Did this Senior Conductor act inappropriately?

Discussion in 'Disputes & Prosecutions' started by Idon'tKnow, 16 May 2018.

Did this senior conductor act appropriately?

Poll closed 19 May 2018.
  1. Yes

    2 vote(s)
    4.1%
  2. No

    18 vote(s)
    36.7%
  3. Not enough information to judge

    29 vote(s)
    59.2%
  1. Idon'tKnow

    Idon'tKnow Member

    Messages:
    86
    Joined:
    20 Aug 2016
    Location:
    Staffordshire
    Back Story: On May the 16th I boarded the 16:55 LondonNorthwestern service to Euston. Like usual the train was formed of only 4 carriages so I was crammed into a vestibule with about 10 other people. Someone came running along the platform at 16:52 and asked the senior conductor if they could purchase a ticket on board, and the conductor said yes and this person boarded the train. At 16:55 the train departed Stafford on time albeit very well loaded. Once the train started moving, the passenger mentioned earlier was sold a ticket from Stafford to Lichfield TV. After this a full revenue inspection commenced. I, along with the rest of the passengers in the vestibule, showed my ticket with no issues. However there was a passenger standing in the aisle that had "accidentally" purchased a ticket from Stafford to Rugely instead. The senior conductor just scribbled on the ticket (which I assume was him "endorsing it") and told the passenger to explain to the staff at rugby because the barriers won't open. The train then arrived at Rugely Trent Valley where it got a bit quieter however new passengers did board. After leaving, the senior conductor then did another revenue check. Two passengers that boarded at Rugely (travelling together) did not have tickets, upon the senior conductor reaching them asked him to purchase tickets to Tamworth. One of the passengers then produced a piece of plastic (a credit/debit card). At this time the train was going very fast and shaking a bit and my phone was struggling to pick up signal. The senior conductor then tried the card once and said it wasn't working. The two passengers then politely said "It worked when we bought something a before we got on" and "can you try it again". The senior conductor then said "You have no means to pay so will have to get off at the next station". At this point the passengers were unhappy and mentioned something about not being able to wait one hour [for the next southbound trent valley service] and asked the senior conductor to try the card again. At this point the senior conductor then repeated that they would have to get off at the next station [Lichfield Trent Valley]. One of the passengers then said "can you not write my name and address down or sumfin'". The conductor then said they had no means to pay so would have to get off at the next station. The passengers, again disputed this. The conductor then said, "The train won't move [from Lichfield] unless you leave the train, I will get the police." One of the people said "Get the police then" and the other person said "You can't do that". The conductor then walked along the carriage, then halfway along the passenger saloon made a comment (with a very raised voice) about "how everyone else has paid so it wouldn't be fair to hold the train". The conductor then literally caused a shouting match across the carriage, with the two passengers asking for him to try their card again. The conductor then made more snide remarks by saying in a very mocking & condescending tone "Just stay on then ok, everyone else has paid." The train then arrived at Lichfield, and was not held as it left on time.

    I have some questions now.

    Should the senior conductor have tried the card in the machine again as the mobile signal in the area was very weak?
    Was the conductor justified in trying to incite hatred towards these two passengers form the other passengers (which did fail though, every other passenger was silent)?
    Was it ok for the conductor to have one rule for someone who didn't hold a valid ticket (the Stafford-Rugby passenger) and another rule for the Rugely-Tamworth passengers?
    Is it ever appropriate for a senior conductor to start shouting across a carriage which ultimately caused a disturbance to the other passengers (it was a calm discussion before that)
    Would it have been more appropriate to offer a UPFN or fill out a TIR report instead of disturbing the other passengers?
    (Hypothetically) if the train was held at Lich TV and the police came, would they have to authority to "detrain" the two passengers or is it a civil matter not a criminal one.
    Does anyone know if LNR have a policy of treating all Rugely passengers with suspicion as this is the second time I have seen Rugely passengers treated differently to other passengers?
     
  2. Registered users do not see these banners - join or log in today!

    Rail Forums

     
  3. robbeech

    robbeech Established Member

    Messages:
    1,849
    Joined:
    11 Nov 2015
    I cannot answer many of the questions but i would certainly be annoyed if they didn’t try a card a second time.
    There are different types of cards, some require an online connection and others don’t. I believe the type of machine can make s difference here too.
    I have had cards declined in shops with a balance high enough to purchase the shop as a going concern for them to try a second time and it work absolutely fine so I fully understand why just a single check isn’t always enough.
    Throwing them off the train wouldn’t have helped, they’d get the next one and maybe not get a ticket check.
    I’m unfamiliar with the station, I assume it has facilities so they should have purchased before boarding but they may have had a valid reason for not doing.
     
  4. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

    Messages:
    29,473
    Joined:
    20 Oct 2014
    Location:
    Up and down the south WCML (mostly)
    It doesn't sound like he was very professional, but possibly they were known regular offenders to the particular guard hence him possibly knowing they were trying it on. Therefore I have voted "not enough information".
     
  5. skyhigh

    skyhigh Member

    Messages:
    448
    Joined:
    14 Sep 2014
    1) You don't know the full details - the card might have been one the conductor knew full well wouldn't work in the machine (because he'd dealt with the passengers before or whatever) and was making the point that it wouldn't, so there was no need to try twice.
    2) 'Incite hatred' has a specific meaning, and there's nothing in your post that suggests that happened here. Otherwise I can't comment.
    3) See 1 above - I'd also suggest having a ticket for at least part of your journey and being open about the mistake is a different thing to not holding any ticket. For all you know, the guard wrote on the ticket asking the barrier staff to charge the passenger the excess for the extra distance.
    4) I won't comment.
    5) How to deal with ticketless passengers is a matter for company policy - I doubt disturbing other passengers is part of it though...
    6) If it's a simple ticket issue, police will generally only get involved if the passenger has no ticket, refuses to buy one and won't give name and address.
    7) No idea.

    So I'd agree with Bletchlyite, it sounds as if the guard has not been as professional as could be expected, although there isn't enough information to judge. I don't see why this needs the full service details and a public vote though, either you think he acted wrongly (in which case you can make a complaint if you wish) or you don't.
     
  6. gray1404

    gray1404 Established Member

    Messages:
    3,342
    Joined:
    3 Mar 2014
    Location:
    Merseyside
    I'm really surprised that the guard wouldn't try the card again though. It is not unknown of to have signal issues and I've had times when a card doesn't work the first time but does the second in shops.
     
  7. sheff1

    sheff1 Established Member

    Messages:
    3,668
    Joined:
    24 Dec 2009
    Location:
    Sheffield
    Anyone boarding at "Rugely" should certainly be treated with suspicion as there is no station of that name :).

    Seriously, anyone who was not present cannot possibly have enough info to answer your question without hearing the other side of the story. From what you have said, though, it sounds very like a 'known chancers' situation - in particular, the quote "can you not write my name and address down or sumfin" is something I have heard from such people.
     
  8. Starmill

    Starmill Veteran Member

    Messages:
    11,083
    Joined:
    18 May 2012
    Location:
    Manchester
    I cannot easily answer your questions.

    However I can say that, if the police were to attend, they may well give instructions to people to leave the train. I doubt it would be wise to refuse a police officer telling you to leave, regardless of the situation.

    I've had this before from a police officer where I was instructed to leave First Class on the grounds of no valid ticket and go and sit in Standard, despite the fact that I had a perfectly valid ticket for First Class. The police weren't interested in what my ticket actually was, or anything at all that I had to say. The officer simply said that as the guard had requested I leave, they were now instructing me to leave. I would imagine that if I had refused I would have been arrested.
     
  9. robbeech

    robbeech Established Member

    Messages:
    1,849
    Joined:
    11 Nov 2015
    Likely so, and that’s an unfortunate situation to be in. I would have politely cooperated too as in my opinion if I’m asked to leave an area by a police officer it is no longer a ticketing thing it is a request to do so. However, rather than that being the end of the matter that would for me only have been the start as I would be making sure I was compensated for the situation accordingly particularly the embarrassment of being told to move by a police officer whilst doing nothing wrong. You will agree than in your scenario you will have had your age against you, a discrimination that whilst unacceptable you can see how it comes to be.
     
  10. najaB

    najaB Veteran Member

    Messages:
    17,947
    Joined:
    28 Aug 2011
    Location:
    Scotland
    This is correct and in accordance with the Byelaws:

    Note that the requirement is that the authorised person 'reasonably believes' - so if the Guard was of the opinion that your ticket was invalid the police would be within their rights to escort/arrest you.
     
  11. AlterEgo

    AlterEgo Veteran Member

    Messages:
    11,160
    Joined:
    30 Dec 2008
    Location:
    Milton Keynes
    The thread titles asks if the SC behaved inappropriately, yet the poll question asks if he behaved appropriately.
     
  12. robert7111a

    robert7111a Established Member

    Messages:
    1,731
    Joined:
    24 Apr 2014
    Location:
    PTSO or platform depending on the weather
    The conductor behaved inapproriately and unprofessionally in my opinion and acted in a manner that was demeaning and with intent to cause maximal embarrassment to the two people.
     
  13. Arctic Troll

    Arctic Troll Established Member

    Messages:
    8,828
    Joined:
    12 Sep 2013
    Location:
    Newcastle upon Tyne
    The most important word in that sentence is reasonable.

    If a ticket is clearly valid (e.g. has 1st class written on it) and a guard refuses to acknowledge it, then it would not be reasonable. Not that you'll get far arguing with the police.
     
  14. najaB

    najaB Veteran Member

    Messages:
    17,947
    Joined:
    28 Aug 2011
    Location:
    Scotland
    There are reasons why an apparently valid ticket with 1st class written on it might actually be invalid (e.g. an Advance for a different train). The test is if the guard had, given the evidence available at that moment, an inclination that the ticket was invalid. If it later turned out that they were wrong then the passenger would be entitled to seek recompense.
     
  15. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

    Messages:
    29,473
    Joined:
    20 Oct 2014
    Location:
    Up and down the south WCML (mostly)
    I can't think of there being many cases where a ticket would be valid on a given train in Standard but not in First if it was valid on that train at all. Just about the only thing I can think of would be something like a Weekend First ticket for VTWC (in this case).

    Apart from that, if it's a First Class ticket it's valid in First Class if it's valid on the train at all.
     
  16. najaB

    najaB Veteran Member

    Messages:
    17,947
    Joined:
    28 Aug 2011
    Location:
    Scotland
    I can't either, but that's rather missing the point. If the authorised person has a reason to believe that the ticket is invalid then you can argue your case, but if they say you have to move then you have to move. If BTP are called they won't be expected to determine the validity of the ticket, they will likely just say "I don't know if it's valid or not, but if he says you have to move then you have to move."
     
  17. Starmill

    Starmill Veteran Member

    Messages:
    11,083
    Joined:
    18 May 2012
    Location:
    Manchester
    Well exactly. This is a little off topic but there was no reasoning with either the guard or the police. They simply refused to hear me out and said I had to leave. Of course it would have been deeply embarrassing for the guard to admit their error after they had involved the police, so they probably just pressed on on that basis. Not as embarrasing as it was for me to have a police escort out of First Class though, obviously, particularly as the guard had said for the whole coach to hear that I was trying to avoid paying for First Class when I wasn't.

    Of course I went through months of rigmarole afterwards with the complaints procedure escalation, and they admitted in the end that they had been wrong and that I should not have been asked to leave. They refused to provide any compensation though. All I got back was the difference between the fare I'd paid and the lower fare to travel in Standard. Without costly legal representation there was no other way forward, so I had to put up and shut up.
     
    Last edited: 17 May 2018
  18. bramling

    bramling Established Member

    Messages:
    4,617
    Joined:
    5 Mar 2012
    Location:
    South-east / Barnard Castle
    Whilst this is often the case, there are certainly times when BTP get thoroughly fed up with being called to situations which have been manufactured or inflamed by railway staff with poor people skills and/or poor knowledge of their job.
     
  19. 30907

    30907 Established Member

    Messages:
    5,347
    Joined:
    30 Sep 2012
    Location:
    Airedale
    Strange. You haven't explained why a valid First Class ticket/upgrade was thought not to be valid. None of my business, of course.
     
  20. Starmill

    Starmill Veteran Member

    Messages:
    11,083
    Joined:
    18 May 2012
    Location:
    Manchester
    It would be off topic to do so really! It was because I was a weekend upgrade special offer. There was no good reason for it to be considered invalid because the offer had been ongoing for almost a decade, and I had confirmed that the offer was ongoing with the train company earlier that day. The company later admitted that the guard was wrong (but only after I had to contact them to complain).
     
  21. Arctic Troll

    Arctic Troll Established Member

    Messages:
    8,828
    Joined:
    12 Sep 2013
    Location:
    Newcastle upon Tyne
    Off topic, but I suspect it's TPE, who offer free first class upgrades to standard class season ticket holders on a weekend, and have done for a very long time.
     
  22. island

    island Established Member

    Messages:
    9,840
    Joined:
    30 Dec 2010
    Location:
    0036
    I work for a bank.

    It is against card scheme rules to retry a card that has declined, unless the machine prompts you to “try again” or similar.

    This is honoured mostly in the breach.
     
  23. najaB

    najaB Veteran Member

    Messages:
    17,947
    Joined:
    28 Aug 2011
    Location:
    Scotland
    That's a good point - people are assuming that the card failed to authorise (due to lack of signal), but it's entirely possible that it connected and actively declined.
     
  24. robbeech

    robbeech Established Member

    Messages:
    1,849
    Joined:
    11 Nov 2015
    I certainly wasn’t assuming that although it makes sense to do so.
    I have had a card decline in a shop for it to go through the second time more than once. I’ve witnessed it happening to other people too. I have no idea why it does this but it does, albeit infrequently. For that reason I think the ‘policy’ to not try a card twice is poor. I appreciate that in a bank the system may be different to in a supermarket and certainly different to a potentially unreliable wireless connection on a train but technology isn’t perfect and many unknown and unrepeatable errors can occur.
     
  25. najaB

    najaB Veteran Member

    Messages:
    17,947
    Joined:
    28 Aug 2011
    Location:
    Scotland
    As @island says, there's a difference between an active decline and a failure to authorise.
     
  26. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

    Messages:
    29,473
    Joined:
    20 Oct 2014
    Location:
    Up and down the south WCML (mostly)
    Not every machine makes that clear.
     
  27. robbeech

    robbeech Established Member

    Messages:
    1,849
    Joined:
    11 Nov 2015
    And those that do make it clear rely on the operator to know the difference.
     
  28. najaB

    najaB Veteran Member

    Messages:
    17,947
    Joined:
    28 Aug 2011
    Location:
    Scotland
    I understand that. I'm just saying that what @robbeech experienced isn't necessarily a decline followed by a successful authorisation. It could well be a fail to auth (e.g. a timeout) followed by a successful auth. It's impossible to know what happened in the case described in the OP.
     
  29. island

    island Established Member

    Messages:
    9,840
    Joined:
    30 Dec 2010
    Location:
    0036
    The logic behind the policy, if one can call it that, is that if the first authorisation request connected through to the bank and got a decline because the customer had no funds, the card was stolen, etc. then that should be the end of the matter. Trying the transaction again might potentially return an authorised result if the transaction makes it to the acquirer but the issuer is uncontactable and the transaction falls into stand-in processing where the card scheme (Visa/MasterCard/etc.) decides whether or not to authorise the transaction based on (fairly basic) parameters set by the issuer. If the issuer picks up this sequence of events, the merchant will end up with a chargeback and probably an assessment from the card scheme.

    The average operator of a POS terminal is unlikely to appreciate the distinction between a timeout and a decline, they’ll just go “oh it didn’t go through, I’ll try it again”.
     
  30. Thedispatcher

    Thedispatcher Member

    Messages:
    74
    Joined:
    7 Feb 2016
    I don’t think there’s enough information to say whether this was professional or not, however I know Rugeley Trent Valley and that area is a fare evasion hotspot and I certainly wouldn’t mind betting that the Guard in question knows these people as regular fare evaders. We all get to know regulars and I imagine that’s exactly the case here.

    As for causing a shouting match, perhaps not the best idea but I’ve seen similar things happen where a guard will mention to other passengers about people refusing to pay or leave the train and then passengers “encouraging” fare dodgers to leave. This is obviously not condoned by Conductors!
     
  31. Navajo8686

    Navajo8686 Member

    Messages:
    8
    Joined:
    15 Aug 2014
    LNWR and WMT Envoy ticket selling equipment includes a card reader which, through the phone or tablet, has a live link to the bank. If - once the card is presented - a 'declined' status is returned from the bank then that's that. There is no indication of why the decline was made and I always advise customers to talk to their bank asap as it *may* be a bank error rather than an issue with the customer.

    If we are in an area with no mobile signal then the equipment automatically forces us to make a manual overide which means that the card is then accepted - even if it is later declined when all the reconciliation are carried out.

    As to what what said I wasn't there ...... however we are not encouraged to delay trains to remove fare evaders as the delay costs ALWAYS outweigh the ticket value. However other customer pressure can sometimes be very useful!
     

Share This Page