As residents of East Cheshire we are entitled to purchase Senior Railcards at the reduced rate of £22 per year instead of the full price of £28 per year, from Cheshire East Customer Information Centres. Except that for the last few weeks there have been no cards available from the centre in Wilmlsow library, and customers are being redirected to Wilmslow Rail Station where they can buy a card at the full price.
When this happened to my wife four weeks ago I sent an email to the relevant part of Cheshire East Council. I still await even an acknowledgement. Two weeks ago I visited the library to renew my own railcard, but still there were none to be had. The lady at the desk was as helpful as she could be, pointing out that a diminishing supply of cards can be obtained from Knutsford or Bollington (apparently the processes of the Council make it impossible for cards to be moved to Wilmslow from areas that still have them).
So what's going on? Is there a national shortage of Senior Railcards? No, there isn't.
What's going on is that Cheshire East has failed to authorise provision of cards, so supplies have dried up at Wilmslow and will soon do so at all information centres. Why would they do this? Well, it saves them £6 per transaction if residents have to purchase from the rail station instead of from Cheshire East. Or did someone 'just forget' to sign-off the budget for these cards to be provided at the rate residents are entitled to buy them for?
I asked the lady in the library for a phone number so I could pursue this to the level within the Council where either a considered decision not to provide this facility any more has been taken, or where simple incompetence has resulted in financial loss not for the Council, but for us customers (they owe my wife £6 for a start!). I was told that phone numbers of council officers were not divulged to the public!
So, as Cheshire East officers are apparently immune from explaining, by telephone or email, the shortcomings of their service, I invite Cheshire East Council to explain through this website just what is going on. Is it their incompetence that forces us to pay full price for a railcard, or a deliberate removal by stealth of a service Cheshire East customers are entitled to?
This is a member post by Vince Chadwick.
Editors note: We have requested a statement from Cheshire East Council two weeks ago when this isue was first brought to our attention. We hope to receive some information from them shortly.