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Old 17th February 2011, 23:20   #1
Lampshade
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Default Manchester Piccadilly G4S and their interpretation of the NRCoC

Evenin' all

A few weeks ago I was travelling from an unstaffed station in south Manchester to Preston. There are no TVMs there so I boarded the train (1630) with the intention of catching the 1654 Northern service onwards.

On the way into Piccadilly, the Guard didn't make an appearance, so my interpretation of the NRCoC is that if there are no ticket issuing facilities available at the station at which you began your journey then the full range of tickets can be bought on board or at an interchange point, although this does not mean risking missing a connection (which was above the minimum connection time at MAN).

As it stood, we arrived two minutes late (into platform 9, main shed) and a large number of passengers disembarked without tickets. As is normal for that time, G4S were barriering platforms 8 and 9 and so a large queue formed. As I had mere minutes to catch my connection I spoke to one of the G4S staff and asked, politely, if I could pay on board my onward connection:

Me: I have a connection to catch, could I possibly go through and pay on board?
G4S: No! Join the back of the queue, you've committed fraud ()
Me: The National Conditions of Carriage...
G4S ...say you're committing fraud as you haven't paid
Me: No it doesn't, it says nothing of the sort
G4S: Right, if that's how you want to play it (then attempts to summon a passing BTP Officer)
Me: OK, fine, fine

So I joined the back of the queue and bought a ticket, making my connection by 10/15 seconds at most. As it turned out, no ticket check took place between Piccadilly and Preston, so I would have had to pay at Preston. Personally, I think the G4S staff member knew I was right so tried to silence me the only way a 'jobsworth' knows how.

My question is: was my interpretation of the NRCoC correct? I'd like to hear especially from any members in revenue (Ferret, I'm looking at you here)

Cheers
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Old 17th February 2011, 23:29   #2
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Having already been made aware of this situation, you know my views, I had better be careful what I say on this forum, other than to say that the 'honourable' 'gentleman' is 'incorrect' and is in need of 'advice and additional training' and also a lesson in providing good quality customer service.

It would also be interesting if they caused a delay that resulted in a claim under Delay Repay.
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Old 17th February 2011, 23:48   #3
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It got so bad for me at one time I started using Oxford Road rather than Piccadilly, as they consistently refused to sell me the right ticket. Its not much fun arguing, with a queue of impatient people building up behind you.

I wrote and complained but Northern evidently didn't think it worthy of a response
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Old 17th February 2011, 23:50   #4
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This is what happens when pay a secruity Guard company to do proper railway work, all in the name of saving money! No proper training and everyone who has not got a ticket is automatically presumed to have committed fraud.

You pay peanuts, you get................ that is the way it is.
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Old 18th February 2011, 00:00   #5
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Next time let the get the BTP. They presumably know the NRCoC and will have a word with the security guard.

Even if you're wrong it's not like you run off or anything, no reason for BTP to bother with it.

Incidentally, as contract security they must have a licence and display it. If they don't, it's a criminal offence and you should report them to BTP. The only exception is where they have something called an LDN, which they must have with them. The only dispensations from having to display the licence is an LDN (which means their licence is being renewed) or a dispensation for those who must not be identifiable as security such a store detectives and bodyguards.
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Old 18th February 2011, 00:15   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lampshade View Post
Evenin' all

A few weeks ago I was travelling from an unstaffed station in south Manchester to Preston. There are no TVMs there so I boarded the train (1630) with the intention of catching the 1654 Northern service onwards.

On the way into Piccadilly, the Guard didn't make an appearance, so my interpretation of the NRCoC is that if there are no ticket issuing facilities available at the station at which you began your journey then the full range of tickets can be bought on board or at an interchange point, although this does not mean risking missing a connection (which was above the minimum connection time at MAN).

As it stood, we arrived two minutes late (into platform 9, main shed) and a large number of passengers disembarked without tickets. As is normal for that time, G4S were barriering platforms 8 and 9 and so a large queue formed. As I had mere minutes to catch my connection I spoke to one of the G4S staff and asked, politely, if I could pay on board my onward connection:

Me: I have a connection to catch, could I possibly go through and pay on board?
G4S: No! Join the back of the queue, you've committed fraud ()
Me: The National Conditions of Carriage...
G4S ...say you're committing fraud as you haven't paid
Me: No it doesn't, it says nothing of the sort
G4S: Right, if that's how you want to play it (then attempts to summon a passing BTP Officer)
Me: OK, fine, fine

So I joined the back of the queue and bought a ticket, making my connection by 10/15 seconds at most. As it turned out, no ticket check took place between Piccadilly and Preston, so I would have had to pay at Preston. Personally, I think the G4S staff member knew I was right so tried to silence me the only way a 'jobsworth' knows how.

My question is: was my interpretation of the NRCoC correct? I'd like to hear especially from any members in revenue (Ferret, I'm looking at you here)

Cheers
Well, if you've travelled from an unstaffed station, in what way have you committed fraud?! If the Guard hasn't been through or hasn't reached you, you haven't had chance to pay yet! At no stage does it say in the NRCoC that you're required to delay your onward journey in order to pay, so as far as I'm concerned you should be allowed to pay on board the next train. However, nowhere does it say this explicitly so we have ourselves a horrible grey area. My personal opinion is that we'll never get explicit clarification in any future re-issues of the NRCoC because to do so would lead to the more unscrupulous people out there using it as a faredodgers charter.
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Old 18th February 2011, 00:35   #7
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if you were traveling on to preston, then you could have just gone up the stairs at the other end of platform 9 to get to 13/14, and theres ticket machines up there... i do that quite a lot to avoid geting into long discussions with security on Platform 2/3
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Old 18th February 2011, 01:03   #8
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Surely TOCs employing prats who don't know the NRCOC is something which the DfT? should be shouting loudly about - there's little point in having Conditions of Carriage if the staff are selective as to what they enforce.

The point about being delayed by staff and missing a train is an interesting one - I'd hope that, given it's a failure on the part of the TOC, they'd be putting you on the next train with an apology and a delay-repay form, or calling the taxi firm.

The calibre of security fatblokes is generally dire - their 'licenses' apparently require a 5-minute multiple choice questionnaire and a CRB check to obtain. If, as here, they appear to have a poor knowledge of the ticketing rules, why on earth are they checking tickets?!
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Old 18th February 2011, 06:44   #9
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If Merseyside can specify proper booking offices, staffed at all times, then why can't GMPTE and West Yorks PTE?

The PTEs are utterly stupid and this situation wouldn't occur if some (even major) stations weren't left unstaffed. The G4S men could be brought in-house and properly employed to man booking offices. They are the last contractor left standing after Northern did the decent, honorable thing and brought most staff in house ditching ISS, Carlisle et al.
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Old 18th February 2011, 07:19   #10
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A licence certainly isn't a guarantee of quality. They are also meant to have attended all three days of the course. But still you have to find a good firm. For example, I'm involved with live music and there are only two firms of bouncers I would use.
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Old 18th February 2011, 09:42   #11
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There seems a lot of discontent with these G4S staff on many forums! Although the OP is right in this instance the OP could hve sought out the guard on the first train which would have removed the need for any conflict and would have been sure to have made the connection.
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Old 18th February 2011, 12:10   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RPI View Post
There seems a lot of discontent with these G4S staff on many forums! Although the OP is right in this instance the OP could hve sought out the guard on the first train which would have removed the need for any conflict and would have been sure to have made the connection.
The reason why there is so much discontent with this lot is because they think they are patrolling Haicinda back in the day. They do not know what they are looking at, i showed them an oyster card and they let me through. That tells you that hiring contract companies to do revenue collection is cheap and cheerful, Northern Rail wont employ these directly because now we are in a period of Austerity they would not want to be burdened with paying sick pay, holidays, proper working times to a proper working roster, they get out all the hidden recomendations, that prevent staff from backing up (ie finish work at 23.59 and start your next shift 06.00). Hence the reason why companies (my one included use secruity Guards).

All staff that are employed on the railway should brought in house, at least there will be some accountability.
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Old 18th February 2011, 12:18   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 185 View Post
If Merseyside can specify proper booking offices, staffed at all times, then why can't GMPTE and West Yorks PTE?
Merseytravel have the advantage of being the issuer of the franchise for Merseyrail, which covers a lot of stations within Merseyside.
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Old 18th February 2011, 15:51   #14
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I think G4S are ridiculously untrained, they should be placed on a ticketing course of a decent length with regular tests.

However, having said that the G4S on the bridge at Preston seem so much friendlier than at Manchester Piccadilly. One guy even wished me a nice day..

Quote:
If Merseyside can specify proper booking offices, staffed at all times, then why can't GMPTE and West Yorks PTE?
I agree it would seem more sensible to introduce more ticket offices which reduce the pressure on guards and G4S.
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Old 18th February 2011, 17:19   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RPI View Post
There seems a lot of discontent with these G4S staff on many forums! Although the OP is right in this instance the OP could hve sought out the guard on the first train which would have removed the need for any conflict and would have been sure to have made the connection.
There is no requirement to do so, and furthermore it would be seen as 'queue jumping', if a passenger was about to be served at their seat and someone else walked up to the guard and asked to be served first to avoid queues at Manchester, the guard may well refuse and the passengers who are next in line to be served may well be unhappy if such a request was granted.
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