Ambiguity of "Any Permitted"?

Discussion in 'Fares Advice & Policy' started by rdwarr, 6 Mar 2012.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. rdwarr

    rdwarr Member

    Messages:
    398
    Joined:
    2 Feb 2012
    Location:
    Stevenage
    As a long-term "enthusiastic commuter" I (along with the majority of forum members) have always assumed that, if your ticket says "Any Permitted" you can travel on any permitted route. To me, that means you'll be alright unless you're taking the mick.
    But this morning there was a woman at Stevenage having a serious argument with staff. She obviously had been stopped for having an invalid ticket but the crux of her argument was "My ticket says that ANY route is permitted".
    Do many people fall foul of the difference between "Any permitted route" and "Any route permitted"? Taking a step back, it's not obvious from the ticket.
     
  2. Registered users do not see these banners - join or log in today!

    Rail Forums

     
  3. Nym

    Nym Established Member

    Messages:
    8,121
    Joined:
    2 Mar 2007
    Location:
    Somewhere, not in London
    Route: Any Permitted

    Thats basic grammer if you can't understand that... No ambiguity at all
     
  4. calc7

    calc7 Established Member

    Messages:
    2,097
    Joined:
    8 Aug 2011
    I have thought about this before; indeed when I was younger I did use to read it as "any route permitted" but gathered that this wasn't the case.

    Like with many other things on an orange ticket, the customer is expected to talk to railway staff or consult guides if they do not understand parts of it.

    If people were allowed to interpret the ticket themselves:
    Class: STD could mean standing class
    Anytime R could mean anytime rover
    Validity: 2 days could give the impression that it is a 2-day season ticket.
    etc etc
     
  5. LNW-GW Joint

    LNW-GW Joint Veteran Member

    Messages:
    13,403
    Joined:
    22 Feb 2011
    Location:
    Mold, Clwyd
    Or even basic grammar.
    Grammer are seat manufacturers.
     
  6. wilsontown

    wilsontown Member

    Messages:
    61
    Joined:
    11 Feb 2012
    I'd have thought that "Route: Any permitted" could mean that any route is permitted, or that you can only travel by a route that is permitted. It is slightly ambiguous. Then again, since it's almost impossible for the average passenger to know which routes are permitted, the whole thing is a farce anyway.
     
  7. Daz28

    Daz28 Member

    Messages:
    307
    Joined:
    11 Feb 2010
    Location:
    Elmstead Woods
    Since most passengers have no knowledge that there is a routeing guide, or how to access it, then is is not unreasonable to suggest that those three words are ambiguous. In order to reach the correct interpretation, you need to know that there are "permitted routes" and "non-permitted routes".

    Otherwise the interpretation is that any route is permitted.

    A less ambiguous wording:

    Route: Permitted Routes Only
     
  8. Deerfold

    Deerfold Established Member

    Messages:
    10,185
    Joined:
    26 Nov 2009
    Location:
    Yorkshire
    Surely "Any permitted route" suggests that there is such a thing as a permitted route?. It doesn't say "Any route".
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    Or even "That's basic grammar"

    <D
     
  9. John @ home

    John @ home Established Member Fares Advisor

    Messages:
    5,137
    Joined:
    1 Mar 2008
    Your next challenge is to find an appropriate wording which fits within the available 15 characters and spaces!
     
  10. hairyhandedfool

    hairyhandedfool Established Member

    Messages:
    8,838
    Joined:
    14 Apr 2008
    There would be no point in including the word 'permitted' if all routes were allowed, it would just need to say 'Route: Any'. The use of the word permitted would automatically tell me there are routes which may not be permitted.
     
  11. Indigo2

    Indigo2 Established Member

    Messages:
    3,487
    Joined:
    16 Apr 2010
    Location:
    Reading
    It would if it says that, but it doesn't ;) Before becoming familiar with this forum I too thought Route: Any Permitted meant "Any Route Permitted". I don't mean that I thought that ridiculous routes were permitted; I guess I assumed that it meant any reasonable route was permitted, and the ticket wasn't restricted to a single route.

    I do think however that it is a big stretch for anyone not familiar with the routeing guide to assume that the word "permitted" is meant as an adjective, or describing word (i.e. as in "permitted route") rather than as a verb, or state of being (i.e. as in "any route is permitted"). I like to consider myself to have a good grasp of the English language (having spoken it all my life!) but this meaning never occurred to me until I took a much deeper interest in the subject...
     
  12. calc7

    calc7 Established Member

    Messages:
    2,097
    Joined:
    8 Aug 2011
    Seems like this boils down to whether one reads 'permitted' as an adjective or an adjectival participle.
     
  13. Nick W

    Nick W Established Member

    Messages:
    1,443
    Joined:
    5 Nov 2005
    Location:
    Cambridge
    what_nre_says
     
  14. Indigo2

    Indigo2 Established Member

    Messages:
    3,487
    Joined:
    16 Apr 2010
    Location:
    Reading
    I think the concept of permitted routes is simply too complicated to get across in 16 characters or less! I think if the ticket is valid via any permitted route the routeing restriction should simply be left blank (is this how it was with APTIS?) and all tickets should have a note on the back explaining that unless a specific route is given, the ticket is valid via any route between the origin and destination permitted by the National Routeing Guide.
     
  15. hairyhandedfool

    hairyhandedfool Established Member

    Messages:
    8,838
    Joined:
    14 Apr 2008
    They do say "subject to the National Rail Conditions of Carriage" on the back and the NRCoC does include the routes on which you can use a ticket.
     
  16. spasmj

    spasmj Guest

    I think I'd prefer: "Unrestricted". It's still slightly ambiguous though.
     
  17. DaveNewcastle

    DaveNewcastle Established Member Fares Advisor

    Messages:
    7,397
    Joined:
    21 Dec 2007
    Location:
    Newcastle (unless I'm out)
    I take the opposite approach!

    Its not 'unrestricted' at all. And there has to be some route(s) or other that is/are permitted. And there isn't space to list them all. And the field is already named 'route'.
    So, in the field, it could say "Restrictions Apply"

    Last time we discussed this, I suggested "Only Permitted Routes"
     
  18. Skymonster

    Skymonster Member

    Messages:
    650
    Joined:
    7 Feb 2012
    The entire setup - NRCoC, bye laws, routing guide, etc - are largely a pile of doodoo that, in the form they now exist, will end up catching out the unwary. At no point when I buy a ticket from a TVM does it remind me I'm going to be subject to all sorts of ticketing and routing rules, nor have I EVER had a staff member at a ticket office remind me of such... The only place it is done anywhere near properly is with online sales. There are also no signs as I walk from the car park to platform at my local station. Putting "Issued subject to..." on the back of a printed ticket is a bit late as very few would be passengers will have the time, ability or inclination to access all that stuff after they've bought a ticket and seen the back of a ticket as they rush towards a train. Ther's a very good likelihood that a passenger who is not rail wise will sooner or later end up making assumptions that could end up being expensive for them - or worse - especially when things are not quite normal or whatnthey expect. However, clearly there is a matter of practicality - its not going to be possible to allow each passenger to read all the rules and regulations as they're standing at a ticket office or TVM - but none the less the method of selling and the lack of visibility and reminders that there are Ts&Cs is woefully inadequate. And it's not really helpful to suggest that customers should do research before they travel - like it or not rail is largely percived by the general public as a "just buy a ticket and get on" type of service much like buses (as opposed to flying where it's clear that some pre-planning and forethought is necessary especially when this change)

    I doubt whether the industry has much incentive to sort things out though - by and large, the NRCoC and bye laws and routing guides (etc.) are designed to protect the TOCs interests and maximise their revenue at the expense of the ill informed or naive customer, and I believe it suits the industry (TOCs in particular) to have it that way as it creates an environment in which it is much more likely that they can generate extra revenue through penalties and excess fares.
     
  19. Oswyntail

    Oswyntail Established Member

    Messages:
    4,183
    Joined:
    23 May 2009
    Location:
    Yorkshire
    What is the benefit to the TOC of the routeing guide and the concept of "Permitted Routes"? The vast majority of passengers want to go from A to B and buy a ticket accordingly. What does it really matter if a very small percentage want to go from A to B via Z? What revenue is actually being lost? So long as there is a simple rule set such as "You may not travel over the same line twice, you may not break your journey, you may not pass through the station shown as the destination on your ticket" who is losing skin off their nose? Set the loss (IMHO probably minuscule) against the cost of maintaining the routeing guide and enforcing it.
     
  20. hairyhandedfool

    hairyhandedfool Established Member

    Messages:
    8,838
    Joined:
    14 Apr 2008
    Where should I start here? I guess the beginning is as good as anywhere....

    All TVMs at stations must have a sign on which states something along the lines of:

    RAIL TRAVEL

    Travel on the Train Company(s) trains is subject to the National Conditions of Carriage. Unless otherwise stated, tickets may be used on any Train Company's services by any Permitted Route.

    The names of the Train Companies, copies of the National Conditions of Carriage and details of the Permitted routes are available from a manned ticket office.

    There must be a sign at every sales point that states:

    RAIL TRAVEL

    Travel on the Train Company(s) trains is subject to the National Conditions of Carriage. Unless otherwise stated, tickets may be used on any Train Company's services by any Permitted Route.

    The names of the Train Companies, copies of the National Conditions of Carriage and details of the Permitted routes are available from this ticket office.

    If you have a ticket you will have already had the opportunity to read the notice.

    The passenger's "time, ability or inclination to access all that stuff" is not strictly the railway's concern, however in the case of a passenger that cannot read the notices (i.e. a blind traveller), a train company should make them aware of what the notice says.

    A passenger should arrive in good time for the train, they should not be running for a train under any circumstances.

    As my first employer was fond of saying to it's staff:

    "To ASSUME makes an ASS out of U and ME"

    and:

    "The only stupid question is one that isn't asked"

    Although personally I believe there is no such thing as a stupid question, just stupid people.

    In your opinion.

    Why should the railway not suggest people do some, frankly basic, research before they travel? People plan all sorts of journeys well before the time they travel, why are railways different? Also note that many of these people who "just buy a ticket and get on" frequently find out the train times before they set off.

    The "ill informed or naive customer" should really look at what they are getting into. The railway cannot be held responsible for the actions of their passengers in this regard.
     
  21. island

    island Established Member

    Messages:
    10,266
    Joined:
    30 Dec 2010
    Location:
    0036
    So you're saying I should be able to use a £2.50 SDS from Kidbrooke to Eltham (adjacent stations in south-east London) to go to London Bridge via Lewisham, tube to Kings Cross, down the ECML, across to Glasgow, up the WCML, tube to Victoria, down the Chatham main line to Rochester, and back via the North Kent line (Bexleyheath branch) to Eltham? That meets all your rules, but I think we can clearly agree it is absurd.

    And as I can engineer this to have to walk between stations several times, any break of journey restriction would be unenforceable, so this is effectively a London to Glasgow (or wherever) ticket for £2.50.
     
  22. AlterEgo

    AlterEgo Veteran Member

    Messages:
    11,881
    Joined:
    30 Dec 2008
    Location:
    Milton Keynes
    London to Birmingham via Cardiff and Chester anyone?

    Surely you can see how this would not work?
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    Okay, that's an even more absurd example than mine. :lol:
     
  23. Oswyntail

    Oswyntail Established Member

    Messages:
    4,183
    Joined:
    23 May 2009
    Location:
    Yorkshire
    I usually make the last word "answers".
    Talking of which, your reply here is another in the long line of "the rules are the rules and we can't change them" type that is all too prevalent here. It is a fact that the NRCoC, while available, are not exactly easy to find, read, or fully understand; it is a fact that railway bylaws are archaic, abstruse and, again, not well publicised; it is a fact that the routeing guide needs expertise to interpret. If these are intended to be public-facing documents (as opposed to the reference works for industry insiders) then they are not fit for purpose. The topic of the current thread shows just one major area where poor drafting has created ambiguity. There are probably thousands more. An industry that relies for its day-to-day customer relations on "You should have read the small print" is one that has deep systemic problems. It is a shame that the industry itself does not seem to recognise this, and is unwilling even to consider change.
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    Absurd examples I agree - but is the cost of the complex system put in place to prevent that actually greater than the actual loss to the TOCs of preventing it? Like the whole question of "fare evasion", has anyone tried actually to measure it, or just stuck a finger in the air?
     
  24. AlterEgo

    AlterEgo Veteran Member

    Messages:
    11,881
    Joined:
    30 Dec 2008
    Location:
    Milton Keynes
    The cost of maintaining the system is definitely less than allowing a £2.50 CDR to allow travel to Scotland!

    There needs to be guidance as to what routes are acceptable. Under BR it was "any reasonable" route, but given that TOCs now each receive different slices of the revenue pie, routes need to be agreed to ensure fairness.
     
  25. MikeWh

    MikeWh Established Member Senior Fares Advisor

    Messages:
    5,770
    Joined:
    15 Jun 2010
    Location:
    Crayford
    The loss to the TOCs once Martyn Lewis publicises London to Glasgow for £2.50 would far outweigh any other consideration.
     
  26. tony_mac

    tony_mac Established Member

    Messages:
    3,597
    Joined:
    25 Feb 2009
    Location:
    Liverpool
    Bear in mind that you may not even able to get hold of the NRCoC - some tickets now don't even say you can get a copy at staffed stations, just that 'information is available' - whatever that means.

    The only reference to the Routeing guide in the NRCoC says
    '(details as to how you can obtain this information will be available
    when you buy your ticket).'

    Which obviously isn't true of online or TVM sales, and I bet most ticket office staff won't say 'You need to go the the ATOC website, click 'About ATOC', then click on 'Rail Settlement Plan' to get to the Routeing Guide'.

    It's not so very far away from being in a locked filing cabinet in a disused lavatory behind a door that says "Beware of the tiger". (Except that we have Google now!)

    I agree that 'Any Permitted' could be construed as meaning 'Any is Permitted'.
    How often this is deliberate, rather than accidental, I don't know.
     
    Last edited: 6 Mar 2012
  27. martinsh

    martinsh Established Member

    Messages:
    1,569
    Joined:
    27 Jan 2011
    Location:
    Considering a move to Memphis
    Of course that could be read as meaning you can only use routes which require permits !
     
  28. swj99

    swj99 Member

    Messages:
    745
    Joined:
    7 Nov 2011
    Any case law on this yet ?
     
  29. Skymonster

    Skymonster Member

    Messages:
    650
    Joined:
    7 Feb 2012
    Well if there is, then in using a TVM during my [litterally] hundreds of trips from Nottingham to London I've never seen such a sign... And if I haven't, I doubt whether may others have either.

    Ditto the above

    Well it should be - it's called good customer service. But of course in what to some extent amounts to a monopolised service, I guess such issues aren't on top of the pile.

    See above reference customer service. And... Fundamental problem... the railway presents itself as a "walk on" type of service, and as such it should reasonably expect that a proportion of its customers do just that - turn up without having done much research beyond establishing train times... The various websites certainlhy don't say anything about Ts&Cs if you just do a timetable inquiry - maybe before they present you with timings, they should say "you do realise that if you get on any of these trains you're gonna be bound by a whole series of archane and bizarre conditions so you better read them first"...

    Returning to the direct question of routings... If a ticket says "Any permitted" I don't think it's totally unreasonable to expect some people to read that as short for "Any [routing is] permitted". As I said, I travel from Nottingham to London quite regularly on "Any Permitted" first open returns! The other day, the train I intended to catch was cancelled... Now I know (as I happen to take a little more than a traveller interest in rail matters) that "Any permitted" entitles me to go via Grantham. But right there, on the adjacent platform, was a Cross Country TurboNasty service heading for Birmingham. It wouldn't have been a giant leap for me (or anyone else not worldly wise to the quirks of railway routings) to get on that, thinking with an "Any Permitted" ticket I'd be OK on Cross Country to Birmingham and then Virgin to Euston. But oh no - of course not - that'd have put me into excess fares category. I had a choice - get on the Birmingham service, wait around for a less convenient Grantham connection, or wait for the next direct. There weren't exactly many customer service staff around to ask. I was hardly going to get on my smart phone, go to the ATOC website, and check the routing guides there. In the case of Nottingham-London, I suspect ORCATS doesn't give Virgin any revenue, so it's not in anyone's interest to let me go via Birmingham - unless of course I pay more to do so. The railway still presents itself as a joined up service, and in reality is should expect it's customers to "assume" it to provide such.

    As I said, IMHO the NRCoC, byelaws, routing guides etc are there to protect the industry and the interests of the TOCs not only from the deliberately evasive passenger, but also sadly they don't help the casual passenger either. They are skewed towards the TOCs rather than the average law abiding but possibly slightly naive customer, and the industry doesn't have any motivation to change as the net result is more revenue from fines, penalties and re-purchased tickets. It still come down to customer service - if the railway was really interested in presenting the best possible service, all of these "gotchas" that end up extracting more revenue from customers via fines and penalties would either only be applied to the blatantly exploitative passengers or more fully accessible when any passenger bought a ticket.

    Andy
     
  30. hairyhandedfool

    hairyhandedfool Established Member

    Messages:
    8,838
    Joined:
    14 Apr 2008
    I do believe a couple of real-life Guards have ad their say already and are basically of the same opinion that a new fare is due (in line with condition 19). If the rules weren't the rules, where would we be? Sure Guards could show discretion in some cases, but when asked "Did the guard do right?", the forum has a responsibility to say "the rules are the rules".

    I disagree (therefore it is not fact), but if that is your belief I won't hold it against you.

    Most of the Byelaws are common sense or common courtesy (so I suppose they must be archaic). "Let people leave the train before boarding", "no smoking where there are no smoking signs", "do not leave the train other than by the doors provided" and "do not use abusive, threatening and offensive language" are just a few that really shouldn't be needed, but name one day when none of them are broken!

    I disagree (therefore it is not fact), I'd hardly call myself an expert (although it is my job to know it), but if you can read the instructions (and most people can read) then you are more than halfway to understanding it.

    The RG has become harder to follow since going online granted, but it is not strictly a "reference work for industry insiders". That said, most people will never need to even look at it, and even if they did, most enquiries would be answered by journey planners anyway.

    Or is it people seeking to gain advantage of a situation which makes life difficult? (Rhetorical)

    So what you are saying is....

    "THE CUSTOMER IS ALWAYS RIGHT"

    ??????
     
  31. Oswyntail

    Oswyntail Established Member

    Messages:
    4,183
    Joined:
    23 May 2009
    Location:
    Yorkshire
    Quite a difficult journey to make! For instance, travelling Virgin, once you had passed the penultimate stop, the ticket inspection would catch that you were going to break your journey, hence were travelling on an invalid ticket.
    My point is that there are two approaches - tight regulation, which grows exponentially as more combinations and circumstances are found (current approach) - or liberalisation, the "any reasonable" approach. I believe the latter is easier to maintain, easy to work out the details, and could be of net benefit to TOCs
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page