Farce-track

Scott

Former TS Team Member
Favourite Ride
Nemesis
*Generic Fastrack moan thread*

Seriously though, it's getting to be a bit of a joke at times now. Particularly yesterday (4/6) on park when they were suffering some serious downtime issues. With X Sector closed all day and Air down until 1PM there were only 3/6 main coasters running. Everyone in the Smiler queue when it went down got given a pink priority pass (valid on any ride) and this increased wait times - particularly on Rita which experienced awful queues all day.

Fastrack, combined with these passes and the lack of open rides caused some serious issues yesterday and really underlined how the Dark Forest cannot cope with a high number of guests. It is clearly still being oversold and is clearly bring pushed far too much!

Sales & Info staff are continuing to hover around busy ride entrances and try the hard sell approach on guests which is just not on. Also, at one point yesterday, the queue to buy Fastrack in Forbidden Valley was LONGER than the queue for The Burger Kitchen next door - and this was at lunchtime!

I know we have to live with Fastrack as it is great business, but it is getting ridiculous at times now - especially when the park is busy as it has such a poor impact on peoples days. Even Nemesis, which was eating both normal and Fastrack queues yesterday proved my point when there was a lift hill stop. It only held the ride up for a couple of minutes but in that time the Fastrack queue took on about 20 people - which took a while to clear!

Despite all this, there was one thing that truly left a horrible taste in my mouth yesterday and that was Air's queue time display. It read something along the lines of:

"Air's queue time is currently a bubbly 70 minutes. Why not check the availability of Fastrack at Sales & Information? Locations on your map!"

Ridiculous. Quite frankly ridiculous.
 

Jonathan

TS Member
Favourite Ride
Helix <3
Fastrack needs to be sorted. Availability needs to be vastly reduced and the price needs to be jacked up. It's a ridiculous situation.
 

NF2

TS Member
Just a quick question - I'm unable to comment on the accuracy of the queue boards this season having not visited yet, but is there a chance the park could be exaggerating queue times both in park and on RideTimes in a bid to shift more Fastrack tickets?

This may just be the cynic/marketing man in me speaking, but people yesterday were discussing that the Nemesis queue was posted at 50 minutes but in reality only 20-30 minutes. I wouldn't put it past Alton to do this :/
 

TheMan

TS Member
Favourite Ride
NemiLerVion
Scott said:
"Air's queue time is currently a bubbly 70 minutes. Why not check the availability of Fastrack at Sales & Information? Locations on your map!"

Ridiculous. Quite frankly ridiculous.

NO!

That is absolutely disgusting. They should NOT be handing out Fast Tracks or encouraging more when half the park is closed!!!

That's appalling. Shows a complete disregard for guests.
 

Scott

Former TS Team Member
Favourite Ride
Nemesis
NF2 said:
This may just be the cynic/marketing man in me speaking, but people yesterday were discussing that the Nemesis queue was posted at 50 minutes but in reality only 20-30 minutes. I wouldn't put it past Alton to do this
Ha, I had the very same conversation yesterday with my girlfriend but decided I was just being a cynic. I think Nemesis is the exception in terms of accuracy, purely because the ride is a throughput monster right now. Other than Nemesis, I think that rides have been fairly accurate over the last couple of days.
 

Rob

TS Team
Favourite Ride
Steel Vengeance
I can't be sure, but I get the feeling that what happened yesterday in terms of fastrack was somewhat unfortunate. I don't mind all those in The Smiler queue being given a pink priority pass, when they were waiting it was meant to open so that's fair enough.

With 3 of the major coasters down, I'd imagine the strains on the fastrack system yesterday was massive. People would have fastrack packages that included Oblivion or Air for example, but probably got the closed ride swapped for an open ride which again is fair enough but it means more fastracks for certain rides. Then with it being busy I'd imagine fastrack was very popular yesterday, making things even worse.

This may come across as sticking up somewhat for Towers but I feel as if I have ground to do this. Compared to last season, I feel that Towers have improved significantly on the fastrack front. Personally I haven't seen any fastrack upselling, or any long fastrack queues. This includes the Saturday just gone. I say this having been around 20 times this season. I am on park tomorrow though so I look forward to seeing what the situation with fastracks is, and I am prepared to change my opinion if it is like described yesterday.

Unlike many others, I do not oppose fastrack as long as it is operated properly. For me this means premium prices and strict limits. Towers were poor at this last year. This year they do seem to have got better but there are way too many options making the system very confusing. I've said it before, but BGW's fastrack system seems to work really well.

Oh and that message on Air's queue display board, that is just wrong and unacceptable.

:)
 

Scott

Former TS Team Member
Favourite Ride
Nemesis
Heh, likewise Rob I cannot comment on the rest of the season as this has been my only visit this year. However from our combined experiences it appears that the very busy days they have had lately have brought out some negative old habits in terms of Fastrack once more.

I admit yesterday was a bit of an exception though - and I appreciated getting a priority pass a lot, but used it on a ride which uses the disabled entrance (Air) rather than Fastrack queue for it as Fastrack queues were quite large at times.
 

GaryH

TS Member
Fast track should be sold on a time basis and only a certain number of slots available between a certain time,.... that should sort the problems
 

John

TS Member
Favourite Ride
Steel Vengeance
The trouble with fastrack is that it inevitably all falls apart as soon as you throw breakdowns into the mix. You've got the same amount of tickets out there (possibly more if you've handed out priority passes) but now there are fewer attractions to spread the guests between. Carefully calculated allocations go out the window as people either have to use their tickets later in the day or use them on other rides. Even Disney struggle to cope when downtime occurs - I've seen Big Thunder Mountain closed to anyone without fastrack in order to clear a huge backlog caused by a long breakdown which occurred after most of the tickets had been allocated.

The best thing Alton Towers could have done yesterday would have been to reduce the allocation for all rides as soon as they became aware Smiler and Oblivion would not be operating. Further cutbacks should have been imposed due to Air's extended downtime.
 

jmc

TS Member
I was roped into buying a Fastrack Adrenaline ticket by friends on Sunday.

We may as well have not bought them, especially for Rita and Oblivion as the fastrack queue was in excess of half an hour.
I took myself to Guest Services to discuss the issue, and all I was told is that everyone can buy fastrack tickets if they want to - even before arriving at the park, and there is nothing they can do about it. I suggested that defeats the purpose of the fastrack tickets (to pay extra to beat the queues) and people may as well save money and join the normal queues, and perhaps they need to stop aggressively overselling them.

It became quite a heated debate and the girl at guest services wouldn't accept my argument, until...

she gave up and offered three more free fastrack.
::)
 

Rob

TS Team
Favourite Ride
Steel Vengeance
I'm pretty sure they do limit the allocations, however I don't know how strict the limits are. And that is another problem, pretty much all complaints are resolved by giving out free fastracks. I don't like this (apart from if you are in a long queue for a ride, and it needs evacuating), they should have a better form of compensation, maybe 'magic money' that people can use on either food or merchandise.

:)
 

T

TS Member
I've found Alton, and indeed Merlins, response to an issue is Fastrack. Hell, even a Fastrack oversell issue with myself resulted in being handed more Fastrack....
 

Bob

TS Member
Thing is, haven't the Towers done this already. £12 for three rides on most of the bigger packages seems really expensive to me. As they've split up the big five coasters (not including Smiler), they've already decreased the value of the ticket and off set people.

The only thing Towers really did wrong was, a) selling fastrack at all once it become apparent that Smiler and Oblivion weren't going to open and b) Limit the Smiler queue who got exit passes to Thirteen and Nemesis(any ride but Air and Rita essentially). Realistically, they are the only two coasters on park that can handle a big influx of people at once.

We may as well have not bought them, especially for Rita and Oblivion as the fastrack queue was in excess of half an hour.

How long were the main queues out of interest? If they were say over an hour long, your fastrack is too still of value, it just means you can't just waltz on to the ride.

I really do find fastrack an excuse for people to be lazy as with careful planning you can still get on the top six rollercoasters and several of the other rides with minimal waits. My friend (A relative Towers virgin) and I went on Monday, avoided waiting for Smiler when we arrived at 10 and got on Rita, Thirteen, Air, Nemesis and Sub Terra by 11:00, thus avoiding the need for going anywhere near fastrack and allowing us to try out things like Duel, RMT and Hex with relative ease. My friend couldn't believe that it was so easy to get on rides with minimal waits when the park was as busy as it was.
 

AstroDan

TS Team
Favourite Ride
Steel Vengeance, Cedar Point
The idea that Air had a 70 minute queue, and Fastrack was being advertised on the scroller is disgusting.

Sent from my GT-I9300 using Tapatalk 2
 

coasternut

TS Member
Just a point of context, the messages on the scroller are pre-programmed and will have been like that for some time. Not a defence as it's a pretty underhand tactic, but it isn't new.

Also, queue times are calculated simply by phoning up ride operators and asking how long their queue is. There is no conspiracy to bump up queue times to sell Fastrack. If queue times are exaggerated it's probably due to ride staff not wanting a huge queue to run off come ride close!

I dislike Fastrack entirely, but its problems come from mis-management and poor organisation, rather than anything more sinister.
 

Dave

TS Founding Member
In the last two seasons Alton Towers seem to have got useless at dealing with major outages in the park (for what ever reason). I can only assume people who knew what they where doing when such disasters happened have left the resort.

As for Fastrack generally this season it has run quite well but then again we haven't had many busy days so we will have to see how it pans out.
 

Ben

TS Founding Member
Favourite Ride
Your Dad
Fasttrack needs to stop being the parks fall back solution for everything.

Also if they need to give out a great whacking mass of them, to say a full smiler queueline, then they should be giving them out in time allocated slots, i.e. if the ride breaks down at 2pm:
- first X amount guests get 2pm-3pm fast track
- next X amount guests get 2:30pm-3:30pm
- next X amount guests get 3pm-4pm

Then everyone gets something, with the guests being spread over an even time scale, not just heres several hundred guests all go and cram onto two rides instantly.

--

I remember a few years back being in Florida when a ride had to close as we were in the station. They werent sure what was going to happen with the ride either full closure or temporary.
A staff member appeared after about 15mins and gave everyone in the station a bottle of water, the staff stood and chatted to us and it was quite nice.

After a short while we decided to move on, as we left, we were told a 'code word' something obscure like Blue Banana, and told if the ride were to re-open tell that word to the staff member on entry and we would be taken to the front.
Later on it did, we went on, all was fine. Apparently theres was a different word every day for each attraction, it was the ride-ops choice to think of funny ones for that day.

You know what it was simple and it worked. The free drink was a nice touch and I didnt feel like Id really lost out, and knowing there was a simple way to return should the ride re-open completely organised by the ride team was great.

There was no need for guest services, tickets or anything. Why Alton havent realised throwing fast-track at everything isnt the answer is beyond me.
 

djtruefitt

TS Team
The problem is now many many guests come to the park and instantly buy fastrack because they see that is the best way to spend their money (on a quiet day it really is a waste of money). On a quiet day or medium day you don't really notice it, but once it gets busy queues build up and more and more people buy fastrack, which just means queues get bigger and bigger and even fastrack queues build up.

I was stood near the Smiler entrance yesterday for quite some time and almost every customer who asked a staff member a question was if they could buy fastrack (which you can't at the moment). Even if towers were charging £20 a fastrack ticket I think loads of people would have bought it, especially when the queue time was between 3 to 4 hours all day!
 

alee298

TS Member
Favourite Ride
Colossus or Oblivion
The only time I use fastrack is on my birthday trip to AT or TP, I get the fastrack for all rides all day. So I can enjoy myself as much as possible.All other trips I wait in line like you should do.
 
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