FGW - TVM not offering cheapest fare

Discussion in 'Fares Advice & Policy' started by Monkey Magic, 4 Jun 2015.

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  1. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Member

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    On the Cotswold line which as people may or may not know has had fare changes and changes on restrictions recently.

    We have a ticket office at our station and when you buy a ticket from the office you are told the restrictions and the cheapest option for a travelcard (super off peak coming back after 7). c£24 with a network card.

    Today I caught a later train so the office was closed. When at the TVM the only travelcard available was the off peak one which was priced at £40 without the railcard.

    In the end I bought my ticket on the train (something I am wary off in case I get someone who says 'why didn't you use the ticket machine').

    Are FGW allowed to 'hide' the cheaper ticket like this (ie I couldn't find it and I know how to hunt for things on the machines).
     
  2. RJ

    RJ Established Member

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    Maybe the ticket type STO (Super Off Peak Day Travelcard) isn't loaded in FGW's TVMs. There's no requirement for TVMs to offer the full range of tickets.

    The official stance when your chosen ticket isn't available at your starting station is to buy a ticket to cover part of the distance, then exchange it for the one you require at the first opportunity (NRCoC Condition 3). However, I'd strongly suggest checking with FGW's for their policy on this, as following Condition 3 can cause more problems than it solves. Maybe they will suggest buying the ticket on the train.

    It's a bit of a rubbish situation really - the TVMs should really be offering the Super Off Peak Travelcard in good time for the first train it's valid on. Maybe it's an oversight on FGW's part, or a technical error which is yet to be resolved. I know in my neck of the woods, for some odd reason Gold Card discounts aren't being offered from the TVMs when they should be.
     
    Last edited: 4 Jun 2015
  3. Greenback

    Greenback Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I think that you do need to contact FGW and let them know of the situation, in case it's an oversight as RJ said. At the same time, ask them what you should do - but on board or buy a shorter ticket and exchange it.

    Let us know how you get on and what they say.
     
  4. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Member

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    Who would I contact at FGW?
     
  5. Greenback

    Greenback Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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  6. Harlan Cage

    Harlan Cage Member

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    Be aware that if FGW issue with a ticket, you have paid by credit card and they make a mistake you as the customer you may have to fill out a handwritten 3 page form and wait for a refund back to your bank! You also have to purchase another ticket which is really good when it is a season ticket on a Monday morning!<( I always purchase my tickets in advance now!:|

    Harlan Cage
     
  7. Hadders

    Hadders Established Member

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    Was it a case that the super off-peak travelcard wasn't in the TVM at all or was it not on the front screen? Travelcards can be tricky to find too - do you search for London, Travelcard, All Zones, etc...

    How do the popular fares get chosen for the front screen of TVM's? Are they pre-programmed or is it dynamic depending on the most popular fares sold by the particular TVM?

    If it's pre-programmed then FGW should have re-programmed it when the new fares were intorduced. If it's dynamic then there needs to be a way to over-ride it when a new fare is introduced that's likely to be very popular.

    I remember when super off-peak travelcards were introduced by FCC. They didn't appear on the front page of the TVM's for ages and a note had to be attached to the front of them advising passengers how to select them.
     
  8. thealexweb

    thealexweb Member

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    The rollout of TVMs, across all TOCs, really should be halted until they can offer the same range of tickets as manned offices can.
     
  9. Hadders

    Hadders Established Member

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    I think this is a bit over the top! Probably unrealistic for TVM's to offer Advance tickets, sleeper reservations and sailrail for example.

    The right balance needs to e struck between ease of use and tickets available to purchase.

    Many of the things that are wrong with TVM's are to do with simple, straightforward tickets not being available (due to a simple programing error as this thread shows) rather than a fundamental flaw.
     
  10. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Member

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    It used to be on the front screen but now it was the more expensive off peak version since the fare and restriction changes. I did hunt around but could not find the super saver version.

    I'll go tomorrow when I am not in a hurry and see if I can find it on the machine.
     
  11. Dent

    Dent Member

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    Any ticket valid for immediate travel from that station, in addition to TOD facilities, would be a reasonable minimum requirement.

    Advances and reservations are a different matter, since they have to be booked in advance anyway there is usually some flexibility about where and when they can be booked.

    Ease of use doesn't necessitate restricting ticket availability.
     
  12. thealexweb

    thealexweb Member

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    I am not asking for existing TVM to be shut down. I am simply asking that given that there are many examples of new machines being installed to directly replace shrunken ticket offices, that these TVMs should be able to offer the same range of products.
     
  13. gray1404

    gray1404 Established Member

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    I had a situation whereby the ticket I wanted was not on the TVM with Southern recently (my destination was not listed. Out of interested I selected another station in the same "group" and would have been happy to travel short. But all they had was the Route: Any Permitted rather then the cheaper walk-ups with a TOC restriction. I got on the train and the guard, who I explained to, said to just explain to barrier staff and go to the ticket office when I changed trains. (Thankfully I had enough time to do this in reality as there was no long que but in theory I only really had a couple of minutes over the minimum interchange time for the station and we arrived 2 down).

    Buying the ticket for part of the journey then exchanging it, applying the value already paid, sounds good in theory but I could imagine not many staff knowing how to apply it and it being refused and time wasted in explaining. I could see the customer having to buy another ticket not taking into account the value of the first ticket; then the customer having to send it in for a refund afterwards. This is why I wish Permit To Travel tickets (of which you could just pay 5p) would still be offered to customers who cannot get their desired ticket on the TVM.

    I did contact Southern about 1. the cheapest walk-ups - of which they are the the fare setter - not being on their ticket TVMs at all 3 of their stations I tried at and 2. a destination, again at all 3 of their stations I tried at, station I wanted not being list at all on the TVMs. Yesterday I received a reply back from Southern advising that upon receipt of my email they advised the relevant department and they have confirmed they've updated the fares and added the station. I shall have to wait until I'm down South again at a Southern station in that fares group to check if this is so.

    (for clarity I tried 2 more stations after day of travel just checking their TVMs just to check it wasn't just a glitch at one station)

    Interestingly enough, when I got off the train at the other end up North, I check to see if the same cheapest walk up tickets were offered by either of the sets of TVMs at the destination station (some are Virgin WC ones others are Northern). The answer to this is no. I did email Virgin, but they sent a standard letter by reply not addressing any of the points I raised.
     
  14. clagmonster

    clagmonster Established Member

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    It is a difficult position, as it is, I believe, impossible to excess to a Travelcard, so there would be no way for the guard to complete the transaction if you complied with condition 3, so I suspect it would be a case of visit booking office at the destination or interchange station, possibly involving a dispute at the ticket barrer en-route to said booking office. At the same time, if you don't comply with condition 3, the guard could point to ticket purchasing facilities and refuse to sell anything other than full fare.

    Gray1404, in your position, I'd buy the part fare ticket from the TVM, as it should just be a simple over distance excess for the guard.
     
  15. Rich McLean

    Rich McLean Established Member

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    I am sure someone else will confirm, but FGW do enforce Condition 3 and I have seen passengers get issued Penalty Fares or written up for having no ticket and walking past an opportunity to purchase , however I have never tried to exchange a ticket for a more appropriate one
     
  16. sarahj

    sarahj Established Member

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    Its quite easy to exchange a ticket for a one that was wrongly bought, however if there is a price difference to the punter, on train staff cannot pay out the difference, it can either be no extra (zero fare) or an excess fare. Sometime might only be 5p. Some don't like doing zero fare excesses and extra forms and info need to be filled in when you pay in.

    When fiddling with ticket machines outside of haywards heath while having a fag, I did notice that the super off peak travel cards were not listed on the first screen of options and you had to keep looking to find it. Sometimes on the advantix you gets lists of different tickets and finding the right one for a ticket combo you don't normally sell can be difficult, esp as it says not via......, or via.... and its only when the ticket prints can you see what it was. eg via polegate, not via london.
     
  17. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Member

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    So I went early to the station today to see if I could find the super-off peak. It took me a few minutes of playing around with the machine to find it.

    The front screen shows - Oxford, London, Worcester etc and the only travel card is the off peak £40+ version.

    I looked more closely and there is a tab at the bottom right of the screen saying 'travelcards' (you would have to be looking for it to find it). From there you then have all the range of zones, and then you have the options for off peak, 7 day, super off peak etc

    So you now have to go through 3-4 steps to get the cheaper ticket - while the more expensive 1 is on the first one you see (so obviously the casual traveller or the person in a hurry is just going to pay for the most expensive.

    You can find it, you just have to 'know the machine' to know where it is.

    It seems to me that FGW have deliberately put the more expensive ticket on the front page to trick passengers into paying more.
     
  18. clagmonster

    clagmonster Established Member

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    Can you excess to a Travelcard then, Sarah, or do have a procedure of charging what the excess would be, and taking the already held ticket as part payment?
     
  19. sarahj

    sarahj Established Member

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    Yes, done that many times, say where the punter has bought a ticket to london and wanted a travel card. The excess is done through the advantix and the punter pays the difference between the ticket they hold and the price of the travelcard. A travelcard is printed with the price shown as the excess paid, and the note valid only with ticket eg12345. The original ticket is crossed out, marked VOID and I tear the magentic strip to stop it going into a barrier, and the punter is told to retain the original until journey's end.
    Simples.
     
  20. clagmonster

    clagmonster Established Member

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    Ah right, thanks for that. I always thought it was the case that the machines can't cope with excessing to a Travelcard. I'd like to see one, I'll have to concoct a scenario to request such an excess.
     
  21. sarahj

    sarahj Established Member

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    Its not that exciting, just imagine a travel card with the words Valid only with ticket 12345 written on the top orange strip and a price of eg £4.50.
    :lol:

    If you want one that much, board a southern train to london that has a guard. eg not the trains from Brighton to London. Before you board, buy a ticket to victoria, eg a off peak, super off peak (whatever your needs are). Ask the guard that you really needed a travel card and can I pay the excess?. Job done.
     
    Last edited: 5 Jun 2015
  22. gray1404

    gray1404 Established Member

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    "Some don't like doing zero fare excesses and extra forms and info need to be filled in when you pay in."

    This really annoys me! Lazy attitude and results in the customer getting fobbed off. Its their job for goodness sake to fill out the paperwork. We have all have paperwork to do in our jobs. Imagine if every other profession refused or tried to avoid doing a task simply because their was a form to go with it.

    Customers should not have problems getting zero excess fares. Its wrong when we do.
     
  23. sarahj

    sarahj Established Member

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    I've done em, and my reports go like this. Ex sef-1072 SDR to OP T/C ticket 12345*. Never had any comeback over 8 years, though there may be a file on me at go-ahead house.:o you just have to remember to note it when you do the zero fare, or you get back to base 8 hours later and see the 1 zero fare on your end of shift report and think, 'what was that?'

    * dont know if i've done this ticket excess, only ticket I could think of in the spur of the moment that would be a zero fare excess. If I did have this combo, would offer other options.
     
    Last edited: 5 Jun 2015
  24. RJ

    RJ Established Member

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    I'd hold fire before criticising staff about not excessing into Travelcards. The iKb makes it clear tickets should not be excessed into a Travelcard and provides a number of alternative instructions covering various scenarios. The appropriate excess fare is a CD/SD BZ6 ticket for evening peak upgrade and a full Travelcard if extra zones are required. If the wrong ticket type is purchased in the first place, it's a refund (by way of filling out the pink refund form) then paying the difference for a Travelcard.

    If you do get a Travelcard as an excess, it's a privilege but certainly not a right.
     
  25. anme

    anme Established Member

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    It's worth noting that ticket machines in France and Germany do offer advance tickets and seat reservations. In general, it's hard to see why any ticket available via a website couldn't be offered by a TVM (although it might not always be worth the effort to implement it).
     
  26. 34D

    34D Established Member

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    Is this now procedure, please?

    The beauty of excesses (for me anyway) is the situation where a ticket can be bought to one place then an excess bought, and the original ticket can be unstapled afterwards (perhaps to be submitted as a work expenses claim (without the deviation on the excess) or indeed to show to wives etc as proof that you were in Birmingham on business and not in Cheltenham with your mistress).
     
  27. RJ

    RJ Established Member

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    I cross out the ticket and mark it as excessed. Shouldn't affect any expenses claims or any other innocuous activity, but will prevent people from getting it excessed multiple times.
     
  28. Dent

    Dent Member

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    That sounds a lot like fraud!
     
  29. clagmonster

    clagmonster Established Member

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    Not really, if work are willing to pay for him to go to Birmingham, that is fine but they will want a ticket from 34D land to Birmingham with the expenses form. I don't see anything wrong with him continuing on to Cheltenham after work, so long as he pays the appropriate excess.

    I do hope Mrs 34D doesn't read the forum without her husband's knowledge though,
     
  30. 34D

    34D Established Member

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    Ex. And this forum (and all other things train and bus) is the reason why she is an ex.
     
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