STAR Meeting With RFC - 15 October 2002

The following notes are from STAR's meeting the Club that took place on 15 October 2002, and were supplied by STAR.

Bryan Stabler and Jackie Evans for RFC, Paula Martin and Maz Bevan for STAR

Surcharges for payment by credit or debit cards, do they have to be treated the same? Is it misleading to quote the internet price as £16 when you always have a surcharge?

It is really an administration fee and it is difficult to tell a credit card from a debit card now there are so many different cards available, it relies heavily on the staff at the time. It is definitely £1 per transaction, and so multiple tickets, or multiple games should still be £1, as should a ticket and coach travel. If you buy a football ticket and a rugby ticket it might count as 2 transactions! It is possible to buy tickets on the internet at £16 but if you buy only one - if you buy more all after the first cost only £16. The new call centre was going to charge more per transaction but the club has insisted on £1 maximum - although the call centre is not currently on line as the line interface is not yet right and it is better to have the phone ring or be engaged rather than have them sell on allocations (it is hoped it will be online by 21 October).

Is it possible to have an arrangement for STAR members who are not ST holders as they are exiles to have ST priority?
They already do, the Northern Royals contact the ticket office manager and they arrange it between themselves. If there are too many exile groups STAR may have to co-ordinate them but at present it is working.

Is it possible to have a reservation ticket rather than a ST for those who want to come to every match but work/shifts mean they cannot make them all? They could then reserve their seat until a certain time before the match. It could also make a present to give someone say 10 tickets for matches they choose.
Yes that sounds a good idea, but will need to be thought through to make sure there are no less obvious problems. It will mean more admin but could be workable. Leave it with us.

How can ST holders who do not live in Reading and want to change seats do so easily?
There have been very few problems with smart cards not working this season and so it is possible again to arrange this over the phone. If the ST is disabled and someone tries to use it they will be sent to the ticket office now, where it will be obvious it has been deactivated, so preventing abuse.

What is the age for kids to be admitted free?
It is not an actual age, but whether they want a seat or not. If they will sit on a lap they are free, and it is up to the turnstile operator to use their common sense.

Are attendances high enough or is the £20 walk-up price too high?
It was a very difficult decision to make the walk-up price £20, but most people can make the decision early enough to get the advance discount. The club prefers knowing how large the crowd is likely to be, as then staffing can be planned, so why leave it until Saturday afternoon to buy your ticket?

Why have free tickets been reduced so much?
The problem last year was that sell-out crowds were complaining that not all seats were used when complimentary tickets were not taken up. A ticket should be seen to be worth something and if too many free tickets are available it reduces the perceived value.

How easy is it to change your address on the system (for internet booking to be possible but the tickets be sent to the right address)?
It is possible to do this over the phone to the stadium (not the call centre).

Why do parking permits have to be sent by post?
The U21 game is the first time we have sold parking permits and we decided to stop selling parking tickets when we stopped selling tickets to be sent by post. This was because the permit has to be in the car when it arrives at the stadium - we cannot have queues of people wanting to collect their permits just before the game. We will look to see how it has worked.

Is it possible to direct cars to the white car park and the public car park to use specific approach roads to prevent cars congestion just before the match?
Yes, that is a good idea, we will look into it.

Concourse smoke! Is there any progress?
Ray Booth has taken expert advice and they do not think the louvers will work. The architect has suggested another solution and it is being investigated. This is discussed at every management meeting, and a solution is being sought.

Can the TVs be sited so that those watching do not block the concourse?
We have adjusted the TVs in the North stand to attempt to improve this, but the concourses are not big enough.

Catering - progress?
Another subject for every management meeting (and despite it own agenda item is also often in Any Other Business as well!). Splitting the food and drink has improved queues, but the quality of staff and the quality of food still need to improve. When the contract is up for renewal these will be the key points that will have to be shown to be improving. It is the limited time that is so critical (an example of a similar hot dog at Legoland took about 5 minutes to serve which is an impossible level of service at the Madejski Stadium). If you see food at other football grounds you would like to see at home games please let the club know as they are always looking for good fast food.

Has the stewarding policy changed as the anecdotal evidence is that it has been toughened?
The club is under more police scrutiny now we are in Division 1, and so maybe some stewards are trying to make sure the police cannot criticise, but not a change of policy as far as we are aware. The Code of Conduct for stewards and supporters is now posted on the walls of the concourses to make sure everyone is aware of what is expected of them.

We have copies of the Independent Football Commission leaflets on complaints. Are these available to fans at Reading? Can details be put on the club website with the Customer Charter and be made more accessible?
Yes, it is available in the ticket office and at stadium reception, and the website is a good idea. We will look into making it more easily found.

Thanks to STAR for the above information supplied to Hob Nob Anyone?

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