Avanti Staff Refusing to Endorse Tickets During Disruption

Hadders

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I’m caught up in disruption travelling from Euston to Coventry Arena. The 12:39 WMR service from COV to CAA has been cancelled.

A mini bus has been provided which several passengers have been unable to board. Naturally I will claim delay repay but I’ve asked two members of staff to endorse my ticket to say I was unable to board the mini bus. Both have refused.

I’ve explained why I want them to do so, as WMR could try to claim that there was no delay due to them running a replacement mini bus, and them being unaware I was physically unable to board.

What is the point of the endorsement box on the back of a ticket if staff refuse to use it? Why does the railway persist in making simple things so difficult?
 
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sheff1

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What is the point of the endorsement box on the back of a ticket if staff refuse to use it?
Very good question. Since the endorsement box was introduced I have NEVER succeeded in getting a member of staff to use it. I have had onboard staff provide 'endorsements' but that has always involved them printing a blank ticket and writing on the front.
 

Clip

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They will only allow acceptance if it has been told to them to do so.

I apologise on behalf of all Avanti staff for just doing their job.
 

Hadders

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They will only allow acceptance if it has been told to them to do so.

I apologise on behalf of all Avanti staff for just doing their job.
How the hell is this relevant to my original post?

I couldn’t board a rail replacement mini bus as it was full. I asked for my ticket to be endorsed to this effect to assist with my delay repay claim. Two members of staff refused to do this.

How were the staff just doing their job? As it happens the cancelled service was a WMR service but Coventry is operated by Avanti and their staff were overseeing the boarding of the rail replacement mini-bus.
 

sheff1

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How the hell is this relevant to my original post?
The first sentence is, of course, of no relevance. However, perhaps the second is confirmation that Avanti staff have been told never, under any circumstances, to provide any useful confirmatory information in writing.
 

Hadders

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However, perhaps the second is confirmation that Avanti staff have been told never, under any circumstances, to provide any useful confirmatory information in writing.
If that were the case then I would have to question why there is an endorsements box on the rear of every national rail ticket and what it should be used for?
 

causton

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I apologise on behalf of all Avanti staff for just doing their job.
In being difficult and awkward?

I frequently used to write/station stamp tickets with an explanation that the customer was here on this date/time and experienced this, for whatever reason - for ticket acceptance, customer service claims, delay repay... it helps everyone out, especially when you get staff that don't trust a single word customers say when they've been genuinely hard done by!
 

gray1404

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I had a very similar problem at Coventry last week on 30 December. WMT serviced terminated at Coventry and not WMT running forward to Leamington Spa for the next few hours. My ticket was WMT Only. I spoke to 3 members of staff at Coventry and not one of them would endorse my ticket. They were however telling me to just board the next XC service and explain the situation to the guard. I asked several times for an endorsement and it was refused outright. When I asked why they are not prepared to put what they are instructing in writing they couldn't answer that. I asked them how many times people say "the guy on the platform said..." and that I wanted to avoid such a situation.

I have also read so many cases on the D&P section of this forum of passengers getting reported by XC guards/revenue protection staff and then getting a letter from the corrupt nothing of a company that is Transport Investigations Limited. This is exactly what I wanted to avoid.

When I finally spoke to the Team Leader he said that he would have the platform staff speak to the XC guard for me to explain the situation. I went across to the platform and the platform staff said they would do this. However when the train arrived, he failed to speak to the XC guard. I spoke to the guard myself before boarding and got the all clear - witnessed by a Barrister friend I was travelling with who I know would have been happy to attend court as a witness. It is a very sad stage of affairs.
 

221129

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I had a very similar problem at Coventry last week on 30 December. WMT serviced terminated at Coventry and not WMT running forward to Leamington Spa for the next few hours. My ticket was WMT Only. I spoke to 3 members of staff at Coventry and not one of them would endorse my ticket. They were however telling me to just board the next XC service and explain the situation to the guard. I asked several times for an endorsement and it was refused outright. When I asked why they are not prepared to put what they are instructing in writing they couldn't answer that. I asked them how many times people say "the guy on the platform said..." and that I wanted to avoid such a situation.

I have also read so many cases on the D&P section of this forum of passengers getting reported by XC guards/revenue protection staff and then getting a letter from the corrupt nothing of a company that is Transport Investigations Limited. This is exactly what I wanted to avoid.

When I finally spoke to the Team Leader he said that he would have the platform staff speak to the XC guard for me to explain the situation. I went across to the platform and the platform staff said they would do this. However when the train arrived, he failed to speak to the XC guard. I spoke to the guard myself before boarding and got the all clear - witnessed by a Barrister friend I was travelling with who I know would have been happy to attend court as a witness. It is a very sad stage of affairs.
In future, just ask the guard. It's really not that hard.
 

Starmill

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I have asked and been told no, on several occasions. I've never persisted because I've always just thought I would just very politely point out in my email to customer services about the disruption that I had asked, and that it had been explained that this wasn't the done thing.

It's fine if they don't wish to write it down, I don't see the problem with that, it's merely that it's up to them to take your word for it.

I think most of mine were for complaints that I had to stand when I had made a seat reservation, and half of the time when this is what happens you can't move through the train to ask for your ticket to be endorsed anyway because it is too busy to do so.
 

Starmill

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In future, just ask the guard. It's really not that hard.
It can sometimes be a little tricky. I don't know about Coventry, but at Stockport for example, the guard on CrossCountry services will sometimes work from the front vehicle and sometimes from the rear one. There doesn't seem to be any way to know reliably which way around the train will be, or where the guard will be working from, beforehand. Often they will be at whichever end of the train has First Class, but if First Class is leading they are still sometimes in the rear vehicle.
 

mmh

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What happened in the end? Did you get a later replacement bus?

Possibly they were unclear what it is you wanted - ordinarily an endorsement would be to allow something not ordinarily permitted, here you're clearly already permitted to take the next bus or train.
 

jon0844

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Staff should know the difference between simply reporting what has happened to date (passenger missed xxxx due to overcrowding, passenger arrived late due to xxxx being delayed etc) and giving permission to do something where that person cannot give permission (such as travel on another TOC service when the ticket wouldn't allow it).
 

Hadders

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I arrived an hour late in the end. Delay Repay claim submitted to WMR.

I was very clear with the staff about what I wanted and why. I have sent feedback to Avanti asking their advice on what should happen in these circumstances.

As it happens my return journey was also delayed, this time by the Avanti train arriving late at Euston. I submitted a delay repay claim to Avanti - you put in your origin and destination stations and their system suggests the itinerary. Interestingly their system suggested an itinerary that isn't even possible today due to engineering works as the train they suggested I took from Kings Cross to Stevenage isn't even running today due to engineering works.

No doubt the claim will be rejected and I'll end up having to escalate.....
 

Adam Williams

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I have also had this problem with staff at Coventry. Requested ticket endorsement during disruption to assist with my request to travel on an alternative service, blank refusal. Suggestion was to just wait for the massively delayed BHM-bound service instead.

On a more positive note, I've had tickets endorsed with no issues whatsoever by XC on-train staff when we were delayed and I was going to miss a connection.
 

LowLevel

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Very good question. Since the endorsement box was introduced I have NEVER succeeded in getting a member of staff to use it. I have had onboard staff provide 'endorsements' but that has always involved them printing a blank ticket and writing on the front.
It's too small to be of any real use. Tickets with a penalty fare warning on the back generally don't have one and the clowns in charge still insist on using the top half of the ticket rear side for advertising or similar.

If it's there I use it for minor things like "over carried on xxxx pass xxx to xxx" with my details.

Anything more complex I have an A6 notepad I use instead.
 

Clip

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How the hell is this relevant to my original post?

I couldn’t board a rail replacement mini bus as it was full. I asked for my ticket to be endorsed to this effect to assist with my delay repay claim. Two members of staff refused to do this.

How were the staff just doing their job?
Well if they have been told not to endorse or validate any tickets then thats what they have apparently done - they are only doing as they are told.

In being difficult and awkward?

I frequently used to write/station stamp tickets with an explanation that the customer was here on this date/time and experienced this, for whatever reason - for ticket acceptance, customer service claims, delay repay... it helps everyone out, especially when you get staff that don't trust a single word customers say when they've been genuinely hard done by!
Yes i used to also - but you seem to forget that not everyone is allowed to authorise or endorse tickets and if they have been told not to do you then expect them to put their job in jeopardy and disobey their manager?
 
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Hadders

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Well if they have been told not to endorse or validate any tickets then thats what they have apparently done - they are only doing as they are told.
I don't expect a member of staff to do something they are not authorised to do. I do expect them to be able to direct me to someone who can assist. To make matters worse this is a major inter-city station not an unmanned shack in the middle of no-where.
 

yorkie

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Well if they have been told not to endorse or validate any tickets then thats what they have apparently done - they are only doing as they are told.
Is there any evidence of these instructions being issued? Sounds implausible to me


Yes i used to also - but you seem to forget that not everyone is allowed to authorise or endorse tickets and if they have been told not to do you then expect them to put their job in jeopardy and disobey their manager?
If it's Avanti policy to never use the enforcement box on the basis of always accepting any claims by passengers without quibble then the company and its staff could make this position clear so that there is no doubt.
 

LowLevel

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Sounds very plausible to me. A lot of TOCs wont encourage staff to endorse tickets to do with issues of other operators.
Which I've always found to be particularly stupid when TOC A runs a station, is paid by TOC B to provide customer service to it's passengers because it doesn't have it's own staff there yet they don't feel empowered to resolve problems.

The team leader/supervisor/duty manager at a station should always have the authority to take customer service actions for any passenger of any company using their station, unless there's a representative present they can refer them to. Like any other decision they make this can then be audited and reviewed at a later time should it not be appropriate.

Sending people around on wild goose chases after guards is daft. It also requires some guards to be less parochial about 'their' train and accept reasonable decision making from their colleagues.

If I had a signed/stamped endorsement from a station I would never even think about questioning with the passenger. The only time I've ever taken something up with a station manager was a mass approval of advances for a later train on to an earlier one by a new employee when it was already full, simply because it was a nice thing to do. Appropriate words were had and I still see sensible endorsements from that station. The passengers never knew any different apart from a raised eyebrow when I caught sight of them all waving their slips.
 

221129

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Which I've always found to be particularly stupid when TOC A runs a station, is paid by TOC B to provide customer service to it's passengers because it doesn't have it's own staff there yet they don't feel empowered to resolve problems
I know that, you know that, but where management are concerned especially at my place you're damned either way so I can see why people don't want to get involved or put their name to something.
 

Clip

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Us there any evidence of these instructions being issued? Sounds implausible to me



If it's Avanti policy to never use the enforcement box on the basis of always accepting any claims by passengers without quibble then the company and its staff could make this position clear so that there is no doubt.



Who knows what Avantis polciy is - maybe the staff hadnt been instructed to do anything so they didnt who knows? Im just saying that you cant simply blame the staff when there may have been other issues at play
 
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yorkie

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Who knows what Avantis polciy is ...
Conscientious Avanti staff, I'd expect!

I don't really understand what you are trying to say in this thread but your comments don't appear to be based on any knowledge of the company's policies or instructions issued to their staff.
 

boxy321

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Catch the 3/3A from New Union Street if you don't fancy waiting ages for a train to the Ricoh. 5 min walk towards the city centre.
 

ValleyLines142

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Experienced a similar situation in Virgin Trains days last year. Had a Virgin-only ticket between New Street and International, as Virgin run every twenty minutes I didn't see it as a problem. However, en route to International station I noticed there were delays.

At International, two LNWR and a TFW service departed. Eventually an ETA was shown for the delayed Virgin but I asked staff at International if I could board a third LNWR service, as I had a connecting train from New Street back to Cardiff. Thankfully they did and I'm glad because a quick check on Real Time Trains showed that the late running Virgin got into Birmingham four minutes after the Cardiff service departed.

On a semi-related note, is it only Manchester to Stockport and Birmingham to Coventry where certain open TOC tickets are available? (excluding LNWR/AWC Advances from Euston, Chiltern from Marylebone etc).
 

ValleyLines142

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Sorry, can you clarify the question? I don't quite understand what you mean.
Must admit I did rush when I wrote that!

Manchester to Stockport you can get Avanti only fares, Birmingham to Coventry you can get Avanti only fares, was just wondering if there were any other two stations that have specific TOC-only fares?
 

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