Ambiguity of "Any Permitted"?

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

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  1. Indigo2

    Indigo2 Established Member

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    @Dan_Lockton, interesting post. There was some discussion about ticket redesign a while ago; I believe one or two of the sites you linked to might have been mentioned there as well. Personally I feel trying to fit all the reservation information as well as the basic fare/authority to travel information onto one tiny piece of card takes it too far, both in terms of the amount of information that can fit on one card in a readable font size within the limits of printers currently in use, and also the confusion of conflating "non-negotiable" fare information and potentially optional reservation information.

    But there is a lot of scope for providing a single itinerary card instead of a pile of reservation cards, which have a lot of duplicated or irrelevant information anyway, i.e. to reduce everything to at most two pieces of card for each single journey.

    Thanks for the links to the City Tickets and Redesigned Receipts. I think I would like to meet the people behind those ideas :)

    There is some evidence that ATOC are currently working with Fujitsu (maintainers of the electronic version of the routeing guide and ticket restrictions, although not fares or timetable information - they are looked after by Atos) to develop some kind of system that automatically generates a map of permitted routes for a given ticket. There are also people on this forum developing such things in their spare time, but it's such an immense task that not a lot has seen the light of day yet...
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    I would imagine it's less likely to be interpreted as a verb in the sense "Any route is permitted". "Any route is authorised"? Hmm, have I been given special authorisation? Authorised seems a stronger word than permitted; it would make me think twice about what it meant anyway.
     
  2. MarkyMarkD

    MarkyMarkD Member

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    I'm travelling to Stratford-upon-Avon this week from London. Because the direct trains from Marylebone are so infrequent (two hourly, generally) it is very often quicker to travel via Birmingham, but it is ludicrously not a permitted route.

    Why there cannot be a "via Banbury" and "any permitted" on this, with "any permitted" permitting Birmingham, I really don't know.

    And the fares on this route are nonsense too - Stratford is cheaper, return, than almost anywhere in between, because it has Super Offpeak Returns nearly all the time whilst intervening stations do not have these at all.

    No advances from where I live, either, whilst they DO exist from Marylebone.
     
  3. Clip

    Clip On Moderation

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    "But Mister Guard, the man in the ticket office said I could go this way"... Is what I could see someone using if they got stopped.
     
  4. inkyadrian

    inkyadrian Member

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    Any route permitted? Go for it, by any route!
     
  5. Eagle

    Eagle Established Member

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    I have another possible solution...

    Route: As Permitted (i.e. as permitted by whichever set of terms and conditions you like to interpret that as, they all point back to the Routeing Guide eventually).
     
    Last edited: 7 Mar 2012
  6. cuccir

    cuccir Established Member

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    100% agree with this. Passengers don't care about the distance they travel (provided they get where they are going!) they care about the time.
     
  7. hairyhandedfool

    hairyhandedfool Established Member

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    How would you define the fastest route? What happens when the fastest route at 0800 is different to the fastest route at 0830? What if another different route is faster at 0845?

    The shortest route is pretty much definitive.
     
  8. dzug2

    dzug2 Member

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    But there IS a via Birmingham fare - £46.50 off peak £80 odd peak for singles

    And it's not quicker (in terms of journey time) to travel via Birmingham. An earlier arrival than waiting for the next direct train - yes, but that's not quite the same thing.
     
  9. rdwarr

    rdwarr Member

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    It's great (as the OP) to see all of the debate here. I thought the thread might die a death after the second post but it's clear from the number of posts that the term is anything but clear.
    I think "Only Permitted" would be a slightly better way of phrasing it given the limited amount of space. At least if people weren't sure what that meant they could ask rather than assume that "any" meant "any".
     
  10. thedbdiboy

    thedbdiboy Member

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    Yes, the development of maps to show Permitted Routes is alive and well, and part of the overhaul of fares data and the way it presented. The ticket redesign project is part of this. As a consequence, the display of 'Route: Any Permitted' will disappear. In future, it is likely that where there are only 'Any Permitted' routed tickets on a flow, this will not be printed by the TIS, but instead the general notes on the ticket will remind people that unless otherwise shown, tickets are valid via any permitted route, with a web address to the maps on NRE. Much more comprehensive than now. Where there are two or more routes for a flow, the ticket will state something clearer such as 'valid via any permitted route'. The information displayed on webTIS and TVMs will be more comprehensive to help in the decsion making process. This is all work in progress, the changes will begin to roll out some time this year but we are looking on a 3 year timeframe to comepletely overhaul all channels and outlets.
     
  11. Oswyntail

    Oswyntail Established Member

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    Glad you appreciate them! ;)
    I do have a serious point, that you might like to consider. Much of the regulation that faces the customer on railways today is based on antique rules and legislation, and has grown organically over the decades, being "tweaked" as new situations arise. The whole fare manual/routeing guide/NRCoC/"Penalty fare" et al situation is typical - virtually incomprehensible without deep study, contradictory, and "available" only in the broadest sense of the word. What is really needed is to start again, with a "blank sheet of paper", and develop a system that meets the needs of passengers, staff and TOCs (perhaps in that order of priority). For this to happen, we need to have good information, not just emotional responses: how much revenue is lost through fare evasion; what are the main priorities for passengers when buying tickets; what are the main factors keeping potential passengers off trains? And, perhaps, many others. It is utterly ridiculous that, time and again, the answers to these critical questions are simply "dunno", or "very big unspecified numbers". The country is in the process of letting out franchises for up to 22 years. Unless this re-examination is carried out, or the prospect built in to the franchise agreements, we will have to put up with the present ****pot arrangements until way past the time I am pushing up daisies.
     
  12. Greenback

    Greenback Emeritus Moderator

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    I certainly wouldn't argue that the current arrangements are good, or even fit for purpose in many instances, but the danger with a total rewrite of everything is that some degree of compromise will have to be made between the various stakeholders, as it is not possible or practical to give preference to one group over another. It's all about balancing the priorities of each interested party.

    What I would expect to happen is that some of the freedoms and benefits that passengers currently enjoy would be sacrificed in favour of new 'benefits' which may not be as good as those that were being replaced.

    Further, even if this exercise went ahead, the result may throw up almost as many inaccuracies and inconsistencies as there are now. Or am I just being too cynical...?

    Once again, I agree in principle with the sentiment, but in practice no one can know how much fare evasion actually costs. And I doubt anyone has ever asked non rail passengers why they don't use trains. (Perhaps a non rail passenger survey should be introduced?). Sadly, though, I cna't see any end in sight for the current arrangements, ****pot or otherwise!
     
  13. jon0844

    jon0844 Veteran Member

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    That's true to a degree, but how far do you go?

    Let someone off even when they were wrong - and they go and tell everyone, who now thinks to do the same. Some people will then be encouraged to try it on because they know they can wriggle out of it by claiming to be totally innocent.

    Bending rules and showing discretion works only if the other person (the customer) is being honest. As we know that more and more people aren't honest, or consider themselves to be living in a world where it's dog eats dog so you may as well do what you know (perceive) everyone else is doing.

    Sometimes I wonder if we could change ticketing to price it on speed over anything else, so we have suburban services and Intercity services which charge different rates - and that determines validity.

    We already have higher fares for taking an East Coast train, say from London to Peterborough, over using FCC - but that's down to the operator, not the speed or designation of a train.

    What if trains were marked as fast and slow, with people paying more to use the fastest trains? If you get the cheaper ticket, you'll quite likely need to change trains more, and get there slower - which gives an incentive to pay the higher rate. It wouldn't even matter what TOC you travelled with, as it services would be marked as fast or slow (or whatever). It could then mean different fares within the same TOC.

    Of course people will now give loads of examples of how this idea is flawed (such as on DOO trains, but on-train checks by roving RPI teams would pick up the people on the wrong services), but would it be much worse than the mess we have now?

    TOCs could still do specific offers with even stricter restrictions, or special deals to allow off-peak/weekend use of their faster trains.. and as long as ATOC ensured there was a recognised and standardised way to mark trains, some problems would disappear that would make things easier.

    If we had smartcards, you could even allow passengers on cheaper tickets to 'upgrade' at any time to use the faster trains without needing to go anywhere near a TVM or ticket machine.. and once it was in the mindset of the passenger, it should stop problems as everyone would know.

    Actually, this makes me wonder if there should be a new thread to talk about how we could change ticketing in the future... as in starting TOTALLY from scratch and embracing new technology, to make it easier for customers and protect revenue. With a totally clean slate, it wouldn't consider the short-term impact on fares (as there would have to be both winners and losers) or else nothing will ever change. A bit of 'blue sky' thinking..
     
    Last edited: 7 Mar 2012
  14. transmanche

    transmanche Established Member

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    Well I gave length example of that... demonstrating the "taking the p**s" test.

    All too often on here the response is always "you can't do that because of x, y or z". However the railways aren't a special case, all businesses have to flex and adapt and (and as other industries have done successfully) the railways just need to work out how to apply the principles I described.

    Let's concentrate on what can be done, rather than just accepting the status quo.

    Well the railway have for so long treated every customer as a criminal. It has powers not available to most industries which allow it to apply heavy financial penalties for even minor transgressions of 'the rules' and honest mistakes. If you treat people like criminals, then eventually they are likely to act like criminals.
     
  15. cuccir

    cuccir Established Member

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    You are right to say that 'fastest' is not as immediately straight forward. However, I'd retain the current rules ie shortest and mapped routes are always valid. Fastest would just be a common-sense addition, which I'd maintain as:

    Fastest route is the quickest route between any two given stations at the time of any given train's departure. Timetables or journey planners can be used as evidence in case of dispute. The following two caveats apply:

    1. Doubling-back is still prohibited (except with easements).
    2. Breaking journeys, including stopping short, is prohibited on routes which are only valid as the fastest route


    The definition is straight forward enough. It allows for the fact that at times the fastest way to travel between two stations might be to wait for a later, quicker train.

    The caveats are there to prevent people buying tickets for short distance journeys with poor connections, and then trying to use these to travel a long way.
     
  16. Deerfold

    Deerfold Established Member

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    Sounds like much of Europe (Im familiar with it in Italy) and I'm not keen. It means if you decide to change the time you travel and that puts you on a different type of train you have to pay an excess - and if you downgrade you get nothing back.

    I'm not sure there's that many parts of the UK where it would apply.
    Peterborough-London and Birmingham-London are obvious examples but often the obvious way to do a long journey involves a high speed bit in the middle with locals either (or one) end.

    On my local line we have "fasts" which miss out some stops but because they have crap acceleration they actually take the same time to get from Leeds to Skipton - as does the potentially faster EC service with only 2 stops which dawdles along.

    I suspect if we did have something like this it'd be an extra layer and not result in any real simplification.
     
  17. Skymonster

    Skymonster Member

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    Today, I travelled from Nottingham to Reading (fairly short notice decision to travel).

    Knowing a little about the railway, I knew the likely ways I could go would be via Derby/Birmingham on Cross Country, or via London on East Midlands Trains and First Great Western. But, having neither the time nor inclination to wade though the routing guides etc on the ATOC website, I had no idea which routes could be covered under "any permitted" or whether there was a fare difference between the two main ways I could go.

    Imagine then my "joy" when the TVM doesn't offer me "any permitted" - instead it offered me "via London" and "via Banbury". OK, those choices don't offer me the flexibility of being able to chose which way I go "on the fly" (especially for the return where I might have been inclined to go whichever way a train came first), but at least there was a clear decision to make, the ticket routing was unambiguous, and I knew which way I would be safe and which would cause me trouble based on the ticket I purchased.

    So why not allow passengers to chose a routing (as per the above) rather than leaving it to whim and the need to consult the routing guide to be sure what can and can't be done.

    Andy
     
  18. Deerfold

    Deerfold Established Member

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    Hmm, so if I'm doing London - Manchester and miss the 2200 last train and the 2225 changing at Sheffield I can get the 2330 to Leeds and then the 0335 to Manchester, but I couldn't use this route during the day?

    I can see it now

    "You can't travel to Manchester via Leeds"
    "But I did it last week on the 2330".
    "Ah yes, you can do it on that train but not on this train".

    Simples.

    Or can I get the sleeper at 2350 to Carlisle and then back down changing at Preston, arriving Manchester at 0752? Do I double back? I think that depends which route the sleeper took that night...
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    Seems mean to restrict passengers rather than give them a choice on routes which do have various valid routes. Are you considering a reduction in the fares to compensate for this?
     
    Last edited: 7 Mar 2012
  19. cuccir

    cuccir Established Member

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    I didn't say that 'fastest route' was a straightforward as shortest. It's not, but that doesn't make it unworkable. I was mainly responding to HairyHandedFool's post which suggested that people suggesting the fastest route hadn't thought about these issues - I'm not arrogant enough to pretend to have got it watertight and correct in my own head!!!!

    You raise good points with regards to the last train of the day - a third caveat which I had, but rejected, was that a route only valid as fastest could not be used after a certain time.

    In principle though I don't think that the situation you describe is too much of a problem, and I think the reasoning for allowing the route at that time and not at another it is pretty robust.

    With regards to the latter - perhaps the sleeper would also have to be excluded from this - there are already multiple special provisions regarding the sleeper anyway.
     
    Last edited: 7 Mar 2012
  20. Greenback

    Greenback Emeritus Moderator

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    Let us not forget that on these forums we are often debating whether something is allowed by the rules or not, due largely to the inconsistencies and loopholes that have been created piecemeal down the years. Debates over the interpretation of rules are also fairly common.

    On the ground, in the real world, the majority of passengers are not treated as criminals. Yes, the fares system is far too complicated, and this contributes to what may only be honest mistakes, which is why you will see rail staff being criticised for 'letting people off' from time to time.

    I am not saying that everything is perfect, it isn't, it's just that things ar enot as bad, or as black and white, as you have made out.
     
  21. hairyhandedfool

    hairyhandedfool Established Member

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    Well Deerfold has highlighted one issue, but also, what happens where a change of station is involved? for example in Bradford, Manchester. Liverpool, London or Glasgow? Sure you could take the suggested change time, but what happens if it takes longer than expected or the traveller makes it in half the time?

    Equally, what happens when a train is cancelled at short notice?

    I'm not saying I am against the idea exactly, but it seems to be a very fluid and unenforceable/unworkable idea and certainly not a simple one.
     
  22. MarkyMarkD

    MarkyMarkD Member

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    If you use WebTIS, for Chatham (CTM) to Stratford-upon Avon (SAV) it simply shows the via Birmingham routes as not permitted even though it shows the times.

    Adding "Via Birmingham Stations" return "no fares have been found".

    What the passenger cares about - sometimes, anyway - is the time from arrival at departure station, to the time of arrival at destination station. If your start time is fixed - e.g. when leaving a meeting or conference or whatever - a "quicker" journey which involves 1 hr 30 mins sitting on Stratford station is worse than a "slower" journey which gets you home an hour earlier (but involves 30 mins longer sitting on a train).

    That's the flaw with the "shorter" restriction - door-to-door time is often relevant.
     
  23. island

    island Established Member

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    How is that test different from "ROUTE: ANY REASONABLE"?
     
  24. AndyLandy

    AndyLandy Established Member

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    That's always been my interpretation. Long before I became knowledgeable about railways, the routeing box was either explicitly clear "NOT LONDON", "VIA BARNHAM" etc. or it said "ANY PERMITTED", which I assumed to mean "Any route that's reasonable." I'm often surprised to discover that there are other permitted routes that I'd never have considered, such going from Southampton to Bristol via Reading for example, or being told I can legitimately travel from Crewe to Hartford by going to Runcorn and doubling back. (This may only apply to the last trains though, I'm not sure)

    In actual fact, I can't think of anywhere on the network where I've travelled where there's a route that seems reasonable but isn't permitted.
     
  25. Eagle

    Eagle Established Member

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    Coventry to London via Nuneaton is a good example of a "reasonable" route that is not permitted. (Reasonable especially if your ticket is LM Only.)
     
  26. martinsh

    martinsh Established Member

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    Won't be so easy in future when it will be possible to travel Nottingham - Bedford - Oxford - Reading !
     
  27. sheff1

    sheff1 Established Member

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    The passenger is buiying ticket at/returing from station A. Their destination is station B. The fastest route at any given time is the one which gets the passenger to station B the soonest.

    So if the trains are

    1. Dep A 0800 arr B 1030
    2. Dep A 0830 arr B 1015
    3. Dep A 0845 arr B 1100
    4. Dep A 0900 arr B 1055

    For anyone at A before 0830, journey 2 is the fastest.
    For anyone arriving at A after 0830, journey 4 is the fastest.

    Equally definitive as the shortest route, and a lot simpler to calculate for both the passenger and the ticket seller/checker. I made these type of calculations when working at New St in the 1970s, well before any computerisation. Nowadays you would merely need to enter the origin and destination into a route planner which will do the work for you.
     
  28. Eagle

    Eagle Established Member

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    You would need to define arrival time though. If I arrive at the station at 08.30 and there is a service at 08.31, that is no use to me—I'll not make it and likely not bother.

    Actual arrival time + minimum interchange seems a sensible standard.
     
  29. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    Yes it does.

    If you bought the Banbury Off Peak Return ticket, you could return via London on payment of an excess of £1.10, providing you depart St Pancras at a time between 1026 & 1515 (inc) or at or after 1859 or depart Kings Cross at a time between 0906 & 1457 (inc) or at or after 1859 (1815 on Fridays).

    I find this situation a bit farcical though.
    Are you suggesting an exact routeing should be decided in advance for every ticket, and an excess payable if the customer deviates from that? This would result in even more farcical excesses. Can you give some examples of what you had in mind?
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    Will this result in any permitted routes ceasing to be valid?
     
  30. sheff1

    sheff1 Established Member

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    Not sure if you were responding to my post but, if you were, this is a red herring. The key to defining 'fastest' is the earliest time you can reach your destination. If a train has left before you reach the platform it is out of the equation.
     
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