Avanti train cancellation

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philthetube

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I arrived at Blackpool North this morning to catch the 0754 to London, this is an off peak service, it was cancelled. As I was travelling to a funeral the option to travel later was not available to me.

Staff at Blackpool insisted that I pay peak fares or travel later

Fortunately I have a priv but I still estimate the amount for my day trip has increased by? 37, multiply that by 4 for Joe Public.

I appreciate that staff acted according to the rules but surely common sense should prevail.

I fb messaged Avanti, that was a waste of time, making stupid suggestions without reading what I had written.

I also have made 2 complaints to Avanti, one about the fare and the rest about fb, might hear back one day.

I was wondering if it would be a good idea to go on fb with this, embarrassment can work wonders.
 
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Nippy

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I personally wouldn't go on Facebook if you have PRIV and you're active staff (I don't know if you're staff, dependent or retired). If you're retired then crack on. Once I retire I will be going for it!
 

Starmill

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Your only real choice is to submit formal complaints as you already have done.

If they don't engage properly with those you may be able to refer them to the Rail Ombudsman.

If your booked service was cancelled they really should be permitting travel on the one before it. It is somewhat crazy that they can't see that.

Were you speaking to Northern staff at Blackpool North?
 

AlterEgo

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I arrived at Blackpool North this morning to catch the 0754 to London, this is an off peak service, it was cancelled. As I was travelling to a funeral the option to travel later was not available to me.

Staff at Blackpool insisted that I pay peak fares or travel later
Ouch, having to travel for a funeral is never nice - and nobody ever wants to be delayed or miss it. However, the staff at Blackpool North are Northern, not Avanti, who don't have the authority to send you on an earlier Avanti train. Did you seek them out specially or did you try to access an earlier Northern train and were turned back?
Fortunately I have a priv but I still estimate the amount for my day trip has increased by? 37, multiply that by 4 for Joe Public.

I appreciate that staff acted according to the rules but surely common sense should prevail.
Yeah, these are the rules, and I agree that perhaps some common sense should prevail. But the staff did nothing incorrect by saying your ticket wasn't valid. I don't think it's especially wise to make plans to travel whereby only your booked train is the one that works for you (I am assuming taking a delay of an hour and arriving after 12pm wasn't going to work).

Did you try to take the 0746 to Manchester Piccadilly to change there for the 0935 to Euston? This is a perfectly valid route would have left you with a negligible delay and put you in London at 1142, just ten minutes after you originally planned. This would be my already-worked out Plan B.
I fb messaged Avanti, that was a waste of time, making stupid suggestions without reading what I had written.
What were their suggestions?
I also have made 2 complaints to Avanti, one about the fare and the rest about fb, might hear back one day.

I was wondering if it would be a good idea to go on fb with this, embarrassment can work wonders.
Why would you go public on Facebook with this? You pay a quarter of the public fare and I don't think you can expect public sympathy; indeed, most ordinary Joes don't know staff and a whole host of dependents and retirees get such a massive discount, and it's better not to publicise it.
 

Fawkes Cat

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Firstly, I'm sorry for your loss: funeral days are never easy so I hope things now get better rather than worse.

Secondly, if as you say the staff were acting according to the rules then I don't really think that a complaint will get much traction in that circumstance.

Thirdly, can you be certain that had you been allowed to travel on an off-peak ticket that you wouldn't have had problems later in your journey? I appreciate that the station's behaviour was hurtful at the time but it may have protected you from further distress on a difficult day.
 

philthetube

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Agree staff at Blackpool did nothing wrong, I have an alternative journey option but this means paying peak out and off peak back, I never considered Manchester, not many people would.

I don't see that me having a priv is relevant, if I am to be charged then so would a member of the public and that would be £150 plus.

Firstly, I'm sorry for your loss: funeral days are never easy so I hope things now get better rather than worse.

Secondly, if as you say the staff were acting according to the rules then I don't really think that a complaint will get much traction in that circumstance.

Thirdly, can you be certain that had you been allowed to travel on an off-peak ticket that you wouldn't have had problems later in your journey? I appreciate that the station's behaviour was hurtful at the time but it may have protected you from further distress on a difficult day.
Thanks for this, staff could, and should, in my opinion have sold and then endorsed my ticket, this should be the norm in these situations, my issue is not with staff, more the system which allows Avanti to more than double my fare when they cancel a train.

It may be legally right but it is morally wrong.

I can afford the fare but some couldn't, what then.
 
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Haywain

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Did you travel on an earlier service? Had you purchased a ticket in advance? I think both are relevant to what happened.
 

JBuchananGB

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It seems to me that the backup plan would have been to take the 8.25 to Preston, then the 9.00 from Preston to Euston arriving 11.19, which is 13 minutes earlier than the arrival time of the 7.54 from Blackpool (which takes longer because goes via Birmingham). If holding an Advance valid on Avanti only, might have to pay for the Blackpool to Preston piece of the action, but surely it would be valid on the Preston to London leg, being the next available service on the same TOC as the cancelled service.
 

Watershed

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It seems to me that the backup plan would have been to take the 8.25 to Preston, then the 9.00 from Preston to Euston arriving 11.19, which is 13 minutes earlier than the arrival time of the 7.54 from Blackpool (which takes longer because goes via Birmingham). If holding an Advance valid on Avanti only, might have to pay for the Blackpool to Preston piece of the action, but surely it would be valid on the Preston to London leg, being the next available service on the same TOC as the cancelled service.
Unfortunately the OP's Off-Peak Return wouldn't have been valid on that service, and it sounds like staff were refusing to endorse the ticket.

In any circumstances it's poor customer service to insist the customer must be inconvenienced as a result of a cancellation, and it's particularly poor that the staff didn't suggest going via Manchester to minimise the delay, which the OP could have done without paying anything extra or needing an endorsement.

Obviously you need to address your complaints about station staff to Northern, but previous experience suggests they file complaints about Blackpool North in the round file in the corner.
 

philthetube

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It seems to me that the backup plan would have been to take the 8.25 to Preston, then the 9.00 from Preston to Euston arriving 11.19, which is 13 minutes earlier than the arrival time of the 7.54 from Blackpool (which takes longer because goes via Birmingham). If holding an Advance valid on Avanti only, might have to pay for the Blackpool to Preston piece of the action, but surely it would be valid on the Preston to London leg, being the next available service on the same TOC as the cancelled service.
This was my backup, morally wrong to have to pay for it though
Obviously you need to address your complaints about station staff to Northern, but previous experience suggests they file complaints about Blackpool North in the round file in the corner.
I don't really think that it is fair to expect Blackpool ticket office staff to know what the off peak offering from manchester are.

Just realised that it is going to cost me more than previously stated as will be travelling back peak as well.
 

alistairlees

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Staff at Blackpool North should not have prevented the OP travelling from Blackpool North; none of these trains are affected by restriction code 2C, which only bars travel on trains arriving into London Euston before 11.30 on Mondays to Thursdays.
 

Haywain

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Staff at Blackpool North should not have prevented the OP travelling from Blackpool North; none of these trains are affected by restriction code 2C, which only bars travel on trains arriving into London Euston before 11.30 on Mondays to Thursdays.
I agree, although it may be that the problem was what they were prepared to sell. Mind you, Blackpool North barrier staff are a law unto themselves.
 

Watershed

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I don't really think that it is fair to expect Blackpool ticket office staff to know what the off peak offering from manchester are.
I think it's perfectly reasonable to ask them to look into alternative routes that could get you there sooner than waiting for the first Off-Peak train from Preston.

Their TIS will tell them whether a given itinerary is valid on your Off-Peak ticket or not.

Just realised that it is going to cost me more than previously stated as will be travelling back peak as well.
That's surely not got anything to do with the cancellation this morning though?
 

philthetube

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An off peak return allows me to return in the peak but now I will be returning peak as well
 

Haywain

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An off peak return allows me to return in the peak but now I will be returning peak as well
I'm not sure how you work that out. An Off Peak Return from Blackpool North to Euston has afternoon restrictions travelling from Euston on the return leg.
 

AlterEgo

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It is really difficult to advise the OP without knowing his exact interaction. Was the ticket sold at Blackpool North? If so, they should have looked at alternatives via Manchester which would be a perfectly obvious thing for a booking office to do.

Or did the OP already have the ticket and was told he couldn’t travel earlier without paying an excess up to the Anytime? Neither of these are Avanti’s fault.

What was the useless advice given on Facebook by Avanti reps?
 

Starmill

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I'm not sure how you work that out. An Off Peak Return from Blackpool North to Euston has afternoon restrictions travelling from Euston on the return leg.
Perhaps they'd originally been looking at that part of the journey on a Friday?

I'm a bit confused as to what exactly happened at Blackpool North to be honest. If a customer turns up with an Off Peak ticket for a valid itinerary, but one of the trains involved is cancelled, they very clearly should be being permitted to join the preceeding service or services instead, should they be in time to do so safely. That would obviously include alternative services which it wouldn't normally be possible to use with that ticket. However, it's unclear if that's actually applicable here or not.
 

XAM2175

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My impression is that the OP arrived at the station intending to purchase the ticket there, based on this line:

Thanks for this, staff could, and should, in my opinion have sold and then endorsed my ticket, this should be the norm in these situations, my issue is not with staff, more the system which allows Avanti to more than double my fare when they cancel a train.
 

philthetube

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Sorry, been unavailable for a while.

Got it wrong about the return.

I arrived at Blackpool North at 0715 to allow loads of time to buy a ticket.

I saw that the train was cancelled and asked the booking office if I would be allowed to travel off peak on the later service from Preston which is aa peak service. She then refused to sell me an off peak ticket.

Manchester was never mentioned and I did not think of it either.

I did not have a ticket when I discovered that the train was cancelled.

The fb person, after they knew that the journey was time critical first told me that I should check trains before travelling, this information would not have helped me to get to London off peak. Then the suggestion was made rhat I catch the train 2 hours later despite my having pointed out why I was travelling and why I had to catch the train I did.
 

Haywain

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Sorry, been unavailable for a while.

Got it wrong about the return.

I arrived at Blackpool North at 0715 to allow loads of time to buy a ticket.

I saw that the train was cancelled and asked the booking office if I would be allowed to travel off peak on the later service from Preston which is aa peak service. She then refused to sell me an off peak ticket.

Manchester was never mentioned and I did not think of it either.

I did not have a ticket when I discovered that the train was cancelled.

The fb person, after they knew that the journey was time critical first told me that I should check trains before travelling, this information would not have helped me to get to London off peak. Then the suggestion was made rhat I catch the train 2 hours later despite my having pointed out why I was travelling and why I had to catch the train I did.
So the ticket office were wrong to refuse to sell you the ticket you requested - it is not their concern whether you travel in accordance with the restrictions. In your shoes I think buying the ticket and then, at Preston, asking the guard of the alternative train before boarding if your ticket would be accepted would have yielded an appropriate result. However, this advice really should have been forthcoming at Blackpool North. Regrettably, it appears that the ticket office staff may be as bad as the barrier staff in terms of 'service'. A complaint to Northern may be in order and I feel that a parallel complaint to Avanti is worthwhile as the expense was incurred as a result of the cancellation of their service.
 
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Watershed

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Sorry, been unavailable for a while.

Got it wrong about the return.

I arrived at Blackpool North at 0715 to allow loads of time to buy a ticket.

I saw that the train was cancelled and asked the booking office if I would be allowed to travel off peak on the later service from Preston which is aa peak service. She then refused to sell me an off peak ticket.

Manchester was never mentioned and I did not think of it either.

I did not have a ticket when I discovered that the train was cancelled.

The fb person, after they knew that the journey was time critical first told me that I should check trains before travelling, this information would not have helped me to get to London off peak. Then the suggestion was made rhat I catch the train 2 hours later despite my having pointed out why I was travelling and why I had to catch the train I did.
Ok, thanks for clarifying. I maintain the view that the ticket office staff should have suggested travelling via Manchester, as in the circumstances it was the earliest valid itinerary for the Off-Peak ticket. She should not have refused to sell the Off-Peak ticket to you.
 

voyagerdude220

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I often recommend to pax needing to get into London as early as possible (but off peak) to use the 08:17 Preston to London Euston via Birmingham, as the first off peak from Preston avoiding Birmingham now only arrives at Preston around 12:30.

As others have said, the ticket office had no right at all to refuse you the ability to purchase the off peak ticket. Particularly as the peak time restriction is based on your arrival time into London Euston, not what time you depart Blackpool. Also I think it's very bad that they didn't at least look into alternatives which would have been valid with an off peak ticket, to try to get you to London as quickly as possible without you needing to wrongly pay extra as a result of your intended train being cancelled. Regardless of the ticket restrictions etc. I strongly feel you shouldn't be asked to pay for a more expensive ticket, as a result of a cancellation.

Avanti's on Journey Check website stated tickets would be accepted on the Avanti service before and after the 07:54 Blackpool to London. I'd take this as permission to get an earlier (or later) train from Preston to London which would usually be classed as peak, with your off peak ticket.
 
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