£10 Admin charge for excess?

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trainophile

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I was enquiring about excessing a Virgin Crewe to Euston ticket, to board the same train earlier at Chester, and the guy in the Virgin office at Lime Street said there would be a £10 admin charge. Considering a ticket for Chester to Crewe was £7-something with railcard, that seems a bit silly! It was for my friend, and she obviously bought the stand-alone ticket, but I wondered if he was correct in saying that a journey excess "always" incurs an admin fee?
 
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embers25

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I was enquiring about excessing a Virgin Crewe to Euston ticket, to board the same train earlier at Chester, and the guy in the Virgin office at Lime Street said there would be a £10 admin charge. Considering a ticket for Chester to Crewe was £7-something with railcard, that seems a bit silly! It was for my friend, and she obviously bought the stand-alone ticket, but I wondered if he was correct in saying that a journey excess "always" incurs an admin fee?

Woking also believe this.
 

RJ

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I was enquiring about excessing a Virgin Crewe to Euston ticket, to board the same train earlier at Chester, and the guy in the Virgin office at Lime Street said there would be a £10 admin charge. Considering a ticket for Chester to Crewe was £7-something with railcard, that seems a bit silly! It was for my friend, and she obviously bought the stand-alone ticket, but I wondered if he was correct in saying that a journey excess "always" incurs an admin fee?

The software they use has "Add APS supplement" checked by default when issuing an excess. They could easily just uncheck the box (or delete the supplement from the basket), but there is a tendency for some to follow whatever the machine comes up with, without questioning if it is at odds with what is correct.
 
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Bletchleyite

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The software they use has "Add APS supplement" checked by default when issuing an excess. They could easily just uncheck the box (or delete the supplement from the basket), but there is a tendency for some to follow whatever the machine comes up with, without questioning if it is at odds with what is correct.

Well, that's a rather stupid setup. Why should they *not* be able to assume, at first principles, that the system is correct?
 

RJ

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Well, that's a rather stupid setup. Why should they *not* be able to assume, at first principles, that the system is correct?

It would be correct if they were excessing up an Advance ticket. I imagine Crewe would be accustomed to excessing Advance fares - and this individual mistakenly thinks the "change of journey fee" applies to all excesses.

In a similar vein, I've been asked more than once why the TIS applies Priv discounts to Underground zone tickets when we're not entitled to it. It's a fair question - safeguarded Priv holders are entitled to that discount, hence why the machine allows the discount.

Another example - once a YP discount is applied, if the fare is low enough, it will throw up the discounted price and the £12 minimum fare.

The software is intuitive - but the ticket office clerk's product knowledge should guide them to issue the correct fare where multiple options are available. Hopefully between training school and ready access to the Knowledgebase, such options shouldn't be a problem to deal with.
 
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Haywain

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I was enquiring about excessing a Virgin Crewe to Euston ticket, to board the same train earlier at Chester, and the guy in the Virgin office at Lime Street said there would be a £10 admin charge. Considering a ticket for Chester to Crewe was £7-something with railcard, that seems a bit silly! It was for my friend, and she obviously bought the stand-alone ticket, but I wondered if he was correct in saying that a journey excess "always" incurs an admin fee?

Was the ticket you enquired about an Advance ticket or a flexible ticket? If an Advance ticket they were correct in saying that an admin fee would apply, but you can't change the origin or destination for an Advance, so the ability to charge the fee is irrelevant.
 

hairyhandedfool

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I was enquiring about excessing a Virgin Crewe to Euston ticket, to board the same train earlier at Chester, and the guy in the Virgin office at Lime Street said there would be a £10 admin charge. Considering a ticket for Chester to Crewe was £7-something with railcard, that seems a bit silly! It was for my friend, and she obviously bought the stand-alone ticket, but I wondered if he was correct in saying that a journey excess "always" incurs an admin fee?

In this particular case, I think it might carry a fee, but only because it is NOT an Excess Fare. Excess Fares apply for:

  • An upgrade to First Class
  • Travelling at a time not permitted by the ticket
  • Using a route not permitted by the ticket
  • Turning a single into a return
  • Travelling beyond the destination of the ticket

None of these apply here, so it's a refund and a new ticket. A refund incurs a £10 fee.
 

trainophile

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It didn't occur to me at the time, but I'll come clean - yes it was an Advance. From Lime Street to Euston, with the first leg being on London Midland. The reason for changing it was that there was only 10 minutes connection time allowed at Crewe, to change between Platforms 5 and 6, so up the stairs and over the bridge, or wait for the slowwww lift.

My friend had a medium sized case, and a backpack, and is, ahem, my age (for those who have met me ;) ), and was unfamiliar with Crewe station so getting herself into a bit of a panic about making the connection.

She already had a Saveaway which meant she could get to Chester "free", so it seemed like a great idea to start her journey to London from there.

She probably broke all sorts of rules by omitting the LM leg, although she was covered by tickets for her whole journey.

It's ironic that at Crewe when I would like a 5-minute connection allocated, I get half an hour, and when someone would appreciate a bit longer they cop for the 10 minute minimum.

Anyway thanks everyone, and I understand now why we got the response we did.
 

Clip

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Well I first thought advance ticket when I read the headline but as always the FAQ on excesses and other things always comes in handy.

If they could do some as a pdf for folks like yourself that you could store on phone/tablet/laptop then I think that would be good too.

Admittedly with time short going through the guide may not be of help but a pdf could.
 

hairyhandedfool

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It didn't occur to me at the time, but I'll come clean - yes it was an Advance. From Lime Street to Euston, with the first leg being on London Midland. The reason for changing it was that there was only 10 minutes connection time allowed at Crewe, to change between Platforms 5 and 6, so up the stairs and over the bridge, or wait for the slowwww lift....

Right, so the "Crewe to Euston" ticket is actually Liverpool to Euston then?

That's a useful bit of information you didn't give, and combined with the fact that it's an Advance ticket means the clerk would have been generous by offering an excess with a fee, as changes to travel plans on Advance tickets must have the same origin and destination. Changes without an admin fee are the exception rather than the rule with Advance tickets.

....She probably broke all sorts of rules by omitting the LM leg...

Only the terms of her ticket, basically making it completely invalid and her liable for a new ticket.

.... although she was covered by tickets for her whole journey....

That does seem to be a debatable point on this forum and I tend to sit on the other side of the fence.
 
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trainophile

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Yes, I now see that I was wrong on so many aspects of this. I was simply trying to find a way (at quite short notice) for my friend to stop worrying about connecting at Crewe. She really was getting in a bit of a panic. If only the connection at Crewe had been five minutes longer none of this would have even arisen.

It was an oversight, albeit an important one :oops: , that I didn't state that the ticket was actually Liverpool to Euston, but it was only the Virgin train leg that we wanted to amend, so I didn't initially think to give the correct information. Again I apologise.

It's a bit of a minefield for the uninitiated isn't it? Not that I should have that excuse, with the ever-present guidance of the knowledgeable members of this forum!
 
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hairyhandedfool

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....It's a bit of a minefield for the uninitiated isn't it? Not that I should have that excuse, with the ever-present guidance of the knowledgeable members of this forum!

Ticketing can be very complex, even for staff, but eventually we get there.
 

Bletchleyite

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It was an oversight, albeit an important one :oops: , that I didn't state that the ticket was actually Liverpool to Euston

In which case the clerk was probably correct, in that you couldn't overdistance excess that to Chester[1], you'd have to refund it (£10 admin fee) and issue the ticket actually required. Assuming he could even do that at all (normally you have to return it to the point of purchase for a refund, but it can sometimes be done at any same TOC station). The correct thing to do was what he did, issue a single to Crewe from Chester.

If it was an Advance ticket it would not even have been valid for doing that; the only "legal" option would be actually to travel via Liverpool (not a massive problem from Chester!)

[1] Unless Chester to London via Liverpool is valid, but I very much doubt that.
 
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Starmill

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It sounds like you 'got away with it' on payment of a sensible sum though? So now hopefully will have slightly better information for the future :)
 

trainophile

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Thanks for the additional overnight replies.

Neil you have misunderstood the requirement a bit, although I accept it seems over complicated - we were in Liverpool and my friend's ticket was for Liverpool to London via Crewe, which would have been fine but for the short connection at Crewe. Therefore we decided to go further 'upstream' to put her on the Chester-Euston (via Crewe) train at its starting point, and avoid the tight (to a nervous traveller) connection.

It seems a simple enough idea, who would have thought it could be so fraught with reasons why not to do it? I fully accept that the excess idea was completely inappropriate, but if we take the red tape out of it, why does it have to be verging on illegal to pay another £7-odd to the railways for reassurance to a senior citizen that allowed her to enjoy her journey rather than be stressed about it?

She lives in London and I must say I envy her Freedom pass, which allows travel throughout the day with no time restrictions. Very civilised, no wonder she finds all the complications of national rail bemusing.

I do wonder whether the industry needs to take a step back and think about providing a more user-friendly overall operation, especially now that there are so many major projects in the offing, and the number of people using the network is increasing exponentially. I appreciate that Advance tickets come with restrictions, but where there is no perceivable cost to the railway it seems a shame that such situations as the one on this occasion have to be viewed with doubt.

I know the answer is either to book an extended connection journey or pay for an unrestricted ticket, but not everyone is fully au fait with the implications of simply choosing the cheapest ticket, and as in this situation realising the drawback nearer the travel time but having no realistic legal way of overcoming it.

Eta... It boils down to the dichotomy of whether the railway is predominantly running a business or providing a public service, and finding mutually acceptable compromise between the two.
 
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bb21

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This is where discretion comes into it, and I think the clerk used her discretion well this time.
 

Haywain

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With this being an Advance ticket, it might have been possible to change it for travel in the manner desired, subject to a change of journey fee (£10) and the difference between the fare paid and the lowest available fare at the time of making the change. This would have been more than the '£7-odd' actually paid, but would have been the legitimate way of making the change, with the journey still being from Liverpool Stations to London Terminals, routed VTWC and connections (which I assume was the route of the original ticket). However, better in future to take into account such requirements before booking as I am sure they can be accommodated through the various booking engines available.
 

Bletchleyite

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Thanks for the additional overnight replies.

Neil you have misunderstood the requirement a bit, although I accept it seems over complicated - we were in Liverpool and my friend's ticket was for Liverpool to London via Crewe, which would have been fine but for the short connection at Crewe. Therefore we decided to go further 'upstream' to put her on the Chester-Euston (via Crewe) train at its starting point, and avoid the tight (to a nervous traveller) connection.

It depends on how critical the arrival time was, but had the connection been missed due to a delay, your friend would have been entitled to be accommodated on the following Crewe-Euston service.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
With this being an Advance ticket, it might have been possible to change it for travel in the manner desired, subject to a change of journey fee (£10) and the difference between the fare paid and the lowest available fare at the time of making the change. This would have been more than the '£7-odd' actually paid, but would have been the legitimate way of making the change, with the journey still being from Liverpool Stations to London Terminals, routed VTWC and connections (which I assume was the route of the original ticket). However, better in future to take into account such requirements before booking as I am sure they can be accommodated through the various booking engines available.

Indeed.
 

trainophile

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Haha, the truly ironic thing is that her journey when booked on Advance is actually cheaper if booked from Chester - £10.55 against £11.40 from Lime Street for the timed services she had booked. She had a Merseyrail all areas Saveaway anyway as we were having a day out and about, so if only we had thought about the short connection before she committed herself the whole situation would have been avoided.

We will know for next time!
 

hairyhandedfool

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....It seems a simple enough idea, who would have thought it could be so fraught with reasons why not to do it?....

As with most contracts, the devil is in the detail.

....I fully accept that the excess idea was completely inappropriate, but if we take the red tape out of it, why does it have to be verging on illegal to pay another £7-odd to the railways for reassurance to a senior citizen that allowed her to enjoy her journey rather than be stressed about it?....

This is going to sound a bit off but.... Because they agreed to it.

....I do wonder whether the industry needs to take a step back and think about providing a more user-friendly overall operation, especially now that there are so many major projects in the offing, and the number of people using the network is increasing exponentially. I appreciate that Advance tickets come with restrictions, but where there is no perceivable cost to the railway it seems a shame that such situations as the one on this occasion have to be viewed with doubt....

It's a case of one rule for all, if we start down the round of exemptions and exceptions then we get less and less consistency, and we already have people saying it's not consistent enough!

....I know the answer is either to book an extended connection journey or pay for an unrestricted ticket, but not everyone is fully au fait with the implications of simply choosing the cheapest ticket, and as in this situation realising the drawback nearer the travel time but having no realistic legal way of overcoming it....

There is that aspect to things, but then they could seek the advice of a ticket office. I realise some clerks aren't as good as they should be, but if the passenger is unsure, then seeking advice does seem like a wise idea to me.

....It boils down to the dichotomy of whether the railway is predominantly running a business or providing a public service, and finding mutually acceptable compromise between the two.

Make no mistake, it's a business these days, just like the buses are, Train Companies are there to make a profit because that's what they do and that's what Government want them to do.

.... so if only we had thought about the short connection before she committed herself the whole situation would have been avoided....

Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but ultimately, as with other industries, if you don't do the homework you may not get the best deal.
 
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