Available if Unoccupied

Crepello

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29 Jun 2018
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Never really understood the notion that if I'm holding a seat reservation and somebody else is occupying that seat, they're somehow in the right and not me. Anyways, did see it resolved effectively, a few years ago on a Pendolino departing Euston for Lime Street. A reserved seat was occupied; the occupier pretty much told the reservation holder to go take a hike. The occupier's bag was suddenly re-located to an empty seat much further along the carriage, followed rapidly by the occupier, whereupon the reservation holder took his rightful seat. First Class, no less - seemed an equitable outcome!

Thinking back in the days of printed reservation labels, small print referenced penalties for unauthorized removal of label, or unauthorized occupation of seat - respectively GBP 200 and 50 if memory serves. Have railway by-laws since changed?
 
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Belperpete

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So this was a fault with the system.
The departure boards also showed the coach I sat in as having no reservations, which is why I chose that coach, when it turned out to have a lot of reservations. So it probably was a fault. But by no means an isolated incidence, judging by subsequent posts.
 

Belperpete

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Thinking back in the days of printed reservation labels, small print referenced penalties for unauthorized removal of label, or unauthorized occupation of seat - respectively GBP 200 and 50 if memory serves. Have railway by-laws since changed?
I think such actions are still against the byelaws, but irrelevant to this topic. The situation we are talking about here is where a passenger has been advised that they have a reserved seat, but the TOC fails to implement that reservation, so another passenger sits in the seat that the TOC has told him is available. If I were the holder of the reservation I would be understandably upset that someone is sitting in "my" seat, but there is no point in getting upset with the passenger sitting in that seat. They have done nothing wrong, and are perfectly entitled to sit in a seat that they have been told is available. I would complain to the guard that the TOC had failed to reserve my seat.
 

route101

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I think the VT system has changed , last few times when starting from Glasgow , the reservations from Glasgow were not showing but those further down the line were . I just go to coach u now
 

sprunt

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22 Jul 2017
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918
Never really understood the notion that if I'm holding a seat reservation and somebody else is occupying that seat, they're somehow in the right and not me.
If a notice said that the seat was available, how are they in the wrong? You're creating the false dichotomy of "Either them or me is in the wrong." when in fact the TOC is in the wrong.
 

BowesRanger

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If a notice said that the seat was available, how are they in the wrong? You're creating the false dichotomy of "Either them or me is in the wrong." when in fact the TOC is in the wrong.
You know you haven't reserved that seat, they have reserved that seat.

If the sign above the seat is in error, and that passanger has their reservation to show you, you should give up the seat.

Granted the TOCs signing is rubbish, but take that out on them not the poor bugger whos seat youvr just taken.
 

Master29

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19 Feb 2015
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You know you haven't reserved that seat, they have reserved that seat.

If the sign above the seat is in error, and that passanger has their reservation to show you, you should give up the seat.

Granted the TOCs signing is rubbish, but take that out on them not the poor bugger whos seat youvr just taken.
You can either possibly face a scene with the individual who has taken your seat or take it up with Virgin and their stupid policy as you rightly point out. It`s clearly no fault of the person who has taken your seat. I agree some would move out of politeness but why should they when it`s Virgin who need to get their act together.
 

Belperpete

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I wouldn't consider moving just because someone claims to have reserved that seat - I have had too many instances when it turned out they actually had a reservation for a totally different train. I would want to be shown that they had a current reservation for that seat in that coach in that train on that day. And I wouldn't accept a print-out or email that only proves they had a reservation when it was printed/issued, as the reservation could have been amended since then.
 

gimmea50anyday

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Seat reservations.

It's as simple as this, you may occupy a seat that is shown as reserved on the understanding that should the person who holds that reservation comes to claim their seat, they have priority to that seat.

An individual who holds a reservation isn't required to occupy that seat as long as the train service is the correct one for their ticket type, however if they choose not to do so then the reservation may be removed and the seat offered to someone else.

If however there are no reservations on display, wether that is down to the labels not being applied or electronic systems are not working then the reservations are to be considered null and void and therefore unenforceable.

As a train manager I actively manage my seat reservations by removing them once occupied or when no longer required.


Where I personally have a problem with the entire reservation system is the turn up and go assumed reservations. i.e XC and TPE providing seats that may mysteriously suddenly become reserved mid-journey en route. I think it's unfair and causes unnecessary grief for the poor soul already sat down and to the train manager on board who then has to sort the confusion out.
 

Class83

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8 Jun 2012
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399
Surely just leaving it showing as 'Reserved from Preston to Crewe' (or wherever) would suffice, before arriving in Preston it's available until there, if the train left Preston more than 15 mins ago and no one has sat down then it's available, after Crewe it's available. The whole 'available if unoccupied' is just over complicating things.

The number of times either electronic systems don't work, or lack of staff/time prevents paper labels being put out is annoying for passengers.
 

RichmondCommu

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I wouldn't consider moving just because someone claims to have reserved that seat - I have had too many instances when it turned out they actually had a reservation for a totally different train. I would want to be shown that they had a current reservation for that seat in that coach in that train on that day. And I wouldn't accept a print-out or email that only proves they had a reservation when it was printed/issued, as the reservation could have been amended since then.
Surely you could make life much easier for yourself by reserving seats before you travel?
 

BowesRanger

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16 Jul 2018
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100
I wouldn't consider moving just because someone claims to have reserved that seat - I have had too many instances when it turned out they actually had a reservation for a totally different train. I would want to be shown that they had a current reservation for that seat in that coach in that train on that day. And I wouldn't accept a print-out or email that only proves they had a reservation when it was printed/issued, as the reservation could have been amended since then.
Well don't you seem nice:s

If these little 'victories' get you through the day, then good for you chief.
 

PeterC

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Surely you could make life much easier for yourself by reserving seats before you travel?
That rather defeats the whole idea of a "turn up and go" railway. Don't forget that most travellers will have the alternative of a nice reserved seat sitting in the drive.
 

Belperpete

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Surely you could make life much easier for yourself by reserving seats before you travel?
If only that were possible. Unfortunately my local station has neither ticket office nor ticket machine to collect tickets, and neither e nor m tickets are available for the journeys that I make, so ordering on-line isn't possible either.
 

Master29

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Seat reservations.

It's as simple as this, you may occupy a seat that is shown as reserved on the understanding that should the person who holds that reservation comes to claim their seat, they have priority to that seat.

An individual who holds a reservation isn't required to occupy that seat as long as the train service is the correct one for their ticket type, however if they choose not to do so then the reservation may be removed and the seat offered to someone else.

If however there are no reservations on display, wether that is down to the labels not being applied or electronic systems are not working then the reservations are to be considered null and void and therefore unenforceable.

As a train manager I actively manage my seat reservations by removing them once occupied or when no longer required.


Where I personally have a problem with the entire reservation system is the turn up and go assumed reservations. i.e XC and TPE providing seats that may mysteriously suddenly become reserved mid-journey en route. I think it's unfair and causes unnecessary grief for the poor soul already sat down and to the train manager on board who then has to sort the confusion out.
I agree with this entirely. Kicking someone out of a seat after they sat in it if it was marked unreserved only to get hoiked out by a reserve on route customer is out of order quite frankly. A stupid policy by Crosscountry. Why make the railways only accessible for the business type traveller and sod the poor so and so`s who have to pay for the journeys themselves, and what`s with all this "turn up and go" railway? Sounds like a shampoo commercial.
 

Belperpete

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Well don't you seem nice:s If these little 'victories' get you through the day, then good for you chief.
On a journey awhile back, I sat in a seat showing as "available". I got my lunch out, and was half-way through it when someone claimed that they had reserved my seat. As the coach was still fairly empty, I collected up all my things and moved to another seat shown as "available". I had just resumed eating my lunch, when someone else appeared saying that they had reserved that seat. Again, I collected up all my things, and moved to another "available" seat. Then someone else appeared, claiming that seat. At that point, I had had enough, and refused to move yet again. I am not going to play that game of musical chairs again. As far as I am concerned, if a seat is shown as "available" then I am entitled to remain sitting in it unless someone can prove that they have a current, valid reservation for it.
 

Master29

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If only that were possible. Unfortunately my local station has neither ticket office nor ticket machine to collect tickets, and neither e nor m tickets are available for the journeys that I make, so ordering on-line isn't possible either.
Are you saying that all the journeys you make cannot be ordered at less than 24 hour notice? I find this hard to believe. You can use express delivery can you not, even though I know it`s expensive.
 

Belperpete

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Are you saying that all the journeys you make cannot be ordered at less than 24 hour notice? I find this hard to believe. You can use express delivery can you not, even though I know it`s expensive.
The significant part of your message is "it`s expensive".
 

Mugby

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If only that were possible. Unfortunately my local station has neither ticket office nor ticket machine to collect tickets, and neither e nor m tickets are available for the journeys that I make, so ordering on-line isn't possible either.
If you're only travelling to Derby or Matlock. I wouldn't bother anyway!
 

Master29

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If you're only travelling to Derby or Matlock. I wouldn't bother anyway!
Precisely,
But surely turn up and go fares are also expensive?
Precisely, and if such a short journey anyway standing is a fact of life. Just ask the millions everyday.
The significant part of your message is "it`s expensive".
Agreed, but are you still saying that all of your journeys require less than a weeks notice and as pointed out walk up fares are expensive too. I still find that hard to believe.
 

Belperpete

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If you're only travelling to Derby or Matlock. I wouldn't bother anyway!
Belper station has TVMs, which meant I could order on-line and collect at the station. Unfortunately, even when travelling to London, I was rarely able to get a reservation. However, I no longer live in Belper.

But surely turn up and go fares are also expensive?
Compared to what? Most of my journeys involve two or three different TOCs, so even when advance fares are available, the savings are usually so small as to make the gamble not worthwhile, let alone recoup the cost of express delivery.
 

RichmondCommu

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Belper station has TVMs, which meant I could order on-line and collect at the station. Unfortunately, even when travelling to London, I was rarely able to get a reservation. However, I no longer live in Belper.

Compared to what? Most of my journeys involve two or three different TOCs, so even when advance fares are available, the savings are usually so small as to make the gamble not worthwhile, let alone recoup the cost of express delivery.
Split ticketing might help you here.
 

Belperpete

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are you still saying that all of your journeys require less than a weeks notice and as pointed out walk up fares are expensive too. I still find that hard to believe.
Advance fares are not significantly cheaper than off-peak fares where I live. For example, with a railcard, looking a fortnight ahead, it doesn't seem to be possible to buy advance fares from my local Cambrian station direct to say Euston. I could get advance train-specific tickets to Birmingham for between £30 to £40 return, and separately from Birmingham to Euston via Virgin for about £25 to £30 return. Whereas on the day I can get an off-peak return that allows me to travel on any train without any split-ticket hassles for £56.90. And allows me to change at either Shrewsbury, Wol'ton, New Street or International as appropriate. So even booking a fortnight in advance the saving is negligible to non-existent.

In practice, I rarely book more than a week in advance, as I tend to travel based on the availability of late hotel deals.
 
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Master29

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Advance fares are not significantly cheaper than off-peak fares where I live. For example, with a railcard, looking a fortnight ahead, it doesn't seem to be possible to buy advance fares from my local Cambrian station direct to say Euston. I could get advance train-specific tickets to Birmingham for between £30 to £40 return, and separately from Birmingham to Euston via Virgin for about £25 to £30 return. Whereas on the day I can get an off-peak return that allows me to travel on any train without any split-ticket hassles for £56.90. And allows me to change at either Shrewsbury, Wol'ton, New Street or International as appropriate. So even booking a fortnight in advance the saving is negligible to non-existent.

In practice, I rarely book more than a week in advance, as I tend to travel based on the availability of late hotel deals.
But travelling based on hotel availability is your own personal choice rather than it being compulsory.
I agree however that in some areas of the country there are some daft advance fares particularly where Crosscountry and possibly Virgin are concerned. It`s something to do with primary routing or whatever.
Split ticketing as has already been mentioned can make savings especially on off peak day returns but it does require quite a bit of searching and is not always worth the time, as you point out. Depends on your routing.
 

PG

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at the end of the high and low roads
Two weeks ago and yesterday I got on Virgin trains at Lime Street and above my seat it stated 'Available if unoccupied.' I was in my seat 15 minutes before departure on both occasions. Other passengers also commented about it.
Maybe this explains why Virgin wanted to move to completely reserved trains - seems like they're already doing it by stealth <(

https://www.independent.co.uk/trave...stance-rail-crowding-compulsory-a8883396.html
Independent said:
Virgin Trains tells passengers they must have reserved seats
SIMON CALDER APRIL 24, 2019Many rail passengers have rejected a call by Virgin Trains to insist that every long-distance traveller has a reserved seat.

The West Coast train operator wants the &ldquo;turn up and go&rdquo; principle to be scrapped in favour of an airline-style system with compulsory reservations and a strict limit on passenger numbers.

This rule is applied on many foreign railways, including French long-distance services, as well as Eurostar trains from London to Brussels and Paris.

But in a Twitter poll, travellers have voted by 56:44 per cent to retain the status quo.

Virgin Trains is to lose its franchise within the next year, after the Department for Transport (DfT) ruled its bid non-compliant over pension provisions.

Nevertheless the train operator has submitted evidence to the Williams Review into the future of the railway in which it calls for radical changes to long-distance rail travel.

Train companies providing long-distance services are obliged to offer an unlimited number of off-peak return tickets at fares set by the Department for Transport (DfT).

&ldquo;Inevitably they are too cheap for some services and too expensive for others,&rdquo; says Virgin Trains.

&ldquo;This results in the all-too-frequent sight of customers forced to stand on a long-distance journey.&rdquo;

Rail firms have no control over the number of people boarding each train unless the crowding is physically unsafe.

Instead, Virgin Trains says: &ldquo;We believe we should import the airline model into the long-distance rail sector.&rdquo;

&ldquo;Anyone with a season ticket would need to book a seat, and customers with &lsquo;open&rsquo;, fully-flexible tickets would also have to book a seat rather than simply turning up at the last minute for any train.

&ldquo;Once all seats were taken, no further tickets could be sold for that train or reservations made.&rdquo;

While the policy change would undoubtedly make everyone more comfortable, it would remove the flexibility that has long been a cornerstone of UK rail travel.

The proportion favouring retaining the right of flexible ticket-holders to travel on any train was 56 per cent.

Only 44 per cent wanted to make reservations compulsory for long-distance services.

At the London Euston hub of Virgin Trains, Katherine Jones was waiting for a train to Liverpool. She rejected the plan, saying: &ldquo;I&rsquo;m a last-minute person. I like to decide which train I go on at the last minute.

&ldquo;For me it would mean potentially not be able to travel.&rdquo;

Another passenger, Margaret Gascoigne from the Wirral, said: &ldquo;There should be a bit of flexibility, but they&rsquo;ve got to provide seating. If someone&rsquo;s paid their money, surely they should have a seat.&rdquo;

Virgin Trains is also calling for train slots to be auctioned off to different operators, with the taxpayer benefiting from the revenue generated.

The train operator has suggested a trial on the East Coast main line linking London with Yorkshire, Newcastle and Scotland.

Virgin Trains East Coast surrendered its franchise in 2018 after sustaining heavy losses, and a public-service operator, LNER, currently runs trains on the line.

&ldquo;Without the constraints of a franchise contract, it would be possible to implement a pilot scheme in a controlled way relatively quickly,&rdquo; says Virgin Trains.The firm has also mooted that a public-service operator could run long-distance slots which the market believes are not commercially viable.

A London-Manchester train will also be used by commuters over the relatively short distances between the capital and Milton Keynes Central, and between Stoke and Stockport.

But Virgin says fewer than 10 per cent of journeys on its trains are made by commuters.

It recommends changing the stopping pattern of long-distance slots, so they do not serve short-distance commuter markets.

Many rail passengers have rejected a call by Virgin Trains to insist that every long-distance traveller has a reserved seat.

The West Coast train operator wants the “turn up and go” principle to be scrapped in favour of an airline-style system with compulsory reservations and a strict limit on passenger numbers.
 

route101

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On a journey awhile back, I sat in a seat showing as "available". I got my lunch out, and was half-way through it when someone claimed that they had reserved my seat. As the coach was still fairly empty, I collected up all my things and moved to another seat shown as "available". I had just resumed eating my lunch, when someone else appeared saying that they had reserved that seat. Again, I collected up all my things, and moved to another "available" seat. Then someone else appeared, claiming that seat. At that point, I had had enough, and refused to move yet again. I am not going to play that game of musical chairs again. As far as I am concerned, if a seat is shown as "available" then I am entitled to remain sitting in it unless someone can prove that they have a current, valid reservation for it.
Had that on TPE where they forgot to put out tickets in that part of the coach . On the 350s not much unreserved anyway
 

route101

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Seat reservations.

It's as simple as this, you may occupy a seat that is shown as reserved on the understanding that should the person who holds that reservation comes to claim their seat, they have priority to that seat.

An individual who holds a reservation isn't required to occupy that seat as long as the train service is the correct one for their ticket type, however if they choose not to do so then the reservation may be removed and the seat offered to someone else.

If however there are no reservations on display, wether that is down to the labels not being applied or electronic systems are not working then the reservations are to be considered null and void and therefore unenforceable.

As a train manager I actively manage my seat reservations by removing them once occupied or when no longer required.


Where I personally have a problem with the entire reservation system is the turn up and go assumed reservations. i.e XC and TPE providing seats that may mysteriously suddenly become reserved mid-journey en route. I think it's unfair and causes unnecessary grief for the poor soul already sat down and to the train manager on board who then has to sort the confusion out.
Had a few times on Virgin , the guard wanting people to sit in their seats .
 

Belperpete

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But travelling based on hotel availability is your own personal choice rather than it being compulsory.
It must be nice to be rich enough to be able to book hotel rooms without bothering about the cost. Unfortunately, you seem to assume that I am also that well-off - sadly that is not the case. If I want to travel, doing so based on the availability of cheap hotel deals is a necessity for most places.

I would very much like to book my train tickets before travel and have reserved seats, as you recommend. Increasingly TOCs such as Virgin are leaving very few seats left for walk-on passengers. Unfortunately my local TOC has made it virtually impossible for me to do so. Very many other people are also in the same situation.

TOCs increasingly seem to want people to have reservations. If so, they need to make it a lot easier than it is now to book them, particularly at short notice, and if your journey involves more than one TOC's services.

I do feel we have rather drifted off the subject of booked reservations not being properly displayed.
 

route101

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I feel reservations should not be automatically applied to advance tickets. If someone wants one they can reserve.
 

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