tell me about it so I can call the police. I don't mind complaints I can actually help with but I can't call the police for an incident i can't see and have no details for

  2. A few years ago I was sitting on the top deck of a bus on my way to work. I'm in my roundel festooned LU uniform ( and there'll be even more if we get to wear that Hemingway shit ) which kinda gives a hint of who I work for. "Have you done Gaysham Avenue yet?" came a woman's voice from behind me. "Pardon?" - "Have you done Gaysham Avenue yet?" she repeated testily. "Oh I see, you think I'm your postie. No sorry I haven't delivered any post to Gaysham, but do you know my nan who lives at number 56?" I replied. "No I don't" she said.

  3. It's funny you mentioned twitter in your previous posting. I've found the best way to get something done is to tweet the relevant body/operating company so it's right out there in the open for everyone to see. I'm gonna sound like a right moaner now, but so far me or my Mrs has had the street lights at the bus stop in a local supermarket switched on (for some no apparent reason they were off), got someone to take responsibility for emptying the litter bins near my local station, and had a nice reply when complaining about a deafening noise whilst travelling on the C2C.

  4. is also good for this kind of thing - they work out who the problem needs to be reported to, and reports it to them.