Discretion when railcard is forgotten

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calc7

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Senior railcard holders are more likely to be shown discretion (i.e. be let off) if they have forgotten their railcard, than 16-25 railcard holders.

Discuss.
 
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Pumbaa

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I would think so, but I imagine there is a fairly negative relationship between the age of passenger and likelihood to try fare evading by travelling without their railcard.
 

aformeruser

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Seniors who forget their railcard do always seem to mention it when they purchase a ticket.

On some buses people obviously over 60 get let off without showing their pass, so perhaps they assume it should be the same on the railways, despite the fact a senior's railcard has to be purchased.
 

Captain Chaos

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I think it's more down to the individual's discretion more than anything.

What I have noticed in my time is that Senior's will tell you instantly when buying their ticket that they have forgotten it. Y-P holders have a tendency to ask for the discount (or Student dicount as it's so often put) and then when asked for railcard will say they have forgotten it
 

DownSouth

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I would think so, but I imagine there is a fairly negative relationship between the age of passenger and likelihood to try fare evading by travelling without their railcard.
And your basis for this is?

Sounds like ageism to me, which is a rather insidious influence in Western societies these days. That could exist both on the part of the OP's suggestion (if that is generally true) and on this pithy attempt to justify it.

As for some anecdotes from a passenger...
  1. Where I live, using a bus that is on the move in the 20 minutes leading up to when the 9:00am-2:59pm interpeak period starts is a recipe for a delay as hordes of seniors attempt to get their free interpeak travel (given to them in a Labor vote buying scam) during the peak period. It's a pain in the rear end if you're a genuine commuter getting held up by this nonsense.
    Bus drivers demand they pay rather than issue the free ticket (which the validation machine won't issue before 9:00), while tram conductors will demand they get off at the next stop.
  2. I also witness seniors doing a similar routine if they try to exit the city rail terminus from a train that's arrived just after 9 in the morning, saying they got on at the last stop before the city just after the hour. They would all be busted if inspectors were put on these trains where they've really travelled the whole length of the line.
  3. The inspectors I do see are most commonly deployed on trains that are popular with mountain bikers - the line loops back on itself as it goes uphill with some great downhill bike tracks leading back down to the lower stations - during school holidays and weekends. The inspectors are often quite aggressive towards these guys and try to intimidate them by hunting in packs or bringing private security knuckledraggers with them. It's something I don't understand, because the mountain bike guys invariably have their tickets in order, are always polite and often helping out other passengers with things like ticket machines, timetables or getting a pram off safely - employing people to harass passengers who already do the right thing is a disgrace even before you consider waste of money!
  4. Once I saw an inspector let off an older lady who held onto her free interpeak ticket and was on the train well after four in the afternoon, just asking her to check her train times more carefully next time and not even charging her for a peak concession fare. Then a little later on in the same journey he marches up and orders one of the mountain bike dudes to stop harassing the young mother he was talking to or he would call the police.
    The woman then stood up and gave the inspector a long and loud lecture, berating him on his prejudices against young people! The reason she was offended at the inspectors conduct was that the biker had noticed a cracked part with a sharp edge on her daughter's pushchair and was using his bike repair tools and handlebar tape to make it safe and the inspector couldn't notice the difference between that and harassment.
  5. Having said that, I have also seen a few school-age kids get caught taking a chance on evading fares. Just not as many as adults who walk straight past the ticket validator without inserting a ticket to get stamped, so if young people are evading fares it's pretty clear who they are learning from.
 

Ferret

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Senior railcard holders are more likely to be shown discretion (i.e. be let off) if they have forgotten their railcard, than 16-25 railcard holders.

Discuss.

It is awkward charging old ladies I have to admit! That said, I TIR'd a couple recently who couldn't even tell me what a SNR card looked like, let alone had one on the train.
 

lyndhurst25

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The last fare-dodger I saw on a train was a sweet-looking little old lady who must have been in her eighties. She managed to get a free ride from Gainsborough Central to Cleethorpes by ignoring the guard whenever he came round inspecting and selling tickets. She just kept on knitting / reading her Mills & Boon novel / pretending to be deaf / doing whatever little old ladies do. I was kind of hoping that G4S would be waiting at Cleethorpes to rugby-tackle her and hold her in a head-lock until she coughed up but she goat away with it. Old people today.......
 

David Goddard

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Younger people get treated differently to Seniors even if they have the same valid ticket!

About ten years ago now, I (then aged 23) went on a day trip from Reading to Brighton with my Aunt and Uncle (both aged 72). This was on a special free ticket offer from South West Trains in the days they ran to Brighton.

As the tickets were plain card, we had to show them at the Brighton gateline. On our return, we arrived in good time, and approached the gates. My Aunt and Uncle were able to go straight through, while I was told to wait until I knew the platform, ie when it was put up on the board.

I questioned this with two things- Firstly that I knew that it could only depart from platforms 1-3, and secondly that they had just let my Aunt and Uncle through. Realising defeat, the gateline gorilla grunted and had no choice but to let me through.
 

Asian Demon

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This is why I go with a black and white view of things. If you have a rail card and it's in date, then there is no problem. If you don't, then regardless of age or entitlement you do have a problem and I'll advise passengers on how to resolve the problem.

Having bias for and against age groups serves no benefit other than to cause you problems later down the line. Sometimes following the rule to the letter and not showing discretion is the best way to go. Leads to less favouritism and different outcomes happening overall.

Saying that I've noticed that those with senior rail cards dislike being asked for it and tend to argue more. When proven to have an out of date rail card or using a freedom pass (aka not a rail card), they argue when told they will be charged an excess on the fare they have paid.
 

CosherB

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Old people can be forgetful (wait 'till you're old!). I was on a Wrexham & Shropshire train from Marylebone a few years back in 1st. At the next table was a delightful couple of aristocratic codgers going home to Gobowen. The old fellow who must have been at least 95 had forgotten his SRC "I'm lucky if I can remember to put me trousers on these days" he said.

The TM accepted this and came to us (I showed my SRC). "Difficult situation" he said. "They could be trying it on". I reassured him that I didn't think the old gent was a swindler and the TM had done the right thing.

But in this situation when a swindle might be suspected, why not simply charge the passenger the uplift to non-SRC rate plus a handling charge of say £5. When the passenger gets home they can take their SRC (assuming they do have one) to any ticket office and get a refund of the uplift (but not of the handling charge - so there is a disincentive not to have your card with you).
 

calc7

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There is no (practical) way of proving the person on the train is also the person seeking the refund on the uplift.
 

CosherB

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True. If I didn't have an SRC and paid the uplift, then my mate who does have one reclaims the uplift and gives it to me...

Hmmm. See your point.
 

plymothian

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I once was travelling to BRI from PLY. Had booked a few weeks in advance and collected my tickets from the machine, went through the barriers and sat on the train. Hot my tickets out, remembered I had applied a railcard discount, but had not brought it with me. So I sought out the train manager, who gave me 2 choices, which were to either go home and get the card to travel later - I must have visibly winced at that thought of incurring a 2 hour delay to get 2 buses (with additional charge) and wait till the next service - or he'll let me travel but cannot guarantee that there'd be no RPIs at BRI. I took the chance and there weren't - all because I had asked first. As it was I rebooked a single to come back and paid less 1st class that I had initially with the railcard discount in standard.
 

trainophile

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Perhaps they should offer a laminated key-fob type rail card, maybe for a nominal extra charge e.g. £3, as most people wouldn't leave home without their front door key so would be very unlikely not to have their rail "card" on them.

I can't understand why men don't just keep it in their wallet, and women in their purse or handbag. A bit different for YPs as they are more likely to have a rucksack, or not carry baggage at all.

I keep mine in the same compartment of my travel bag as I keep my tickets wallet. Seems to make sense.
 

Flamingo

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We are less likely to have to read Daily Mail headlines (and have our manager giving us "please explain's") about jobsworth train guards if we charge up a young person than if we charge up a granny.

Simple fact of life. If I want to make life interesting, then I can put forward some 85 year old war hero (as they will always be described) for prosecution and watch my manager having a nervous breakdown as he deals with the press.

However, I can live without watching him on the local news squirming to the cameras (tempting as it is).

He'd only get his own back on me, anyway.
 

tsr

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Perhaps they should offer a laminated key-fob type rail card, maybe for a nominal extra charge e.g. £3, as most people wouldn't leave home without their front door key so would be very unlikely not to have their rail "card" on them.

I can't understand why men don't just keep it in their wallet, and women in their purse or handbag. A bit different for YPs as they are more likely to have a rucksack, or not carry baggage at all.

I keep mine in the same compartment of my travel bag as I keep my tickets wallet. Seems to make sense.

I always take an Oyster wallet that contains my Oyster card, my Railcard (which is also loaded onto the Oyster card) and finally all the tickets that I need for my chosen journey(s). The only time I forgot it was when, fortunately, using a Railcard would have turned out more costly anyway, and I didn't need Oyster that day either.

This wallet does not require anything other than a trouser pocket for the purposes of convenient carriage, and this is a feature of clothing which is generally not beyond the wit of man to source (although the wit of woman may differ).
 

SS4

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We are less likely to have to read Daily Mail headlines (and have our manager giving us "please explain's") about jobsworth train guards if we charge up a young person than if we charge up a granny.

Simple fact of life. If I want to make life interesting, then I can put forward some 85 year old war hero (as they will always be described) for prosecution and watch my manager having a nervous breakdown as he deals with the press.

However, I can live without watching him on the local news squirming to the cameras (tempting as it is).

He'd only get his own back on me, anyway.

And that's the sad truth of the matter
 

Flamingo

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But in this situation when a swindle might be suspected, why not simply charge the passenger the uplift to non-SRC rate plus a handling charge of say £5. When the passenger gets home they can take their SRC (assuming they do have one) to any ticket office and get a refund of the uplift (but not of the handling charge - so there is a disincentive not to have your card with you).
Why not? Because there is no mechanism in place that allows anybody to do so. (Despite us being run by private companies)
 

SS4

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Perhaps they should offer a laminated key-fob type rail card, maybe for a nominal extra charge e.g. £3, as most people wouldn't leave home without their front door key so would be very unlikely not to have their rail "card" on them.

I can't understand why men don't just keep it in their wallet, and women in their purse or handbag. A bit different for YPs as they are more likely to have a rucksack, or not carry baggage at all.

I keep mine in the same compartment of my travel bag as I keep my tickets wallet. Seems to make sense.

Or with one's tickets. I have a wallet and most people I know my age have a wallet. As for women's handbags it's like a wormhole into the unknown
 

DaveNewcastle

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This is why I go with a black and white view of things. If you have a rail card and it's in date, then there is no problem. If you don't, then regardless of age or entitlement you do have a problem and I'll advise passengers on how to resolve the problem.

Having bias for and against age groups serves no benefit other than to cause you problems later down the line. Sometimes following the rule to the letter and not showing discretion is the best way to go. Leads to less favouritism and different outcomes happening overall.

Saying that I've noticed that those with senior rail cards dislike being asked for it and tend to argue more. When proven to have an out of date rail card or using a freedom pass (aka not a rail card), they argue when told they will be charged an excess on the fare they have paid.
I like the first 2 paragraphs of this post. A simple policy that is consistent and accountable (i.e. its only applying the guidance as issued to TOCs' staff) leads to the minimum risk of consequential difficulties.

But I'm a little surprised to learn that SRC holders tend to argue more than YPRC holders (or should I say holders plus possible non-holders in both cases?). The reports I receive, including requests for help on here, are more often from YPRC (non-)holders.
I will agree, though, that Guards that I encounter are more likely to say that they don't want to see a SRC than to ask for a YPRC. Whilst it maybe demonstrates some welcome comradarie between a Guard who may be approaching or have passed 60 themselves, and a passenger clearly their elder, (and I really do welcome such supportive relations between staff and passenger), it does completely overlook the fundamental question of whether the passenger, who is eligible by age for one card or the other, has actually bothered to buy / renew and carry their card.

I don't mind a Guard who recognises a regular passenger saying "Its OK, I trust you", though even that approach is opening the possibility for abuses, but one day, that trusted and familiar passenger's RC will expire. Will it be renewed promptly if it is never required for inspection? Perhaps not. We shouldn't assume anything!

My last point relates to the frequent conflation of eligibility for a SRC with being a pensioner, being more forgetfull than average, being more cantankerous than most, and being more likely to play some age-related upmanship game when challenged. As some of the best educated minds, best informed minds, most respected minds, most trusted minds and most analytic minds are those of over 60's, then I struggle to understand that conflation. I will agree that there are some regular aged abusers of the system, travelling without tickets as well as RCs, but I suspect that the correspondence is specious - older people may be forgetful, some might not be, and some younger people might be forgetful. We all may be guilty of travelling with a Discounted ticket and no Railcard.
 
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SS4

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But I'm a little surprised to learn that SRC holders tend to argue more than YPRC holders (or should I say holders plus possible non-holders in both cases?). The reports I receive, including requests for help on here, are more often from YPRC (non-)holders.

Could that be explained by the higher proportion of young people and mature students who'd have internet access? Especially compared to those who are elder
 

DaveNewcastle

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Could that be explained by the higher proportion of young people and mature students who'd have internet access? Especially compared to those who are elder
Yes, your theory does seem to be a plausible explanation!
We'll probably never have any reliable data to confirm that hunch. So anecdotal reports from front-line staff may be more informative. Nevertheless, if we're relying on anecdotal reports, I would want to introduce my own un-scientificly researched data from experiences on board - I see many young people being suddenly forgetful and distracted or asleep when asked for their tickets, whereas older people seem to adopt a more robust stance of being right with or without evidence.
Maybe people express their views after-the-event in differnret ways, but isn't there also a difference in attitude (a question which disregards the apocryphal forgetfulness of the over 60's).
 

PinzaC55

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Applying discretion could be interpreted as "applying personal biases or preferences" - in other words if you let person X off , do you not have to let any person similar to that person off ? Characterising all people over 65 as "honest" or people under 25 as "dishonest" is a minefield.
 

Flamingo

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One important thing to remember is that old people have the same rights to be dishonest, vicious and horrible as everyone else. A nasty young person will become a nasty old person.
 
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