Disabled railcard refused (now resolved)

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jacksmithyton

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On Friday evening I had to make an essential journey from Bath to Reading. The ticket office was closed so I decided to try to buy a ticket on board. I couldn't find a guard and so tried to pay on arrival at Reading, however at the fares to pay window I was told because I didn't buy a ticket at my starting point I would have to pay the full fare.

I tried to explain that in the railcard t&c's if you have a disability that prevents you from buying a ticket you can pay at the destination but they weren't having any of it and because I couldn't be bothered to argue the point just payed the full fare. Is there any way to now claim the discount back?
 
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robbeech

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You can an absolutely should write to the operator of the station ticket office (and of the train you were only if it was a different one) explaining that you have been discriminated against and that you are seeking a refund of the difference at the very least for your journey you were overcharged from.

You should include all the journey details clearly, without including anything un-necessary.

Explain, your journey origin and destination.
The fact the ticket office at your origin was closed.
You hold a disabled railcard.
The rule and guidance allowing you to buy at your next opportunity (on board or at your destination)
The name of the person you dealt with at Reading if you know it.
The fact they refused initially
The fact that they refused even when reminded of the rules.
The fact you feel discriminated against.
What you would like to happen.

You can't expect anything more than a refund of the difference (and it doesn't seem like you would want that), but any reasonable operator would give a gesture of goodwill with their apology, though i'm not sure if there are any of those left.

We would certainly be interested to hear of any outcome to this.
 

eoff

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I think you would have to argue that you were not able to use any ticket machine (if there was a working one.)
 

robbeech

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I think you would have to argue that you were not able to use any ticket machine (if there was a working one.)
You wouldn't* have to argue you couldn't. You'd just have to tell them you couldn't, which you would do, if you couldn't.

*Of course, the railway may choose to question your disability, thus digging themselves further into the hole, and i wouldn't put it past some members of staff. Afterall, there are staff that refuse access to wheelchair users because the train is running late, so the general attitude is more than clear.
 

island

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Do you actually hold a Disabled Person’s Railcard?

Why didn’t you use the ticket machines at Bath Spa?

How did you get through the ticket gates at Bath Spa?
 

Bletchleyite

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How is the rule worded, anyway? Is it blanket, or is it "if your disability would prevent you from using the TVM" (blindness is an obvious one there, but there will be plenty of others, e.g. back injuries meaning you can't bend over to use one, or dexterity issues meaning the touchscreen would be difficult)?

My Dad has a DSB because he's partially deaf (I'd venture this is probably one of the most common reasons to issue one) and there is no reason whatsoever that he couldn't use a TVM because (a) that doesn't require hearing, and (b) it's only one ear anyway.
 

island

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2.7. You must buy the Tickets before boarding the train unless:
2.7.1. there was no ticket office at the station at which you began the journey or if the ticket office was closed, and there was no working ticket machine from which you could buy discounted tickets; or
2.7.2. you have a disability which prevented you accessing ticket retailing facilities.

From https://www.disabledpersons-railcard.co.uk/help/railcard-terms-conditions/
 

Bletchleyite

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2.7. You must buy the Tickets before boarding the train unless:
2.7.1. there was no ticket office at the station at which you began the journey or if the ticket office was closed, and there was no working ticket machine from which you could buy discounted tickets; or
2.7.2. you have a disability which prevented you accessing ticket retailing facilities.

From https://www.disabledpersons-railcard.co.uk/help/railcard-terms-conditions/

Thanks. So to use my Dad's example, he would not be eligible to purchase on board because his disability does not prevent him using a TVM, as deafness does not have any effect on your ability to prod and look at a screen. Indeed, he would probably find it slightly easier than using a ticket office!

So I guess to the OP - does your disability prevent you using a TVM?
 

jacksmithyton

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Thanks. So to use my Dad's example, he would not be eligible to purchase on board because his disability does not prevent him using a TVM, as deafness does not have any effect on your ability to prod and look at a screen. Indeed, he would probably find it slightly easier than using a ticket office!

So I guess to the OP - does your disability prevent you using a TVM?
Yes, I have OCD which would prevent me from touching a ticket machine screen unless I had seen it cleaned.
 

HSP 2

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Just out of interest what time did the OP leave Bath?
 

SteveM70

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2.7.2. you have a disability which prevented you accessing ticket retailing facilities

Accessing.......

Is there a legal definition along the lines of “using” or is it really the layman’s definition of “getting access to the machine”?
 

Bletchleyite

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Accessing.......

Is there a legal definition along the lines of “using” or is it really the layman’s definition of “getting access to the machine”?

I think a Court would interpret that as "using". It would be rather stupid (and in breach of disability legislation) to penalise a blind person perfectly capable of standing by the machine but unable to actually do anything with it.

On the other hand, if the machine had a "phone a central member of staff to do it for you" facility activated by a Braille button (as I believe some TOCs' TVMs either do or did), it might be more reasonable for them to use it. And if travelling with a carer, the carer could use it.

OCD is an interesting one - to the OP, how do you cope with touching things on the train that have been touched by others? If I was in that position I would carry my own trusted means of cleaning, such as a liquid sanitiser spray and some paper tissues, or a pack of anti-bacterial and anti-viral wet wipes.
 

jacksmithyton

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I think a Court would interpret that as "using". It would be rather stupid (and in breach of disability legislation) to penalise a blind person perfectly capable of standing by the machine but unable to actually do anything with it.

On the other hand, if the machine had a "phone a central member of staff to do it for you" facility activated by a Braille button (as I believe some TOCs' TVMs either do or did), it might be more reasonable for them to use it. And if travelling with a carer, the carer could use it.

OCD is an interesting one - to the OP, how do you cope with touching things on the train that have been touched by others? If I was in that position I would carry my own trusted means of cleaning, such as a liquid sanitiser spray and some paper tissues, or a pack of anti-bacterial and anti-viral wet wipes.
This was the first time I had to travel by train since the start of the first lockdown. I made sure not to touch anything on the train although I still felt extremely uncomfortable, in fact I only had to make this journey because I SORN'ed my car and I couldn't get it taxed in time...
 

Haywain

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If I was in that position I would carry my own trusted means of cleaning, such as a liquid sanitiser spray and some paper tissues, or a pack of anti-bacterial and anti-viral wet wipes.
Or one of those screen prodding pens (there's probably a proper name for them).
 

Deafdoggie

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Or one of those screen prodding pens (there's probably a proper name for them).
Rather boringly they are called a "touchscreen stylus" I have one that does that one end and a magnet at the other to remove and insert hearing aid batteries. Unsurprisingly you usually get them touchscreen at one end and a pen at the other. They are fairly common and certainly if you didn't like touching things they are both cheap and ideal.
 

jacksmithyton

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I'm really sorry but I haven't posted on here to argue the rights or wrongs of me having a disabled railcard. I have a qualifying disability and I do not wish to expand further, all I am asking is whether I am entitled to the difference back between the full fare and the discounted one.
 

island

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I understand that, and we want to help work that out. But we do need the information we ask for; it’s not trying to “pick holes” or wind you up.

How did you get through the ticket barriers at Bath Spa?
 

jacksmithyton

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I understand that, and we want to help work that out. But we do need the information we ask for; it’s not trying to “pick holes” or wind you up.

How did you get through the ticket barriers at Bath Spa?
The ticket barriers were open
 

Bletchleyite

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I'm really sorry but I haven't posted on here to argue the rights or wrongs of me having a disabled railcard. I have a qualifying disability and I do not wish to expand further, all I am asking is whether I am entitled to the difference back between the full fare and the discounted one.

This would I suspect come down to whether they agree with your view that you could not use the TVM due to the disability - initially contact Customer Services and explain the situation, escalating as necessary. If they didn't think you were right, I guess your only option to move on from there would be to take them to Court for failing to make reasonable adjustments for your disability, however I would seek paid-for legal advice before doing this.
 

father_jack

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One thing I'd say to the OP after a quarter of a century of experience, is that they'll find that the TVM probably is cleaned more often than many ticket offices and as for some who work in them.......
 

Scott1

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The ticket barriers were open
I can't comment for other TOCs, but at mine there are signs advising if you can't use the ticket machine to speak to staff or press the help point button, so if your at a staffed station and staff are available they expect you to ask for help. In practice though it would depend on if you can find staff, even in 24 hour stations finding staff at 3pm is going to be very different to 3am. I'd imagine if their was a staff member around the ticket machine area they may treat it differently than if the only people on duty were on platforms or in an office.
 

RHolmes

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On Friday evening I had to make an essential journey from Bath to Reading. The ticket office was closed so I decided to try to buy a ticket on board. I couldn't find a guard and so tried to pay on arrival at Reading, however at the fares to pay window I was told because I didn't buy a ticket at my starting point I would have to pay the full fare.

I tried to explain that in the railcard t&c's if you have a disability that prevents you from buying a ticket you can pay at the destination but they weren't having any of it and because I couldn't be bothered to argue the point just payed the full fare. Is there any way to now claim the discount back?

Email the customer service department of the TOC involved with an explanation of what happened and why you couldn’t purchase your ticket before boarding (and presumably not on the train) with photographic evidence of your fare paid using the ticket if you still have it, and a photograph of your in date valid railcard.

They’ll more often then not send you a travel voucher back for the difference paid.
 
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An enlightened organisation would surely accept an individual's disability without discussing it openly in a public place (eg at a "fares to pay" window).
 

RPI

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This would I suspect come down to whether they agree with your view that you could not use the TVM due to the disability - initially contact Customer Services and explain the situation, escalating as necessary. If they didn't think you were right, I guess your only option to move on from there would be to take them to Court for failing to make reasonable adjustments for your disability, however I would seek paid-for legal advice before doing this.
Agree with this except obviously if the TOC give a response that you feel isn't satisfactory then contact the rail ombudsman.
The rules regarding why you weren't allowed to use the railcard are open to interpretation, the staff member hasn't necessarily done the wrong thing, certainly with the information they would have had available to them at the time, would I have done the same thing? Probably not, I would have more than likely issued the ticket with the railcard discount after asking the questions of how did you get through the gates and why didn't you buy before boarding and being given the answers that OP has given.
 

MikeWh

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I would endorse the suggestions above by robbeech.
So would I, but it would have been helpful to have quoted at least the post number, or even the post, in question. Robbeech has made other posts since the one you (hopefully) refer to.

Here it is:
You can an absolutely should write to the operator of the station ticket office (and of the train you were only if it was a different one) explaining that you have been discriminated against and that you are seeking a refund of the difference at the very least for your journey you were overcharged from.

You should include all the journey details clearly, without including anything un-necessary.

Explain, your journey origin and destination.
The fact the ticket office at your origin was closed.
You hold a disabled railcard.
The rule and guidance allowing you to buy at your next opportunity (on board or at your destination)
The name of the person you dealt with at Reading if you know it.
The fact they refused initially
The fact that they refused even when reminded of the rules.
The fact you feel discriminated against.
What you would like to happen.

You can't expect anything more than a refund of the difference (and it doesn't seem like you would want that), but any reasonable operator would give a gesture of goodwill with their apology, though i'm not sure if there are any of those left.

We would certainly be interested to hear of any outcome to this.
 

father_jack

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I keep saying this across many posts.

Commission grabbing.

Nothing more, nothing less.

Customer relations will say sorry and refund the 34%. But that won't affect the commission level to the seller of the ticket so it will keep happening. There are urban myths indoctrinated into revenue staff, for example "only anytime tickets can be issued on a warrant" !!!

Would be interesting as well to know if the OP actually paid a "full fare" like they said, ie an "Anytime Day Single SDS" £68.40 or was charged the appropriate fare for the time "Super Offpeak Single SSS" £27.40.
 

Whistler40145

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Having attempted to purchase a ticket with Disabled Railcard discount, why didn't the individual involved purchase a ticket using his mobile phone or isn't that legal?
 
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