Avantix TIS. Accurate passenger counting.

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bignosemac

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A question for those with a working knowledge of Avantix Mobile.

My local line (The Severn Beach Line) has a zonal fares structure with an inner zone, outer zone and all line zone. The fares on this line are essentially of a flat fare nature dependent on which zone you travel in.

I'm often sold tickets that cover the whole zone I'm traveling in rather than from my origin to destination.

As an example, today I was traveling from Stapleton Road to Shirehampton, the fare for which is the all line zone fare of £2 single. I was actually sold a ticket with the origin Bristol Temple Meads and the destination Avonmouth which is also £2.

I queried this with the conductor and he said that they have the the three zonal fares, Bristol TM↔Clifton Down (inner zone), Clifton Down↔Avonmouth (outer zone) and Bristol TM↔Avonmouth (all line zone), programmed in as the most popular options to save time issuing tickets. (Leaving aside St Andrew's Road and Severn Beach which are also in the outer/full line zones)

My question is, won't this affect accurate passenger figures for the individual stations on the line? I asked the conductor this and he said that, no, they still input the correct stations for passenger count purposes but then select one of the three popular options relevant to the journey being undertaken. Is this correct or was I being fobbed off?
 
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Solent&Wessex

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A question for those with a working knowledge of Avantix Mobile.

My local line (The Severn Beach Line) has a zonal fares structure with an inner zone, outer zone and all line zone. The fares on this line are essentially of a flat fare nature dependent on which zone you travel in.

I'm often sold tickets that cover the whole zone I'm traveling in rather than from my origin to destination.

As an example, today I was traveling from Stapleton Road to Shirehampton, the fare for which is the all line zone fare of £2 single. I was actually sold a ticket with the origin Bristol Temple Meads and the destination Avonmouth which is also £2.

I queried this with the conductor and he said that they have the the three zonal fares, Bristol TM↔Clifton Down (inner zone), Clifton Down↔Avonmouth (outer zone) and Bristol TM↔Avonmouth (all line zone), programmed in as the most popular options to save time issuing tickets. (Leaving aside St Andrew's Road and Severn Beach which are also in the outer/full line zones)

My question is, won't this affect accurate passenger figures for the individual stations on the line? I asked the conductor this and he said that, no, they still input the correct stations for passenger count purposes but then select one of the three popular options relevant to the journey being undertaken. Is this correct or was I being fobbed off?


They will be selecting tickets from the "popular products" section, which will sell the ticket as Bristol - Avonmouth fare, and those are the stations which will be counted for that ticket.
 

bignosemac

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They will be selecting tickets from the "popular products" section, which will sell the ticket as Bristol - Avonmouth fare, and those are the stations which will be counted for that ticket.

So I may have been lied to. Is there a separate function for passenger counting the exact origin and destination?
 

Solent&Wessex

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So I may have been lied to. Is there a separate function for passenger counting the exact origin and destination?

There is a separate function for entering passenger counts, but not for particular stations as far as I know, just simply number of people on the train at a certain time. I have never seen it used, but I am sure somebody must use it.
 

TEW

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FGW are very hot on the use of the passenger count function so the guard probably was entering accurate passenger counts after every station.
 

spacehopper

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All the passenger counts I've done have never utilised Avantix. Your given a preprinted sheet and "estimate" total pax on, total pax off.

DFT were wanting to know loadings on an early morning service so counting sheets were given out. ( So DFT could try and withdraw it )

Also been given sheets on extra "festival" trains- again to check loadings. RUG claimed demand for these extra late night extra services- loadings suggested otherwise.

Most common way for passenger counts is to get retired people or far eastern students from some agency to do them.
 

TEW

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Seems to very much be an FGW thing, but apparently the Avantix passenger counts are used more within FGW when working out strengthening of services etc than the official ORR passenger data produced.
 

bignosemac

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Well, this line in question does have an annual passenger count conducted by the Severnside Community Rail Partnership (next one June 28th - for which I will be volunteering), I was just curious as to how tickets could be sold to/from stations different to that actually printed on the ticket.
 

DaveNewcastle

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Most common way for passenger counts is to get retired people or far eastern students from some agency to do them.
Ah, I'm sure what you really meant to say was that all UK transport policy is informed by accurate and transparent data collection procedures, all of which meet the most stringent standards in selecting, gathering and analysing data, and are all accredited to the highest industry standards to ensure the most robust and accountable basis for making any informed decision.

We all know that's what you really meant to say, because "retired people or far eastern students" is widely adopted industry shorthand for the highest standards of precision data gathering as adopted by such renowned and respected authorites including Her Majesty's Government.
 

John55

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Ah, I'm sure what you really meant to say was that all UK transport policy is informed by accurate and transparent data collection procedures, all of which meet the most stringent standards in selecting, gathering and analysing data, and are all accredited to the highest industry standards to ensure the most robust and accountable basis for making any informed decision.

We all know that's what you really meant to say, because "retired people or far eastern students" is widely adopted industry shorthand for the highest standards of precision data gathering as adopted by such renowned and respected authorites including Her Majesty's Government.

Your tone suggests you disapprove but what is wrong with employing part time/temporary staff to do sample data collection? They are probably better at it than full time staff who would much prefer doing their "proper job".

It is how traffic counts are done on main roads (or was until fairly recently). The key thing as always is staff selection and training to do the task in hand.

The ORR station usage data set is useless at determining which trains are well loaded and which are empty as it is an agglomeration of all tickets sales over 12 months.
 

reb0118

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So I may have been lied to. Is there a separate function for passenger counting the exact origin and destination?

Not necessarily lied to. You do not have to input passenger count data into Avantix there & then. To be honest it is a bit off a faff to use as you have to input all the train data first before the passenger count - for every stop. This is very time consuming. Also one major drawback to me is that the Avantix system just records the total number of passengers at any one point in time and does not give an accurate figure for station usage.

i.e. If you had 100 passengers on the leaving Dundee and fifteen passengers alighted at Carnoustie with five boarding the data inputted would now show 90. This could be interpreted at ten passengers alighting or ten passenger movements so to speak whereas the the real figure at Carnoustie for that train would be twenty movements - a 100% error in the data recordings. Using the old fashioned paper & pencil way (at present 'til they update the Avantix) to me is much more accurate with the actual recording of passengers off, passengers on, & running total

To be fare, as a conductor, we have not been requested to do that many counts recently as most counts are now done by agency staff. That said I still input passenger counts into my Avantix from previous data I have recorded in my Pink Book from time to time when time allows.

Every little helps.
 

bignosemac

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So, in essence, best to sell tickets to/from the actual stations travelled rather than 'popular fares' merely because they are the same.

At least then, one assumes (I know, dangerous to assume, please don't shoot me down) the figures are correctly collated (for a given value of 'correct' obviously) when the sales are uploaded to LENNON at the end of a shift.
 

reb0118

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So, in essence, best to sell tickets to/from the actual stations travelled rather than 'popular fares' merely because they are the same.

In an ideal world yes. Often on a busy train, however, it's quicker to issue tickets to a generic location. As long as the passenger is not being overcharged. (In fact the passenger may get greater flexibility & value esp. with seasons)

At least then, one assumes (I know, dangerous to assume, please don't shoot me down) the figures are correctly collated (for a given value of 'correct' obviously) when the sales are uploaded to LENNON at the end of a shift.

A case in point would be Edinburgh/Haymarket - most people who travel to Haymarket are issued with tickets to Edinburgh if travelling from the West. Conversely passengers travelling from the East esp. on Scotrail sevices from North Berwick & Newcraighall are more likely to be issued with tickets to Haymarket even if they specifically ask for Edinburgh. There is no difference in fare but it saves the Guard/TE from constantly changing the destination on the Avantix (If you are not careful you will change the origin in error as the machine defaults to origin if you do not manually select) - this does save time & can probably mean an extra 1/2 coach can be covered for revenue. (Also saves a few pax from queuing up at barrier gates).

However as you correctly state this will artificially alter the data but so will a lot of other factors not limited to pax using zonal tickets, travelling short on seasons, break of journey, travelling on staff passes, &c., &c..

Lies, damned lies, & statistics eh!

Off to bed - early start tomorrow :(
 

ian13

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So, in essence, best to sell tickets to/from the actual stations travelled rather than 'popular fares' merely because they are the same.

At least then, one assumes (I know, dangerous to assume, please don't shoot me down) the figures are correctly collated (for a given value of 'correct' obviously) when the sales are uploaded to LENNON at the end of a shift.

Afraid so. The ORR statistics were significantly different from those of the official FGW count day, and the Severnside Rail Partnership counts for the last release.

I'm not sure how accurately passenger movements are recorded by guards normally, but the selling of the full zone fare for convenience has proved a pain (for example, Severn Beach is now more popular than Sea Mills according to ORR!).

As an aside: the issues in fare collection and ticket issuing along the Severn Beach line is why independent counts are now performed - just because the public metrics have become so misleading.
 

Brucey

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If Zonal fares are being used, I would expect tickets to be issued to a zonal destination. That would stop any confusion when it comes to ticket sales and passenger numbers.
 

reb0118

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Well after this thread I did a full & accurate passenger count on my first three trains this morning. There were too many stops on my later trains so there would have been no revenue done if I had continued on those too. Still every input helps.

On a similar vein. If every conductor was to input a passenger count from any station where their train was full & standing e.g. input 999 into the total pax box on the passenger count screen then this may help the planners diagram the sets a wee bit better?
 

142094

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While in Germany recently I was at a meeting with DB, and for all their trains that run within Germany (and on the cross-border services, but as far as the border), there is a full passenger count I think after every station, which gives an excellent data set which they use for planning.

I should have asked at the time if it was limited to certain services (e.g. ICE), as this would sound more plausible.
 

reb0118

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While in Germany recently I was at a meeting with DB, and for all their trains that run within Germany (and on the cross-border services, but as far as the border), there is a full passenger count I think after every station, which gives an excellent data set which they use for planning.

I should have asked at the time if it was limited to certain services (e.g. ICE), as this would sound more plausible.

I too am a regular traveller on the German rail network. A lot of times I have noticed up to three guards on the train at the same time esp on long distance IC & ICE trains. This obviously helps in the accurate collection & collation of data.
 

TEW

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On a similar vein. If every conductor was to input a passenger count from any station where their train was full & standing e.g. input 999 into the total pax box on the passenger count screen then this may help the planners diagram the sets a wee bit better?

That's the idea behind getting guards to input them on FGW. Gives the planners an idea of the regular loadings on trains so they know which ones need strengthening.
 

Flamingo

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We get asked to enter as many passenger counts as possible, but at least two per journey on Avantex. We enter the number of carriages (1st & Sid), and the number of passengers (in each class if appropriate) after leaving the stop. Some people do an exact count, sometimes it's a guestemate.
 

GadgetMan

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On XC we have to do a count for every single journey and enter it into the Avantix. Yep, it is monitored by management. Counts are only done at principle stations though, not every single calling point.

Don't see the point of it as we don't have the rolling stock to strengthen any services anyway.
 
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