General Queue Times Discussion

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Kraken27

TS Member
They don't just pick and choose capacity at weekends; there are a number of factors depicting how a coaster runs - not least the staff that operate it. If staff are ill from Covid or a Hanley p*ss up the night before, running Oblivion on one station at the weekend may be the only choice they have. Well, or close it naturally, but that's hardly the better option is it?

Staff turning up for work under the influence from a Hanley night p*ss up was a big issue - and largely ignored - in my time at Towers. As long as they were halfway dressed (often with socks missing) and did not smell of alcohol beyond what extra strong mints could fix, they were good to go. This was ride Operators... not just Hosts.

I've seen Technical Services fitters turn up clearly under the influence to sign Nemesis off. There was one instance where the fully trained fitter was heavily suffering from the night before & gave his keys to the trainee. We [ride staff] told the trainee what to do - with a few errors thrown in so all the harnesses popped open. He then told us to close them, we pointed to the red "Technical Services" sign, so we were not allowed to touch the ride. Our parentage was then questioned as he closed 32 harnesses himself.

Then you got the people phoning in "sick"... they'd get put through to the team leader signing off the ride who would take the tale of the ailment. They'd then tell the Operator "you're without xxxxx today" and it was very common for someone to pipe-up "I saw xxxxx throwing up at 2am in Hanley today". You could not make it up.

All Towers did to try and reduce the drinking culture was move weekly pay-day from a Friday to a Monday, so weekly paid seasonal staff had less money left come the weekend.

There were cases in the Valley at Fireworks where (1) a staff member covered up his uniform and met friends on-park in the Tavern on his 45min extended break (you got one on a Fireworks day). He consumed 3 or 4 pints then returned to work on Nemesis. Case (2) was a staff member who on the final day of season downed about 3/4 of a bottle of whiskey on a break then returned to work. He was literally slumped against a rock at the Nemesis entrance before he was removed by security. He was, however, asked back the next season "as a valued member of staff".

Staff drinking alcohol late in the day whilst watching the fireworks from the Prospect Tower - yes it happened.

Then there were the "Vampires" in the original Halloween on Ice show (circa 2003). They did an elaborate act climbing up / descending from drapes secured to the lighting rig. They did not submit negative tests.

The above won't make comfortable reading for Alton Towers. I accept it happened close on 20yrs ago, but it shows the organisational culture that was in place. All I can say is you can re-theme / re-fit a pub, but you can only change the clientele with a huge change in pricing policy. Towers have always been minimum wage.
 

Auribus

TS Member
The above won't make comfortable reading for Alton Towers. I accept it happened close on 20yrs ago, but it shows the organisational culture that was in place. All I can say is you can re-theme / re-fit a pub, but you can only change the clientele with a huge change in pricing policy. Towers have always been minimum wage.

Two questions -

What pricing policy should be in place? AT have made a start discarding cheap passes but what else can they do?

How does AT min wage compare to others in the industry?
 

Kraken27

TS Member
Two questions -

What pricing policy should be in place? AT have made a start discarding cheap passes but what else can they do?

How does AT min wage compare to others in the industry?

On the staff front, Alton Towers [since the advent of the national minimum wage] have always paid ride hosts the over 18's rate, even if they were 16 or 17. Ride Operators got a huge enhancement of 50p/hr for their additional responsibilities.

Given that Towers were effectively offering enhanced pay to 16 & 17yr olds, the jobs were attractive compared to what they could attain elsewhere. Many of us have been 16 & 17 and have gone out and drunk illegally on Friday & Saturday nights as long as you looked old enough to avoid ID checks. This was the crux of the problem - particularly when the staff turned 18 so were guaranteed entry into any licensed establishment with ID.
 

rob666

TS Member
Staff turning up for work under the influence from a Hanley night p*ss up was a big issue - and largely ignored - in my time at Towers. As long as they were halfway dressed (often with socks missing) and did not smell of alcohol beyond what extra strong mints could fix, they were good to go. This was ride Operators... not just Hosts.

I've seen Technical Services fitters turn up clearly under the influence to sign Nemesis off. There was one instance where the fully trained fitter was heavily suffering from the night before & gave his keys to the trainee. We [ride staff] told the trainee what to do - with a few errors thrown in so all the harnesses popped open. He then told us to close them, we pointed to the red "Technical Services" sign, so we were not allowed to touch the ride. Our parentage was then questioned as he closed 32 harnesses himself.

Then you got the people phoning in "sick"... they'd get put through to the team leader signing off the ride who would take the tale of the ailment. They'd then tell the Operator "you're without xxxxx today" and it was very common for someone to pipe-up "I saw xxxxx throwing up at 2am in Hanley today". You could not make it up.

All Towers did to try and reduce the drinking culture was move weekly pay-day from a Friday to a Monday, so weekly paid seasonal staff had less money left come the weekend.

There were cases in the Valley at Fireworks where (1) a staff member covered up his uniform and met friends on-park in the Tavern on his 45min extended break (you got one on a Fireworks day). He consumed 3 or 4 pints then returned to work on Nemesis. Case (2) was a staff member who on the final day of season downed about 3/4 of a bottle of whiskey on a break then returned to work. He was literally slumped against a rock at the Nemesis entrance before he was removed by security. He was, however, asked back the next season "as a valued member of staff".

Staff drinking alcohol late in the day whilst watching the fireworks from the Prospect Tower - yes it happened.

Then there were the "Vampires" in the original Halloween on Ice show (circa 2003). They did an elaborate act climbing up / descending from drapes secured to the lighting rig. They did not submit negative tests.

The above won't make comfortable reading for Alton Towers. I accept it happened close on 20yrs ago, but it shows the organisational culture that was in place. All I can say is you can re-theme / re-fit a pub, but you can only change the clientele with a huge change in pricing policy. Towers have always been minimum wage.
BPB has had similar problems staffing up on Tuesday mornings...
Weekend staff meet up on a "Mad Monday" afternoon session at spoons, tricky staffing up all the rides on a Tuesday due to "minimum wage sickness".
 

Kraken27

TS Member
BPB has had similar problems staffing up on Tuesday mornings...
Weekend staff meet up on a "Mad Monday" afternoon session at spoons, tricky staffing up all the rides on a Tuesday due to "minimum wage sickness".

I remember the scene well on the BBC "Pleasure Beach" fly-on-the-wall documentary, It may not have been a Tuesday morning, but the staffing manager was going round the hotels / B&B's that accommodate staff to round the stragglers up. She got to see a lot more than she bargained for in one room as a male staff member turned over in bed.
 

Ethan

TS Member
Overall queues seem pretty moderate today. Busiest day in recent weeks but that was to be expected. Interesting to see Wicker man at 50 minutes even though its gone dark
 

Yalnix

TS Member
Favourite Ride
Helix
Queues were horrendous today.

Went to Liseberg last week and it was an absolute joy. I'd much rather go less, and pony up to go there as it's literally as easy for me

I'm kinda done with AT after the last few visits. Queued have been dire post covid.
 

Ethan

TS Member
Queues were horrendous today.

Went to Liseberg last week and it was an absolute joy. I'd much rather go less, and pony up to go there as it's literally as easy for me

I'm kinda done with AT after the last few visits. Queued have been dire post covid.
How long did you wait for the coasters today
 

Ethan

TS Member
Who needs reality when you've got some dumb app piping nonsense into you all day ?
Well sometimes it can be fairly accurate, but sometimes not. The good thing is the queues are approximate estimations and therefore are usually overstated than understated
 

Yalnix

TS Member
Favourite Ride
Helix
How long did you wait for the coasters today

Nemesis: Advertised 40. Was about 65-70

Duel was about 10. Never actually seen it with that before...

Then had Lunch.

Had an hour until mazes and then thought we can't do any coaster otherwise we'll miss the mazes.

Hex took 35 mins ish

Mazes were then another 2 hours block in which Attic was evacuated and that took half an hour.

Then went got a coffee, headed to Smiler with the hope of doing it and a night ride of Wicker Man. Entered the queue at about quarter to 7. That queue moved sooooo daaaammmnn slowly we didn't get on Wicker Man.

Absolute disgrace. 2 hours and 15 mins for Smiler. It didn't even look that bad otherwise I wouldn't have bothered.
 

AstroDan

TS Team
Favourite Ride
Steel Vengeance, Cedar Point
WM was a farce this evening.

Posted 50 min.

120 min later...

Horrific RAP. I'd go so far as to say RAP is discriminatory against the very people it was designed to serve.

Sent from my SM-G991B using Tapatalk
 

rob666

TS Member
Queues were horrendous today.

Went to Liseberg last week and it was an absolute joy. I'd much rather go less, and pony up to go there as it's literally as easy for me

I'm kinda done with AT after the last few visits. Queued have been dire post covid.
Should have gone with me last week.
Front seat walk on on Nemesis.
No queue longer than 20 minutes.
Most rides walk on all day, including smiler single rider, and smiler main queue was often zero, despite a 20 minute queue sign.

Off peak waits are pretty much back to normal now.
Go in scarefest however...
 

Matt N

TS Member
Favourite Ride
Mako (SeaWorld Orlando)
WM was a farce this evening.

Posted 50 min.

120 min later...

Horrific RAP. I'd go so far as to say RAP is discriminatory against the very people it was designed to serve.

Sent from my SM-G991B using Tapatalk
Surely there’s not really anything Towers can do about the volume of people wanting to use RAP? On a busy day like Scarefest, won’t it naturally have a lot of visitors?

I’ll admit I am surprised to hear of both your experience and the experience @Yalnix had, however; from my experience, Wicker Man’s queue usually moves pretty quickly, and usually takes less than the time listed. The only time I can think of where I ever had an understated queue time on Wicker Man was where I got in the queue with an advertised time of 65 minutes, and it took around 2 hours or slightly over. From memory, I think RAP may have contributed; I certainly remember my parents commenting on it at the time, anyway.

Out of interest, what percentage of throughput was going towards FT and RAP last night, if you had to guess? And would you say that FT or RAP was the bigger deductor?
 
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