Thursday, 26 March 2015

Canal and River Trust extends policy of not trusting its boating customers

I have frequently said that CRT stands for Can't Really Trust'em

It seems the feeling is mutual. CRT don't trust the boaters either as reflected not only in the latest moves on Continuous Cruising but also in the parallel terms and conditions changes for boaters with home moorings.

According to CRT, from now on, whenever you move your boat, you have to gather enough evidence to prove to them that you are moving and show how far. If you fail to have such evidence available when challenged you could ultimately have your licence removed.

It's a sad state of affairs that CRT's relationship with it's boating customers has descended to the point where we are all suspect, where we all have to worry about proving that we are not liars, when we are almost routinely assumed guilty unless we prove otherwise every time we move our boats? No wonder that trust between boaters and CRT is all but dead.

Has anyone stood back long enough to think how completely mad this all is?

Monday, 23 March 2015

A case study in how to alienate your customers?

Many people's hopes (including mine) that changes in the Canal and River Trust would lead to better relationships with boaters have been dashed by recent events. Reflecting on CRT's recent attempts to take stronger action against Continuous Cruisers who don't move very far, NABO's open letter to CRT sums up the problems pretty well.

It is difficult to understate how big a failure this episode represents. I think I give no secrets away when I say that colleagues in NABO who have come to Council recently were genuinely determined to try to build bridges with CRT. The presence of new blood, in whom I have great confidence, was a major factor in my feeling able to stand down. Again it is no secret when I suggest that they feel they have been well and truly slapped in the face for their recent efforts.

As a former NABO national officer, the narrative in the open letter comes as no surprise: One sits down in one's own time with CRT/BW, tries to give them constructive advice and feedback on how to implement something difficult and sensitive, taking into account your experience and knowledge of boating and they then do something different, omitting key parts of what you thought you'd just agreed. Seems that the change from BW to CRT has not changed that?

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Canal and River Trust's new Continuous Cruising Policy

So the battle lines are being (re-)drawn on the issue of Continuous Cruising. Only time will tell what the full impact of what CRT are proposing will be. But having reflected on these matters for a few days since my last post, things seem to be getting murkier not clearer.

I was struck by the latest from Victor Swift on NBW, suggesting that the NBTA have scored an own goal with the 'admission' that there are many living on boats who are indeed tied to a small area for work, health and/or family commitments. That is not news; As I said in a previous post, British Waterways largely created the present situation by waiving the bye-law limitations on living on boats many years ago.  

However despite the, some would say acerbic, criticism of NBTA from Victor, he then goes on to say something that is much more acute:

Mind you, as I have stated before, if those at CaRT pulled their fingers out and actually stated a distance that must be travelled to avoid having to pay for a permanent mooring, at least the continuous cruisers would know what the rules are.

At the moment, with those at CaRT unable to make a decision one way or t'other, no one knows.

That of course is the elephant in the room, still sat there watching us all!