Cross Country weekend first

Discussion in 'Disputes & Prosecutions' started by WesternLancer, 2 Dec 2019.

  1. WesternLancer

    WesternLancer Member

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    I've had this issue on a couple of times and wonder if others have had it / have any thoughts.

    It concerns occasions when an XC train is made up of 2 units, and I've experienced it on both a Voyager and a Turbostar (the latter last weekend).

    For fairly obv reasons the guard with ticket issuing facilities is in one half and the only staff member in the other half of the train (the part with the driver) is the trolley host, unknown to me on boarding which half.

    I get on the train and go to 1st to sit down, (it's empty - on both occasions) and the trolley host says I can't use it without a 1st class ticket to which i ask for an upgrade. Trolley host explains they can't sell the upgrade, only the guard can, and they can't walk through so I can't use it.

    Having had the situation before I recall thinking how daft this is and insist on sitting in the empty compartment. Trolley host is of course unhappy but when I say 'if there is no gaurd who is checking the tickets?' to which the answer is no one. I explain that I will very happily go to find the gaurd when I get off to pay, since they can't come to charge me. I was polite but firm, the host was very unhappy but left me to it, saying she would report the matter to the guard.

    It's really bonkers. If the trolley hosts could sell me £10 etc of drinks from the trolley why can they no sell a £10 etc upgrade?

    What other business would actually turn down offers of payment from customers and leave products (empty seats) unsold, on an otherwise busy train?

    I had promised the host that I wanted to pay so I did indeed go immediately to the gaurd on the platform in the dwell time with my money ready. I had indeed been reported to the gaurd who knew of the situation. The gaurd explained that she did not have time to do the ticket, thanked me for my honesty in offering to pay, and basically used her discretion not to charge me.

    I didn't feel good about that as I had promised the trolley host I WOULD pay, so I popped in to the ticket office (who were quite bemused by my request), but as the XC w/end upgrades are on the system, were happy to take my money and issue me with a ticket.

    But I do think XC's policy of not allowing people to pay upgrades to custmer host staff that have money handling facilities is really pretty daft - esp as a good few of their trains are made up of double sets.
     
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  3. Master29

    Master29 Established Member

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    I have sat in first on crosscountry before at weekends waiting for a Train manager to appear and had my money ready for the upgrade only for no one to come round. I just got off as usual. If they can't be asked to enforce their policy of weekend firsts that's their problem. Bonkers as you say.
     
  4. gray1404

    gray1404 Established Member

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    Did the trolly host serve you with complimentary food and drinks once you'd taken the seat in 1st?
     
  5. WesternLancer

    WesternLancer Member

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    No, she did not offer them (I don't think she believed that I would in fact make an effort to pay - but that is a hunch), but I would have not taken them if offered as I would personally feel it not the thing to do to take said items until after paying, and it might even, for all I know, create a stock check problem for her personally eg comp stock offered but no 1st class ticket or upgrade issued. I realise you could apply that logic to the 'taking of the 1st class seat', however the convention is clearly that you sit in the seat until payment is requested, I would say.

    In fact as per what it says on their website it does not say words to the effect of 'and you can't sit in it unless there is a staff member to pay your fare to which may not always be the case'.
    https://www.crosscountrytrains.co.uk/tickets/weekend-upgrade
    Buying on-board
    Weekend Upgrades can be purchased on-board the train provided you hold a valid Standard ticket and subject to space being available in First Class.
     
    Last edited: 2 Dec 2019
  6. WesternLancer

    WesternLancer Member

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    I agree, if no one came round to ask then I would probably do the same. But in this instance a staff member came to ask if my ticket was 1st, I said no and asked to pay, and she said she could not take my payment so I would have to leave the seat. I promised to pay at the earliest opportunity - which turned out to be more complicated to do - and of course then sought to hold good on my promise to that member of staff.
     
  7. gray1404

    gray1404 Established Member

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    It's a shame the host deprived you of the complimentary food and drink. You were:
    1. Ready to pay from the outset
    2. Promised to seek out the TM later, which you did and offered to pay again
    3. Despite the TM advising that you did not need to pay on this occasion, you still paid at the ticket office.
    It therefore is a shame the host didn't serve you the items. I wonder if she was somewhat hostile towards you.
     
  8. WesternLancer

    WesternLancer Member

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    Yes, it was a shame.

    The host was nice and professional. If anything I was 'firm' in my insistence in taking the seat, and I hope she did not feel I was being rude by being insistent. It seemed to me (esp given the same thing happened on a voyager about 6 months ago, but on that occasion the station dwell time allowed me to move to the other unit - which was annoying as I then had to walk through 4 cars to get to the 1st class of the second unit) that they must have a policy that means if you can't upgrade they won't let you use it or offer the comps.

    On both occasions there were no other 1st class passengers, so no walk up 1st class ticket holders or 1st Advance tickets sold on the trains in question.
     
  9. WesternLancer

    WesternLancer Member

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    And of course it now occurs to me that to use the w/e 1st and pay the guard, I would have to have been in the other 2 cars of the Turbostar which would not have been staffed by the trolley - so I would have paid my £10 and still not got any Comp products!!

    No doubt the guard would then have told me that the trolley was in the other half of the train and could not be accessed!
     
  10. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Typical tightfisted XC. Twice this weekend on other TOCs I have availed myself of 1st freebies prior to the guard coming around to take the upgrade.
     
  11. WesternLancer

    WesternLancer Member

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    Well, I suppose so!

    I'd been on LNER prior to XC - and they served the comps without asking about ticket entitlement at all. The guard then comes and takes the upgrade payment in due course, so in that sense you get the free stuff before payment.

    EMR w/e 1st comp drinks require you to take your ticket to the buffet IIRC

    I can't recall what GWR and VTWC do.
     
  12. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Neither VTWC nor TPE asked me for the money before giving out refreshments this weekend. It was of course duly paid once the guard showed up - and the guard did already know I wanted it on TPE as I asked him how much it was before sitting down!
     
  13. Master29

    Master29 Established Member

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    You have no obligation to seek out the guard anyway. I just sit and wait for him
     
  14. WesternLancer

    WesternLancer Member

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    Yes, I agree, though in this case an XC staff member indicated I should not sit in the space as there was no one to sell me a ticket. I would never intentionally seek to annoy a staff member in the course of their duties - but this seemed so daft to me. That's why I thought they operate some sort of policy that the trolley staff are expected to enforce.

    What do other TOCs with joined sets do on w/e 1st as a matter of interest? This will be an issue for GWR and LNER with joined Class 800 sets, or indeed EMRs shorter Meridiens when joined. Do they staff both halves with staff who are able to take the upgrade fees whichever half you sit in? Do West Coast Voyagers work in multiple creating a similar issue?
     
    Last edited: 2 Dec 2019
  15. Master29

    Master29 Established Member

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    Personally I think GWR handle things a little better as the 2x5 car iet sets I've been on have had both sets staffed afaik, but that's only been through limited experience and I haven't as yet done weekend upgrades since GWR went over to IET's. Time will tell of course. I've always found crosscountry to be a bit picky with regard to weekend firsts as you point out.
     
  16. MarieDon

    MarieDon Member

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    Or her ;)
     
  17. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    They're also the only TOC who won't sell them to Advance holders I believe.

    Talking of VTWC I believe the double sets are double staffed. Unlike GWR they seem to be able to do this reasonably reliably.
     
  18. packermac

    packermac Member

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    I guess if you really wanted to go to the effort you could raise this as misleading advertising with the ASA.
     
  19. WesternLancer

    WesternLancer Member

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    Yes, that web link I posted says that w/e 1st is not available to std Advance ticket holders. I wonder if staff would refuse the money if you offered it however. The thinking may be that they have so few 1st class seats they want to put off some people to save space for walk up 1st class ticket holders perhaps. If so that would be logical.
     
  20. WesternLancer

    WesternLancer Member

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    They have a clear 'get out' ("when available") on the web page, so I suspect that would be a waste of time.
     
  21. packermac

    packermac Member

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    Yes true, but it does not say you have to find the portion of the train that the TM is travelling in to be eligible for the upgrade though does it.
    Logically (and yes I know we are talking the rail industry here) why would XC not expect the TM to move between the sets during the journey anyway. Or are we saying there are no standard class ticket checks either in half of a two set train?
     
  22. gray1404

    gray1404 Established Member

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    The OP in this case did go above and beyond by going to the booking office to insist on paying. Most people would have left it once they had spoke to the guard.
     
  23. WesternLancer

    WesternLancer Member

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    I do agree with you, but I'm not going to bother the ASA with it.

    I suspect the TM stays in the rear half as the safety trained person in that part of the train? (driver being in the front half to perform that role) - probably no ticket checks in the front half unless extra staff on to perform that retail function.
     
  24. Scousemouse

    Scousemouse Member

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    I've been on a GWR double set where the guard was on the back portion and customer host in the front - where I was.

    Customer host spent a lot of time lecturing about the weekend first having to be bought before boarding just in case the guard was not there. Which is bollocks as you can't buy them in the station (I don't think) as you can only get them if there is room.

    She still served people mind.
     
  25. Surreytraveller

    Surreytraveller Established Member

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    Does the trolley dolly actually have the authority to ask you to leave first class if they are unable to sell tickets? Do they have the necessary training to actually know whether a ticket is valid anyway?
     
  26. WesternLancer

    WesternLancer Member

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    Yes, difficult to get in the station I suspect, and not logical to do so for exactly the reason you state - there may then be no seat when you board.

    To get them at the station I bet they need to be on the fares database, which I'd noted XC's were (I just looked at BR fares and I can see GWRs are too, but EMRs are not I don't think, so ref GWR in theory you could buy it ahead - and then how easy would it be to get a refund if there was no seat I wonder....). Even the ticket office staff answered my query by saying "I don't think we can sell them here", but on looking, found it and then of course did sell it to me.
     
  27. WesternLancer

    WesternLancer Member

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    I'm not sure. She didn't insist on seeing my ticket, just asked me if I had a 1st class ticket or staff pass, to which I said no, and that I wanted to pay for the upgrade. To which answer was not 'OK', but 'You can't'.
    I suspect XC hosts are supposed to ask or look before giving out the comps, and be sure they are reasonably satisfied that you are entitled to them.
     
  28. voyagerdude220

    voyagerdude220 Established Member

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    I've never had issues with Cross Country staff before, although have on Virgin.

    I once (several years ago) had a member of catering staff on Virgin try to remove me from First Class on the front set of a pair of Super Voyagers, despite me having a perfectly valid Standard Open Return on a Sunday, which entitled me to sit in First Class for free subject to seats being available. (It was very quiet in First Class)

    Catering guy was very insistent that I moved, despite me explaining it was valid at weekends. Only when I insisted he contacted the Train Manager (who was in the rear set) about five minutes later the catering guy returned and just said I could stay in First. It was very rare for at seat service to be provided at weekends on a Super Voyager, probably spare catering staff because of very limited service (one in each direction) that particular Easter Sunday via the Settle and Carlisle.
     
  29. paddington

    paddington Member

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    I have tried this a few times on XC (mainly when standard is standing room only and 1st is empty) and the catering guy has always told me to sit down. They only give out the free drink after you buy the ticket. Once the guard did not come, I didn't have to pay but I didn't get the free drink.
     
  30. WesternLancer

    WesternLancer Member

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    Interesting - that's more or less the opposite of my experience (minus the drinks etc which was the same, not the opposite, experience)
     
  31. Merle Haggard

    Merle Haggard Member

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    It might be relevant that the at seat staff Voyagers & HSTs are CC directly employed staff but (and this was the case recently but it may have changed) those manning the trollies on 170s were staff working for a contractor.
    It's certainly the case that staff travelling on privs. etc. whilst allowed a hot drink on 22x/HST are not allowed one on 170s, supporting the idea that the 170 catering is more 'arms-length'.
    Double Voyagers are pretty rare on CC and I accept your experience that both are not manned but on Virgin all sets were usually manned; I even got served in coach Q on a triple Voyager on a Chiltern Line shuttle triple Voyager on a Sunday.
     

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