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Our sector depends on face-to-face meetings

Our sector depends on face-to-face meetings

Before you extol the benefits of home working to your friends and followers on social media, consider what a future of home working means for public transport – writes Alex Warner     It’s difficult to defy Boris and do travel testing right now, so my apologies for some mystery shopping of industry colleagues attempts...
Dealing with customer service dissidents

Dealing with customer service dissidents

A significant number of frontline employees are indifferent to customers, and some even enjoy riling those who pay their wages. We must stop this – writes Alex Warner     To take your mind off the coronavirus, here’s another cheerless subject – grumpy frontline employees. Whilst I’m not suggesting that the two are intrinsically linked,...
So you care about customers? Prove it

So you care about customers? Prove it

Customer Services Centres provide the best possible insight into the customer proposition and views of customers. Go there and get involved – writes Alex Warner   Pick up the phone and talk to your customers. You might learn something   It never ceases to amaze me the number of transport senior managers who purport to...
Could you have done a better job at Northern?

Could you have done a better job at Northern?

Grant Shapps has stripped Arriva of the Northern franchise, blaming the management. But I think that responsibility for its problems lies elsewhere – writes Alex Warner   Chris Burchell   Grant Shapps got what he wanted, so too did Andy Burnham, the trade unions and the media – because Arriva being stripped of the Northern...
‘Let’s go!’ - Avanti may prove doubters wrong

‘Let’s go!’ – Avanti may prove doubters wrong

The launch of the new West Coast franchise operator lacked the pizzazz of its attention-seeking predecessor, but I have feeling that they will deliver – writes Alex Warner   The Avanti logo, a bright orange triangle, is intended to symbolise the geography of this 400-mile route   I trotted furtively away from the bright lights...
Farewell Virgin Trains, I enjoyed the journey

Farewell Virgin Trains, I enjoyed the journey

It began on March 9, 1997, and it will end on December 7, 2019 – but how will we remember Virgin’s tenure of the Intercity West Coast franchise?   Virgin Trains joins Barry Evans and Mr Blobby in our cultural memory   VISITED: Since Virgin took on the Intercity West Coast franchise in 1997 SERVICE:...
The railway should cherish its enthusiasts

The railway should cherish its enthusiasts

For a long time the railway shunted enthusiasts like myself into the sidings, but the revival of the Rail Riders Club shows that times have changed   Railway accessory and clothing supplier Bufferbeam, obtained Trademark protection on all of the Rail Riders’ logos   Back in 1993, I was interviewed for the last ever British...
Mr Williams, I urge you to read this book

Mr Williams, I urge you to read this book

My friend John Nelson has drawn on his 50 years of experience to write an insider’s story of Britain’s railway through privatisation to the present day     Hold the front page, Keith Williams, don’t press ‘Send’ on your review just yet. There’s a new book in town, Losing Track, written by one of the...
Mental health - are we making things worse?

Mental health – are we making things worse?

We must work to ensure that we don’t negatively impact the mental health of our staff. It’s the right the thing to do, and it’s good for customers     Mental health has definitely been one of the big discussion points of 2019. Even those with absolutely zero interest at the beginning of the year...
Uncertainty is weighing heavily on our people

Uncertainty is weighing heavily on our people

Tens of thousands of passenger transport workers are wondering who they will be working for – and the Williams Review is adding to this instability, writes Alex Warner.     Business psychologists would have a field day with the current state of Britain’s rail industry right now. They’d be alarmed not only about the lack...
A new generation of talent in the spotlight

A new generation of talent in the spotlight

Together with Passenger Transport and a panel of judges, I have compiled a list of 40 dynamic passenger transport professionals under the age of 40     In the next issue of this quite remarkable magazine, Flash Forward Consulting (of which I am the founder and owner, I’ll have you know) is co-producing an exciting...
Give Mark a break, rail managers need support

Give Mark a break, rail managers need support

GTR manager Mark Boon didn’t deserve the vilification he received for turfing Standard Class ticket holders out of First. He and others need help. Alex Warner offers his view   The tweet that exposed Mark Boon   Beleaguered boss Charles Horton has departed troubled franchise GTR, so now it seems that humble middle manager Mark...