You asked the questions, here are the answers...

Tuesday, 4 February 2020

Every day the social media team at ScotRail respond to hundreds of questions on Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp.

But what do they get asked most often, other than service related questions?

We’ve delved through the archives of questions asked over the last year to pull out the most popular to pop them together in one handy place to help all you lovely passengers out.

Our social media team is made up of seven full time members of staff to ensure that there is always clear, understandable communication to passengers when it's needed. The team start at 05:30 Monday to Friday, 06:00 on a Saturday, 07:00 on a Sunday and work until midnight. They’re there to support you as you go about your train travel and are always willing to answer any questions big or small, complex or simple. On an average day they respond to around 370 queries, that’s over 11,000 queries a month.

Why is Neilston shown as <Neilston> on the info boards?

We’ve all been there. In a hurry to catch a train and just taking a quick glance up at the departure boards to see which platform you need to be on. If you travel the route every day you generally have a pretty good idea where you need to be to catch the train, but for those where it’s an infrequent journey, this is where the use of the <> comes in handy.

<Neilston> is marked on our information screens this way to differentiate between Newton. As Neilston and Newton are both terminating stations and can look alike on the boards, adding <> either side helps to make this stand out. They both stop at some of the same stations, particularly upon departure from Glasgow Central.

So if you’re in a rush and glance up at the boards, it can be confused with Newton, which is in Lanark. You don’t want to end up at the wrong one because it takes at least 45 minutes to get between the two, and you’d need to change at Mount Florida.

Do ScotRail trains only run in Scotland?

Even though the name would suggest that ScotRail trains only run in Scotland, this in fact isn’t the case. You can ride a ScotRail train all the way to Carlisle and Newcastle. Granted, it takes a while as it stops a lot. The 16:13 departure from Glasgow Central to Newcastle takes 3 hours 54 minutes! If you were doing a point to point journey from Glasgow to Carlisle or Edinburgh to Newcastle, you would be quicker to hop on an Avanti West Coast service, or LNER on the east coast.

Why are Kids for a Quid tickets not sold at TVMs?

To avoid older kiddos who may be travelling on their own incorrectly purchasing a Kids for a Quid ticket from the ticket machines.

A child aged 5 -15, needs to be travelling with an adult in order to qualify for the special ticket.

To avoid any confusion, the ticket can only be purchased from a member of staff at a booking office when there is one, or on the train when there isn’t.

All the adult needs to do is show their ticket, Flexipass, Club 50 membership card or season ticket to the member of the team. When either one of these is shown, the adult can then take up to four children with them for just £1 return each.

Why are Flexipasses only available on certain routes?

Because 10 journey Flexipasses are a Smartcard only product, the station that you depart from or arrive into has to have a Smartcard reader so that you can tap in or out to deduct the fare.

Can I use my Railcard at any time of the day?

This can be a confusing one because it depends on what type of railcard you have. Generally, most railcards can only be used on Off-Peak services to get the 1/3 discount. If you hold a Disabled Persons Railcard, there are no time restrictions so you can use it any time of day.

For other railcards, if you do want to travel between 04:30-10:00 then a £12 minimum fare applies. So if you’re only going a short distance, you wouldn’t want to use your railcard for that.

Where are the sockets on a 385?

You’ll find a socket under your seat on the Class 385 eXpress trains.

How does heating on a train work?

You’ll no doubt have been on a train where you’ll have felt a bit too hot or cold and wondered why the staff on board can’t do anything about it. Our heating is controlled by a thermostat and is set to somewhere between 21 and 23 degrees (depending on the type of train/time of year). The thermostats are set by engineers at the depot and can’t be manually adjusted on the train.

On colder mornings we do try to heat the trains before they go into service, so you’re not too chilly when you jump on the first train of the day!

Do I need to buy my ticket before I board?

Yes, if you have a ticket office/ticket vending machine at your local station you should buy before you board. Our ticket offices and ticket vending machines are able to sell a wider variety of tickets than our staff on board. We ask that you buy your ticket before you board so that you can get the best price for your journey. If you’re travelling with a railcard then buying before you board is a must because we can’t guarantee that we could sell the ticket on board. We don’t want you missing out on your savings! Buying before you board also saves you standing in a queue when you get to your destination.

If you ever have a question when you're out and about on the network, or before you travel please do contact the social media team on Facebook, Twitter or Whatsapp. They're always ready to help you out!