Break of journey with a gap in the middle.

Discussion in 'Fares Advice & Policy' started by Stargull, 17 Jun 2019.

  1. Stargull

    Stargull Member

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    I've just had an interesting time trying to use the return portion of an Off Peak Oxford - Ely ticket. I'd used the outward portion, and Ely - Cambridge on the day of purchase three weeks ago. I then travelled by other means, but was in London earlier today and used the ticket to travel from Marylebone to Oxford.

    At Marylebone the ticket didn't work the barrier, but I was allowed through. At Oxford, they went and printed the journey history, but eventually let me through with some confusion about whether a break of journey was allowed.

    I thought it was. But am I supposed to have done Cambridge to London too in order to make the ticket valid for London to Oxford? I wondered if that's why it didn't work in the barriers, though it's not the issue the gateline staff brought up. (The stated reason for the query was that they didn't realise a break of journey could extend for a few weeks).
     
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  3. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    Break of journey is allowed.

    The return portion is valid from Ely to Oxford within a calendar month, but there is no requirement to use all of that validity. The validity is one month and there is no limit to how long a break of journey can be.

    If you break and resume your journey it does not have to be the station; providing you do not re-trace your route you are perfectly allowed to use any other means of transport to get between stations. I've often gone for a walk or cycle ride between stations, for example.

    A small number of staff think that a return portion of an Off Peak Return ticket is only valid on the day you commence the return journey, but that's a complete fabrication and is untrue. This is due to inadequate training at some train companies.
     
  4. Stargull

    Stargull Member

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    Thanks Yorkie - I was sure it was, but it's amazing how one loses confidence when confronted with staff who seem to know better.
     
  5. Haywain

    Haywain Established Member

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    Did they show you the journey history that they printed? And were you using an orange card ticket?
     
  6. Starmill

    Starmill Events Co-ordinator

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    Given your journey ends at Oxford, and your ticket then expired, I am surprised that the staff at Oxford even realised your journey had been broken. Had your ticket been marked with the date when you travelled from Ely to Cambridge?

    When I am breaking my journey, even though this is usually on the same day, I say when my ticket is inspected "I am actually getting off at x, to break my journey". Sometimes, my ticket is then endorsed as such. Sometimes it isn't. There's no obligation to point this out, I just generally do so as a matter of courtesy.

    I have asked to retain my ticket at Oxford in the past rather than putting it into the ticket gates. This was no problem at all, although the gateline staff took my ticket to mark on it that it was expired, as I had reached Oxford with a ticket to Oxford, before letting me out. Sometimes this is done at the end of one's journey in many places.
     
  7. Parham Wood

    Parham Wood Member

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    If a station can print a "journey history" does this mean all the ticket barriers link back to a central database or some other means of collating the journey information. I assume if you do not put your ticket in a barrier the journey information is incomplete, so they would be unable to prove how far you travelled that day. Sorry this is not my area of expertise so apologies if a daft question.
     
  8. Stargull

    Stargull Member

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    Yes, a standard ticket purchased from the counter at Oxford. Orange stripes.

    I didn’t get the detailed print out but they showed me it had my exit at Cambridge and no further use on it.
     
  9. Starmill

    Starmill Events Co-ordinator

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    I think this is exceptionally unlikely to be possible.
     
  10. Stargull

    Stargull Member

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    I assume the stripe on the ticket stores minimal information about which barriers it has been through; no need for a central database.
     
  11. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    I believe it can indeed write back to the magstripe. Of course, this only tells you where it has been used, not where it hasn't, as if it doesn't go through the barrier for some reason nothing is recorded. So the situation you describe shows no evidence (other than you saying so) that it hasn't been used for the middle bit. Equally there is no evidence it has either.

    With e-tickets logic would say that this should all be recorded centrally and available to anyone scanning it, but I don't know if it actually *is*.
     
  12. ForTheLoveOf

    ForTheLoveOf Established Member

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    I understand it stores the details of the last barrier it's been through. I thought, however, that even unsuccessful barrier insertions resulted in the magstripe being written to. Perhaps someone can elucidate that detail.
     
  13. Haywain

    Haywain Established Member

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    I think you rather overstate the possibilities!
     
  14. krus_aragon

    krus_aragon Established Member

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    For some previous discussion about what can be stored on the magnetic stripe, see this thread.
     
  15. JB_B

    JB_B Member

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    It does seem unlikely that the whole journey history could be encoded on the magstripe.

    It would be interesting to know how (and why) the journey history printout was generated at Oxford.
     
  16. Hadders

    Hadders Established Member

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    I don’t think the whole journey history was produced.

    The OP tells us they could see the ticket was last used at Cambridge, where the OP broke his/her journey.

    When the journey was resumed at MYB the ticket didn’t open the barriers, so nothing was recorded. The OP was let through manually.

    When the OP arrived at OXF, the last recorded activity on the ticket was the exit at CBG.
     
  17. maniacmartin

    maniacmartin Established Member Senior Fares Advisor

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    I seem to recall that the last 5 or so gates that the ticket has been through are recorded, including gates that reject the ticket. This helps with things like preventing pass back, where a ticket is used and then passed back to the person behind to also use.

    (So if you want to remove an entry from the history, just shove it through a gate at another station half a dozen times...)
     
  18. Stargull

    Stargull Member

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    As this has stimulated discussion, let me be more precise. I was shown an A4 printout, towards the bottom of which was the entry for exit at Cambridge with the station name obvious. There were a couple of entries below that, which did not have station names as prominently displayed - I only got a quick look, but I think that's consistent with the attempted entry at Marylebone and exit at Oxford.

    What I don't understand is why the barriers at both places rejected what should have been a valid ticket. It sounds to me that they're set to flag tickets used over multiple days, even though (per @yorkie) such a break is permissible.
     
  19. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    Possibly but there could be all sorts of other reasons. If you have a ticket rejected again, see if you can spot the error code and let us know.
     
  20. krus_aragon

    krus_aragon Established Member

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    My understanding is that barriers can be set to accept/reject tickets on the basis of the origin and destination stations, and the dates of validity. Not to mention that barriers can be set to reject all railcard tickets (for example) so staff can inspect them visually.

    We know that some stations' barriers are configured incompletely, only accepting tickets where the destination is X, but not where X would be en-route to the ticket's destination.

    It's also reasonable to want human inspection of a ticket being used in the middle of a long period of validity. A nefarious individual could attempt to re-use the return portion of a ticket several times over the month, and without having to surrender the ticket because they hadn't reached their destination yet. (This obviously wasn't the case for you.)

    But without any further details, such as the error code that flashed up on the ticket barrier, we're stuck looking at hypothetical explanations.
     
  21. ForTheLoveOf

    ForTheLoveOf Established Member

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    I don't think that this is the reason for the rejection. It's simply the case that all tickets that aren't issued to or from the station at which a barrier is located will be rejected by default. Exceptions to this have to be manually added, and are indeed added for commonly used tickets. But it's quite possible no-one has thought to add Ely to Oxford as a valid ticket for Marylebone, considering it's 'only' been 2 and a bit years since Oxford became a valid station to enter/exit for at Marylebone.
     
  22. Silverdale

    Silverdale Member

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    I agree. You don't have to travel far on the National Rail Network to find a barrier that will not accept a perfectly valid ticket. As long as the human reader accepts it, I don't really see what the problem is, let alone why it should be any of my business to look for error codes.

    My concern would be that a human reader, or a committee formed of them, in the OP's instance, couldn't readily recognise that the the OP's ticket was valid with breaks of journey and/or that some of those breaks could span the remaining days or weeks of the ticket's validity.
     
  23. Indigo2

    Indigo2 Established Member

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    Also based on the route restriction shown on the ticket. The VIA CAMBRIDGE route is probably a bit odd for a ticket being presented at Marylebone or Oxford; it could be that that has caused the rejection.
     
  24. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    And sometimes it's just incompetent, e.g. LNR barriers are still rejecting Super Off Peak tickets as a matter of course, even where they're the old SVR like the 130-odd quid Bletchley-Hull one I recently used.
     

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