Buying Railcard Discounted Tickets Without Railcard

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IanD

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Hello

I need to go to the station to purchse some Ranger tickets for 4 Adults - 2 at full price, 1 with a senior railcard and 1 with a yp railcard. Do I need to show the railcards when I purchase the tickets or will they just advise me that I need to carry the railcards at the time of travel? I know we could buy on the day when everyone is present but was hoping to save some time as we have a very early start.

Cheers
 
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calc7

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As with other non-standard requests (by standard I mean your average "return to the big city, please"), different ticket offices or even clerks may produce different results. Some will happily sell you that combination, some will sell it you but write "restrictions advised" on the discounted tickets, some will flat-out refuse. It'll be a case of shopping around.
 

142094

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National Express East Coast introduced a policy where you had to show your railcard to buy a railcard-discounted ticket at their booking offices, even when booking in advance. Of course this happened to me and resulted in a wasted trip to the station and back. Silly rule as the railcard can and should be checked on board, and you can buy one at a ticket machine without the need to prove you have a railcard.
 

GadgetMan

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If you went asking for 4 discounted tickets with no Railcards to show I can understand them saying no. However, as you are buying 2 full price tickets and 2 discounted I would've thought the clerk is more likely to show some trust and sell you the tickets as long as you come across as polite.

As mentioned by previous posts, it can be a bit of a lottery.
 

exile

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National Express East Coast introduced a policy where you had to show your railcard to buy a railcard-discounted ticket at their booking offices, even when booking in advance. Of course this happened to me and resulted in a wasted trip to the station and back. Silly rule as the railcard can and should be checked on board, and you can buy one at a ticket machine without the need to prove you have a railcard.
And you can buy online without a railcard...
 

All Line Rover

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Am I missing something here, but why should the ticket office clerk care whether I have the relevant Railcard on me or not? I'm perfectly within my rights to buy a Senior Railcard discounted ticket if I wanted, providing I don't use it.

I can buy any ticket I like. The only restriction is that the ticket must be valid for me to use when travelling.
 

AndyLandy

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If you went asking for 4 discounted tickets with no Railcards to show I can understand them saying no.
I don't understand this. I've had a couple of occasions where I've been declined a railcard ticket because I don't have the railcard with me at the time of purchase. It's easy to buy a railcard ticket online and collect it, so why should a ticket clerk ever decline you.

If you travel on a service with a railcard ticket and no railcard, the guard should deal with you appropriately, I don't see how it's any different from not buying a ticket at all...
 

sheff1

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The T&Cs for both the Senior & 16-25 Railcards state you must show the Railcard when buying tickets.

The problem I have encountered is the opposite. The clerk has refused to sell a discounted ticket, even though a Railcard has been shown, unless the Railcard holder presents themselves. Despite making enquiries, I have never found out where this 'requirement' to appear in person is stated in the T&Cs. Anyway, with a Senior Railcard there is no associated photo ID, so how the clerk would know whether the person who presents themselves is the Railcard holder I do not know.
 

Max

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As mentioned, different TOCs have different policies. From experience, EMT flatly refuse to issue them. TPE will depending upon the booking clerk.

National Express East Coast introduced a policy where you had to show your railcard to buy a railcard-discounted ticket at their booking offices, even when booking in advance.
This surprises me as Doncaster have normally been fine about this, just stamped the tickets as 'Restrictions Advised' and reminded me that I would need my railcard to travel. Perhaps East Coast reversed the policy?
 

yorkie

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... It's easy to buy a railcard ticket online and collect it, so why should a ticket clerk ever decline you...
Well, exactly, and they're doing themselves out of a job! With the exception of certain discounts (e.g. PRIV) and certain ticket types (e.g. Rovers & Day Rangers) all they're doing is encouraging people to book online instead.

It's a shame as I like to support ticket offices, but it's only worth it where the staff are co-operative, friendly and helpful! A lot of the time, it boils down to what the management are like.

The chances of getting good customer service at a London area suburban TOC is much reduced compared to somewhere like York, Newcastle or Doncaster.
 

causton

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Saying that, I have experienced no trouble in most inner-London stations (Windsor & Eton Central, St Pancras EMT and FCC, King's Cross, Clapham Junction) in buying some 'awkward' tickets, including usage of PRIV discounts, Boundary Zones, and buying tickets from other places. The only problem was when the clerk was asked for a ticket to Barking and sold a U1234 single instead, don't know if that's required for some reason but was worried if interchanging through intermediate barriers e.g. at Vauxhall the ticket might be retained!

I hear you just have to keep away from EMT ticket offices outside of London, and FCC staff at Hatfield are dire so go to WGC or PBR if you need a ticket ;)
 

hairyhandedfool

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I don't understand this. I've had a couple of occasions where I've been declined a railcard ticket because I don't have the railcard with me at the time of purchase. It's easy to buy a railcard ticket online and collect it, so why should a ticket clerk ever decline you.

If you travel on a service with a railcard ticket and no railcard, the guard should deal with you appropriately, I don't see how it's any different from not buying a ticket at all...
I suppose no-one would claim that the ticket office had seen the railcard and so they thought they didn't need to carry it.

The railcard is given to a passenger so that they can prove they are entitled to the discount, it is not for staff to make a judgment about the eligibility of the passenger. It is a condition of the railcard that you show it when buying a ticket.

I really don't understand why people feel they can be let off at every turn when they are the ones not following the conditions applicable.
 

All Line Rover

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The T&Cs for both the Senior & 16-25 Railcards state you must show the Railcard when buying tickets.
That is unenforceable seeing as I can just buy the ticket online, or from a TVM. Also, what if I want to buy a ticket for a friend, who has a Railcard? The NRCoC gives me the right to buy a ticket for someone else.
 

AndyLandy

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I really don't understand why people feel they can be let off at every turn when they are the ones not following the conditions applicable.
I'm not saying people should be 'let off' for this. I'm saying the stupid and unenforcable rule on the matter should be scrapped so there's no longer a requirement to carry the railcard at time of purchase. That way there's no letting off, because there's no longer a requirement that you're being let off from.
 

Fare-Cop

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It would not be rude nor unhelpful for a booking clerk to ask 'Are you travelling right now?'

If the traveller says 'Yes' then a helpful booking clerk might say 'Can I see your railcard please?' and decline to issue the ticket if an in date one cannot be shown.

If the traveller is travelling later, perhaps a helpful clerk should remind the traveller that they will need to have the Railcard with them when they travel, but still issue the ticket.

That's effectively what the new NRCoC says about advising restrictions.
 

AndyLandy

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It would not be rude nor unhelpful for a booking clerk to ask 'Are you travelling right now?'

If the traveller says 'Yes' then a helpful booking clerk might say 'Can I see your railcard please?' and decline to issue the ticket if an in date one cannot be shown.

If the traveller is travelling later, perhaps a helpful clerk should remind the traveller that they will need to have the Railcard with them when they travel, but still issue the ticket.

That's effectively what the new NRCoC says about advising restrictions.
Yup. That all sounds perfectly reasonable. If that were how the system operated, I would have no complaints.

Funnily enough, the situation where this arose for me was buying tickets to travel now. Brother and I were at Manchester Piccadilly 15 minutes before our train. He went to WH Smith to buy a couple of bottles of coke and I went to the ticket office to buy our tickets. One normal for me, one Y-P for him. Because he wasn't there with me with his Y-P, I wasn't allowed to buy his ticket. So, I left the ticket office and went to a TVM instead...
 

cjp

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The T&Cs for both the Senior & 16-25 Railcards state you must show the Railcard when buying tickets.

Anyway, with a Senior Railcard there is no associated photo ID, so how the clerk would know whether the person who presents themselves is the Railcard holder I do not know.
Hmm Pimply faced youngster masquerading as a senior:D
or
Oldster with stick masquerading as a teenager?:D:D
 

142094

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This surprises me as Doncaster have normally been fine about this, just stamped the tickets as 'Restrictions Advised' and reminded me that I would need my railcard to travel. Perhaps East Coast reversed the policy?
Probably - since the day I was asked for it at the booking office at Newcastle (and so spent money on petrol and parking for no reason), I've bought all my advance tickets online. I'm not sure which bright spark thought of the idea, but I hope they went out with NXEC.
 

IanD

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If you could buy Rovers/Rangers online then I wouldn't have this problem. I've seen various reasons given for not selling these tickets online but none makes any sense. One (from Arriva Trains Wales regarding the Explore Wales Pass) was something like "we need to know the dates you are travelling so we can issue the correct ticket" - if the ticket is for '4 days in 8' then they only need to know the first day of validity and this can easily be entered on-line just like you do for any other ticket. They don't need to know the rest and certainly don't ask for them when you purchase over the counter - it's up to you to make sure the dates you travel are valid. Diligent on train checking would soon root out anyone trying to use such tickets outwith their validity.
 

IanD

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Update:

I've been unable to buy tickets at the various booking offices I have tried because "It's against the rules".

As our group will not be together until the day of travel, this makes reserving seats quite difficult as when I've asked at the station they will only reserve seats for the number of tickets held.
 

maniacmartin

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This has happened to me too with LO staff. I was trying to buy 2x 16-25 discounted tickets dated for a future date, but they would only sell me one.

Had I been more alert, I might have replied saying I wanted to make two return journeys on the same route on the same day and thus needed two tickets. I wonder how staff would react to such a response.:D

This rule just encourages passengers buying for future days to buy online and collect at a TVM, which I'm sure suits the TOCs just fine as they don't have to pay ticket office staff
 

leyscjd

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I attempted to book advance tickets at a single-manned FCC ticket office with a Two Together Railcard and the clerk denied such a railcard existed.
 

mallard

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Interestingly, the 16-25 railcard FAQ page has this to say:

8. Can I buy tickets at a discounted rate before my 16-25 Railcard arrives?
You must carry your 16-25 Railcard with you on any journey where you have bought discounted tickets with the Railcard. Therefore, if you buy discounted Railcard tickets before you receive your Railcard, you do this at your own risk. We’re sorry but we can’t be held responsible for Railcards lost in the post.
Which doesn't mention that ticket offices will require you show the card when purchasing.
 

island

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I attempted to book advance tickets at a single-manned FCC ticket office with a Two Together Railcard and the clerk denied such a railcard existed.
That could just be ignorance rather than malice as no FCC stations ever sold Two Together Railcards.
 

hairyhandedfool

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Interestingly, the 16-25 railcard FAQ page has this to say:

8. Can I buy tickets at a discounted rate before my 16-25 Railcard arrives?
You must carry your 16-25 Railcard with you on any journey where you have bought discounted tickets with the Railcard. Therefore, if you buy discounted Railcard tickets before you receive your Railcard, you do this at your own risk. We’re sorry but we can’t be held responsible for Railcards lost in the post.
Which doesn't mention that ticket offices will require you show the card when purchasing.
The FAQs may not, but the terms and conditions do.

5. Tickets for your journey should be purchased before boarding the train and when buying tickets you must show the Railcard.
 

mallard

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The FAQs may not, but the terms and conditions do.
I know, I was just pointing out that the FAQ is wrong/inaccurate. Unfortunate how rail customers are expected have encyclopaedic knowledge of Byzantine rules and regulations in order to know what they're buying... Even the FAQs and guides provided by the rail industry tend to be full of inaccurate.
 

hairyhandedfool

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I don't think it is inaccurate as such (though many 'well intentioned' things are, and not just on the railway) as you can buy tickets online or from a TVM without showing a Railcard (well you could show it, but you might get some funny looks).
 

mallard

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I don't think it is inaccurate as such (though many 'well intentioned' things are, and not just on the railway) as you can buy tickets online or from a TVM without showing a Railcard (well you could show it, but you might get some funny looks).
True, but I'm fairly sure the only reason that TVMs and websites don't ask for the railcard is because there is no reliable way for them to do so.
 
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