Observer sets you a Spot the Difference teaser

Our Saturday independent columnist Observer sets readers a puzzle question today after a week criss-crossing southern England by train, with not so predictable results.



Kier has been slated across the Wealden District Council area for missed waste/recycling collections over a long period of time. There has been a similar problem in parts of Buckinghamshire, where the contractor is Serco.

Now two quotes for you to ponder:

‘In response to a question regarding the penalties incurred by Kier, Councillor Standley confirmed that this amounted to relatively small sums of money and would not be allocated to the various wards affected by missed collections.’
[Source: Wealden District Council printed minutes - Cllr Standley is the Leader of the Council]

‘Wycombe District Council raked in £226,000 from waste company Serco this year after the company was sanctioned for missed collections.’
[ Source: Bucks Free Press website]

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Standing up for rail workers

I have been on my travels this week – by train, of course.  It has taken me around south east England (hence the snippet of news from Buckinghamshire, which is in the south east economic region).

What did I find?

Well, I swerved Thameslink, as you would, but for the rest it all ran on time.

Ticket office staff were helpful and one managed to save me a couple of quid by ticketing my journey in a more cost effective way than what I asked for.

Service collapses

It is people like this who are dealing with customers all day, every day.

They and the gateline staff often get the rough end of people’s tongues when the service collapses.

Those who run the rail firms’ social media accounts also have to have thick skins.

They are like the rest of us, ordinary working men and women, except they are employed by the rail companies.

These people didn’t foul up. It’s not their fault that things have gone wrong.

So, fellow commuters, even under the utmost provocation from Southern, Thameslink and the rest, be civil with rail staff on the frontline; give them a smile and say thanks.

And, I also say to the rail companies:

Give your frontline staff timely, correct information so they can help YOUR customers.

They deserve that, just as we deserve good information.

See also:

Uckfield business round-up for June

Art fair opens next Friday

More than £3,000 raised in bike ride from Uckfield to Papworth Hospital

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