Compulsory Reservations- Poll

Do you agree or disagree with the introduction of compulsory reservations on Inter-City trains?

  • Agree

  • Disagree

  • Indifferent


Results are only viewable after voting.

Bletchleyite

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A system of pay as you go "local" or commuting journeys combined with compulsory reservation intercity sounds great in theory but falls down in practice when you don't have a separation between short and long distance services or operator. Why should a less than one hour commute into London or Manchester for example on a season or PAYG be turn up and go but the same time and distance for a commute on the same ticket type now require reservations elsewhere in the country due to the lack of capacity of the operator concerned?

You'd also have the "Reading issue" - canny Reading commuters would reserve all the seats and nobody would be able to book a journey from Penzance. The only solution I could see for that would be season ticket holders only being able to pick up a seat on arrival at the station, but that would be awkward too. In essence as you say it only really works if your IC services don't carry a significant number of local passengers.

Clearly that will work for HS2 as it's effectively laid on top of the (slowed down) existing service, but it would certainly be an issue for XC and GWR, unless paths could be found for say a 4tph 12-car Reading-Slough-Paddington service to take all the commuters and ban them entirely from the 80x.
 
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stuu

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I (used to) regularly catch the XC 1749 from Bristol to Taunton, as do at least 100 other commuters on an average day. Virtually none of those people get a seat, so in this potential future would none of them be able to use this train? As others have said, XC has this issue across it's network. Equally GWR "intercity" services are part of the offering between Bristol and Bath, Weston, Bristol Parkway etc. How would that work?

Seems to create more problems than it solves for me. Reserved/non-reserved carriages make more sense, but not great when there is only a 4-car voyager or whatever
 

takno

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I can't find any officially posted guidance from LNER on this when your connection to the LNER service is delayed. Or perhaps for the passenger to have the choice of next available service, new reservation or full refund (not delay repay dependent on time delayed, more if service you have reservation on is cancelled automatic full refund.)
They've been leaving a quite spectacularly large chunk of every train unused for that eventuality. Platform stuff just direct you to the appropriate carriage and generally trust you to be able to space yourselves out around the coach.

None of what LNER have been doing would work at all with anything like normal numbers of travellers - they'd be turning hundreds of people away every day. The reality of compulsory reservations on an overcrowded railway isn't "it's going to be a bit more expensive", its "why don't you find yourself a nice bench to sleep on because we aren't getting you home tonight" and "not a bench in the station, sir, we close the station at midnight".
 

Bevan Price

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In practice most people behave themselves, and the odd few not doing doesn't cause a major problem. This is similar to pick up/set down only services at MKC - if the train wasn't checked on boarding at Euston (rare these days) you will tend to see one or two canny commuters getting off a northbound at MKC, but it's only one or two so it doesn't cause a great issue.

There are other options, I suppose:
  1. Change Penalty Fares legislation so a Penalty Fare of £20 applies to boarding a reservation-only service without a reservation;
  2. Move to "global fares", i.e. you don't issue any tickets without a reservation, like Eurostar or airlines;
  3. Impose a charge for on-board "issue of reservations" (on the basis that if there aren't any to sell you you will be chucked off at the next station).
Euston is a special case - there are barriers where tickets & reservations can be checked before you get on the platform.
At various times in the past, some long-distance trains to Manchester were "set down only" at Stockport. That did not stop passengers for Manchester piling onto those trains when they called at Stockport. A similar situation will exist at any other station lacking controlled access to individual platforms.
 

Bletchleyite

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At various times in the past, some long-distance trains to Manchester were "set down only" at Stockport. That did not stop passengers for Manchester piling onto those trains when they called at Stockport. A similar situation will exist at any other station lacking controlled access to individual platforms.

It wouldn't overly matter if they did, either - the reason for this being in the timetable was so they could leave early towards Manchester if they arrived early at Stockport. This was only removed when VT noticed that they could make a few extra quid with dedicated fares.

The other way round you might want to stop it and could do with boarding checks at Piccadilly if you wanted (give or take people sneaking via the footbridge), as the Avanti platforms are barriered separately from the others.
 

squizzler

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I am a little confused when I read forum members holding forth about how they would rather stand than have a guaranteed seat waiting for them on the train. Many of the same members frequently hold forth about the quality of seating provided on new trains. Surely if train seats are regarded as making or breaking the enjoyment of train travel (an oft expressed view) then having to spend a lengthy trip without a chair at all must be purgatory, and measures to prevent such an occurrence would be supported?
 

edwin_m

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I am a little confused when I read forum members holding forth about how they would rather stand than have a guaranteed seat waiting for them on the train. Many of the same members frequently hold forth about the quality of seating provided on new trains. Surely if train seats are regarded as making or breaking the enjoyment of train travel (an oft expressed view) then having to spend a lengthy trip without a chair at all must be purgatory, and measures to prevent such an occurrence would be supported?
Maybe they're saying some seats are so purgatorial that it's preferable to stand?
 

Bletchleyite

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Maybe they're saying some seats are so purgatorial that it's preferable to stand?

Time for an advert for Grammer? :)

There are seats that are worse than standing, such as the middle of the 3 side of 3+2 in UK loading gauge or most seats on a 150/2 or 153 in which I physically can't sit down, but whatever I might think of Fainsa's finest I'd still rather sit on one than stand for 3 hours. So I think that debate only really applies to purely local/commuter trains, which are not compulsory reservation in the vast majority of the world and are not proposed to be as such - indeed the UK is pretty unusual in having Advance fares on them at all.
 

BayPaul

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I am a little confused when I read forum members holding forth about how they would rather stand than have a guaranteed seat waiting for them on the train. Many of the same members frequently hold forth about the quality of seating provided on new trains. Surely if train seats are regarded as making or breaking the enjoyment of train travel (an oft expressed view) then having to spend a lengthy trip without a chair at all must be purgatory, and measures to prevent such an occurrence would be supported?
I think they are saying (and why I voted against) is that they would prefer to have to stand than to not be able to get on a train at all, if all the seats are taken. People can already reserve seats on these services if they don't want to stand, so there are really no benefits to this policy as far as I can see.
 

Bletchleyite

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I think they are saying (and why I voted against) is that they would prefer to have to stand than to not be able to get on a train at all, if all the seats are taken. People can already reserve seats on these services if they don't want to stand, so there are really no benefits to this policy as far as I can see.

What you're forgetting is that even sitting on a full-and-standing train is really unpleasant. It's hot, it's stuffy, you can't get to the bog/buffet/the trolley can't get to you, you can't get to your bag to get stuff out, it's stressful getting on and off etc. It is not a quality InterCity travelling experience. Add to that that you may have to end up giving up your seat anyway if someone needs it more than you, and the whole situation is just pretty rubbish.

To be fair I find this extremely rare on the WCML (basically just Friday evenings, and that has been sorted out by removing ticket restrictions), but it sounds like the ECML might perhaps have more of a capacity issue than that, and XC definitely does, though XC would be sorted out by simply biting the bullet and ordering enough 80x to double the capacity, which has been roughly how far off the mark it has been ever since the idiocy of Operation Pumpkin something like 15 years ago now (and then repeated shortly after with TPE and the 185s, too).
 
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plugwash

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the Avanti platforms are barriered separately from the others.
Pretty sure that is not the case, IIRC at the concourse end there is a barrier between the medium and high numbered platforms but no barrier between the low and medium numbered platforms.

And of course there are no barriers at all at the footbridge end.
 

Bletchleyite

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Pretty sure that is not the case, IIRC at the concourse end there is a barrier between the medium and high numbered platforms but no barrier between the low and medium numbered platforms.

Yes, there is. The low-numbered ones are gated but with a separate set of gates controlled by TPE and a glass wall between the two bits, unless they have removed that very recently.

And of course there are no barriers at all at the footbridge end.

There aren't, but most people wouldn't think to do that, and again if the odd one or two do it's not going to cause a major headache, refer to my comment about MKC commuters above.
 

southern442

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Not only that, but if you ask people "do you want a seat with nobody else standing near you" of course they're going to say yes (and if you could be so kind as to throw in free refreshments and a footrub they probably would also say yes to those too). It could never possibly be them that is refused travel because they were too slow to book and all the trains are ""full"", that'd only ever happen to other people

If people really do want to travel without the rest of the public then they can take their car, or pay the increased fares
From a political point of view I always say that the public knows best, but not from a railway point of view. (If my memory serves me correctly, there was a whole BBC documentary about a group of passengers who wanted to take over southeastern and their whole mantra was to guarantee a seat for everyone during the rush hour or something) and when you have such a complex operation such as this, it's best not to consult the public.

Interestingly, before Thalys had a big falling-out with DB, they used to have one coach that they wouldn't issue reservations in that extended into Germany (i.e. past Aachen Hbf or whatever the other border crossings were), and that coach was available for local journeys using DB walk-up tickets (I think ICE price level, but might be wrong). You could viably do something like that - I don't know loadings on the ECML, but using a WCML example you might well save one coach on the Scottish services for journeys between Crewe and Carlisle where Avanti provide the local service for local journeys, but those seats could be reserved for Euston-Crewe and Carlisle-Glasgow where the train doesn't serve that role.
I think I'd probably loosen that up a little for the UK - i.e. have several coaches of purely reservations and nobody else is allowed in unless there is enough spare seating space, and then several coaches that are unreserved (or at least, you can reserve some seats but everyone else comes in too). Although if you go too far down that route you end up creating what is essentially first class all over again.
 

Bletchleyite

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I think I'd probably loosen that up a little for the UK - i.e. have several coaches of purely reservations and nobody else is allowed in unless there is enough spare seating space, and then several coaches that are unreserved (or at least, you can reserve some seats but everyone else comes in too). Although if you go too far down that route you end up creating what is essentially first class all over again.

Yes, I've proposed that before, it would offer an element of "the best of both worlds" in that it would be possible to reserve up to right before departure even at intermediates, and if no reservations were left you'd know how busy it was and so would be able to decide accordingly if you preferred to almost certainly stand or try a different one. Part of the problem is that if travelling walk-up you've really got no decent indication of how busy a train is until it's there in the platform, so you can't even decide if waiting for the next one is sensible because that might be worse - and even real-time loading data won't be any use there unless it's already on the way.
 

Domh245

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From a political point of view I always say that the public knows best, but not from a railway point of view. (If my memory serves me correctly, there was a whole BBC documentary about a group of passengers who wanted to take over southeastern and their whole mantra was to guarantee a seat for everyone during the rush hour or something) and when you have such a complex operation such as this, it's best not to consult the public.

Very true, although I was thinking more about the "thee not me" phenomenon that polling tends to produce (see also Covid restrictions which seem to enjoy massive support in polling but don't seem to be so well followed - especially masks which apparently had widespread support before being made mandatory in supermarkets but you'd never have guessed that by counting the number of masks you saw before that point) - People will obviously want a railway where they've got a guaranteed seat and nobody standing in their vicinity (or perhaps even sitting next to them) but they'll change their tone as soon as they're the ones being denied travel because the train is full
 

superalbs

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From a political point of view I always say that the public knows best, but not from a railway point of view. (If my memory serves me correctly, there was a whole BBC documentary about a group of passengers who wanted to take over southeastern and their whole mantra was to guarantee a seat for everyone during the rush hour or something) and when you have such a complex operation such as this, it's best not to consult the public.


I think I'd probably loosen that up a little for the UK - i.e. have several coaches of purely reservations and nobody else is allowed in unless there is enough spare seating space, and then several coaches that are unreserved (or at least, you can reserve some seats but everyone else comes in too). Although if you go too far down that route you end up creating what is essentially first class all over again.
So, compulsory reservation, unless there's room, in which case you can go in without a reservation, otherwise you have to stand in another carriage? Mad.

I presume that people who want this to happen have never fallen victim to these wretched schemes, not here nor abroad?
 

southern442

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So, compulsory reservation, unless there's room, in which case you can go in without a reservation, otherwise you have to stand in another carriage? Mad.

I presume that people who want this to happen have never fallen victim to these wretched schemes, not here nor abroad?
I'm not saying I want this to happen, I'm just suggesting it as a potential compromise. I'm sure you'd prefer this system to not being able to get in the train at all.
 

david1212

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Generally at the time of booking I do not want to be committed to specific trains nor excluded. If I have to stand that is the risk I take.

I am fine with a proportion of seats being reserveable but only to those holding full fare tickets for the journey i.e. anytime then Saver and off peak when valid and season tickets. They should never be available with any form of discounted ticket. Futher the latter of course should only be available with a quota on services with loads well below capacity.
 

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