Automated ticket barriers that "eat" tickets

Discussion in 'Fares Advice & Policy' started by py_megapixel, 9 Jan 2019.

  1. py_megapixel

    py_megapixel Member

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    It seems very strange that so many ticket barriers across the National Rail network "eat" tickets, especially since there are so many disadvantages of doing so.

    Advantages
    For TOCS: Passengers unfamiliar with the network can't claim delay repay; possibly reduces fare evasion from people travelling on old tickets
    For passengers: Not much. You could argue that it reduce clutter in people's pockets, but car park machines will eat tickets that people leave if they go through the gate without picking them up, so why not apply the same to ticket gates?

    Disadvantages
    For TOCS:
    Need to pay someone to empty the machine, need to have more storage space in the machine for tickets, machine is more prone to going out of service (although this is rare)
    For passengers: Can't claim delay repay after exiting the station, can't use their ticket for other things (e.g. Manchester Metrolink), can't keep their ticket as a souvenir of travelling or to claim expenses.

    So why to companies set their machines this way?
     
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  3. joncombe

    joncombe Member

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    Another disadvantage for passengers - some companies request the original tickets for an expenses claim. So if the ticket barrier "eats" it, you have to ask for it back or know before hand that will happen and ask to be let through the manual gate so you can keep the ticket.

    I used to do the latter. Fortunately, when the company I work for changed to an all electronic expenses system (requiring a scan of the tickets, rather than the originals sent in internal mail) I now scan the tickets when I buy them before I have even used them and submit that.

    (Before anyone says it ..... yes I know that technically tickets remain the property of the rail operator and there is no right to keep them ..... but it does not stop companies writing expense policies that contradict this).
     
  4. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    The same reason that the railway always did historically collect tickets (other than revenue apportionment) - to stop reuse.
     
  5. gray1404

    gray1404 Established Member

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    If I need to keep a ticket for delay repay or break of journey purposes I will go to the manual gate. If I am not waved though then I will simply explain I need to keep the ticket for delay repay, something simple they will understand. If they still insist I insert it in the gateline, this doesn't happen often but it does annoyingly happen, then I shall say "I can't do that I'm afraid as it may retain my ticket." Normally that is enough.
     
  6. Wallsendmag

    Wallsendmag Established Member

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    Daft idea if you ask me why bother.
     
  7. sheff1

    sheff1 Established Member

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    Unsurprisingly there is no consistency, or even logic, in how barriers are set up. Two examples of the latter on journeys I often make.

    * At St Pancras, the barrier returns tickets which have no onward validity - Advances valid on booked EMT service only.

    * At Haymarket, the barrier retains tickets with onward validity - walk up tickets from stations to the north and west with a destination of Edinburgh.
     
  8. robbeech

    robbeech Established Member

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    How long has the STP barrier been spitting them out. They always used to eat everything, they even had an ALR off me once when there was nobody at the gates and I had no choice. Luckily someone arrived and retrieved it.
     
  9. ChrisC

    ChrisC Member

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    I am sure that the barrier at St Pancras retained my ticket when I last travelled there in November. Whenever I travel down to St Pancras from Nottinghamshire, I travel in the middle of the day using a very good value 1st Class Advance with Senior Railcard. As far as I remember the barrier has always kept my ticket.
     
  10. PeterC

    PeterC Established Member

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    Strange?
    As somebody old enough to remember tickets being collected as a matter of course I would never have assumed that the default was anything else.
     
  11. Fiyero

    Fiyero Member

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    Southampton Central seems to mix and match between keeping them and giving them back making it tricky to know whether to hover your hand to grab it back or get ready to continue walking!
     
  12. paddington

    paddington Member

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    At a large station I observed ticket staff dumping the used tickets eaten by the barriers into a public bin. Later I was accosted by a person trying to sell me the return portion of a £100 ticket for £10, which I suspect was retrieved from that bin.
     
  13. FelixtheCat

    FelixtheCat Established Member

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    The barriers at Inverness ate my ALR in the first day of its validity. I really do not understand why they are either programmed to do it or not programmed not to do it (if that makes sense).
     
  14. themeone

    themeone Member

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    I've asked this before but never got an answer that made sense, but in view of all the inconsistencies with ticket gates, I am still interested to know who is responsible for programming them?
     
  15. BluePenguin

    BluePenguin On Moderation

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    Yes it is a bit of a guessing game. From my experience all tickets with a destination of Southampton Central are eaten - although strangely I once put in my outward ticket by accident and the barrier opened and let me keep the ticket! I didn't even realise until I went to put it back into my holder.

    Going up to the wide gate with ticket in hand to ask to be let through is never met any confrontation usually though. However it can ba hassle to explain yourself each time and slow you down a lot when it is busy. To get round this buying a ticket to Totton or Millbrook (stations further along) is a good work around. This way the barrier will always return the ticket and allow you to "break your journey" :)
     
  16. njamescouk

    njamescouk Member

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    having had a railway employee refuse to get my ticket out of a machine I always show the ticket to a human. if they demur I just say I need the original ticket and stand there till something happens. A pain for all concerned, but there you go.
     
  17. mallard

    mallard Established Member

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    I once had a season ticket "swallowed" by the barriers at the unmanned car-park entrance to Leicester station. Took a fair few minutes for a member of staff to wander lazily over and give the distinct impression they didn't believe me until they found the ticket in the machine...

    I'm assuming this was a one-off error caused by the inadequate ticket stock that monthly seasons are printed on (even ordinary return tickets are printed as two "coupons"; the magnetic strips simply don't survive more than half a dozen or so trips through machines) since the only time it would ever make sense to capture a season ticket would be after the last train departs on the last day of validity... The ticket in question had at least a week remaining; I avoided putting it through barriers for the remaining time.
     
  18. island

    island Established Member

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    Tickets were traditionally collected in at the destination for revenue apportionment and accounting purposes. That is of course irrelevant nowadays. I suppose old habits die hard.
     
  19. freddie1729

    freddie1729 Member

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    I once asked to keep my ticket from one of the barrier staff and he tore part of my ticket. Is this common practice?
     
  20. BluePenguin

    BluePenguin On Moderation

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    Yes some of then do seem to do that. It has happened to me a few times. It is to mark the ticket as used (if not already scribbled on) so you cannot claim a refund
     
  21. ForTheLoveOf

    ForTheLoveOf Established Member

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    It does happen sometimes. I always keep my tickets for future reference (if nothing else for working out the face value - which isn't necessarily the same as the price paid - for the purposes of calculating my annual pence per mileage). The one place I remember being about the least willing to give the ticket back was the Stansted Airport manned barriers, strangely!

    I suppose the intention behind tearing the ticket is that there is no way you can sell the ticket on or give it to someone else to be reused. Except that only works on a ticket that has validity only for one stop - anything longer and you can claim to have broken your journey if you're after the first stop, so tearing the ticket doesn't mean anything. They would have to Zifa it or write on it where it was torn.
     
  22. Mojo

    Mojo Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    There's not really any cost to the operator with regards to additional manpower. Usually this task can be carried out by existing gateline or other station staff during quieter periods in their duty.
     
  23. Fiyero

    Fiyero Member

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    I've never tried the gate when I needed a break of journey, always asked a staff member and had no issues. Still hit and miss whether my outbound ticket to Southampton Central is retained or returned!
     
  24. themeone

    themeone Member

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    On the subject of Southampton Central, last time I tried inserting a ticket to or from Redbridge for break of journey it was rejected by the barriers.
     
  25. Wallsendmag

    Wallsendmag Established Member

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    Cubic barriers and break of journey don't mix well, unlike S&B's product.
     
  26. sheff1

    sheff1 Established Member

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    It was sometime in the middle of last year that it first happened. I particularly noticed it because, as you say, the barriers there previously kept the tickets. My most recent journeys to STP have all been on walk up tickets so perhaps things have reverted to the old system and it was just a temporary change for some reason.
     

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