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European Railroad Discussion > Sweden: SJ Improving Service


Date: 11/21/12 00:01
Sweden: SJ Improving Service
Author: McKey

Sometimes messages get interpreted all wrong. Sometimes the messages companies believe are good enough for dumb public won't go through as intended. As we know, consumers are really smart and ignoring them as stupid only leave the companies facing poor results.

According to Tåg (English:Trains) magazine the main passenger operator SJ has improved its service by stopping to sell tickets on its trains. According to SJ this will leave more time for the conductors for other service, thus service is being improved. Instead of being able to buy a ticket on train, the customers are now being faced with penalty fee of about 170 euros, if they happen to hop on the train without a ticket (unsuspecting tourists beware!). Jan Lindahl, the editor of Tåg magazine, writes well on the issue on the October issue. "What if a customer arrives to the train last minute and has no time to buy the ticket from the ticketing office (if it even exists, not all station have those)?"

Anyway, SJ claims only 1% of its customers buy ticket on the train, so not many will be affected. Then again, you can ask if serving this important 1% will occupy that much conductor's time that the service level has worsened considerably? Isn't the conductor on the train for one just selling the tickets and that way serving the customers?

SJ has made some significant improvement elsewhere to better serve its customers. Why sacrifice all with this kind of stupid "Customer service improving" message to its thinking customers? What private company would dare to make this kind of customer communications? (SJ is owned by the state of Sweden)


Picture below of the SJ2000 / X2000 tilting EMU by Gerry. The train here is in Lund, southwestern Sweden. The X2000 was a legendary tilting semi high speed train of the 1990s. Years ago there was even one unit sold to China! This unit has now returned to Sweden to help on the capacity problems of the SJ, since the demand for train services is ever increasing is Sweden.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 11/21/12 00:22 by McKey.




Date: 11/21/12 09:18
Re: Sweden: SJ Improving Service
Author: railfan400

A few years ago the X2000 sets I saw had lost their nose cones in favor of this arrangement. During a visit last month, I noticed they've returned to the original style nose. Now if they could only do something about the current bland livery!




Date: 11/21/12 09:36
Re: Sweden: SJ Improving Service
Author: McKey

That brings back memories. And the VR in Finland next door is having similar show with Pendolino retracting couplers, which still don't work well after 15 years of perfecting. So we will see maybe a copy of the X2000 style system this winter installed as trial to first units.

Below is a special double nose cones picture of the X2000 last February. On the right is the driving trailer end and the X2 locomotive on the left. Retrofitting really shows here.

I could not agree more about the color issue, but I think they need to give some market share away to more colorful private operators...who knows maybe that is the real reason :)

railfan400 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Now if they
> could only do something about the current bland
> livery!








Date: 11/21/12 10:30
Re: Sweden: SJ Improving Service
Author: railfan400

Saw this one last month with its nose cone missing. I've always liked the X2000 trains and was fortunate to receive a cab ride Göteborg-Stockholm and return a couple years ago.




Date: 11/21/12 11:00
Re: Sweden: SJ Improving Service
Author: McKey

Cab ride sounds fun!

What I've talked with the personnel they always seem to like the X2000 too.



Date: 11/21/12 13:42
Re: Sweden: SJ Improving Service
Author: GPutz

Concerning the original subject, most USA commuter railroads have a service charge for buying a ticket on a train. Amtrak probably also has such a charge. But, these charges are generally from $5 to $20, not $200, ~170 Euros.

Here's the Finnish version of two kissing Pendolinos.

Gerry



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/21/12 14:04 by GPutz.




Date: 11/21/12 23:16
Re: Sweden: SJ Improving Service
Author: McKey

Cool! This Pendo (as the train is called locally) system is a well working but temporary solution of VR+Alstom for the winters. I think Alstom takes care for most maintenance these days and since VR has just split the maintenance to a separate division most likely even more in the future.



Date: 11/21/12 23:29
Re: Sweden: SJ Improving Service
Author: Focalplane

Joyriders get away with traveling for free often because the operator sees this problem as relatively small, financially, and not worth the hassle. But how do they know how many people travel for free if they don't check? Also, this is hardly good PR with the honest, fare paying, traveler. Train managers (two on most French trains) do impart a sense of security to travelers.

Watching freeloaders get through the barriers on the Paris Metro can be a busy pastime. I've even done it myself when my valid ticket refused to work. It is no wonder some of the barriers are broken.

Paying a premium for an on-train ticket certainly applies on London's Heathrow Express, which then becomes confusing for visitors because few other train services in the UK allow on-train tickets to be bought and can impose the fine instead.

I am amused by the fact that some stations in Sweden don't have a ticket machine. In France the station will have a notice to say you must buy a ticket on the train! And those machines are often broken anyway, which is why SNCF usually installs several of them at major stations.

In short, staffing trains remains the best way forward, helps to keep people employed, provides security which is a good reason for us to continue to travel by train. Perhaps SJ doesn't see it this way.



Date: 11/22/12 02:19
Re: Sweden: SJ Improving Service
Author: 86235

Focalplane Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> because few other train services in the UK allow on-train tickets to
> be bought and can impose the fine instead.

Most train operators sell tickets on trains, those who don't are generally those which have no conductors like First Capital Connect or who solely operate long distance trains, like East Coast. But if, for instance you are travelling on Southern or companies like First Great Western in deepest Cornwall on board ticket sales is standard practice.

Where the complication sets in is on routes served by both First Capital Connect and Southern, where you can buy a ticket on a green train but not on a blue one.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/22/12 02:28 by 86235.



Date: 11/22/12 09:03
Re: Sweden: SJ Improving Service
Author: sp5312

" Years ago there was even one unit sold to China!"

They only needed one to reverse engineer it



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