Does a Ticket Inspectors card reader work with Contactless cards on Greater Anglia?

Discussion in 'Disputes & Prosecutions' started by savemepunk, 14 May 2015.

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  1. savemepunk

    savemepunk New Member

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    So I travel in and out of London every day from Shenfield in Essex, and been using my contactless card recently as it's really convenient. Never had a problem for months using this method of payment..

    Until yesterday! Done my usual touch in at the gates, and then had a ticket inspector on the train during the morning. He checked my contactless card with the card reader and it failed to recognise the card.

    I asked him to try again with his colleagues card reader and it did the same thing. He said he will have to issue me with a penalty notice and that I can appeal the decision.

    Hang on, but I've touched in this morning. Do it every morning without any problems. He said that there has to be a problem with my card. No there isn't a problem with my card, because it let me through the gates this morning!

    He said that I cant prove my payment, so I showed him the Contactless TFL website which shows my live record of my entry from about 20 mins previously. He said he can only go by the card reader, not the website as it's a "TFL thing". Well hang on, it can't be a TFL thing because Greater Anglia adopt this method of payment which they champion on their website.

    Anyhow, had to take the pen notice and a fair bit of embarassment on a crowded train. Used the card as normal for the rest of the day and travelled back with no problems.

    Appealed the decision and made a complaint about the treatment. They confirmed that this should not have happened.

    Well it happened again this morning, and with the same inspector on a train that was an hour later this time - fancy that for bad luck! This time I refused to give my details and said that they can escort me off at Liverpool Street so I can prove that the card works. They agreed and the customer service reps were just as useless as this jokers, saying that my card is the problem. I told them that I can legistlate for a card reader that cannot read my card, when every shop, restaurant, pub, ticket gate will accept a contactless payment from the same card.

    Ridiculous - so my point of all this is, contactless DOESN'T work on Greater Anglia unless you can avoid the ticket inspector with their 'unfit for purpose' card reader. Hoping that people here can dispel the theory that I have and tell me that they have had the ticket inspectors check their cards, and not have a problem.

    Just find it incredible that only one device in all of this time fails to read the card, and now I have to revert to using my Oyster card to save myself the embarassment of Greater Anglia not being able to implement a system that works across all platforms.
     
  2. bb21

    bb21 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Do you know what the readers actually said? Was it because it did not recognise your card as being contactless enabled or some other reason? AFAIK portable readers cannot tell whether a card is touched in or not.

    You do need to be careful as refusing to give your name and address is an offence, even if you believe that you were correct, provided that the RPI had good reasons to suspect that you did not pay your fare, which by your account of things they did.

    At the end of the day if worst comes to worst, you should have clear records of touching in and out once you have completed your journey so I cannot see how the Penalty Fare would ever be able to stick.
     
  3. Via Bank

    Via Bank Member

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    Hmm. Something about the RPI's claim they 'cannot prove your payment' here seems fishy.

    All a portable card reader does when it encounters a Contactless card is to record the card number to be reconciled against the touch-in/out records. On London Buses, the readers download the list of validated cards from the ticket machines. On all other TfL modes, the reconciliation happens once the RPI returns to base. They simply check to see that all cards inspected were touched in as appropriate, and if not, charge a penalty (called a Revenue Inspection Charge.) If someone is deemed to be a repeat offender they are sent a PFN or prosecuted, or have their card hotlisted.

    An RPI can not prove on the train whether you have touched your Contactless card in or out, because it is physically impossible for them to do so. The card doesn't have any memory of its recent transactions. It's just a token to be read.

    This looks like shockingly bad training on the part of AGA, and I would be complaining in the strongest possible terms that these RPIs have not been trained properly and are, as a result, accusing legitimate customers of fare-dodging.
     
  4. jon0844

    jon0844 Veteran Member

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    I'm almost tempted to travel on AGA tomorrow with my CPC (and not get my Gold Card discount on Oyster) just to see what happens, but RPIs are so rare that I'd probably have to do this many, many times before encountering one.

    If I didn't know that the RPI that harassed me didn't go on to be a driver on Thameslink, I'd be asking if he had once worked for FCC! :)
     
  5. CyrusWuff

    CyrusWuff Established Member

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    It depends on what sort of reader they've got. Broadly speaking, there are three types, which all show the same information when an Oyster is presented:
    • Original Oyster Handheld Verifier (HHV) - Introduced with Oyster. Fairly chunky and in a "ruggedised" casing.
    • MOVie reader - Basically the same as the HHV, but in a smaller device. I think they were introduced with the switch from MiFare Classic to DESFire chips.
    • RID - A ruggedised PDA with chipcard slot. Adds the ability to check if a CPC has been "touched in".

    Guidance given to rail staff when Oyster was introduced was "if you are unable to read the card (e.g. because you don't have a reader), assume what the passenger is telling you is true and DO NOT issue a PF." (With the obvious caveat of treating them appropriately if they're out of zone or whatever).
     
  6. RJ

    RJ Established Member

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    I think you're on a hiding to nowhere complaining about this. Honestly, don't waste your time. RPIs generate a lot of complaints and the managers down that part of the world seemingly bin those complaints by default, unless they're of a serious nature. That'll be why the same member of staff continues to bother you - the company may pay you lip service by acknowledging they were in the wrong, but they won't spend any time feeding that back to the RPI in question.

    If that was me, in future I'd give my name and address and nothing else. No date of birth, ID, or any other unnecessary details. I'd then file away any (threatening) letters received pertaining to that Penalty Fare, but not respond to them. If the company chooses to waste its time and money escalating the case to court, that's their shout. It would be nigh on impossible for the company to prove beyond reasonable doubt intent to evade the fare or that a validated smartcard wasn't produced for inspection, if TfL's systems show evidence that it was validated. That evidence should be produced in court.

    If there is no evidence the passenger hasn't validated their card, common sense should prevail on the part of the RPIs.
     
    Last edited: 15 May 2015
  7. MikeWh

    MikeWh Established Member Senior Fares Advisor

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    Not my understanding on rail. It can tell if a card has been hotlisted, otherwise it simply confirms that the card is a functioning CPC. It doesn't tell the operator anything about the card at all. The CPC number is stored internally and transmitted to the central system later on. The central system works out whether you were touched in at the time and applies a charge if not.

    I'm actually wondering whether they were using MOVie's or RIDs. I was checked twice recently and on both occasions the MOVie was offered first before they realised that they needed the RID. A MOVie reader will claim that a CPC isn't touched in because it isn't an Oyster.

    This is a very serious error if RPIs are issuing PFs. Individual complaints to AGA may well end up in the bin, but I think TfL as an organisation will have more leverage. I'll make sure that a suitable person is aware of this thread.
     
  8. savemepunk

    savemepunk New Member

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    Thanks to everyone for the replies.

    If I remember correctly the reader stated the message something along the lines of 'failed to read card'. He did try it a couple of times. I'd be happy to change the card, but you can't legislate for it to work with every card reader that you will encounter. As far as I was concerned, it worked 100% all of the time until the RPIs checked it.

    I did refuse to give my details on the 2nd day of inspection on the basis that I wanted further action and to speak to the Police once I got off the train. I wanted to prove to the RPI that my card does indeed work when passing through the gate. After having proved that, they took no further action but suggested to replace the card.

    Leaves me in a situation where I don't want to use my contactless card on the trains again, because of what happened. Even if I change the card, who is to say that these card readers have not been upgraded to work properly.
     
  9. 34D

    34D Established Member

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    If this incident is as you have said (which I fully believe) then it is truly shocking.

    Please consider writing a letter to the MD of AGA about this.
     
  10. talldave

    talldave Established Member

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    You might have a newly elected MP keen to make a few headlines in the local press too?
     
  11. 306024

    306024 Established Member

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    Nope, you still have Eric Pickles :)
     
  12. Clip

    Clip Established Member

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    Can you please confirm what the RPI did

    Did he

    A: Present the reader to your card

    or

    B: Put your card in the slot on the machine?


    Im thinking the same as MikeWh here and he didn't have the correct reader and a complaint to TfL is in order along with London Travelwatch too.
     
  13. savemepunk

    savemepunk New Member

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    Took my card and placed the reader on top of it. It kept failing each time, from what I remember it was firing up a red cross on the screen and a message that said "Card Failed to Read" or something along those lines.
     
  14. MikeWh

    MikeWh Established Member Senior Fares Advisor

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    In both cases it should be (A). The MOVie just will not recognise it. The slot on the RID is nothing to do with checking contactless payment cards being used in the transit mode.

    Also, to the OP: I doubt that there is anything wrong with your card. I would only consider trying to change it if it regularly failed to operate the gates.

    Final interesting thought - the RPI concerned may well have a new employer by the end of the month.
     
  15. JaJaWa

    JaJaWa Established Member

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    If this is the service that is transferring to TfL then it should definitely be possible to reach a solution.
     
    Last edited: 16 May 2015
  16. RJ

    RJ Established Member

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    I don't think someone that commutes from Shenfield to London is likely to use the all stations stopper, which is what will be transferring over to TfL. I'm doubtful staff will have the option of TUPEing over!
     
    Last edited: 16 May 2015
  17. matt_world2004

    matt_world2004 Established Member

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    Unless of the course the staff for greater anglia are just a pool of staff that work on both the stoppers and limited stop services. With a certain percentage being tuped over for TFL rail.
     
  18. RJ

    RJ Established Member

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    I wouldn't expect that any staff would be TUPE'd over, but I could be wrong.
     
  19. Merseysider

    Merseysider Established Member Fares Advisor

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    Apologies if this is obvious, but what is TUPEing?
     
  20. Hadders

    Hadders Established Member

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    Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006.

    They make provision for the treatment of employees when a business or undertaking transfers to a new organisation.
     
  21. transportphoto

    transportphoto Established Member Quizmaster

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    http://m.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=1655
     
  22. swt_passenger

    swt_passenger Veteran Member

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    The incoming AGA franchisee was required to separate out the necessary people (train crew, station and office staff) working on the routes that would transfer to LO, there's a board paper about it (link follows) but it does mention TUPE, and also that AGA were recruiting and training extra drivers that would be needed by LOROL:
    I think something very similar was written into the 2011 franchise regarding a Crossrail independent business unit, this was supposed to have been up and running well before the transfer date, in December 2012.
     
    Last edited: 22 May 2015
  23. talldave

    talldave Established Member

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    Anyone being TUPE'd needs to be very cautious. For employee benefits, such as pensions, TUPE is useless.
     
  24. najaB

    najaB Veteran Member

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    That depends on if the benefits are contractual or not. If they are then they will be protected.
     
  25. matt_world2004

    matt_world2004 Established Member

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    I would imagine, TFL's pension, staff travel holidays and pay are better than greater anglias. though.
     
  26. savemepunk

    savemepunk New Member

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    Regardless of what has been mentioned, I still see this inspector at the gates at Shenfield. I have found it very difficult not to go past him and say something, but I don't feel it will do me any good. At the end of the day, if he's been given the wrong equipment or has been given the wrong information, then it's not his fault.

    After last Thursday, I started to use my Oyster card because I don't enjoy the experience of being harranged on the train when I have actually paid for my journey. However I did use my contactless card yesterday with no problems (and no inspectors!).
     
  27. Mojo

    Mojo Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    Staff will Tupe to Lorol in the case of West Anglia, and MTR Corporation (Crossrail) Ltd in the case of the Great Eastern Metro, and not TfL.
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    This is correct. It cannot tell whether the CPC has been touched in or not, only whether it would have been possible for the CPC to be touched in.

    The error message in question indicates that either the reader, or the card, is defective, and NOT that it is not valid for travel. This is almost certainly grounds for appeal, the Penalty fare was incorrectly issued.
     
  28. Hadders

    Hadders Established Member

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    You can be as cautious as you like but generally someone being TUPE'd from one organisation to another doesn't have any choice.
     
  29. najaB

    najaB Veteran Member

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    Well, they do have the choice to resign, but if they want to continue to receive a paycheque then you're correct.
     
  30. cjmillsnun

    cjmillsnun Established Member

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    If the card was defective, then it would not be valid for travel, as it would not be possible to be touched in or out. If that was the case, then the PF would be 100% valid.

    That said, it sounds like in this case, it was the reader that was defective.
     
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