Bring back our travel centre!

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6Gman

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Once upon a time Crewe had a Travel Centre (TC) and a Booking Office (BO).

The Travel Centre was for general enquiries, bookings in advance, reservations for a week next Thursday etc etc

The Booking Office was for buying tickets, usually for immediate travel.

Following the remodelling of the station entrance there is no TC (the site is now an - empty - retail unit), just a three unit booking office.

Yesterday I turned up at 1340 for a 1350 train. There was a queue. Two clerks on duty. One was dealing with an elderly couple arranging a future trip to London and looking for best value advance tickets - "so, if we get the 1322 on the Tuesday we can get £50 tickets, but what about the Wednesday?". The Clerk replied, after a bit of research, "well - I can do £42.50 on the 1122 or £36.80 on the 1422" [I paraphrase - the detail was different but you get the point]. At which point hubby arrived and the whole conversation opened up further - "Would Tuesday be better than Wednesday Bob?" "Dunno, it's up to you really" etc.
At the second point a lady was negotiating how to get herself, her three children and her sister to somewhere by means of a combination of Family Railcards, Two-Together and so on, complete with manually filling in a Railcard application form!

Bring back our Travel Centre!

:D
 
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Andyh82

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Once upon a time Crewe had a Travel Centre (TC) and a Booking Office (BO).

The Travel Centre was for general enquiries, bookings in advance, reservations for a week next Thursday etc etc

The Booking Office was for buying tickets, usually for immediate travel.

Following the remodelling of the station entrance there is no TC (the site is now an - empty - retail unit), just a three unit booking office.

Yesterday I turned up at 1340 for a 1350 train. There was a queue. Two clerks on duty. One was dealing with an elderly couple arranging a future trip to London and looking for best value advance tickets - "so, if we get the 1322 on the Tuesday we can get £50 tickets, but what about the Wednesday?". The Clerk replied, after a bit of research, "well - I can do £42.50 on the 1122 or £36.80 on the 1422" [I paraphrase - the detail was different but you get the point]. At which point hubby arrived and the whole conversation opened up further - "Would Tuesday be better than Wednesday Bob?" "Dunno, it's up to you really" etc.
At the second point a lady was negotiating how to get herself, her three children and her sister to somewhere by means of a combination of Family Railcards, Two-Together and so on, complete with manually filling in a Railcard application form!

Bring back our Travel Centre!

:D

Brings back memories of when I first went to London in 1995 and I went with my dad to buy the train tickets, all very exciting. We went to Bradford Interchange travel centre (which still looks very similar today) and the clerk utilised those old massive fares manuals, and the tickets were issued from one of those old ticket machines that were the size of a small house on the desk.

A different era, except for the older generation who won't book online.

Back to the point, no separation of the queue between travel for today and advance bookings is an annoyance. Ideally the latter will be in a room rather than on the concourse and face to face without any glass, like it still is in Leeds.
 

CheesyChips

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My father who is almost 80 sees online ticket booking as witchcraft.

I researched a trip to London for him once with an itinerary and prices etc and he was shocked when he had took my printout to the local station who confirmed the times and prices were correct.
 

Amy Worrall

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Back to the point, no separation of the queue between travel for today and advance bookings is an annoyance. Ideally the latter will be in a room rather than on the concourse and face to face without any glass, like it still is in Leeds.

I often have to renew my car park ticket at Coventry. They always want me to do it at the normal windows, not the travel centre, even though it takes about ten minutes!

I always pity anyone waiting behind me at that point.
 

Greenback

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My father is 77 and books lots of things online, including train tickets. He's had a PC and the internet since he was 59. Not all older people are resistant to technology, but I think it would be fair to say that more are than in the younger generations.

Anyway, it is an annoyance not to have separate queues for immediate travel and future travel in busy stations like Crewe. Staff can help by asking people completing railcard forms to step aside to allow others to buy tickets in the meantime. Ideally, though, the two retail functions should be separate.
 

mbreckers

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Similar issues at Motherwell station, where you can regularly be stuck behind someone booking long distance journeys on either Virgin Trains or CrossCountry at the only open ticket window.
 

thenorthern

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I am in my 20s and I must admit I do find the travel centre useful as its the only place where I can book advanced purchase tickets with the rail vouchers the lovely people at Virgin Trains give me.
 

Blindtraveler

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Nowhere near enough to a Pacer :(
And then of course theres those of us with impaired vision - untill a ticket machine is usable by us (and dont get me started about the non usabilitty of most of the online purchasing options for screenreader users and the like) then its tellisales or a booking office and im afraid that, with respect to everyone here saying machines are the answer is just berrying the provlem.
 

Hadders

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Be thankful you've still got ticket offices. Down here in Govia land we're losing them meaning machines only at many stations - even large ones!
 

heart-of-wessex

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Before Trowbridge had TVM's, in the off peaks there would be one window out of 2 open, fine for quick sales, but every time I turn up I get stuck, I usually leave a good 20+ minutes before the train is due but there's times where even 20 minutes is cutting it fine as some old lady asks for an advance price quote to Southampton or London for every departure, for every day of the week!
 

Blindtraveler

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There must exist speaking machines with braille keys - surely!

evem a standard qwerty keyboard and a physical trackpad along with the option to magnify the screen and/or have voice output through headphones would be a huge step forward. The technology is there it just needs money and more importantly a bit of thought
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
I know some cash machines have audio.

Correct and getting it has been a slow and painful process that still needs fine tuning. The rail industry could do it eilly as a TVM is more like a smartphone or computer than a whole in the wall so easier to adapt
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Down here in Govia land we're losing them meaning machines only at many stations - even large ones!

tThis is the only thing that puts me off a bit about moving south, but sure something will turn up.

Big difference with Govia is they dont try to penalise those with GENUINE reasons for being ticketless, unlike Stm Working for northern who in the past have done me twice for failing to be avle to use a machine and pitching up wallet in hand all ready to pay.

If any machine loving, booking office closing TOCs are reading then this thread demonstrates just how much bother can be caused to pax whilst shareholders and management are dining out at our expense.
 

DarloRich

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evem a standard qwerty keyboard and a physical trackpad along with the option to magnify the screen and/or have voice output through headphones would be a huge step forward. The technology is there it just needs money and more importantly a bit of thought

A shame then that private companies are not compelled to follow the Public Sector Equality Duty.

Perhaps something of the like may appear at an NR managed station in due course.
 

Blindtraveler

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Nowhere near enough to a Pacer :(
That would be nice but would require cooperation with the principal TOC at that station as management of ticketing facilities is oftem left to them. I can however someone like TFL doing something as they are keen to make it easy for those with disabilitties
 
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