Improving the role of on board staff

New on-train role would deliver customer service improvements

The number of passengers using Thameslink and Great Northern has soared in the past five years and demand is set to grow on our busy network. To keep up with this increasing demand and the rising expectations of our customers we are modernising how we do things at our stations, on board our trains and behind the scenes.

Our aim is to make things easier for you, our passengers. As part of our plans to modernise our services, we are talking to unions and staff about adjusting the role of Thameslink and Great Northern on-train revenue protection staff to place a still greater emphasis on providing customer service for passengers on board our trains.

The Thameslink and Great Northern revenue protection staff already provide help and assistance, but their primary role is checking tickets to target fare evaders and protect revenue from ticket sales. Every staff member would receive training to help to expand the customer service element of their role to provide our passengers with a better experience when travelling with us.

The widened role would include:

  • Providing journey information (such as connecting onward journeys or current service updates)
  • Providing assurance and assistance to passengers
  • Ticket upgrades and renewals
  • Revenue protection, including the issuing of penalty fares

Chief Operating Officer Dyan Crowther says: “Passenger satisfaction is not only driven by the punctuality of our services and quality of our trains – all of which we are investing to improve – but also the visibility and helpfulness of our staff on board. We are incredibly fortunate to have a fantastic group of dedicated revenue protection staff and we want to help them enhance the level of customer service they offer.”

Further to our discussions with our unions and staff, the change would be introduced this summer, 2016.

I’ve heard that conductors have been striking on Southern over their transfer to a similar customer-centric on-board role? Will this affect Thameslink and Great Northern services?

There are also proposals to alter the role of conductors on board Southern services to provide the same position as those on Thameslink and Great Northern. In response, the RMT union has a mandate for strike action.

Thameslink and Great Northern does not have conductors on board its services and would therefore not be directly affected by any industrial action. However, in the event of strike action, many passengers displaced from Southern services would be using Thameslink trains south of London. These trains would be extremely busy and there could also be delays. Please keep abreast by checking live travel information on this website.