Govia Thameslink Railway: Issues regarding ticket validity across brands

Discussion in 'Fares Advice & Policy' started by Sacro, 1 Sep 2015.

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  1. Sacro

    Sacro Member

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    Mod Note: This thread has been split from here.

    I think you mean using a Thameslink fare on Govia Thameslink Railway
     
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  3. swt_passenger

    swt_passenger Veteran Member

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    No, the "public facing brands" are still Thameslink and Southern, as regularly pointed out...
     
  4. CyrusWuff

    CyrusWuff Established Member

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    As has been pointed out before, despite most people knowing what's intended, the NRCoC only refers to Company restrictions, rather than brand restrictions...but the TOC involved (i.e. Southern, and now Govia Thameslink Railway) has no interest in having it tested in Court, for obvious reasons...(Namely if they lose, that ruins their revenue forecasts).
     
  5. swt_passenger

    swt_passenger Veteran Member

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    ...but also in this case, unlike the GatEx situation, the overall franchisee already HAS been required by DfT in the franchise spec to remove the distinction between Southern and Thameslink fares as part of the merger, but that has not happened yet, and if you buy a restricted ticket today it will still say one or the other.

    I guess therefore that Yorkie intends to try and make this happen sooner rather than than later.
     
  6. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    If tickets are routed by a TOC that no longer exists, then my understanding is the ticket is valid by the replacement TOC.

    On most occasions TOC specific tickets are promptly removed for defunct TOCs, however Govia want to do things in their own unique way.

    I don't think Govia's policy will change. Their policy so far has been to deny the validity of tickets which are routed by a defunct TOC (which they have taken over) on those trains which they operate but are of a different 'brand' however anyone who is charged that I've been aware of has been refunded and, in many cases, further compensated. I cannot guarantee the same outcome, but it's got to be a strong possibility. I agree with CyrusWuff that they wouldn't want this to be put to any sort of test.

    Not everyone agrees with me, but the record of obtaining refunds for this sort of charge is good so far, and I intend to keep it that way, so I await the OP contacting me with further information so I can assist. A scan/photo of the ticket and penalty fare would be a good starting point.
     
  7. Sacro

    Sacro Member

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    I would argue that any tickets that are valid on "Southern" "Gatwick Express" and "Thameslink" are interchangeably valid on all trains between London and Brighton (aside from the Great Western ones between Gatwick and Redhill).

    Same as if you happened to get a ticket that specified "Connex" on it.
     
    Last edited: 1 Sep 2015
  8. Agent_c

    Agent_c Member

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    Southern insist Southern tickets are not valid on GatEx, so try it at your own risk.
     
  9. Sacro

    Sacro Member

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    Southern doesn't exist as a separate company. Unless you're now saying that Thameslink (Blue) don't accept Thameslink (Green) tickets on Thameslink (Red) :roll:
     
  10. sarahj

    sarahj Established Member

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    Can open, worms everywhere.....:lol:

    However, this all does need to be sorted, even if just to stop the staff from going mad.:?

    A month or so ago buying a Thameslink only ticket, then catching the Southern/Gat Ex services from Brighton to Victoria was a big no no. Nowdays, who knows.:roll:
     
  11. Sacro

    Sacro Member

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    Problem is even back a few months ago I saw that Southern and FCC had traded 377s and not all of them had operator stickers stating which they were with!
     
  12. sarahj

    sarahj Established Member

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    TL trains now are to be found parked up in Lovers Walk depot, some trains go up as TL to London Bridge and come back as Southern.

    As I said, a very large can of worms, and they are out and getting away.
     
  13. anme

    anme Established Member

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    Indeed. Even if legally correct (which is questionable), it would seem very harsh if someone with a Thameslink-only ticket got on a train which was clearly Thameslink branded and was subsequently penalised on the grounds that it wasn't a Thameslink service!

    However, this is straying off topic...
     
    Last edited: 1 Sep 2015
  14. 34D

    34D Established Member

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    I probably agree. But I also agree with

    Being now acceptable.
     
  15. cookie365

    cookie365 Member

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    Maybe if someone with a deep understanding of the rules on 'TOC' specific tickets gave a story to the Brighton Argus the queues of people asking for their £3 refund on tickets bought since the end of July at the ticket office might prompt Govia to sort things out?
     
  16. deltic

    deltic Established Member

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    I note the press release referring to Govia taking over Southern franchise states

    "There are many more improvements planned over the life of the franchise, but it’s business as usual for they way in which Southern and Gatwick Express passengers travel as there’s no change to ticket validity."
     
  17. Mag_seven

    Mag_seven Established Member

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    Therefore "Southern Only" tickets are valid on Gatwick Express. <D
     
  18. Agent_c

    Agent_c Member

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    I am more than happy to post again an email chain from Southern insisting that southern tickets are not valid on souThern owned and operated GatEx branded trains.

    Try it at your own risk. Personally I agree with the theory that they should be, but expect a battle if you try it.
     
    Last edited: 1 Sep 2015
  19. STPBTN

    STPBTN Member

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    If someone would like to do this, PM me and I'll put you in touch. I know most of the journalists at the Argus very well.
     
  20. bb21

    bb21 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Also not helped now by Southern-branded trains appearing on Thameslink services, like 377128 was today, with no debranding or at least removal of the word "Southern". Grrr
     
  21. Sacro

    Sacro Member

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    That'd be a Thameslink (Green) train on a Thameslink (Blue) service!
     
  22. Llanigraham

    Llanigraham On Moderation

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    Easy to say, but can you prove it?

    I keep seeing people say this but no-one has yet provided any evidence to prove it is correct. It seems to be nothing but hearsay.
     
  23. benk1342

    benk1342 Member

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    The answer to this is very clear in the National Rail Conditions of Carriage and I'm sorry to say I disagree with yorkie.

    NRCoC 10 states:
    "Train Company" is expressly defined in Appendix A as:
    (Emphasis added.) Because this phrase is expressly defined in the contract, it supersedes any traditional dictionary definition of the words.

    Appendix C lists the "Train Companies" (as of the most recent 19 July 2015 version) as:
    Recognising that this list may be out of date, the appendix also expressly refers to the National Rail website for a current list.

    The National Rail website lists the following Train Companies (http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/tocs_maps/tocs/TrainOperators.aspx):
    Thus, for the purposes of Condition 10 of the NRCoC, Gatwick Express, Great Northern, Southern and Thameslink are defined as separate Train Companies, regardless of whether they are in fact merely brands of the same corporate entity.

    I agree that this is not ideal for customers, but it is completely unambiguous in the contract.

    Clearly these rules should be relaxed when a Southern service is operating in Thameslink livery or vice versa --- and I would hope they would be. But that is a separate issue.

    Ben
     
    Last edited: 2 Sep 2015
  24. Shempz

    Shempz Member

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    It looks like Southern Railway Ltd's annual accounts disagree with benk1342 and the extract from NRCOC/National Rail wesbite-

    [​IMG]
     
  25. 34D

    34D Established Member

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    But if we quote from the very first section of the Companies Act 2006:

    ENDS
     
  26. Tetchytyke

    Tetchytyke Established Member

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    I would agree with you, as the overall owner of a company shouldn't influence whether it is treated as a separate TOC or not. There isn't the same argument with the London Midland Only or Southern Only tickets on the southern WCML, yet they're owned by the same company.

    I know this is slightly different as it is the same franchise, but it's not that different.

    That said, I doubt that Govia Thameslink would be willing to see this tested in court, so they are more likely to refund the Penalty Fare if necessary. But I think it is bad advice to say you can use a ticket restricted to one brand on a train of a different brand.
     
  27. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    At present there is no provision to restrict by brand in the NRCoC.
     
  28. thedbdiboy

    thedbdiboy Member

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    Bearing in mind that GTR is a management contract underwritten by the DfT, if this situation comes to a head, which way do you think the DfT are going to go on this one?

    a) Oh dear, we must force GTR to accept tickets for any of its TOC brands on any other of its TOC brands; or

    b) Lets tweak the rules to make clear that for the purposes of ticketing, the 'brand' is the TOC
     
  29. MikeWh

    MikeWh Established Member Senior Fares Advisor

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    Given that tweaking the rules would actually solve the problem, why hasn't the DfT already done it? If it really is that easy, surely it should have been done when Southern took over GatEx? There must be more to it than just tweaking the rules.
     
  30. benk1342

    benk1342 Member

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    I think they have - by listing Southern, Gatwick Express, Great Northern and Thameslink as separate "Train Companies" in the NRCoC. As I said above, the contract is completely unambiguous on this.
     
  31. Alex C.

    Alex C. Member

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    I don't see it as being unambiguous - there are two parts to the statement.

    and

    There is a list of current licenses in operation here

    Which lists:

    Govia Thameslink Railway Limited
    Southern Railway Limited

    Gatwick Express is not listed separately. I'm not so sure about Southern being separate as they have transferred all their liabilities to Govia Thameslink Railway Limited.

    Just because they then go on to say a list of companies can be found in the appendix, doesn't change the fact that the companies in the appendix don't meet the definition that they have included.

    I'd say that's a very real case of ambiguity - and generally when there is ambiguity in a contract it should be interpreted in favour of the person who didn't draft it.
     
    Last edited: 2 Sep 2015
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