Buying Priv tickets where no available ticket office at origin

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43094

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Hello.

Today I had to undertake a journey from St Margarets (Hertfordshire) (SMT) to London Liverpool Street (LST). I have a Priv card.

As St Margarets ticket office isn't open at that time on a Sunday morning, there was no opportunity for me to purchase a priv-discounted ticket immediately prior to boarding the train. Fortunately I'd thought this might be the case and had been able to buy my ticket the day before.

However, there is a TVM there, which will sell the normal range of adult, child and railcard fares. My question therefore is: Had I not been able to purchase my ticket prior to that point, would I have been allowed to get on the train at SMT with no ticket whatsoever (as the ticket I required wasn't available from the machine), and purchase one prior to passing through the barrier at LST from a member of staff there?

As there was no Permit-to-travel machine the only other options I could think of were a) Purchase a full adult fare covering SMT to LST from the TVM or b) Find an adult fare in the machine to an equivalent value and buy that, to show intent to pay the 'correct' fare (though technically not by buying the correct ticket!)

Also, with whatever the answer to the above is, does this vary by TOC or is it universal?

Apologies if the answer to this is really obvious!
 
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Penalty Fares apply when travelling with Greater Anglia from SMT, so I'm afraid I can't say one way or the other. I'd expect common sense to be applied, but I don't want to say something wrong and you end up getting prosecuted for fare evasion!

In answer to your question about whether this varies, of course it does. On non-PF TOC's (such as ATW and VT) I frequently see staff buying PRIV tickets from the guard, even if there was an opportunity to purchase it before boarding.
 

43094

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There was no possibility of me having that problem - I'd known I needed to undertake the journey in advance so had bought my ticket beforehand. My question was more theoretical than anything else.....

From my perspective, the situation has never actually come up - I don't live in a PF area and for the occasional journeys I've undertaken within them I've always been able to buy a ticket in advance of travelling - however I'm curious to know what the situation would be if the circumstances were less ideal, as per the question in my OP.
 

Yew

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I think in the past this has came up, and it was suggested to buy a cheap ticket (of less than your priv value) and to get the guard to excess it to a Priv to your destination.
 
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Urban Gateline

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I think in the past this has came up, and it was suggested to buy a cheap ticket (of less than your priv value) and to get the guard to excess it to a Priv to your destination.

Yes I believe this is the safest option, however there may be the possibility that the PRIV ticket is cheaper than the cheapest fare from the TVM's so then what does one do in this case as the Guard cannot give a refund for the difference, and a ticket office is likely to kick up a fuss too!

If the train has a Guard that can sell tickets then most would likely not mind selling PRIV tickets onboard (EMT might be the exception judging by previous threads on this forum) so you can always ask the Guard before you get on the train.

In the OP's scenario, the ticket should also be available at the destination (LST) as there were technically no adequate ticket issuing facilities so a penalty fare would not apply. Its worth mentioning though that if there was a Permit to travel machine then this should be used!
 

yorkie

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43094, It would be great if you could ask both Greater Anglia and ATOC the question, and let us know the response.

Also, with whatever the answer to the above is, does this vary by TOC or is it universal?
Hmm... that's a tricky one, each TOC seems to have its own opinion...
I think in the past this has came up
It certainly has!
and it was suggested to buy a cheap ticket (of less than your priv value) and to get the guard to excess it to a Priv to your destination.
Yes, that appears to be the official requirement (as documented in the NRCoC, and mentioned in previous threads).

However both SWT and SET staff have informed members of this forum that they do not need to do this and can board without any ticket.

Therefore, if someone who is in this situation can ask the applicable TOC for their answer, we can perhaps produce a list so we know what the policy of each TOC is.
 

Mutant Lemming

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In past times a PT card was considered as an 'authority to travel' but with the fragmentation of the system and various companies deciding to make up the rules as they go along without thoroughly expalining what they are, who the hell knows.
 

RJ

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In past times a PT card was considered as an 'authority to travel' but with the fragmentation of the system and various companies deciding to make up the rules as they go along without thoroughly expalining what they are, who the hell knows.

Some guards hate Priv holders and will assume you're trying it on for a free ride if you don't have a ticket.

Shortly after an incident I had on board an EMT service, an official instruction was sent down from ATOC to employ common sense working if staff were trying to buy a ticket on board. It can be found in The Manual.

Controversial as it sounds, buying a ticket for part of your journey can cause more problems than it solves. It's a case of pot luck really as some guards are less prejudicial than others.
 

clagmonster

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The National Rail Conditions of Carriage say:
"3. Where the full range of tickets is not available
If you cannot buy an appropriate ticket for the journey you want to make because the
range of tickets that is available at the station from which you intend to start your journey
is restricted, you must buy a ticket or Permit to Travel before you travel that entitles you to
make at least part of the journey. Then you must, as soon as is reasonably practicable, buy
an appropriate ticket to complete your journey. In these circumstances, you only need to pay
the fare that you would have paid if you had bought a ticket immediately before your journey.
The price you will have to pay will be reduced by the amount paid for the ticket or Permit to
Travel."
http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/times_fares/nrcc/NRCOC.pdf

As you state there is no PTT machine, you should buy a ticket to allow you to make part of the journey. By my maths, a PRIV day return is £3.55 (the full SDR is £14.20), so you should aim to pay as close to this as possible via the TVM. A super cheap day return from St. Margaret's to Broxbourne costs £3.20, so that would do the trick, leaving a balance of £0.35 to pay a TTI or on arrival at Liverpool Street. If you don't buy any ticket, then you leave yourself open to severe consequences.
 

Mutant Lemming

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, then you leave yourself open to severe consequences.

How can TOC's invoke 'severe consequences' when they don't issue instructions and hide behind vague and hidden clauses and paragraphs ?
If it is spelt out in black & white and everyone concerned made aware then fair enough. As it stands they would have an absloute cheek even considering any consequences.
 

AlterEgo

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The ATOC staff travel website (sorry, can't link as I'm on a mobile) states there is no need to buy a full fare ticket for part of the journey and exchange it at the earliest opportunity. It clearly states that Priv holders must simply purchase the appropriate Priv ticket at the first opportunity.
 

43094

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Response from Greater Anglia:

Thank you for your recent email.

As a holder of a Privilege discount card I am aware of the problems you have faced when using our services. I can confirm that the Privilege cards are not valid for free travel as it states on the card. If you boarded a train without a ticket you could be subject to a penalty fare and therefore I would not recommend you travelling to your destination without a ticket. You could also face having your Privilege card taken away from you if you were caught doing this. It is always best to purchase the ticket in advance where possible as machines do not offer the PRV rate discount.

Should you be unable to purchase the ticket in advance I would advise you to purchase the cheapest fare available and then request the difference be refunded.
 

43094

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Mmm, possibly. I had a quick scan of the ATOC website, and the bit I saw basically said:

If the station is in a PF area, a permit to travel (PTT) needs to be paid for from the PTT machine and the difference paid at the first possible opportunity.

If not in a PF area, a Priv ticket will be sold at the first possible opportunity.

The issue in this case is that SMT is in a PF area but has no PTT machine. I would therefore assume that the advice to buy the cheapest available fare instead, in effect takes the place of the requirement to pay into a PTT machine.
 

yorkie

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You could consider asking them to clarify:

1) Whether this requirement has been agreed by ATOC;
2) Whether the fare paid will be deducted from the total due, or be refunded as a separate transaction;
3) If it is to be refunded as a separate transaction, will the refund be immediate?
4) What to do in circumstances where the "cheapest fare" from the machine is more expensive than the ticket you wish to buy, and whether you are required to bring additional money than the cost of your fare, and if so, how much?

I'd be tempted to contact ATOC ( rstl@atoc.org ) for clarification.

Someone who was in a similar situation on SWT had to pay for a new ticket, and had to wait a while for the original ticket to be refunded, and had to spend ages filling in a form! He was told next time not to buy a ticket for part of the journey and to buy at his destination!

It seems each TOC wants to have its own rules!

The only way to avoid either a Penalty Fare or a long queue to fill in a complex form, is to have detailed knowledge of the procedure for each TOC, which seems absolutely unfair and ludicrous to me!
 

43094

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I agree it isn't clear, and that in itself will bring it's own problems.

However, daft as it sounds, i'm not sure how comfortable I am in pursuing this with GA / to ATOC etc. If someone else wishes to then they are of course more than welcome.
 

Mojo

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I can confirm that London Underground staff are instructed that where a Priv card is presented (that has validity on LUL) then they are to be permitted to make a journey, paying at their destination station.

As far as buying tickets from a TVM and excessing them, as requested by the Conditions of Carriage for all ticket holders where no Pertis/Ticket office exists, I am not sure how this works in practice, as it doesn't seem to be possible in most cases.
 

34D

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The issue in this case is that SMT is in a PF area but has no PTT machine. I would therefore assume that the advice to buy the cheapest available fare instead, in effect takes the place of the requirement to pay into a PTT machine.

Many stations (in PF areas, especially the NSE area) have had the PTT machine removed and replaced with an extra TVM.

I wonder whether, to avoid the refund scenarion, a child ticket could be purchased instead? Any thoughts?
 

Mojo

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In my experience of purchasing a ticket from the TVM and trying to exchange it (in the same manner one would exchange a voucher from a Pertis), it is not possible, and staff at the ticket office insist you fill in a form and provide them with your bank details, and then purchase a new ticket. The refund of the original ticket can take up to 3 weeks.

I have had this problem with SWT where their machines incorrectly attempt to apply the £12 1625 Railcard minimum fare to Off-peak day Travelcards purchased within the zones. Originally the member of staff tried to get me to fill in a complaints form, and when I pressed him on the fact this option was unsatisfactory he then completed a different form which was held within the ticket office. The whole process took around 15 Minutes, plus queueing time, and I still had to part with 50% more money than I was expecting to.
 

thedbdiboy

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Greater Anglia customer relations are wrong. With a TOC Privilege card, tickets can only be sold through ticket offices. Therefore if no ticket office is open, you may travel but must pay at the earliest opportunity (i.e. staff on train/interchange/destination).
 

clagmonster

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How can TOC's invoke 'severe consequences' when they don't issue instructions and hide behind vague and hidden clauses and paragraphs ?
If it is spelt out in black & white and everyone concerned made aware then fair enough. As it stands they would have an absloute cheek even considering any consequences.
The byelaws state:
"18. Ticketless travel in non-compulsory ticket areas
(1) In any area not designated as a compulsory ticket area, no person shall enter any train for the purpose of travelling on the railway unless he has with him a valid ticket entitling him to travel.
...
(3) No person shall be in breach of Byelaw 18(1) or 18(2) if:
(i) there were no facilities in working order for the issue or validation of any ticket at the time when, and the station where, he began his journey; or
(ii) there was a notice at the station where he began his journey permitting journeys to be started without a valid ticket; or
(iii) an authorised person gave him permission to travel without a valid ticket."
http://assets.dft.gov.uk/publications/railway-byelaws/railway-byelaws.pdf pages 16-17

Now, at the station in question, there is a working TVM which will sell some tickets. I'm not sure whether 'any ticket' is intended to mean that the facilities are capable of selling all tickets or just some, I see it as slightly ambiguous. Is there any case law on this matter?

I highly doubt that there will be a notice at the station allowing journies to be started without a ticket.

So it just comes down to whether the section of the Rail Staff Travel to which Alter Ego refers counts as an authorised person giving permission. Again, I am not a lawyer, I don't know the legal answer to this.

Therefore, it could be that, whether it is morally wrong or not, that it is a technical byelway breach. It might not be, as I have stated there are matters over which I am unsure. It could be though. In such circumstances, I would always err on the side of caution and pay a part fare rather than nothing at all.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
As far as buying tickets from a TVM and excessing them, as requested by the Conditions of Carriage for all ticket holders where no Pertis/Ticket office exists, I am not sure how this works in practice, as it doesn't seem to be possible in most cases.
Surely as long as the amount you pay is less than or equal to the fare for the unavailable ticket, and the ticket you want is not a rover/ranger, then it can just be put through asan overriding excess (or I suppose in some cases change of route or even change of class for 1st class PRIV holders). If the amount you pay at your origin is greater than the fare required, I can see problems arising.
 

clagmonster

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I could see problems arising once the union become involved
For the record, I do believe that in such circumstances you should be allowed to buy on board at the first opportunity. I do not know of any cases of action being taken when a PRIV holder has refused a part fare from a TVM, but that doesn't mean that there hasn't been one, nor does it mean there will never be one. As you say, the union reaction would be interesting, to say the least.
 

yorkie

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Is anyone able to dispute this statement with Greater Anglia Customer Relations and, if a satisfactory response is not received, take it to Passenger Focus?

I am aware of some issues with responses from Greater Anglia on a wide range of issues, so if someone could take this forward that would be appreciated. We cannot let them get away with providing poor advice to customers.
 
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