Collecting TOD from ticket office at Vauxhall

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kingston

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I tried to collect some train tickets from the machines at Vauxhall station recently and it failed despite putting in the right card/reference combination.

I went to the ticket office to ask them to print them off and they said they are unable to. I said I’m sure I’ve done this here before but she checked with her supervisor in the back office who both said they have never had any facility to print online-purchased tickets at the office - it’s the ticket machine or nothing.

Is this right?
 
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alistairlees

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I tried to collect some train tickets from the machines at Vauxhall station recently and it failed despite putting in the right card/reference combination.

I went to the ticket office to ask them to print them off and they said they are unable to. I said I’m sure I’ve done this here before but she checked with her supervisor in the back office who both said they have never had any facility to print online-purchased tickets at the office - it’s the ticket machine or nothing.

Is this right?
No, it’s wrong.
 

kingston

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I’m confused how both a ticket clerk and supervisor can both be so useless?

I asked if it was a lack of training how to to do it or if the systems were down - they both said they were physically not able to do it?!
 

Razza

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The main factor is that ticket office staff don't not want anything to do with TVM and ToD's due it being a grey area in their job description especially if bought via third party websites such a Trainline. It's very much a pet peeve within ticket office staff.
 

221129

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There was an outage at SWR the other day that meant bookings couldn't be retrieved. Maybe related to that?
 

CyrusWuff

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What exactly is a passenger supposed to do in such circumstances?
If it's a TVM issue, go to the Ticket Office (assuming it's open) and they should recall and issue the tickets (which may involve calling a Helpdesk to get the booking "unlocked").

In the event of a failure during printing, the Ticket Office should complete a "ToD Duplicate" form for the ticket(s) which either didn't print at all or only one part printed, retain the part-printed ticket, and issue a replacement on their Ticket Issuing System, with that train company taking the revenue hit.

Where the booking can't be ticketed through a TVM or Desktop TIS due to a retailing issue, the Ticket Office should complete a "ToD Replacement" form and issue new tickets. This then gets charged back to the original retailer.

If you board at an unstaffed station, or one that isn't a ToD collection location (e.g. a London Underground station) you should purchase a new ticket and contact the original retailer to request a refund.

Note that the above are the minimum standards stated in Knowledgebase. TOCs may have Local Procedures that exceed them (such as issuing an Authority to Travel where only their own services are involved).
 

DorkingMain

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The main factor is that ticket office staff don't not want anything to do with TVM and ToD's due it being a grey area in their job description especially if bought via third party websites such a Trainline. It's very much a pet peeve within ticket office staff.
Considering how much the role finds itself under threat, ticket office staff don't exactly go out of their way to be helpful.
 

Metal_gee_man

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Considering how much the role finds itself under threat, ticket office staff don't exactly go out of their way to be helpful.
I find if it's not in their interests they really don't, my local station are really friendly and happy to do it, in fact most SE manned stations are (Including a ticket pickup from LBG)
Conversely Guards, OBMs & OBSs tend to think it wastes their time as they aren't getting any commission/benefit, equally I got grief from a manned office on the Marches line in Wales about wasting her time when their are fare paying passengers stood behind me waiting to pay her and the collection machines were on the platform (I didn't know that) it all depends on the colleague in question in my opinion
 

RJ

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The main factor is that ticket office staff don't not want anything to do with TVM and ToD's due it being a grey area in their job description especially if bought via third party websites such a Trainline. It's very much a pet peeve within ticket office staff.

Don't tar us all with the same brush - your statement is categorically untrue for the stations I work at.
 

Haywain

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Don't tar us all with the same brush - your statement is categorically untrue for the stations I work at.
This. Some TOCs seem to have a problem across the board, some it’s pot luck and some will try to help. There’s an enormous variation.
 

DorkingMain

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This. Some TOCs seem to have a problem across the board, some it’s pot luck and some will try to help. There’s an enormous variation.
I think the problems come down to a variety of factors: training, the management culture, and also individuals who either take their job for granted, or are only interested in doing things in such a way that it benefits them to do so, or they are absolutely required to do.

Commission-chasing guards were mentioned above - I think that stems from similar issues.
 

Bletchleyite

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The main factor is that ticket office staff don't not want anything to do with TVM and ToD's due it being a grey area in their job description especially if bought via third party websites such a Trainline. It's very much a pet peeve within ticket office staff.

I have never known an industry in which some staff (it is a minority, but a very noticeable one) are so "jobsworth" that they trawl through the minutea of their contract before deciding to do something really simple using the tools they have in front of them to help a passenger in need of assistance :(

Ticket office staff taking this sort of line are actively trying to put themselves out of a job - and don't worry, both the TOCs and the DfT are very much going to help them in doing this if that is how they feel :(
 

Haywain

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I have never known an industry in which some staff (it is a minority, but a very noticeable one) are so "jobsworth" that they trawl through the minutea of their contract before deciding to do something really simple using the tools they have in front of them to help a passenger in need of assistance :(

Ticket office staff taking this sort of line are actively trying to put themselves out of a job - and don't worry, both the TOCs and the DfT are very much going to help them in doing this if that is how they feel :(
The role of unions (or union reps) in this should not be ignored.
 

infobleep

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The main factor is that ticket office staff don't not want anything to do with TVM and ToD's due it being a grey area in their job description especially if bought via third party websites such a Trainline. It's very much a pet peeve within ticket office staff.
If that's the case just be honest.
 

DelW

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I've had a similar issue, also on South Western. The TOD machine waited until I'd put in the booking reference before telling me that it had run out of ticket stock. Ticket clerk refused to assist as "the ticket wasn't bought from us" (it was a work trip booked through my employer's normal travel agency).

It took several hours and multiple emails and phone calls between me, my employer, the travel agency, and South Western, before another ticket clerk (same station, next shift) finally issued me the tickets.

It was very fortunate that I'd tried to get the tickets a couple of days before travelling, as I'd happened to be at the station anyway. Had I had the problem at time of departure the delay would have made the trip pointless, and caused problems for colleagues as well as me. I have avoided using TOD ever since.
 

Typhoon

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I find if it's not in their interests they really don't, my local station are really friendly and happy to do it, in fact most SE manned stations are (Including a ticket pickup from LBG)
I also live in SE, never have any problem. Worst that happens is the staff member just prints it out and puts it on the turntable without the minimum of conversation. They do insist that I read out the code, rather than them reading it but that's fine. I start with 'please', say why I am not using the machine ('glass screen is broken'), end with 'thank you'. No problem.

Inevitable that there will some staff/ stations where there will be issues (as @Haywain reports - this may be down to management or individual staff members) but that's true of any customer facing job. Shouldn't be but is. The OP certainly deserved more support but it would be a mistake to think that any passenger would get the same response everywhere.

I've had a similar issue, also on South Western. The TOD machine waited until I'd put in the booking reference before telling me that it had run out of ticket stock. Ticket clerk refused to assist as "the ticket wasn't bought from us" (it was a work trip booked through my employer's normal travel agency).
That's just daft - if the ticket stock had run out for you, didn't they realise that it would also have run out for someone who had bought the ticket from SWT? You can't account for some people!

Memo to self: avoid SWT!
 

DelW

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That's just daft - if the ticket stock had run out for you, didn't they realise that it would also have run out for someone who had bought the ticket from SWT? You can't account for some people!

Memo to self: avoid SWT!
I wasn't too impressed either, especially considering it was a quiet time, there was no one else in the station ticket office, and he evidently had nothing else to do!
 

Qwerty133

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There was an outage at SWR the other day that meant bookings couldn't be retrieved. Maybe related to that?
That might explain why they were unable to print the tickets at that exact moment but it doesn't explain the need to lie to the customer. Customers will be much happier on the whole if the issue is explained and if they know that they'll be able to collect the tickets at a later date without issues (if appropriate) or that alternative arrangements have been made to allow passengers from SWR stations to travel without their tickets being printed due to the issue (if the tickets were for immediate travel). Sending the passenger away without their tickets or any idea as to when they might be able to get them is terrible customer service.
 

Typhoon

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I wasn't too impressed either, especially considering it was a quiet time, there was no one else in the station ticket office, and he evidently had nothing else to do!
.... other than annoy you. He would have to refill it sooner or later.
 

Hadders

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There is a procedure for dealing with TOD collection problems. Staff are wrong to refuse to help, the procedure they should follow is detailed in the Internal Knowledge Base.

This is what it said in 2019, specifically section 5. Some, but not all tickets are printed/part printed. I doubt it's changed since then but perhaps someone who works in a ticket office can confirm.

iKB said:
Duplicate tickets can only be issued if a ToD CTR reference number can be supplied and the CTR successfully recalled for ticketing. Any part printed tickets must be handed over by the customer.

If there is a print failure during ticket printing at the SSTVM, a message will appear on the screen advising the customer to collect their tickets from the Ticket Office.

a) Collect from the customer all the tickets that were printed.
b) If possible, recall the CTR and check the status of the ToD booking using a TIS.
c) If the CTR cannot be recalled by the ticket office TIS, station staff should use the Live Sales Management (LSM) Console to review the status of the ToD booking.
d) If the LSM Console displays the status of the CTR as set to ‘P’ (print failure) the users of some TIS may be able to over-ride this status and re-issue the full set of tickets.
e) If the LSM Console reports the status as ‘Locked’ then;
(a) Users authorised to unlock CTRs should request an ‘Unlock’ using the LSM console.
(b) Users not authorised to unlock CTRs should call the LSM helpdesk. Requests to unlock CTRs will be managed by Smart421’s technical support team. The service is available seven days a week between the hours of 08:00 and 18:00 and can be contacted on 0845 120 5499.
When calling the LSM Helpdesk, station staff must have the following information available in order to proceed.
1. Name
2. Location (Station).
3. Answer to a secret question which has been defined by the TOC.

Unlocking should allow the ToD to be recalled and the tickets issued.
f) Ask the customer to complete Parts 1 & 2 of a ToD Duplicate Tickets Record Form.
g) If possible, check how many tickets were printed, using the SSTVM Supervisor Terminal. Keep evidence of this and submit with the operator’s balance sheet at the end of the shift.
h) If there is more than one journey booked under a single CTR, then the operator must select the ticket/tickets to be issued.
i) Complete Part 3 of the ToD Duplicate Tickets record Form with the details of the tickets issued.
j) Ask the customer to sign the ToD Duplicate Tickets Record Form in Part 4.
k) Provide the authorisation in Part 5.
l) Give the complete set of new tickets to the customer.
m) Mark the part printed tickets as cancelled and attach to the ToD Duplicate Tickets Record form.
n) Retain the ToD Duplicate Tickets Record Form at the TOC central accounting point.
Unlocking should allow the ToD to be recalled and the tickets issued.

This thread is about a similar problem.
 

alastair

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I've had a similar issue, also on South Western. The TOD machine waited until I'd put in the booking reference before telling me that it had run out of ticket stock. Ticket clerk refused to assist as "the ticket wasn't bought from us" (it was a work trip booked through my employer's normal travel agency).

It took several hours and multiple emails and phone calls between me, my employer, the travel agency, and South Western, before another ticket clerk (same station, next shift) finally issued me the tickets.

It was very fortunate that I'd tried to get the tickets a couple of days before travelling, as I'd happened to be at the station anyway. Had I had the problem at time of departure the delay would have made the trip pointless, and caused problems for colleagues as well as me. I have avoided using TOD ever since.
Just to say this issue is not universal on SWR. Ticket office staff at Farnborough Main, Farnham and Haslemere have, in my experience, all been happy to print TOD's without any trouble at all.
 

yorkie

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I tried to collect some train tickets from the machines at Vauxhall station recently and it failed despite putting in the right card/reference combination.

I went to the ticket office to ask them to print them off and they said they are unable to. I said I’m sure I’ve done this here before but she checked with her supervisor in the back office who both said they have never had any facility to print online-purchased tickets at the office - it’s the ticket machine or nothing.

Is this right?
Write a complaint to SWR.

You are also entitled to commence the journey without purchasing any additional tickets; the onus is on SWR to print any relevant tickets or issue any alternative authority to travel if, for whatever reason, they are unable to do so.

Considering how much the role finds itself under threat, ticket office staff don't exactly go out of their way to be helpful.
Some do, but you are right: many don't.

I am reminded of this, similar incident:

 

LowLevel

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I think the problems come down to a variety of factors: training, the management culture, and also individuals who either take their job for granted, or are only interested in doing things in such a way that it benefits them to do so, or they are absolutely required to do.

Commission-chasing guards were mentioned above - I think that stems from similar issues.

TOD recall on board is an interesting subject. Without naming TOCs, it was introduced a theoretical contigency for system failure at the booking office/TVM. The company went out of their way to remove the commission from the guard despite the fact they still get their fulfillment fee (I believe). Depending on how good the signal is it can take longer to fulfill a TOD recall than it does to sell a ticket and thus some guards took the view that they are losing out on making actual sales to fulfill TOD recalls - particularly when passengers started buying tickets they could have got from the guard online but routinely asked for them to be recalled meaning the guard did the same work but lost their commission so some guards decided not to use the function and to refer the passenger to the official means of using the next available TVM at destination or interchange.

Personally I have a different approach. I can't be bothered to stand around waiting for my machine to contact the server to download the recall and then confirm it has done so. Thus I quickly take a note of the ref number, destinations to confirm and the passenger's seat number and I tell them that as long as I have a good signal and time I will print their ticket where possible and come back to bring it to their seat. I usually end up batch printing them and nip through handing them out. If they don't see me, I tell them to assume I've not been able to do it and to use the alternative options, and make an announcement to that effect.

Works for me, works for the customer.
 

yorkie

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TOD recall on board is an interesting subject. Without naming TOCs, it was introduced a theoretical contigency for system failure at the booking office/TVM. The company went out of their way to remove the commission from the guard despite the fact they still get their fulfillment fee (I believe). Depending on how good the signal is it can take longer to fulfill a TOD recall than it does to sell a ticket and thus some guards took the view that they are losing out on making actual sales to fulfill TOD recalls - particularly when passengers started buying tickets they could have got from the guard online but routinely asked for them to be recalled meaning the guard did the same work but lost their commission so some guards decided not to use the function and to refer the passenger to the official means of using the next available TVM at destination or interchange.

Personally I have a different approach. I can't be bothered to stand around waiting for my machine to contact the server to download the recall and then confirm it has done so. Thus I quickly take a note of the ref number, destinations to confirm and the passenger's seat number and I tell them that as long as I have a good signal and time I will print their ticket where possible and come back to bring it to their seat. I usually end up batch printing them and nip through handing them out. If they don't see me, I tell them to assume I've not been able to do it and to use the alternative options, and make an announcement to that effect.

Works for me, works for the customer.
Brilliantly pragmatic, as always.

I just wish a pragmatic approach was universal across the industry; we can but dream.

Thanks for the informative post :)
 

Bletchleyite

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TOD recall on board is an interesting subject. Without naming TOCs, it was introduced a theoretical contigency for system failure at the booking office/TVM. The company went out of their way to remove the commission from the guard despite the fact they still get their fulfillment fee (I believe). Depending on how good the signal is it can take longer to fulfill a TOD recall than it does to sell a ticket and thus some guards took the view that they are losing out on making actual sales to fulfill TOD recalls - particularly when passengers started buying tickets they could have got from the guard online but routinely asked for them to be recalled meaning the guard did the same work but lost their commission so some guards decided not to use the function and to refer the passenger to the official means of using the next available TVM at destination or interchange.

Personally I have a different approach. I can't be bothered to stand around waiting for my machine to contact the server to download the recall and then confirm it has done so. Thus I quickly take a note of the ref number, destinations to confirm and the passenger's seat number and I tell them that as long as I have a good signal and time I will print their ticket where possible and come back to bring it to their seat. I usually end up batch printing them and nip through handing them out. If they don't see me, I tell them to assume I've not been able to do it and to use the alternative options, and make an announcement to that effect.

Works for me, works for the customer.

If only every guard was like you! :)
 

LowLevel

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Well a lot of the places I work if you don't work around the phone signal it is easy to get stuck which is inefficient. Dore and Totley and Liverpool South Parkway (the latter even have pre printed cards for when the TVM fails) were the usual two problem stations pre COVID. From Dore I used to do my usual grip and take note of references then stop Hathersage to Earles Sidings and around Chinley to print TOD recalls and hand them out in Disley Tunnel, making use of the dead signal spaces to check/hand out TOD recalls and good signal spaces to sell/print.

From South Parkway unless they were making local journeys I used to batch print after Warrington and hand them out before Manchester.

Working out little things like that keeps your brain working in what can be a repetitive job.
 

Bletchleyite

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South Parkway wouldn't be a problem if Merseyrail could just manage to get past their aversion to the whole "being part of the National Rail network" thing and start issuing ToD from their own TVMs and ticket offices, or at least rein in their objections to e-ticket acceptance.
 
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