'They Only Listen When People Tweet': Staff Say Overcrowding Ignored by Train Companies


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Staff on board trains are so sick of overcrowding on busy services that some are telling passengers to tweet negatively about the rail company to provoke a response, HuffPost UK has learned.

The issue emerged following an incident on a Virgin train between Liverpool and London last weekend, which was standing room only in many parts of the train.

Passengers on board told HuffPost that the train manager spoke bluntly over the tannoy. He told passengers of the overcrowding: “It’s embarrassing for those of us working on here.

“I encourage you to tweet at them, tweet them photos, they will listen to you, they don’t listen to us”. 

Unions have told HuffPost that train companies are ignoring the health and safety concerns of on-board staff when it comes to packed carriages.

Figures released earlier this year by the Department of Transport revealed that on a normal weekday almost 170,000 people are forced to stand up on trains during the morning commute into the biggest cities.

The five most overcrowded stations are in London, Cambridge, Manchester, Leeds and Cardiff.

But union organisers say the issue is potentially dangerous and that their complaints are repeatedly ignored when the issue is raised with train management. 

A train conductor, who asked to remain anonymous, told HuffPost it’s something her colleagues often complain about, but that people are afraid to speak up about.

She said: “As on-board staff there is only so much we can do with the space we have. And what that Virgin conductor suggested, I agree. There is nothing that we can do.

“I think general consensus [among colleagues] is that it’s a population and infrastructure…

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