Tuesday, 25 April 2017

The Train Guards don’t know where they’re going next either #DadDirt



You know that you are a Great British Dad when...
...you sometimes worry a bit too much about other people's lives too.


The GUARD checks my ticket and Network Railcard. (I’ve long since learned to have that on show) and he thanks me.

ME:
Can I ask you a personal question? If the company's lost its franchise - what - if you don’t mind me asking - what happens to you? And your colleagues?

He's bulky but visibly crumples and drops his ticket machine to lean on the seats opposite.

GUARD:
I don’t know.
We’re “safe” for 18 months - that’s the legal minimum. But we don’t know what happens next. We did everything that was asked of us. We met every single target they laid down.

ME:
It might be good though? Do you all go to the new company?

He straightens up. Owns the ticket machine again.

GUARD:
Oh you won’t notice any difference. I might be in a new colour - but it’ll run the same the day after the changeover.

ME:
But, what’s the 18 months?

GUARD:
Well, they’re determined to get rid of us. Guards. Which is weird because we’re revenue collection - so we actually pull in more than our costs. All of us.

ME:
So they want this to go driver-only?

GUARD:
Did you get caught up in the chaos last week?

ME:
No. Saw it on the news.

GUARD:
Well, take that. That’s just one incident. Driver’s dealing with a suicide and the immediate impact of that. He’s checking that the train is safe, and the aftermath and the damage and what’s going to happen next. Meanwhile, the guard’s now dealing with a man’s who’s having a suspected heart attack and there’s a heavily pregnant woman who’s getting stomach pains and panicking about that because everything’s at a standstill.

ME:
I didn’t hear about that.

GUARD:
Of course you don’t. So it’s still sold as Driver-Only’s a good idea. But when the driver’s dealing with that on the track...

ME:
“Who looks after us?”

GUARD:
I heard a rumour. It’s only a rumour - you know how these things go around... that they’ve already allocated 13 million pounds for the increase in compensation claims, for injuries and the extra costs of that.

ME:
That’s a great rumour. Of course, why wouldn’t they? It’d be weird if they didn’t.

GUARD shrugs, and moves on.

GUARD:
It’s just a spreadsheet, isn’t it.
So, I’m sorry.
I don’t know how long you’ll see us around.



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