Andy Mc wrote:
To be fair though this is actually quite serious compared to other news like common ride technical difficulties, being stuck for that period of time in not well ventilated trains in this heat with that amount of guests, towers walking a very tight rope at the minute.
I agree - to have been stuck on a Monorail train for close on an hour yesterday would not have been fun. I believe the trains carry just short of 100 passengers, so for 80 to be stuck, there were 4 or 5 in each "compartment" / 8 or 10 in each section of the train. As Andy Mc stated, the ventilation is not great. The train driver would not have been able to open the doors on the evacuation side of the train until enough staff were present outside the train. The last thing Alton Towers needs now is an "unsafe evacuation". Imagine what certain sections of the press would print out as headlines.
It could have been worse - imagine if Skyride had gone down yesterday & the diesel backups failed. Guests stuck in the gondolas (again, with limited ventilation) waiting for the rescue team to come down the cables to abseil them down to ground level.
Alton Towers are going to be stuck between a rock and a hard place for the remainder of the season I think. Theme Parks are inherently incredibly safe places, as we know. Due to what happened on The Smiler, anything that appears "not right" to your average member of the public visitor stands a good chance of making it onto social media, where it will be picked up by the news outlets / papers.
Alton Towers staff are told never to be specific about the cause of any breakdown / ride stoppage, unless it is due to the weather (clearly as this is out of their control). Maybe they should allow some leeway when a ride is stopped, for instance, to clean up from a "guest illness" (someone throwing up is out of their control). Instead of playing the normal "temporary delay" message over the PA, make an announcement saying they are cleaning up after a guest illness. Should help stop some of the "Nemesis stopped for 5mins at lunchtime" type posts on social media. Most visitors would [you hope] think "do I want to sit in a vomit covered seat, or wait a few extra minutes while it is cleaned?"