Train operators launch ‘Be Kind’ campaign to combat abuse towards rail staff

Posted: 8 July 2024 | | No comments yet

The ‘Be Kind’ campaign, initiated by LNER and joined by numerous UK train operators, highlights the harmful impact of abusive messages on rail staff and calls for respect and kindness towards those who assist passengers.

Train operators launch ‘Be Kind’ campaign to combat abuse towards rail staff

Credit: LNER

A diverse group from various sectors has collaborated to produce a video for the ‘Be Kind’ campaign, initiated by LNER. This initiative aims to highlight the adverse effects of abusive messages sent to social media and customer contact centre teams. The video features a selection of these offensive messages, read aloud to emphasise their impact on the recipients, concluding with a heartfelt appeal for kindness and respect towards rail staff.

The ‘Be Kind’ campaign, a pioneering effort in the rail industry, has been launched with the introduction of ‘Be Kind’ badges worn by rail employees. These badges serve as a reminder that rail staff are individuals deserving of kindness and respect. Following LNER’s lead, several other train operators, including Great Western Railway, TransPennine Express and South Western Railway, have joined the campaign. Currently, more than half of the UK’s train operators are participating, with additional operators expected to join soon.

The campaign supports both frontline staff and those working behind the scenes, who often bear the brunt of customer frustration during service disruptions. Social media and customer contact teams, in particular, are frequent targets of hurtful and abusive messages when delays or cancellations occur.

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Penny Bond BEM, LNER’s Internal Communications Manager and Founder of the ‘Be Kind’ campaign, said: “We’ve all experienced a time when travel plans are unexpectedly altered, and we understand it can be disappointing and frustrating. But it’s never acceptable to vent that frustration by being abusive or insulting, whether to someone’s face or over a keyboard. The ‘Be Kind’ campaign aims to humanise rail staff and remind everyone that they are people with feelings too.”

Dan O’Riordan, Head of Security and Safety Assurance for South Western Railway, said: “South Western Railway is proud to support the ‘Be Kind’ campaign and to highlight the harm caused by thoughtless abuse. Everyone should be able to work without fear of being insulted. We urge rail travellers to be kind and consider the negative impact their words can have on our colleagues.”

The ‘Be Kind’ campaign is a crucial step towards fostering a more respectful and compassionate environment for rail staff and ensuring that all employees can perform their duties without fear of abuse.

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