Sunday, December 11, 2011

The end of an era 

Today marks the end of an era for National Express in Cardiff. Up until today, passengers had to present their ticket to a guy in the National Express office to obtain a boarding pass before attempting to board their coach. The passenger would then hand that boarding pass to the coach driver, give him their luggage and board the coach. When all the passengers had boarded, the coach driver would then return the boarding passes to the guy in the National Express office. The driver would then be handed a loading chart and he would walk back to his coach and drive away.

However, a lot of passengers ignored the writing on their ticket to "check in 10 minutes before departure" and had walked passed large signs written in English and Welsh instructing them to obtain a boarding pass before travel. These passengers would present their ticket to the driver who would tell them to go to the National Express office like naughty children being sent to the headmaster. This really annoyed the passengers because nowhere else on the National Express network must passengers check in to obtain a boarding pass. This procedure got their journey off to a bad start and left a nasty taste in their mouth.

All drivers like to get on well with the passengers but this boarding pass and check in procedure caused a lot of aggression, especially from passengers who were first in the queue but denied boarding because they had not checked in.

Thankfully from today the boarding pass and check in procedures have been abolished! Common sense has finally prevailed. Drivers will be issued with a loading chart in the same manner as at all other manned National Express sites. The driver will then be left alone to read tickets and load luggage, just like at any other National Express stop on the network. Everybody will be happy, nobody will be cheesed off at having to loose their place in the queue to obtain a bright plastic card. The same efficient boarding of passengers will now take place in Cardiff.

I have asked for the abolition of the boarding pass and check in procedure in Cardiff since 1997. It was always a waste of time in my opinion and I witnessed every day just how much it frustrated passengers. Thankfully today saw the end to the Cardiff Boarding Pass. The last laugh has to go to the guy who wrote the notice to staff. The reason he gave for the abolition of the Boarding Pass was...

Health and Safety issues.

There were too many passengers expected to check in at the relatively small office, that lack of space made health and safety an issue.

...No, I think the space is better used to sell tickets rather than play the boarding pass game. Tickets make revenue and checking passengers in creates not a penny to the bottom line.
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