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Rail Passengers Cmmte. Response to Email. (Read 3,463 times)
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Habitual FOI requester.

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Rail Passengers Cmmte. Response to Email.
Jun 22nd, 2005 at 3:09pm
My Original Email in response to a request to me asking for me to call the 0870.
Hi Martyn

I will not call your over priced and premium rate 0870 telephone number, so I suggest that in future when writing to me that if you want a response to include a 01/02 number.

Also I wish to know who to write to, to make a Freedom of Information Act request for the geographic numbers.


Dear Cllr XXX

Thank you for your emails of 16 and 17 June 2005, addressed to Martyn Ashworth.  Your emails have been escalated to me for a response. 

I formally note your request for information under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and in response can outline the following; 

The RPC very recently (October 2004) overhauled its telephone network and installed a virtual platform system which specifically removed all geographic numbers.  Previously, our regional offices were each contactable by way of a 01 or 02 number; however with the introduction of the new systems these were removed.  The previous numbers were initially set to divert calls to the new numbers, to allow time for the new numbers to become established.  However as of March 2005 the diversion was removed and a message was put in place indicating that the numbers are no longer in operation.

Our decision to remove all regional numbers was taken for a number of reasons.  The RPC recognised that passengers often found it difficult to contact us, as our regional offices did not have the capacity to handle large call volumes.  Passengers also indicated that they often did not know which office to contact as, by the nature of rail travel, passengers often found themselves contacting a committee office that was not geographically best placed to assist them.   We therefore took the decision to centralise our complaint handling operation and offer a single point of contact for the organisation.

We specifically removed all geographic numbers and set up 0870 numbers for our regional offices to encourage all public contact to be made via our centralised office - contactable on 08453 022 022.  The premise was that if a call was for a regional office we could transfer the caller from our local rate number and we would bear the additional cost with the member of the public only ever having to pay for a local rate call.

Therefore, whilst I note your request for information under the FOIA, I am unable to provide you with the information you require as it physically does not exist.   

However, I do take on board your comments about the pricing of calls to 0845 numbers.  I do understand that some telephone providers now offer their customers a variety of packages, discount rates or free calls, some of which make provision for calls to 0845 numbers and some which do not.
However, the provision of 0845 local rate numbers has been long standing good business practice
what the hell, good bsuiness practice?? Yeah right!!
for organisations offering services to members of the public and is certainly recognised as acceptable practice in the call centre industry.
No mate its acceptable beacuse everyones doing it.

Indeed, when compared to the standard national rate (not taking into account packages and discounts) 0845 numbers do still provide value for money.  Therefore, I do feel that this is an issue which telephone service providers need to consider when producing package deals, discounts or loyalty products for their customers.
yep lets pass the buck as usual

I note your request for information about who to contact in order to make a formal request for information under the FOIA.  In our organisation any member of staff can take a formal request, which will be escalated and handled as appropriate. 

I regret that you feel you were kept on hold for a long time and had to explain your concerns to our advisor several times.  We do aim to provide a high standard of customer service and I apologise for any inconvenience that this caused.   I will ensure that this is followed up and addressed through our ongoing training and development needs. 

Thank you for bringing this matter to my attention.  I hope that I have been able to explain our position and if we can be of further assistance please do not hesitate to contact us. 

Yours sincerely

Ashley Grumble
Passenger Link Manager
Hes got a nice surname for complaints manager! Anyways I hadnt put in an official full FOI request but I will be now.

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« Last Edit: Jun 22nd, 2005 at 3:18pm by mc661 »  
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