Detection of fraudulent reuse of tickets

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WarJan

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A passenger asked so I’ve raised this with higher management as it’s fraudulent and our RPIs don’t use such equipment but we understand greater Anglia do?


Therefore we know ticket barriers can check open return (1 month long tickets) if they’ve been used more than once but can a RPI at any TOC, check if a paper ticket has been used already whilst they patrol a train?

such as using a machine to check Smartcard validity, can they insert a ticket that has been used already into a specific handheld machine if there is no visible validation on the paper ticket such as a hole or Stamp?

Can they the See if that paper ticket has been used previously such as in a barrier

The supervisors don’t deal with revenue or RPI technologies in checking validity we just issue tickets.
The odd passenger asks here and there about using open returns as “season tickets”, this is fraudulent each portion is for a one time use but any experts on here who know if such paper tickets can be checked using machines by RPIs would be greatly appreciated so I can pass this on to our teams and request for such technologies to be implemented if the union approves

thanks in advance.
 
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py_megapixel

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I'm not entirely sure what you're asking here, but here's some information which may help you:

Open return tickets have two portions - the out portion and the return portion.

So on a ticket from P to Q, the out portion is valid for one journey from P to Q, and the return portion for one journey from Q to P.

It is perfectly valid to use the out portion and then the return portion. It is NOT valid to use the out portion twice, or to use the return portion twice, or to use the out portion at all after the return portion has been used.

Hope this helps.
 

WarJan

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I'm not entirely sure what you're asking here, but here's some information which may help you:

Open return tickets have two portions - the out portion and the return portion.

So on a ticket from P to Q, the out portion is valid for one journey from P to Q, and the return portion for one journey from Q to P.

It is perfectly valid to use the out portion and then the return portion. It is NOT valid to use the out portion twice, or to use the return portion twice, or to use the out portion at all if the return portion has been used.

Hope this helps.
Apologies I’ll rephrase in the edit. Basically can anyone check if the return portion of that has been used more than once without the barrier saying “seek assistance”
 

Wolfie

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It absolutely is fraudulent. Cynically l would be unsurprised if someone who intended to commit such fraud "accidentally" demagnitised the strip on a paper ticket. No checking equipment in the world would work then.

I once made the mistake of putting my paper annual season ticket near my mobile phone which was in a case with a magnetic catch.... The ticket was completely wiped out and unreadable. Replacement was the only option.

Edited to add: Barriers saying "Seek assistance" are by no means definitive proof of ticket reuse either.
 

WarJan

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It absolutely is fraudulent. Cynically l would be unsurprised if someone who intended to commit such fraud "accidentally" demagnitised the strip on a paper ticket. No checking equipment in the world would work then.

I once made the mistake of putting my paper annual season ticket near my mobile phone which was in a case with a magnetic catch.... The ticket was completely wiped out and unreadable.

Edited to add: Barriers saying "Seek assistance" are by no means definitive proof of ticket reuse either.
That’s very true, sometimes a phone stops a ticket working, but once a return ticket (the 30 day portion) has entered the barrier, is there any mark on there so that a RPI can check that it’s already had it’s one use in the barrier , someone could keep using it?

they could use the return ticket daily as it lasts for a month ? There must be a handheld RPI type machine that can check paper tickets surely? Our RPIS have a big challenge battling this type of fraud
 

Llandudno

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I'm not entirely sure what you're asking here, but here's some information which may help you:

Open return tickets have two portions - the out portion and the return portion.

So on a ticket from P to Q, the out portion is valid for one journey from P to Q, and the return portion for one journey from Q to P.

It is perfectly valid to use the out portion and then the return portion. It is NOT valid to use the out portion twice, or to use the return portion twice, or to use the out portion at all after the return portion has been used.

Hope this helps.
But you can break your journey on the return portion of the ticket, so your ticket could be checked and flag up as used numerous times potentially?
 

87 027

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A while ago I came across a list of gateline error codes and the following appear to be relevant (if it's still up to date)
21 - ticket already used for entry
22 - ticket already used for exit
42 - double use in one direction

But as I understand the thread the "exam question" is whether this can be checked on board a train as opposed to at a gateline
 

Watershed

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A passenger asked so I’ve raised this with higher management as it’s fraudulent and our RPIs don’t use such equipment but we understand greater Anglia do?


Therefore we know ticket barriers can check open return (1 month long tickets) if they’ve been used more than once but can a RPI at any TOC, check if a paper ticket has been used already whilst they patrol a train?

such as using a machine to check Smartcard validity, can they insert a ticket that has been used already into a specific handheld machine if there is no visible validation on the paper ticket such as a hole or Stamp?

Can they the See if that paper ticket has been used previously such as in a barrier

The supervisors don’t deal with revenue or RPI technologies in checking validity we just issue tickets.
The odd passenger asks here and there about using open returns as “season tickets”, this is fraudulent each portion is for a one time use but any experts on here who know if such paper tickets can be checked using machines by RPIs would be greatly appreciated so I can pass this on to our teams and request for such technologies to be implemented if the union approves

thanks in advance.
CCSTs have a very simple (and often unreliable) magnetic strip on the back, which is encoded with 192 bits for National Rail purposes (there are a further 192 bits that are used if there is TfL validity, e.g. on a cross-London or Travelcard ticket).

Part of this strip contains space to record details regarding the last barrier through which the ticket passed. This is why gates will sometimes reject tickets that are marked as having previously passed through a barrier (this is normally something that can be configured as desired).

Avantix ticket machines had the capability to read this part of the magnetic strip but these machines have now been phased out, and I am not aware of any replacement ticket machines that have the capability to read magnetic strips.

Given the low usage rates for CCSTs across most of the country, I'm not sure it would be a worthwhile use of resources to procure a machine which can undertake such checks, for various reasons including how liable the strip is to corruption through magnetic interference, broken barriers etc.

Of course, if the RPIs can get hold of an old, working Avantix machine somehow, that may be the easiest way of doing such checks. But in most cases a watertight case will be able to be built more effectively through the judicious application of 'stings'.
 

py_megapixel

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As I understand this thread the "exam question" is whether an RPI can check if a ticket has been passed through a gateline in such a way as to detect fraudulent reuse.

A while ago I came across a list of gateline error codes and the following appear to be relevant (if it's still up to date)
21 - ticket already used for entry
22 - ticket already used for exit
42 - double use in one direction
If that's true that partially answer's OP's question then, as it suggests that the gates do theoretically have the capability to flag up misuse of a ticket in this way.
Whether any TOCs have the other infrastructure needed to make this work, and whether any kind of penalty would result based on the gate error code alone, I don't know.
However, it's worth nothing that conductors do sometimes still draw on or punch a hole in tickets to mark that they have been used.

But I fail to see how any of this is relevant.
The question being asked, if we abstract it slightly, is "as a member of railway staff, is the correct advice for me to give to passengers the one which does not result in them travelling without a valid ticket?" - to which the answer is, obviously, YES!
Regardless of whether or not they could realistically be caught, it is still against the rules...
 

87 027

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So the technical answer is yes, a ticket is marked to show it has been used. But there are practical considerations that limit the real world usefulness of this:

- the reuse may not be fraudulent if it is a legitimate break of journey
- the magnetic stripe holding the information may have become unreadable (accidentally or deliberately)
- the on-board equipment that was capable of reading magnetic strips has been phased out without replacement

It sounds to me that the enquiries as reported by the OP are that the passenger knows full well it is wrong but wants to risk assess their chances of "getting away with it"
 

miami

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If you don't have evidence that a passenger is breaking the law, then they aren't.

There are many times that a return ticket could be marked, or have a "ticket used for exit" flag, yet still be perfectly valid. For example, a return half of a London-Rhyl ticket being used to enter at Birmingham while flagged as having been previously used is fine, might have been used at Chester and Crewe, not been scanned at Wolverhampton, and the person could have got the metro to New Street.
 

87 027

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All good points but we are straying off the central question of whether there are reliable methods of establishing, on board a train, whether an open return with no physical markings has been previously used in a manner which makes the current use fraudulent.

I think we have established that this cannot be conclusively proved, for a variety of reasons
 

theironroad

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But you can break your journey on the return portion of the ticket, so your ticket could be checked and flag up as used numerous times potentially?

The key is that the ticket can't be used over the same portion of route twice but as you say break of journey (Inc overnight(s)) is fine.

A Edinburgh to London return portion can be used multiple times along the route over many days and may have scribbles, punches, imprints on it , but as long as it's on a valid route and and being used on a section of route heading towards London then it's ok regardless of any looks a ticket examiner may give.

If the Industry eventually moves to a single journey ticket only policy and scrap returns then this valuable benefit will be lost.
 

Wolfie

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But you can break your journey on the return portion of the ticket, so your ticket could be checked and flag up as used numerous times potentially?
A very valid point.

A while ago I came across a list of gateline error codes and the following appear to be relevant (if it's still up to date)
21 - ticket already used for entry
22 - ticket already used for exit
42 - double use in one direction

But as I understand the thread the "exam question" is whether this can be checked on board a train as opposed to at a gateline
You are right about the exam question.

As pointed out by Llandudno error code 42 dies not necessarily imply misuse. Nor indeed does any of them. For example toilets being closed in one part of Birmingham New Street meant that l had to exit one lounge area and enter another, both through gatelines, to use the toilet.

So the technical answer is yes, a ticket is marked to show it has been used. But there are practical considerations that limit the real world usefulness of this:

- the reuse may not be fraudulent if it is a legitimate break of journey
- the magnetic stripe holding the information may have become unreadable (accidentally or deliberately)
- the on-board equipment that was capable of reading magnetic strips has been phased out without replacement

It sounds to me that the enquiries as reported by the OP are that the passenger knows full well it is wrong but wants to risk assess their chances of "getting away with it"
Your last para sounds spot on. The op would be doing the railway a disservice to provide an anything like comprehensive answer.
 
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Journeyman

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Barcoded tickets that have been scanned by suitably equipped devices on-train write all the relevant information to a database in real time, and any subsequent scan will reveal when and where it was used before, along with a reason for rejection. This equipment is massively smarter than previous systems, and if you attempt to use a barcoded ticket more than once, your chances of landing in hot water are very high.

A lot of TOCs now use this kit.
 

Wolfie

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Barcoded tickets that have been scanned by suitably equipped devices on-train write all the relevant information to a database in real time, and any subsequent scan will reveal when and where it was used before, along with a reason for rejection. This equipment is massively smarter than previous systems, and if you attempt to use a barcoded ticket more than once, your chances of landing in hot water are very high.

A lot of TOCs now use this kit.
Interesting. How do they handle break of journey?
 

Journeyman

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Interesting. How do they handle break of journey?
That would depend on staff knowing validity and interpreting information properly, but they'll be able to see which train it was previously scanned on, so it's not an issue if the ticket is being used within the rules.

Where it really excels is identifying blatant attempts to make the same journey twice on separate occasions.
 

Wolfie

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That would depend on staff knowing validity and interpreting information properly, but they'll be able to see which train it was previously scanned on, so it's not an issue if the ticket is being used within the rules.

Where it really excels is identifying blatant attempts to make the same journey twice on separate occasions.
Yup, l can certainly see how it being used on a section of track physically before somewhere it was scanned at before would stick out like a sore thumb. For example, if l have an A to C via B ticket which was scanned previously between B and C it would be bloody hard to claim break of journey if it is rescanned somewhere between A and B.
 

Journeyman

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Yup, l can certainly see how it being used on a section of track physically before somewhere it was scanned at before would stick out like a sore thumb. For example, if l have an A to C via B ticket which was scanned previously between B and C it would be bloody hard to claim break of journey if it is rescanned somewhere between A and B.
Exactly. You're in deep trouble if that happens!
 

WarJan

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Your last para sounds spot on. The op would be doing the railway a disservice to provide an anything like comprehensive answer.
how invalid. More like providing a service. a passenger asked I said that is fraudulent and must never been done. i Ensure customers have the correct ticket and adhere correctly to the rules
 

87 027

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how invalid. More like providing a service. a passenger asked I said that is fraudulent and must never been done. i Ensure customers have the correct ticket and adhere correctly to the rules
We all agree that what the passenger is asking is fraudulent and you are quite right to advise accordingly.

But to answer your question of whether magnetic stripe technology can back this up, the answer is sadly not reliably. I think Wolfie is saying not to disclose this to the customer and in this respect I would agree
 

Journeyman

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We all agree that what the passenger is asking is fraudulent and you are quite right to advise accordingly.

But to answer your question of whether magnetic stripe technology can back this up, the answer is sadly not reliably. I think Wolfie is saying not to disclose this to the customer and in this respect I would agree
Yeah, magstripe technology lets you get away with a lot. However, you mess with barcodes at your peril - they leave a very detailed audit trail behind them.
 

WarJan

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Well customers are well aware of the system and the flaws. I didn’t mention though any further details. I’m trying to combat this and The customers aren’t helping though
 

theironroad

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Yup, l can certainly see how it being used on a section of track physically before somewhere it was scanned at before would stick out like a sore thumb. For example, if l have an A to C via B ticket which was scanned previously between B and C it would be bloody hard to claim break of journey if it is rescanned somewhere between A and B.

Certainly a good use of tech to stop fraudulent travel, but would the scan records be sufficient not secure a conviction in court if the person denied it.
 

WarJan

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we have barcoded tickets which are sold greatly and are then clipped. Problem is flexible tickets which have barcodes don’t get scanned, they then refund them even if the customer has travelled. A new level of fraud there too.
 

Wolfie

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how invalid. More like providing a service. a passenger asked I said that is fraudulent and must never been done. i Ensure customers have the correct ticket and adhere correctly to the rules
Sorry, l wasn't criticising how you had answered at all. I was saying that if you were to flag all of the limitations discussed in this thread that would do the railways no favours.

We all agree that what the passenger is asking is fraudulent and you are quite right to advise accordingly.

But to answer your question of whether magnetic stripe technology can back this up, the answer is sadly not reliably. I think Wolfie is saying not to disclose this to the customer and in this respect I would agree
You correctly understood my meaning.
 

WarJan

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Sorry, l wasn't criticising how you had answered at all. I was saying that if you were to flag all of the limitations discussed in this thread that would do the railways no favours.


You correctly understood my meaning.
Oh I see of course no it would not, unfortunately a lot of knowledge on here, for the world to see. I guess A lot of it is quite “secret” also.
 
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