Ride Availability 2018

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Austin Towers

TS Member
We are hardly spoilt for choice here in the UK, but there is no doubt that AT is the most renowned and recognised park in the UK. I feel sorry for people visiting from afar, and having to experience such shambolic operations.

We get to go once a year for two days and with the cost of flights from Belfast, car hire and accomodation on top of park costs it's not going to be worth it if operations are still poor. This year will be our last I think.

There's no hope for the place as long as it's under Merlin ownership. It's not an attraction anymore, it's a repulsion.
 

TheAverageNerd

TS Member
Favourite Ride
Taron
It truly is a shame about operations this year, but has anyone considered the possibility that Merlin are in fact trying to sell the park? Perhaps wicker man was their attempt at creating a brand new incentive for potential buyers before they purchase the park. That could potentially explain why wicker man is leagues above anything else the park has produced in terms of presentation. It’s not likely of course but I was just thinking about it for a while and thought I’d share.


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Coaster

TS Member
Update: Now only two of the family rides are unavailable! Excellent! Maybe we'll get down to zero by the afternoon!

Also, Galactica only has a 30 minute queue! And the Wicker Man queue is down to 80 minutes!

However, on a less positive note, Thirteen has a 75 minute queue and Rita has an 80 minute queue. Park must be unusually busy today considering it's a weekday.
How is any of this positive?
 

AstroDan

TS Team
Favourite Ride
Steel Vengeance, Cedar Point
Alton Towers is not busy. Busier than it was in 2016 or 2017, but not busy.

The problems we have here are that due to ride reliability being the worst I can ever recall, queues on rides that are open are exacerbated.

For example: take Th13teen. This ride can, in theory, achieve 1,400pph. With the new baggage situation, it's probably down to around 1,100. But even then, not bad. However, add in the sheer volume of Wicker Man fastracks being dished out due to that ride being closed for whatever reason - and everyone makes a route straight to Th13teen. Also, because Th13teen opens late (11am), and there are frequent breakdowns, these people are then shoved through the ride in less hours than a full day. This means the main queue time is horrendous.

We also need to remember that since 2015, the park has seen cut after cut. In 2016 and 2017, the park managed because guest numbers were stubbornly low post-incident. However, this year we're seeing higher numbers. Not the numbers we'd have seen a typically good year (e.g. 2010) - but higher numbers nonetheless. And due to the cuts... the park simply cannot cope.

They need more money, more staff and more support rides because Alton Towers simply isn't good enough this season. And they know it. I bet they wish they still had Ripsaw now!

On a side note, VR should be removed off Galactica immediately to boost ride capacity per hour and the staff that are then not needed can be redistributed on other rides/areas.
 
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Benjsh

TS Member
Favourite Ride
Steel Vengeance
I'm visiting for the 2nd time of the season on Tuesday and I have to be honest I'm not exactly brimming with confidence that things will have greatly improved. The only saving grace is that crowds should be a lot quieter so should get more rides in.

You can almost hear the cry for help from the park. If I was the Operations manager I'd be compiling a report full of customer feedback, including photos of the ridiculous queues at the Plaza etc and I send it to my superior at Merlin. This can't go on like this. The park clearly can't even handle a fairly busy day right now never mind a really busy one. Summer holidays and scarefest will be an absolute disaster if things don't get better.
 

Alsty

TS Member
Favourite Ride
Shambhala
It truly is a shame about operations this year, but has anyone considered the possibility that Merlin are in fact trying to sell the park?
I've thought about this too, but if Merlin were looking to sell the park then they would want to get the maximum amount for it. That would mean investing in the place to make it attractive to buyers... slick operations, minimal downtime, all attractions open and presentable, good quality entertainments, high satisfaction ratings etc.
 

AT86

TS Member
According to Twitter they are issuing everyone with a free return ticket today. Presumably because of the shoddy downtime and operations.
 

Benjsh

TS Member
Favourite Ride
Steel Vengeance
According to Twitter they are issuing everyone with a free return ticket today. Presumably because of the shoddy downtime and operations.

Not enough for those who travel 3hrs plus and stay over though is it? Also people with passes just don't benefit from that at all as they can return any time they want depending on what pass they have.

They need to get more staff in place by June half term, School trips weeks and Summer holidays. They can probably survive with what what they have on off peak days but they are going to end up losing a whole load of loyal customers if they don't buck up. I doubt I will be going back next season if i'm honest unless big changes are made.
 

AstroDan

TS Team
Favourite Ride
Steel Vengeance, Cedar Point
On the Twitter comment, nowhere is there any apology.

What are social playing at?

Hi, today only, present your ticket, Season Pass or Annual Pass to the turnstiles team, and we’ll give you a free ticket to visit again on a day of your choice, to enjoy even more fun and thrills.

Why does it not say "We're sorry for the issues in the theme park this morning" first? EVEN MORE fun and thrills? What the hell?
 

Benjsh

TS Member
Favourite Ride
Steel Vengeance
Some of the responses these last few weeks have been childish and sarcastic also. That one above is just plain ridiculous, I mean not even apologising for your shocking service???

Who the hell are these people running the park? Do they have any idea about the industry or customer service at all? Or are they all 16-18 year olds on minimum wage too with little training who are simply not bothered.

Are the social media team actually on park or are they at a separate site?
 

Alsty

TS Member
Favourite Ride
Shambhala
Again, back in the early 2000's it took about 15mins for Nemesis to be signed-off by the techies. There would be two techies present who would do visual inspections of the trains & track / ride area. They would bring the trains onto the track and run them round twice each - visually observing them as they ran. If all was OK the ride was signed over to Ride Operations who then have to do their pre-start checks which take about 10mins.
I'm not sure if I'm misunderstanding - are you saying it took 15 minutes for technical services to completely check and sign-off Nemesis? Or was that just to complete the handover when operations arrived?

I would expect a daily check of Nemesis to take significantly more than 15 minutes. I mean they'd take about 5 minutes of that just to transfer the trains out of the garage! I can't see how you could thoroughly check all of the track, footers, and all of the parts of the train in that time.

I recently watched a video from Kings Dominion where their fitter explained it took 2 hours to perform a daily inspection of a single ride, this being a flat ride (Windseeker) so not even any track to inspect.
 

Benjsh

TS Member
Favourite Ride
Steel Vengeance
How many "techies" do you think are present on any given day then? There's 10 coasters for starters to get open.
 

AT86

TS Member
According to the jobs site they are currently recruiting for both mechanical and electrical engineers.

Whether this is to replace people who are leaving/have already left or if it is to increase numbers in the department I don’t know. It may explain why things are even worse than we have become used to in terms of ride availability.
 

Benjsh

TS Member
Favourite Ride
Steel Vengeance
I genuinely don't think Smiler had any issues. They probably just didn't have the staff to get it running until now. It seems to rotate day to day to different coasters.

I'm not buying for one minute that all this down time is due to faults etc. They clearly haven't got the budget to staff the rides and get the tech teams in place early enough. They probably get one running and move on the next one. No way can they hope to survive if that is indeed what's happening.
 

Austin Towers

TS Member
According to the jobs site they are currently recruiting for both mechanical and electrical engineers.

Whether this is to replace people who are leaving/have already left or if it is to increase numbers in the department I don’t know. It may explain why things are even worse than we have become used to in terms of ride availability.

Those jobs were not advertised 2 days ago as I looked so maybe they've realised they need more or as you say maybe to replace ones that have left. It's possible a few have left very recently and that's why ride uptime is getting worse.

I'm a maintenance technician myself in a busy airport and it's a stressful thankless job most of the time. I imagine it would be even worse working on coasters.
 
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