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. GatwickDepress

    GatwickDepress Established Member

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    Reading this thread makes me so glad walk up ticket from Hastings to London only have route restrictions, not operator restrictions...
     
  2. broadgage

    broadgage Member

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    It would be interesting to see this tested in a proper court of law, rather than by a rail industry "fine"

    I rather doubt that a Judge or a jury would find in favour of the railway industry if someone used a "Thameslink only" ticket on a train that was clearly branded "thameslink"
     
  3. infobleep

    infobleep Established Member

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    Your right they wouldn't because how could one say a Thameslink only ticket wouldn't be valid on a train branded Thameslink.

    Would be like saying you can't board this flight because your airline ticket is for this flight. ;)
     
  4. redbutton

    redbutton Member

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    But that's exactly the situation we have now. Thameslink crews are driving Thameslink services from Brighton using borrowed Southern-branded stock. Joe Tourist has no idea whether to believe the CIS board that says Thameslink or the side of the train that says Southern.

    That said, the four "brands" are being operated as separate directorates, with only some of the back office functions having been merged last month. So I can understand the company's position that it should be business as usual on the front line. But clearly it's not, and it's the customers and front-line staff that suffer as a result.
     
  5. 34D

    34D Established Member

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    I'm don't see your logic.

    If the industry (by which I mean GoVia themselves, and ATOC as their trade body) won't deal with it themselves, maybe this forum needs to raise money to pay for a Barristers Opinion, the results of which can then be shared via the press?

    I would put in to any such appeal for funds.
     
  6. infobleep

    infobleep Established Member

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    What you mean is branded train not service. After all a Thameslink branded service doesn't go to Victoria. A Thameslink branded train might but it's not the same thing in my opinion, hence my comments as that is why I thought was meant.
     
    Last edited: 5 Sep 2015
  7. broadgage

    broadgage Member

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    Yes, but is it reasonable to expect an occasional rail user to know that a "thameslink only" ticket CAN NOT be used on a thameslink train if it is going to Victoria, but can be used to other London terminals.

    The whole thing is a farce and reinforces the widely held view that train travel is expensive, and hugely complicated, and that some of the complexities are actually designed to extract "fines" from the unwary.
    To be able to extract "fines" from those who have purchased a ticket but failed to understand the subtle difference between a thameslink branded TRAIN and a thameslink branded SERVICE is ridiculous and verging on dishonest.

    Not certain that I much fancy a "Nit service" though, no matter whose nits they may be :(
     
    Last edited: 5 Sep 2015
  8. infobleep

    infobleep Established Member

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    I've corrected my typo. Should have been not and not nit.

    I don't think it's reasonable either. However there are laws in other countries that I don't think are reasonable but they are still laws that exist in those countries. I choose not to travel to those countries.

    A court might decide it's unfair for someone to know it's a Southern service but what if someone did know it was a Southern services and boarded it. Then what does that mean?

    One solution would be to stop using Southern or Thameslink trains on each others services. They didn't before July so why can't they carry on just the same as before? Do Govia want there Vale a d eat it?
     
    Last edited: 5 Sep 2015
  9. 34D

    34D Established Member

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    Has occurred before: TL received green 319s 10ish years ago and 5ish years ago received green 377s.

    Is the 'GoVia' or 'GoAhead' logo being added to their trains?
     
  10. globetrotter

    globetrotter Member

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    I think, in fairness to Govia, that the intention is to merge operations and introduce new fares, probably fares that are valid on both TOCs.

    In the past, Thameslink was a competing TOC into London but, generally speaking, its trains were older and stopped at (often many) more stations than Southern trains. No direct trains to Victoria, but Travelcard fares carried passengers onward from East Croydon.

    In order to attract passengers going to parts of London that Thameslink did not serve (like an airline that did not fly direct but offered "connections"), they needed to charge lower fares. Southern did/does this with Gatwick Express.

    I suggest the real issue here is that merging operations, changing fares, ticket conditions etc. needs more time and to follow whatever legal procedures are required. On the operations side however, they seem to have decided to streamline the merger somewhat earlier to achieve operating economies e.g. perhaps choosing to meet timetabling requirements for a Southern service into London by using Thameslink train stock that arrived at Brighton on a Thameslink service.

    If so, there's no simple short term answer here. Announcements could be made before departure at Victoria or Brighton for example by the conductor as to which TOC is operating the service, if the branding is different. Govia could have a policy of doing nothing if passengers have made simple mistakes, especially if they boarded at intermediate stations. And IMHO for the moment they could, and should, try to restrict interchange of train stock to the absolute minimum to avoid confusion and endless discussions like this one.

    Presumably the entire situation will be sorted out once new fares and a new timetable are in force:

    https://www.southernrailway.com/mob...ches-consultation-on-december-2015-timetable/
     
  11. maniacmartin

    maniacmartin Established Member Senior Fares Advisor

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    For those discussing the distinction between a train branded with a TOC's livery vs a service run by a TOC, Condition 10 says:
    Note that it restricts by the trains of a TOC, not the services of a TOC.
     
  12. infobleep

    infobleep Established Member

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    So does that mean a Victoria service in Thameslink livery is both a Southern service and Thameslink service at the same time? Is that possible?

    The only thing I can think of is those who hold Megatrains tickets. The trains are not called that but don't the tickets refer to it?
     
    Last edited: 6 Sep 2015
  13. Sacro

    Sacro Member

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    Did they? I don't recall that ever been the case.
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    This is rather confusing.

    Southern is a term that needs to be removed, it's a branding / stock diagram at best. Gatwick Express is a diagram that runs from Victoria to Gatwick non-stop with Thameslink (red) class 442s.

    It's a Thameslink service using Thameslink (blue) rolling stock. Yes, it runs on what was traditionally a Southern / Connex SouthCentral, but that's pre-August thinking.
     
  14. infobleep

    infobleep Established Member

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    Of course it's confusing. Intentional or otherwise the situation is confusing.
     
  15. AM9

    AM9 Established Member

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    Just tried using NRE to see how booking a Super Off-Peak return from Brighton to East Croydon might appear to a competent but not rail-nerd customer:
    enter details into the journey planner, the cheapest ticket is shown at £10.70.
    If the customer then clicks on the 'Other Tickets' link, they can see the lowest cost ticket with a link to 'Super Off-Peak Day Return'
    Clicking on that takes them to what looks like the full definition of the 'Tickets terms and conditions'. At the bottom of this definition is a link to 'view the specific 'Validity Code' applicable to the journey plan that you have selected.'
    That link takes them to a page showing code FB as the only restriction that clearly only refers to Monday to Friday.
    Referring to restriction FB on BR Fares website confirms that in the opposite sense, i.e.:

    "OUTWARD TRAVEL

    Travel is permitted on any
    train at any time on Saturday,
    Sunday & Bank Holidays.

    RETURN TRAVEL

    Return travel is permitted on
    any train at any time
    Saturday, Sunday & Bank
    Holidays."


    So the NRE route may not lead a customer to any clear indication of not being allowed to travel on Southern, (or even Gatwick Express).
    Add to that the possibility that the train could have Southern, or Thameslink branding on it, I think GTR would be reluctant to test the issue in court, and whatever the judgement was, they would be pilloried by the media, by local and Westminster politicians et al.
     
  16. talldave

    talldave Established Member

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    The problem is that Govia/Southern/Whatever don't give a flying **** about passengers. We're just an irritating inconvenience to running their big train set and they'll extract as much cash as they can from us whilst doing it.

    As for needing more time to sort things out - utter rubbish. The July merger was known well in advance and if they wanted to do something they could have done it in July.

    It was the same with updating TVMs for new Annual Gold Card rules this year - they didn't, until complained at. Again, the changes were known about well in advance.

    Strange though isn't it that when ticket prices go up, the infrastructure seems to be ready with the new prices as the clock strikes midnight?
     
  17. infobleep

    infobleep Established Member

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    To be fair to Govia Thameslink, they are cheaper than some other companies surrounding them. Doesn't mean the service is as good of course.
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    May I add some fuel to the fire in the form of three photos I've just taken at Gatwick Airport as a 19.05 timed service left platform 1 for Victoria only.

    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    So it's a Southern coaches forming a Gatwick Express. Note only a few Gatwick Express services depart from platform 1 during peak rush hour or shoulder peak. Normally it's stopping Southern services fro London Bridge or Victoria or sometimes First Great Western Reading services, which mainly use platform 2. Gatwick Expresses usually depart from platform 5 and 6. In fact the one after is from platform 6. I can see the logic in using platform 1 if it works operationally.

    But what if some got into platform 1 and seeing that train assume it would stop at East Croydon or perhaps even Redhill. Southern services from platform 1 go to Redhill after all and East Croydon. OK it's their fault for not looking at the screens but the coaches don't help. What's to say some people go partly on rolling stock, especially if they are in a hurry; tried from a long flight or stressed after flight etc.

    I know the railways do what they can to try to stop people running. Could they do what they can to try and stop people boarding the wrong train. I don't think k this is it though.

    Still the alternative would have been a cancelled train no doubt, unless every evening the 19.05 is formed of Southern coaches.
     
    Last edited: 7 Sep 2015
  18. Kite159

    Kite159 Veteran Member

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    And what would happen if someone had a "Southern" only Gatwick to Victoria ticket, would they be made to pay the "Thameslink Red" supplement? ;)
     
  19. gray1404

    gray1404 Established Member

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    I've recently been on a service from Victoria to Brighton (with a few stops included) that was a true Southern service and they were using Gat Ex stock for it. What if someone had a "Not Gatwick Express" ticket? This was NOT one of the Gat Ex that extends to Brighton btw. It is normally operated using the usual Southern stock.
     
  20. yorkie

    yorkie Forum Staff Staff Member Administrator

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    The coaches are leased by Govia Thameslink Railway and are forming a GTR service on their Gatwick Express route despite the branding on the coaches being of Southern route branding. This is unsurprising as it's all the same train operating company and when stock displacement occurs I expect the company to use any available stock.

    What is surprising is the claim that these brands are separate companies. Clearly, to anyone who is even the slightest bit familiar with the term "company" this is not the case!
    For such an understandable mistake, I would expect GTR to allow them to travel back from Victoria at no extra charge and would be very surprised if that was not done.
     
  21. causton

    causton Established Member

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    Yes those workings are available in the Frequently Requested Diagrams thread :)
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    Funny you say that as LM didn't for some of Sunday reportedly!!! Now fixed I believe.
     
  22. yorkie

    yorkie Forum Staff Staff Member Administrator

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    442s are used on both Gatwick Express and Brighton Express routes (plus a small number of services to Eastbourne).

    The original branding was "Gatwick Express" but this was changed to simply "Express" to reflect the fact that the train company - then Southern and now Govia Thameslink Railway - operated both routes with that stock, and also to avoid the scenario where people saw the word "Gatwick" on the train and assumed that the train would call at Gatwick, only go through non-stop!:lol:
     
  23. 34D

    34D Established Member

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    So is a train branded 'Express' considered to be a GTR train? Does it come under the sub brand 'southern' or the sub brand 'gatwick express'?

    This issue needs to go to the media, in a competent non anorak manner.
     
  24. yorkie

    yorkie Forum Staff Staff Member Administrator

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    Govia Thameslink Railway (and, before that, Southern Railway) lease 24 x 5 car Class 442 "Express" units to run both their Southern branded Brighton Express route and their Gatwick Express route (as well as a very small number of additional services to & from Eastbourne under their Southern brand).

    A passenger could quite easily end up on a unit with Thameslink branding on a Govia Thameslink Railway service forming a service branded as Southern, while another passenger is on a Southern branded unit operated by Govia Thameslink Railway forming a service branded Gatwick Express, while another passenger could be on an Express branded unit operated by Govia Thameslink Railway forming a service branded Southern, and a fourth passenger was on a Southern branded unit operated by Govia Thameslink Railway on the Thameslink route. If all these passengers held tickets restricted to those trains operated by Thameslink then I believe all would be valid, however Govia Thameslink Railway would probably disagree and state that the only passenger who has a valid ticket out of the above list, is one of the ones who is travelling on a Southern branded unit. In all cases the revenue goes to the same Company, and in all cases the operator is the same. The name of that Train Operating Company is Govia Thameslink Railway; who freely admit they are "The UK’s largest train operator."

    As this "all adds up to a better journey", I trust they will agree to refund any passengers who have been charged any sort of supplement or penalty for using the wrong brand of Govia Thameslink Railway train.
     
    Last edited: 8 Sep 2015
  25. jon0844

    jon0844 Veteran Member

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    It's no wonder GTR would never let anything get anywhere near a court for clarification. It's even more crazy now than it was when it was just Southern trains and Gatwick Express. Now it's Thameslink too!

    Like the private parking firms that apparently get around 60% of mostly unenforceable parking tickets paid, GTR is on to a good thing here.

    There are valid arguments for both views, although I tend to side with Yorkie's interpretation, but we know that if anyone appeals or complains to Southern/GTR then they cave in. Thus, probably working to a similar rule as those parking firms. Most people will comply and pay up if 'caught', and a few that do stick up for themselves can be paid off without making a big impact.

    I am sure that all the refunds have been as goodwill gestures, to ensure that there's no admissions made.
     
  26. infobleep

    infobleep Established Member

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    I agree with your last point.

    Does anyone know what is the official advice to staff on passengers who board a train branded Thameslink when it's Southern or the other way round?

    If I was a guard I may be tempted to say that I need to issue this penalty fare because I am required to do so by my superiors but if you appeal you will be refunded or let off. It would depend on whether I'd be likely to get told off for not issuing such a penalty charge notice. If I wouldn't then I'd let the matter go.
     
  27. yorkie

    yorkie Forum Staff Staff Member Administrator

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    The Thameslink branded trains doesn't have Guards, and several of the Southern ones don't either. Guards cannot issue Penalty Fares. No-one is going to be "told off" for not issuing a Penalty Fare.
     
  28. Starmill

    Starmill Events Co-ordinator

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    Things that may or may not be brands used by this company:

    Southern
    Southern Coaches
    Metro
    Express
    Gatwick Express
    Brighton Express
    Thameslink
    Great Northern
    First Capital Connect (see ticket offices / receipts)
    TSGN
    TLGN
    I'm not sure if there's any evidence but maybe their actual name, Govia Thameslink Railway too?
     
    Last edited: 9 Sep 2015
  29. infobleep

    infobleep Established Member

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    I forgot that part so it wouldn't matter.
     
  30. sarahj

    sarahj Established Member

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    To make matters more interesting, when I was on the Southern branded Thameslink train that I took the pic of there was no PIS running. Odd I thought.
    Anyway, a few days later I was again on a Southern branded Thameslink running train and the driver had set up the PIS.

    Welcome aboard this Southern Service to London Bridge.

    :roll:

    Oh well.
     
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