"Ask the guard before boarding"

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trainophile

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The above is regularly advised on the Fares board, when people are unsure whether they are permitted to travel on a service with the ticket they hold.

It strikes me that this is not always practical, and even if one can locate the guard and reach him in e.g. a 1-minute dwell time, doesn't he have a lot of things to concentrate on, and safety procedures to follow, in a short amount of time, and would not want to be distracted during these duties?

Also, not wishing to stir up another can of worms, but you can't really do this on a DOO train.

Shouldn't there be a measure of leniency if someone's ticket is not 100% valid on that train, but they genuinely believed it was? I know this would be a matter of conjecture as to whether they were actually "trying it on", but in the case of say an elderly person, or someone who is on a long multi-leg journey, could it not be treated as a genuine mistake if they are on the wrong train? Rather than interrupt the guard, which could happen several times at a single station if there has been disruption.

As an aside - the ATW train I took last Friday had three separate people on it who should have been on different trains and had tickets for destinations where we were not going. The guard was very helpful, explained how to get a connection from a forthcoming station, and endorsed their tickets to allow travel. No suggestion of "you have committed an offence", I was glad to observe.
 
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yorkie

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The above is regularly advised on the Fares board, when people are unsure whether they are permitted to travel on a service with the ticket they hold.
This is more for asking for discretion, as a Guard or ticket examiner could waive a restriction under a particular set of circumstances, and are more likely to do so if asked before boarding, than retrospectively.

That said, many will take the view that what matters more than anything is you find them to seek permission/discretion, rather than they finding you, and that is still possible (for most, not all passengers) after the train has set off.
It strikes me that this is not always practical, and even if one can locate the guard and reach him in e.g. a 1-minute dwell time, doesn't he have a lot of things to concentrate on, and safety procedures to follow, in a short amount of time, and would not want to be distracted during these duties?

Also, not wishing to stir up another can of worms, but you can't really do this on a DOO train.
Which is why it can never be a 'requirement'. If you don't require discretion to be shown, then there's really not going to be any need to find anyone.

You can do this on a DOO train providing the train has a ticket examiner, or revenue inspectors present.

Also not all Guards are commercial!
Shouldn't there be a measure of leniency if someone's ticket is not 100% valid on that train, but they genuinely believed it was? I know this would be a matter of conjecture as to whether they were actually "trying it on", but in the case of say an elderly person, or someone who is on a long multi-leg journey, could it not be treated as a genuine mistake if they are on the wrong train?
Boarding the wrong train is already considered to be a mistake.

Rather than interrupt the guard, which could happen several times at a single station if there has been disruption.
Quite. If disruption occurs, there should really be no need to ask for discretion. In my opinion train companies should be much more pro-active in offering alternatives.
As an aside - the ATW train I took last Friday had three separate people on it who should have been on different trains and had tickets for destinations where we were not going. The guard was very helpful, explained how to get a connection from a forthcoming station, and endorsed their tickets to allow travel. No suggestion of "you have committed an offence", I was glad to observe.
Yes, there is unlikely to be much problem on ATW services in these circumstances (other good examples would be on Scotrail).

The worst problems tend to occur on poor quality train companies using contracted security type staff at stations (most notable in the Manchester area), and also using poorly trained revenue inspectors with poor attitudes, particularly in the London area. There is not much you can do to avoid such individuals, if you have to use these services.
 

darloscott

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I managed to get home from university 3 hours early on a two-leg journey using advances a few years ago when poor weather struck. One of the guards said he had charged someone earlier in the day for just jumping on, but as I asked prior to boarding he had no issue.
 

najaB

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Shouldn't there be a measure of leniency if...
My observations lead me to believe that leniency / discretion happens way more often than it doesn't. This is backed up by the contributions of the guards who post on the forum. After all, it's a lot more work to write someone up for prosecution than it is to sell them the appropriate ticket or endorse travel on the correct service.

Yorkie is on to something that problems occur much more frequently with station staff than they do with on-train staff, and with certain TOCs than with others.
 

HarleyDavidson

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There's an internal system for most companies, which advises TMs/Commercial Guards/Barrier line staff/Revenue Protection of incidents which affect the ability of passengers to buy tickets.

So control may send out a message that:

The TVMs at [insert station name] are not [insert reason]
The ticket office is closed due to [insert reason]

And please use discretion and please allow passengers to pay for/buy tickets on the train and/barrier lines.

If you try it on and they do the check about the stations facilities you say you came from and they come back as fully open/functional, then you can only expect a penalty fare or your details to be taken.
 

HMS Ark Royal

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Yorkie is on to something that problems occur much more frequently with station staff than they do with on-train staff, and with certain TOCs than with others.

Oddly, I find both station and train staff to be very helpful
 

NSE

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I've done it before when during a dwell time. Admittedly it was at Birmingham New Street which gave it a longer dwell time than most.

Discretion is a tough one. I've always been of the opinion there is no harm in asking if you happen to see the guard. In my case, I was on a first class ticket and the lounge at Euston was closed. The staff there offered to authorise my ticket to go on an earlier service instead of waiting, so I turned up to Brum early. I found platform where the XC train half hour in front of mine was and asked the guard if I'd be able to travel forward to Stafford early as I was ahead of schedule. He said it was fine. However I guess plenty of people would try it on.
 

gimmea50anyday

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If people proactively find us and ask, wether on the platform before departure, or by finding us as soon as the train is on the move, then chances are most of us will be flexible and lenient - as long as you are prepared to pay an excess etc wothout arguement should you do this on a train by one of our more stringent staff.....

Where we have issue is where people jump on and assume its OK, or use the oft quoted "bloke on the platform said it was OK (they wont, they will advise us direct or endorse ticket, so stop using that old chestnut!)" or stay in their seat in the hope that we dont come round with our checks then act all suprised when they get told its NOT ok! Remember, the onus is on the ticket holder to ensure the ticket is valid for the journey they wish to undertake, regardless of who bought the ticket.
 

WillPS

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or use the oft quoted "bloke on the platform said it was OK (they wont, they will advise us direct or endorse ticket, so stop using that old chestnut!)
I have been given bad advice by uniformed staff on platforms who have neither endorsed my ticket nor spoken to the guard.
 

gray1404

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I have encountered at Brighton and Hove stations that the staff there do not like endorsing tickets, even when there is disruption. Its like they don't want to sign their name or commit to anything.
 

TheEdge

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I have been given bad advice by uniformed staff on platforms who have neither endorsed my ticket nor spoken to the guard.

The eternal problem. "The man on the gate", that bloke causes so many problems for on train staff. There should be a little sign on all gatelines that gateline attendants cannot give permission to travel like that. Only revenue staff can do that, practically that means ask the guard.
 

craigybagel

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As an aside - the ATW train I took last Friday had three separate people on it who should have been on different trains and had tickets for destinations where we were not going. The guard was very helpful, explained how to get a connection from a forthcoming station, and endorsed their tickets to allow travel. No suggestion of "you have committed an offence", I was glad to observe.

It wasn't the 1430 Manchester - Milford Haven by any chance was it?
 

ivanhoe

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I think what this thread proves is that if you are genuinely nice to people like guards and are in hope rather than expectation, you quite often get rewarded with the discretion. These are basic life skills that many people seem to leave at home every day, sadly.
 

LowLevel

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If the train operator declares CSL2 (customer service level 2) during disruption that means tickets become accepted on any reasonable route by other train operators. This tends to be during route disruption rather than individual cancellations. It isn't an optional thing - the operators are obliged to assist unless they're in severe disruption themselves in which case they won't be advertised as an alternative. With some operators they also have some agreements with local buses, tram operators and the various London Transport operations. One I've been particularly impressed with of late is the cooperation EMT have developed with Wellglade Group bus companies and Nottingham Trams, accepting each others tickets as required in disruption and working more closely together. During the recent fatality at Loughborough Kinchbus were taking passengers on their buses to Nottingham, Derby and Leicester by all accounts.

For me ask the guard always helps but is a) no guarantee of success and b) it also doesn't mean if you don't that I won't help. Unless there's service disruption I tend to be least sympathetic with cheap advances as you have the option to upgrade it.

On the other hand I've had another operator's train cancelled and just wandered over to the platform got the staff to herd the passengers on to mine ticket acceptance or not as it's the right thing to do.
 
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Harpers Tate

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One would like to hope that in all cases where a customer approaches train revenue staff (guard, usually) BEFORE they board, they are immediately discounted from "trying it on" or any other suspicion of dishonesty. But we all know that there are a tiny proportion of humans out there who take huge delight in being awkward - and that applies to both customers and staff.

What we are concerned with here is the tiny proportion of staff who won't co-operate in genuine circumstances. For example, we have had numerous reports of Paddington gateline staff who - based solely on those reports - appear to have this approach. There are surely many others in various revenue based roles. And, of course, any customer encountering such a member of staff may find themselves faced with penalty etc. There is this risk - and it's not a good thing.

My own particular "hobby horse" is the excessive dwell times that occur from time to time at (theoretically) fully open, staffed and equipped stations, and that a "reasonable" amount of time one might have to wait in such cases isn't defined, nor accounted for in policy and procedure. This might be because of unusual demand not properly catered for, or, where the station is small, the (possibly) sole member of staff being occupied by something unusually complex. Or it may even be commonplace in some locations.

I saw a discussion on Social Media with (then) Northern's team about this very issue, and their response was, effectively, after 10 minutes wait if you are at risk of missing a service, you should go to your train and approach the guard before boarding to explain and request that an equivalent ticket be sold on board - and that they should co-operate in such circumstances. I wonder how many don't.
 
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The eternal problem. "The man on the gate", that bloke causes so many problems for on train staff. There should be a little sign on all gatelines that gateline attendants cannot give permission to travel like that. Only revenue staff can do that, practically that means ask the guard.

"The man on the gate let me through because I was running late" great now your card has declined and, oh, what's that, IRCAS say you do it all the time. Nice work gate man.
 

neonison

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The eternal problem. "The man on the gate", that bloke causes so many problems for on train staff. There should be a little sign on all gatelines that gateline attendants cannot give permission to travel like that. Only revenue staff can do that, practically that means ask the guard.

So apart from a job creation scheme, what is the point of "The man on the gate"? He/she can only seek to prevent someone from seeking a concession someone in authority might willingly give?

A case in point - due to a major security incident in Brussels, Eurostar was keen to get everyone away from Zuid/Midi on the first train avaliable - result we got into St. P nearly two hours early. After a brisk walk to Euston "The gate man" wouldn't let us pass to board an earlier, but sparsely filled train so we queued for the better part of thirty minutes to have our advance tickets endorsed for a train which turned out to be near-rammed and because we'd queued so long, only 30 minutes earlier than the one booked.

Now past observations suggest that an approach to the on-board train staff would have produced a more positive result; I could be excused for thinking that "The gate man" is just there to be awkward.

Perhaps also worth mentioning, we bought our tickets through Eurostar and it was Eurostar who made us early!
 
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The gate man is there to assist with the gates, funnily enough, and not to give authority to travel on an earlier/later service unless they have been instructed to from above. Thats what they are there for.
 

craigybagel

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It most certainly WAS! Were you the rather charming guard then? :lol:

I don't know about charming but that was me alright :lol: I found 5 lost passengers in total in the end on that train , not bad for 3 carriages.

That said, I'd like to think most guards would give you the benefit of the doubt if you're on the wrong train in those circumstances - certainly with the tickets they had they experienced no advantage in being on my train over the ones they were booked on so I'm not going to charge them. Not like the people who claim they've been told by the mysterious "man at the gate" that they can travel 6 hours early on an advance ticket.....
 

trainophile

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I wish I'd taken more notice of what you look like, so I could have said hello next time you are on it! I'm on that train every couple of weeks, usually Thursdays but last week was Friday for a change.

I was very taken with your considerate and efficient manner, which took the stress out of the misrouted passengers' situation. Take a bow! :D
 

gimmea50anyday

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I wish I'd taken more notice of what you look like, so I could have said hello next time you are on it! I'm on that train every couple of weeks, usually Thursdays but last week was Friday for a change.

I was very taken with your considerate and efficient manner, which took the stress out of the misrouted passengers' situation. Take a bow! :D

Send a letter out. Management often dish bonuses out for reward and recognition.....
 

craigybagel

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I wish I'd taken more notice of what you look like, so I could have said hello next time you are on it! I'm on that train every couple of weeks, usually Thursdays but last week was Friday for a change.

I was very taken with your considerate and efficient manner, which took the stress out of the misrouted passengers' situation. Take a bow! :D

Send a letter out. Management often dish bonuses out for reward and recognition.....

Thanks for the kind words :oops: :D I still maintain any guard, at my TOC at least, wouldn't have charged them. As many on this thread have suggested genuine people looking for help will almost always get a better response than chancers, and most guards are pretty good at spotting the difference.

Incidentally, whilst my route card is very impressive, about 90% of my booked work is between Manchester and Cardiff so I'm sure you'll see me again soon enough :lol:
 

sheff1

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The gate man is there to assist with the gates, funnily enough, and not to give authority to travel on an earlier/later service unless they have been instructed to from above. Thats what they are there for.

If only. Some 'gate men' appear to be under the impression that they are there to refuse entrance to the station/platform to people holding 100% valid tickets. These 'gate men' will, naturally, refuse to assist by actually checking the ticket or giving the benefit of doubt (not that there should be any) to the intending passenger. Fortunately, there are no 'gate men' at Sheffield so my entrance and exit there is unhindered.

Getting back more towards the theme of the OP, on Friday I was due to travel to Edinburgh on an Advance ticket, changing at Doncaster. When I arrived at the station, the TPE was cancelled and the next train would not have got me to Doncaster in time. I went to the Information Desk and showed my ticket and asked for advice. The lady checked and said the next train from Doncaster was 2 hours later (which I don't think was correct) and then endorsed my ticket for travel on the XC service from Sheffield (via Leeds) leaving 10 mins after the scheduled departure time of the cancelled train. I expected to have to change to my booked EC train at York but, no, she told me I could travel all the way to Edinburgh on XC, so I actually arrived earlier than planned !

Interesting that a ticket for travel only on TPE & EC was endorsed for travel on XC by someone employed by EMT :D
 
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trainophile

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Thanks for the kind words :oops: :D I still maintain any guard, at my TOC at least, wouldn't have charged them. As many on this thread have suggested genuine people looking for help will almost always get a better response than chancers, and most guards are pretty good at spotting the difference.

Incidentally, whilst my route card is very impressive, about 90% of my booked work is between Manchester and Cardiff so I'm sure you'll see me again soon enough :lol:

I must wear my RailUK pin! :D Do you have a name badge? In which case, is it safe to assume your name is Craig? :lol:
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
If only. Some 'gate men' appear to be under the impression that they are there to refuse entrance to the station/platform to people holding 100% valid tickets. These 'gate men' will, naturally, refuse to assist by actually checking the ticket or giving the benefit of doubt (not that there should be any) to the intending passenger. Fortunately, there are no 'gate men' at Sheffield so my entrance and exit there is unhindered.

Getting back more towards the theme of the OP, on Friday I was due to travel to Edinburgh on an Advance ticket, changing at Doncaster. When I arrived at the station, the TPE was cancelled and the next train would not have got me to Doncaster in time. I went to the Information Desk and showed my ticket and asked for advice. The lady checked and said the next train from Doncaster was 2 hours later (which I don't think was correct) and then endorsed my ticket for travel on the XC service from Sheffield (via Leeds) leaving 10 mins after the scheduled departure time of the cancelled train. I expected to have to change to my booked EC train at York but, no, she told me I could travel all the way to Edinburgh on XC, so I actually arrived earlier than planned !

Interesting that a ticket for travel only on TPE & EC was endorsed for travel on XC by someone employed by EMT :D

That's really funny! :lol:
 

yorkie

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I must wear my RailUK pin! :D Do you have a name badge? In which case, is it safe to assume your name is Craig? :lol:
Best replied to via PM I think!
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Interesting that a ticket for travel only on TPE & EC was endorsed for travel on XC by someone employed by EMT :D
I wonder if someone should 'ask the guard' before boarding a ticket routed "LM only" on XC, when they are booked on said train :lol:
 

craigybagel

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I must wear my RailUK pin! :D Do you have a name badge? In which case, is it safe to assume your name is Craig? :lol:

I do and it's not I'm afraid, my username is an old nickname going back to my teens :oops: like most staff on railforums I enjoy the mystery of being anonymous even when people are being as kind to me as they are today :D
 

trainophile

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I do and it's not I'm afraid, my username is an old nickname going back to my teens :oops: like most staff on railforums I enjoy the mystery of being anonymous even when people are being as kind to me as they are today :D

Haha, so I will be asking ALL the ATW guards I encounter "are you craigybagel?" - I'll get myself locked up! :lol:
 
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