Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Nigerian Bag Tax.

Today starts the introduction of Excess Luggage Charging by the nationwide company. From today passengers can carry up to 2 medium sized items into the luggage hold of the coaches. Passengers wishing to put more than 2 items into the hold will be charged extra for their excess luggage. The charge for excess luggage is £10 per item on a single journey rising to £15 per item for a return journey. These excess luggage charges will also apply to ALL outsize items. Outsize items are defined as any item weighing greater than 20kgs OR any item with one dimension greater than 85cm.

This is a big change to both passengers and staff. Previously it was simply a case of if there was room, in it goes. This Nigerian Bag Tax will undoubtedly cause problems across the network. The likely routes for arguements over this Nigerian Bag Tax will probably be on coaches going to and from airports. Many suitcases and wheeled holdalls are greater than 85cm in one dimension. Travelling on holidays abroad and queueing at airports I know that an awful lot of suitcases weigh more than 20kgs each. That is why they have special orange stickers put on them. On other coach routes we carry a lot of students and they very often have a number of items to put into the luggage hold. These passengers would then fall foul of the maximum of 2 items into the luggage hold condition of the Nigerian Bag Tax. Passengers will now try to take more and more of their luggage onto the coaches as "hand luggage". This can cause more problems and conflict between passengers and staff. What is hand luggage? The guidance notes to staff declare that hand luggage is no larger than 45x40x25cm, although common sense will tell you it is anything that fits on the luggage rack or below a seat.

Drivers do not have any scales or a measuring tape. We can however count and identify more than 2 items of luggage per passenger. Will drivers have to prove that an item is greater than 20kgs OR greater than 85cms on one dimension? Will keener drivers be investing in measuring tapes? Will drivers be adopting a blind eye to this Nigerian Bag Tax because it is a scam by the nationwide company? I can't stand racism in any form but may a minority of drivers view this Nigerian Bag Tax as a licence to target certain ethnic groups? How long will it be before a passenger complains that they had to pay the Excess Luggage Charge because they appear to be from one particular ethnic origin yet other passengers were not made to pay this Nigerian Bag Tax? Only time will tell, so Race Cards at the ready, guys!
Steve, my friend, for a very intelligent man u r awfully short sighted!!!!!!!
Can u honestly c this imbecilic nationwide company enforcing this rule!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
They cant enforce the funfare rule, they cant enforce the seat belt rule, they cant enforce the no smoking or no drinking rule, they cant enforce ANY RULES!!!!!!
They will NEVER challenge a customer/passenger full stop for fear of losing custom.
I had 2 stop at leigh delamere services on the way back from london the other day due 2 a passenger being unsatisfied with the toilet facilities on board the coach!!!!!!!!!!!!!
So, u do not have 2 fear any form of racism towards a particular ethnic group as any form of complaint from a passenger towards a driver will involve the driver having 2 justify his actions 2 a manager fully with the onus on the driver having 2 prove HIS innocence!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Have you read the guidance notes? These Excess Luggage Charges are to recover the costs of laying on a van or taxi to accommodate the luggage. Now then, we all know just how vindictive the nationwide company can be, so if a van or taxi is hired for the extra luggage AND the driver has not sold the Nigerian Bag Tax, then his employer will have to pay for that van or taxi. This Nigerian Bag Tax will not only generate revenue but allow more sanctions against operators who are passenger friendly.

Human nature being what it is, some drivers will target certain ethnic groups and see this as a penalty charge. No problems when complaints come in because all drivers can claim that they did not look at the passenger, just the ticket and their luggage. I cannot place one item of luggage with any passenger because I do not care how they look, only the validity of their ticket.
The only occasions taxis and luggage vans had to be used on semi-regular occasions was when the Neoplan Skyliner 'deckers operated on the network. They've since been removed and replaced by tri-axle Volvos with more than ample luggage provision.

I believe your operation used both mid- and rear-engined coaches. You must find that rear-engined ones afford the driver a virtual football pitch-sized luggage compartment in the centre. My old depot had nothing but mid-engined coaches that saw poor luggage provision as this was awkwardly split between 'letter box' style slits over the engine compartment and the medium-sized boot at the rear.

From my experience with the Nationwide Company, I'd just ignore the new ruling completely. They told me face-to-face once that they're more than willing to completely ignore a non-safety critical ruling to stop the passenger going to the opposition. This was the occasion when a Young Person's M-Ticket could be bought and the text message did not state the YP coach card number. The ticket had clearly been texted amongst the purchaser's friends and they were using the open return leg over and over again, safe in the knowledge that it was untraceable.

Diddly-squat assistance from the Nationwide Company; indeed a virtual acceptance of what was happening and an unoffical instruction to tollerate it.

Pile all the luggage in as usual. It's just another revenue stream that's being utilised, despite recorded passenger growth of 1% last year. Brian's lot and those fast-running dog coaches do not have any ruling such as this because they do not want to alienate their passengers. They won't ever have the market dominance and therefore complacency that the Nationwide Company has.

And every time you do permit 3 cases, just think that's at least a tenner the Nationwide Company has lost out on.
Yes guys, this Nigerian Bag Tax is indeed a scam being run by the nationwide company. I just hope that the nationwide company does not now turn nasty on the drivers and attempt to discipline any driver who does not impose this charge on their passengers. Network Standards do like to wield the axe against operators but are probably more excited over the provision of "Customer Information Cards" rather than scamming passengers out of £10.

When all 49 seats are taken, we are not short of luggage space. Any passenger paying the £10 would then see this charge for the scam it truly is.
oh, I am so glad I am not driving for the nationwide company. This is yet another case of someone acting before thinking!!
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