In mid-June, the Minister for Transport, Dinh La Thang, received a complaint from a customer at Nam Dinh Railway Station. She said she was forced to buy a ticket from Nam Dinh to Nha Trang instead of one from Nam Dinh to Quang Ngai that she requested.
The customer also complained of the condescending attitude of the ticket seller and called for an improvement in railway service. Her views triggered a wave of public frustration in the media about the poor service offered by the railways.
After receiving a blast from the Minister, Ha Ninh Railway Transport Company, which manages Nam Dinh Railway Station, suspended two ticket sellers. However, the sellers protested their innocence, leading to a prolonged investigation.
It turns out that Nguyen Thi Muoi, a staff member at the station itself, made the (bogus) complaints! Why? She apparently persuaded a friend to send the message to Minister Thang just to find out if the minister would actually act on a customer's complaint.
The two suspended ticket sellers were later re-instated, while Muoi herself was suspended for trying to ruin the reputation of the railway industry!
A case of poetic justice!
Life in the railways (Part 2)
But, on the other side of the coin, in May, another customer - a real one - sent a message to the Minister complaining about a sales person at Ha Noi Railway Station. The customer asked to buy three platform tickets to farewell a family member, but the money was rudely refused because she handed over VND20,000 instead of the exact amount - VND18,000. The customer was forced to ask others for small change to buy the tickets.
When Thang received the message, he forwarded it on to Viet Nam Railway Corporation and the staff member got a severe reprimand.
Takes a fool to catch a fool
Last Thursday night, an accident occurred on Le Hong Phong Road in the central city of Ha Tinh. A motorbike carrying two people was hit from behind by a truck, injuring both driver and passenger.
According to the Dan Tri (People's Knowledge) newspaper, a Hanoian who was on business in Ha Tinh and a passerby who witnessed the accident called the 115 emergency hotline in Ha Tinh for an ambulance.
After many minutes, no ambulance arrived, so the passerby made a second call to the hotline. He was reprimanded by the receptionist who accused him of playing games, saying there had been no accident.
In response to the hotline attendant's cold indifference, or stupidity, bystanders took the injured two to hospital on motorbikes. In response to the claims in Dan Tri newspaper, Nguyen Quang Huy, director of the Ha Tinh 115 Emergency Centre, admitted the incident was true.
He said his staff were under "stress" as many people called just as a joke, making it hard for staff to decide which calls were real. Huy said he was sorry for the incident, adding that the receptionist would be disciplined for his behaviour.
The only conclusion one can make is that the hotline receptionist was more afraid of being fooled than of someone dying. — VNS