Another one without a Railcard

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Flamingo

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But shouldn't you at least be asking to see the railcard with the ticket? If passengers start to get the impression that carrying it is optional it's only going to cause more problems later.

I'm not arguing any of your points, but equally, there is no point in mounting a one-man crusade. I know from mine and others experiences that I will get no thanks and precious little concern when I am verbally or physically assaulted, delay the train or have an irate parent complaining to Customer Services (or turning up to meet the train, as happened to me once), not to mention the other passengers joining in accusing me of bullying or worse when a female who was quite aggressive and very rude turns on the taps as soon as it's obvious that attitude is getting them nowhere.

Revenue collection is a minor part of the Guards job, and it is a positive distraction from the most important aspects of the job, namely the safe and punctual running of the train.

If Revenue Protection was considered important, then there would be more attention paid to it, and there would be more than a token investment in it.
 
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Squaddie

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I'm not arguing any of your points, but equally, there is no point in mounting a one-man crusade. I know from mine and others experiences that I will get no thanks and precious little concern when I am verbally or physically assaulted, delay the train or have an irate parent complaining to Customer Services...
As I said, I appreciate that you are constrained by your employers' policies, and also understand your desire to avoid confrontation. I'd try to avoid it too.

However, I feel that it might be better to ask to see the railcard and then, if the passenger is unable to produce it, remind them that carrying the railcard is mandatory and that if an RPI boarded the train they would be liable to buy a full-price ticket for their journey (and make sure they know how much that ticket would be). If nothing else, they'd be so nervous and uncomfortable for the rest of the journey that they might think twice the next time.

The best policy, of course, would be for the TOCs to make it absolutely, unambiguously clear that passengers must present the railcard with the ticket and give you the power to deal with fare evaders. If I were to forget to carry my half-price railcard in Switzerland I would expect to have to pay a fine of about £70 (for a first offence - the fine increases for subsequent offences) and buy a new ticket on the spot.
 

island

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They can ask for a refund, but most likely will be told to sod off. The Railcard must be shown and valid at the time of inspection. Some guards may falsely claim that the passenger will be refunded, whether out of a genuine belief or in order to avoid some aggro (RPIs are worse for this IME).
The passenger can, however, obtain a refund on the discounted ticket if it is not an Advance, subject to the usual £10 fee.
As I said, I appreciate that you are constrained by your employers' policies, and also understand your desire to avoid confrontation. I'd try to avoid it too.

However, I feel that it might be better to ask to see the railcard and then, if the passenger is unable to produce it, remind them that carrying the railcard is mandatory and that if an RPI boarded the train they would be liable to buy a full-price ticket for their journey (and make sure they know how much that ticket would be). If nothing else, they'd be so nervous and uncomfortable for the rest of the journey that they might think twice the next time.
Or they write in saying how rude the guard on the 1745 PAD-SWA was to them and Flamingo gets a "please explain". :-x
 

richw

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I'm not arguing any of your points, but equally, there is no point in mounting a one-man crusade. I know from mine and others experiences that I will get no thanks and precious little concern when I am verbally or physically assaulted, delay the train or have an irate parent complaining to Customer Services (or turning up to meet the train, as happened to me once), not to mention the other passengers joining in accusing me of bullying or worse when a female who was quite aggressive and very rude turns on the taps as soon as it's obvious that attitude is getting them nowhere.

Revenue collection is a minor part of the Guards job, and it is a positive distraction from the most important aspects of the job, namely the safe and punctual running of the train.

If Revenue Protection was considered important, then there would be more attention paid to it, and there would be more than a token investment in it.

To me you are taking the better approach. It isn't worth causing disruption to other passengers over the sake of a 33% discount. I've noticed many of your colleagues don't even look at the railcard anyway if presented, which can only back up what you're saying. They've still paid a considerable sum of money for the ticket, and it isn't worth aggro asking for the full price again in my view.
 

Flamingo

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Or they write in saying how rude the guard on the 1745 PAD-SWA was to them and Flamingo gets a "please explain". :-x
More likely .
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
They've still paid a considerable sum of money for the ticket...
Irrelevant. They have (probably) had a discount they are (probably) not entitled to, the amount they have paid has nothing to do with it. If they want to travel cheaper, catch Megabus.
 

Solent&Wessex

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I am well and truly in the same boat as Flamingo I'm afraid. It is not worth asking for any railcards, advance ticket reservations or any other supporting documents anymore.

I ask to see a railcard in a polite and calm manner.
Passenger fails to produce said railcard, and gives 101 excuses why they haven't got it with them, how I should be able to phone up and check, it isn't fair, isn't it obvious they really have one, blah blah blah.
After some further discussion I agree to Excess the ticket (to the cheapest available fare!), rather than charge a new fare all over again.
3 weeks later I get to go and meet the manager to explain why customer relations have received this letter complaining about the way the matter was dealt with etc etc - much of which is lies.
Passenger no doubt gets rail vouchers and grovelling letter of apology, I get a note on my file.

Sadly this happens all too frequently. No one can take any personal responsibility any more and if shouting loud enough at the time doesn't work, they just shout loudly and lie to customer relations, who are so scared of upsetting people and complaints that they just give in all the time.

No, it easier not to bother any more. The advice is basically not to upset anyone, if folk are likely to complain don't challenge them and let them get away with it.
 
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Flamingo

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As I said, I appreciate that you are constrained by your employers' policies, and also understand your desire to avoid confrontation.
It's not a written-down policy, and I seriously doubt it's as a result of a decision made at board level. It's just the result of a succession of people higher up the food-chain than me making the "easy" decision, (all of which can be justified when viewed in isolation).

However, when taken as a whole, the result of those decisions means that any attempt by on-train or gate-line staff to enforce Revenue is leaving them open to accusations by managers of poor professional judgement, and malicious complaints to both employers and BTP alleging misconduct of different types, and if enough complaints come in, the whole "there is no smoke without fire" kicks in, and although this may not be the best job in the world, I kinda like the pay-check every month, and at the end of the day I am not going to do anything to endanger that.

In summary, it's not worth the hassle.

edited to add: kwvr just summarised the typical scenario above.
 
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Solent&Wessex

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It's not a written-down policy, and I seriously doubt it's as a result of a decision made at board level. It's just the result of a succession of people higher up the food-chain than me making the "easy" decision, (all of which can be justified when viewed in isolation).

However, when taken as a whole, the result of those decisions means that any attempt by on-train or gate-line staff to enforce Revenue is leaving them open to accusations by managers of poor professional judgement, and malicious complaints to both employers and BTP alleging misconduct of different types, and if enough complaints come in, the whole "there is no smoke without fire" kicks in, and although this may not be the best job in the world, I kinda like the pay-check every month, and at the end of the day I am not going to do anything to endanger that.

In summary, it's not worth the hassle.

edited to add: kwvr just summarised the typical scenario above.

I have been specifically told that passengers must not be de-trained at any station, at any time, for any reason. I have been told to a) If the situation is desperate call BTP or b) leave them alone and let them get away with whatever they are doing, which is invariably refusing to pay.
 

Flamingo

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We got told to let gateline deal with them at their destination.

Apart from all the obvious flaws with that one, the last time I brought two dodgers into a terminus (rather than chucking them off an early evening train) and got a description to the gate line, they opened the barriers when they saw them approaching as "there's only two of us on the barrier". A manned BTP office was 30 yards along the platform, but as I said, BTP have no interest in revenue issues except as a makeweight when other charges are being considered, gate-line didn't even consider them in their thinking.
 
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BestWestern

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It's a very sad situation. The reality of the privatised system is that with ORCATS, DfT subsidies and whatever else, there is a seemingly bottomless trough into whicb TOCs can bury their snouts, and day to day collection of revenue from passengers on board just doesnn't really figure seriously enough to matter. Guards are out there doing their bit, but really nobody cares a great deal how much money is taken.

It is more financially beneficial to run a train on time with every passenger travelling for nothing than it is to delay a train for a few minutes or employ gateline staff or RPIs to enforce the revenue rules. That train will still earn money as it reprsents a share of the ticket office pot for every station it travels through. Once you realise that, you can see what a hopeless mission it is to try and do the revenue side of things properly.
 

Solent&Wessex

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We got told to let gateline deal with them at their destination.

Apart from all the obvious flaws with that one, the last time I brought two dodgers into a terminus (rather than chucking them off an early evening train) and got a description to the gate line, they opened the barriers when they saw them approaching as "there's only two of us on the barrier". A manned BTP office was 30 yards along the platform, but as I said, BTP have no interest in revenue issues except as a makeweight when other charges are being considered, gate-line didn't even consider them in their thinking.

A friend of mine works on a gateline and not so long ago challenged a fare dodger who tailgated someone through onto the platform. When challenged the tailgater had no ticket, and seemingly had no intention of purchasing one. They then got threatening. This was observed by a manager. The friend of mine then got hauled before management for causing a scene and was essentially told not to challenge anyone as it might put them in a position of conflict. Now, forgive me for being naive, but I thought much of the revenue protection role (which is what the gateline is for?) will by it's nature involve a possible situation of conflict arising at some point.

The moral of the story appears to be - let everyone get away with everything to avoid conflict and complaints.
 

sheff1

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The recent posts have made me see where I am going wrong when gateline attendents try to prevent my entrance to, or exit from, stations whilst holding a valid ticket.

Instead of trying to politely explain why my ticket is valid to people who are unable to understand the nuances of the NRCoC and RG, what I should be doing is threatening to kick their head in - I am sure they will understand that and, it would appear, be keen to let me though :|
 

Starmill

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I've always thought the presenting the railcard is a matter of courtesy.

Indeed one often goes to some lengths to present a railcard and photocard, plus reservation for inspection and ticket for clipping, given that I don't have three hands.

Perhaps, in future, I will just hand over/hold up tickets and only get my railcard out if asked? I actually feel more stupid trying to present a railcard to someone who doesn't even pretend they want to see it than I do when asked to present it for inspection (cases where I'm called back for a closer look (it's a bit faded) at a manual barrier, or when I have a travelcard/ranger and keep it separately from the railcard for convenience).

As for the rest... Sheff kind of puts my thoughts into words there. 'honesty is always the best policy'? Pah, that's not true anywhere else, so why should it be in the Railway industry.

Pessimism and defeatism? Or just realism?
 

yorkie

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They can ask for a refund, but most likely will be told to sod off. The Railcard must be shown and valid at the time of inspection. Some guards may falsely claim that the passenger will be refunded, whether out of a genuine belief or in order to avoid some aggro (RPIs are worse for this IME).

The exception is Crosscountry which I understand will routinely refund tickets in this scenario.
There are other exceptions too, including EMT. When a Guard says something about procedure regarding excess fares, discretion, refunds etc you have to consider it might be different at other TOCs.

Going back to the issue of asking passengers to leave a train, how about this scenario:


  • Passengers ask for return tickets, are asked if they are travelling with a particular TOC, they say "yes"
  • They are issued tickets routed "Any Permitted"
  • On their return journey, late evening, their intended train is cancelled. Next one by that TOC is approx 75 mins later.
  • But, after 10 mins, a train turns up operated by a different Company
  • It's late at night, the intermediate station is unstaffed and it's raining.

If you are a Guard, what can you do, and what would you do? would it make a difference if they had been advised to take the next train? (feel free to PM me if you prefer)

As for what actually happened to the passengers? Yep, you guessed it, they were indeed chucked off. The Guard was adamant he was in the right, but the next Guard was shocked, described his actions as "pathetic" and said he was "well known".

(no dates, no times, no TOCs are listed and won't be listed)
 

High Dyke

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I've always thought the presenting the railcard is a matter of courtesy.

Indeed one often goes to some lengths to present a railcard and photocard, plus reservation for inspection and ticket for clipping, given that I don't have three hands.

Perhaps, in future, I will just hand over/hold up tickets and only get my railcard out if asked? I actually feel more stupid trying to present a railcard to someone who doesn't even pretend they want to see it than I do when asked to present it for inspection (cases where I'm called back for a closer look (it's a bit faded) at a manual barrier, or when I have a travelcard/ranger and keep it separately from the railcard for convenience).

As for the rest... Sheff kind of puts my thoughts into words there. 'honesty is always the best policy'? Pah, that's not true anywhere else, so why should it be in the Railway industry.

Pessimism and defeatism? Or just realism?

That's what I do (except when buying tickets), and I only get asked for my railcard once in a blue moon.

Sent from my Nexus 7 using Tapatalk 2

The T+C on the Railcard website shows: http://www.16-25railcard.co.uk/using-your-card/railcard-terms-conditions/

5.Tickets for your journey should be purchased before boarding the train and when buying tickets you must show the Railcard.

6.You must carry your Railcard with you on your journey and when asked by rail staff, you must show a valid ticket and valid Railcard. If you fail to do so, you will be required to pay the full price Standard Single fare for your journey as if no ticket was purchased before starting the journey and in some cases a Penalty Fare. This does not apply if there was no ticket office at the station at which you began your journey or if the ticket office was closed and there was no ticket machine from which you could buy a discounted ticket.
Looking at it the same info applies across the board for all types of publicly available railcards. Though perhaps the wording of #5 needs amending to accept that buying online you only state you have a card (whether that is factually correct or not).
 
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bb21

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The sad truth is that chasing after serial criminals requires resources with potentially not much to gain. TOCs have a responsibility towards their shareholders. Much more profitable to aim at "easy" targets.
 

High Dyke

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The sad truth is that chasing after serial criminals requires resources with potentially not much to gain. TOCs have a responsibility towards their shareholders. Much more profitable to aim at "easy" targets.
Yes i can agree with that.
 

Squaddie

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It's not a written-down policy, and I seriously doubt it's as a result of a decision made at board level. It's just the result of a succession of people higher up the food-chain than me making the "easy" decision, (all of which can be justified when viewed in isolation).

However, when taken as a whole, the result of those decisions means that any attempt by on-train or gate-line staff to enforce Revenue is leaving them open to accusations by managers of poor professional judgement, and malicious complaints to both employers and BTP alleging misconduct of different types, and if enough complaints come in, the whole "there is no smoke without fire" kicks in, and although this may not be the best job in the world, I kinda like the pay-check every month, and at the end of the day I am not going to do anything to endanger that.

In summary, it's not worth the hassle.
Thanks for taking the time to post this. I have to admit it's not a scenario I had ever considered, and I think I have a much better understanding of the problems faced by train crew.
The sad truth is that chasing after serial criminals requires resources with potentially not much to gain. TOCs have a responsibility towards their shareholders. Much more profitable to aim at "easy" targets.
Which makes me even more annoyed at the heavy-handed treatment of occasional travellers who have fallen foul of the labyrinthine ticketing system, while serial offenders who know how to play the system often get away scot-free.
 

Flamingo

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The sad truth is that chasing after serial criminals requires resources with potentially not much to gain. TOCs have a responsibility towards their shareholders. Much more profitable to aim at "easy" targets.

While the first part of this is true, I don't think that a decision is made to chase "easy" targets either. It's more to do with the fact that the regular offender will know how to play the system better, have the "acceptable" excuses already rehearsed, up to remembering a false address and postcode, a false DOB, or even false ID to present, knowing that we are "obliged" to accept it.

They will know from previous experience (or even perusing forums like this) what is likely to be accepted, and (especially in the case of females) will cry and accuse staff of bullying at will. I know this happens, more than once a passenger has told me that they have overheard younf females talking to each other, rehearsing their story, agreeing who is going to start crying etc.

It takes a certain mindset to keep demanding payment off a group of "young vulnerable females" on a late train when they are point-blank refusing to pay, one of them is screaming crying, her friend is "comforting" her, they are shouting at you that you've upset their friend and they won't talk to you any more, others in the carriage are joining in accusing you of harassing them, and in the back of your mind is "quite how much hassle am I going to get in Monday morning over this" because SOMEBODY is going to twitter or email about "I saw one of your guards bullying a poor defenseless female". Occasionally, to be fair, a passenger will wriet in confirming that they heard passengers cooking up the whole thing beforehand, but there is no guarantee of it.

The passenger who is asked and pays up might be seen as an "easy" target, but is no less a target for all that.
 
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anme

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Which makes me even more annoyed at the heavy-handed treatment of occasional travellers who have fallen foul of the labyrinthine ticketing system, while serial offenders who know how to play the system often get away scot-free.

This is true of more or less everything in life.
 

Sleepy

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:cry: Another factor is time or lack of, If you have a train with 300 - 400 people on and about 20mins before you have to get to front of the train for bikes/dispatch, it is hard to wait for 5 mins while an elderly person fumbles around for a railcard (after they have already had to hunt for reservation to go with Advance ticket)
 

Squaddie

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...it is hard to wait for 5 mins while an elderly person fumbles around for a railcard (after they have already had to hunt for reservation to go with Advance ticket)
Ooh, that's a little ageist, isn't it?

Most "elderly people" are perfectly organised. These days it's more likely to be the young people, distracted by their iPods, Android phones and updating their Facebook status every five minutes that are likely to have to hunt for their railcards and reservations.
 

Flamingo

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Ooh, that's a little ageist, isn't it?

Most "elderly people" are perfectly organised. These days it's more likely to be the young people, distracted by their iPods, Android phones and updating their Facebook status every five minutes that are likely to have to hunt for their railcards and reservations.

And in my experience, less likely to eventually find it...
 

Sleepy

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Ooh, that's a little ageist, isn't it?

Most "elderly people" are perfectly organised. These days it's more likely to be the young people, distracted by their iPods, Android phones and updating their Facebook status every five minutes that are likely to have to hunt for their railcards and reservations.

They may well be organised but a high proportion do not always hear the guard coming and a small minority get annoyed when asked to show railcard (more than all the other railcard holders put together). Now headphone users are another story !
 

Tibbs

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They may well be organised but a high proportion do not always hear the guard coming and a small minority get annoyed when asked to show railcard (more than all the other railcard holders put together). Now headphone users are another story !

Aren't those complaints you can ascribe to all age groups?
 

Welshman

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They may well be organised but a high proportion do not always hear the guard coming and a small minority get annoyed when asked to show railcard (more than all the other railcard holders put together). Now headphone users are another story !

Speaking as an "elderly person" - ie one with a Senior Railcard, and who has paid tax and national insurance for the last 42 years, I find that most of my generation were brought-up to respect authority and pay their way, and are likely to be looking for the conductor moving down the carriage and have all their travel documents, tickets and passes readily available. And I find most conductors accept and acknowledge that, with a "thank-you, Sir" when they haven't had to ask to see my raillcard.

Having said that, I must recount one amusing occasion [times, place and TOC will remain unstated], when Mrs Welshman and I were travelling together [she has a railcard too], both with valid tickets, and we were sitting in first-class at a weekend, intending to buy two Weekend First upgrades from the conductor when s/he appeared.

Mrs W was engrossed in her soduko and with her back to the approaching conductor, did not spot the man getting nearer. I, however, saw him and showed him my ticket and railcard and asked for two upgrades, which he happily issued without even requesting Mrs W for her ticket or railcard.

I was amazed.
"It's because I've got an honest face" she replied.

She's dined-out on that story on several occasions.
 
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dvboy

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I've encountered fare-dodgers of all ages and both sexes, certainly can't say they are more likely to be old or young, male or female.

Only yesterday there was a ticket inspection on a bus I was on. A man I'd guess was in his 60s attempted to leave the bus and run off as the inspectors boarded, and another who looked in his 20s had a full on argument with them after they'd checked everyone. On the return journey the female bus driver was trying to explain to an elderly lady that her ENCTS card was "hotlisted" and was told to "just drive the bus you silly little girl".
 

bb21

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While the first part of this is true, I don't think that a decision is made to chase "easy" targets either. It's more to do with the fact that the regular offender will know how to play the system better, have the "acceptable" excuses already rehearsed, up to remembering a false address and postcode, a false DOB, or even false ID to present, knowing that we are "obliged" to accept it.

That is certainly true. I wasn't trying to judge the rights and wrongs of what the TOCs do (so apologies if I gave that impression), but merely pointing out that the existing system does not give them much incentive to focus their attention mainly on the serial offenders, nor does the system make it easier for them to do so.
 
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