If You Can’t Stand the Heat, Ride the R5

by Frank Roche on December 8, 2010

in Customer Service

“That’s not my problem.”

My train ride in today was freezing. No heat.

Our conductor didn’t care. When a passenger asked if she could turn on the heat, she decided she didn’t want to. (Conductors are in charge of the climate inside the train cars.)

Yeah, SEPTA is a quasi-government service. It’s not like we have a choice of commuter train service in Philly. SEPTA is the only game in town.

That’s no excuse for a crappy attitude. I’ve had some really great service on my train rides. Like the guy at the ticket counter. And John the Engineer. Today wasn’t the highlight of a great experience on the R5.

I’d like to say our conductor was having a bad day. But I can tell you I rode the 6:14 train all this week. And she’s having a bad week. On two days she didn’t even check tickets and passes. Today she decided that having heat in a train car when it’s 22 degrees Fahrenheit outside wasn’t her job.

I say this to HR in not-for-profits and government services: There are a lot of great people out of work. People who would care that a train car has heat. Get rid of bad employees and hire new ones who are out of work. It rebalances power. And makes your job easier. After all, you ride trains, too.

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