Groupsave sold by accident

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GuyBarry

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I'm currently on one of those programmes that supposedly help the unemployed get back to work. I'm required to attend a training course in the next town for two days a week, and the arrangement is that the company running the employment programme buys my tickets in advance, so that I don't have to find the fare out of my benefit and then claim a refund.

I picked up my tickets as usual this week and noticed that today's was cheaper than usual and marked "GPS-3". I was assured that it was the correct ticket, but thought I'd better check and found out that it was a Groupsave ticket and therefore invalid. (I normally travel on my own and hadn't come across them before.) Fortunately I had enough money to pay up front, and the money has now been refunded.

Presumably the company had to buy tickets for three separate people attending the same course, and the operator (First Great Western) assumed that they would all be travelling together. An easy mistake to make but should there be any procedures in place to prevent this? I can't help wondering about the two other people involved who may not have checked the validity of the ticket, or may not have been able to pay in advance.
 
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If they purchased from the website and the to/from destinations were the same then it wouldve automatically done it for them.

Did they buy over the phone? Do you pick them up from the company itself or via the TVM?
 

GuyBarry

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If they purchased from the website and the to/from destinations were the same then it wouldve automatically done it for them.

Did they buy over the phone? Do you pick them up from the company itself or via the TVM?
I just walk into the office and collect them, so I'm not sure how they buy them. They say they've had a word with FGW so it's unlikely to happen again.

If the website automatically assumes that people will be travelling together then isn't that a flaw in the system though? I suppose it's unusual to have a block booking for people travelling separately, but there ought to be provision for it.
 

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Not really a flaw as such - when buying from websites your selecting a train to travel on so selecting 3 people it is programmed to give you the best price and that would be the groupsave 3*.

Its probably just an error on behalf of the person who has booked the tickets(and now saying FGW fault) but at least you got your fare refunded.



*I hardly ever book on a website and never for a groupsave ticket so is this true?
 

Greenback

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Not really a flaw as such - when buying from websites your selecting a train to travel on so selecting 3 people it is programmed to give you the best price and that would be the groupsave 3*.

Its probably just an error on behalf of the person who has booked the tickets(and now saying FGW fault) but at least you got your fare refunded.

*I hardly ever book on a website and never for a groupsave ticket so is this true?
I think it is true, as if the sites did not apply the discount where a groupsave is available there would be howls of outrage that people were being ripped off and that the discounts were being hidden.

I think you are right. Someone at the company either didn't know what they were doing or made an error. I don't think it's right to blame the TOC on this occasion.
 

GuyBarry

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Not really a flaw as such - when buying from websites your selecting a train to travel on so selecting 3 people it is programmed to give you the best price and that would be the groupsave 3*.
These were "Anytime Day Return" tickets, so I don't think they were bought over the website - I think the clerical guy just went down to the station and picked them up. There's never been an error before, so I presume he was just given the wrong tickets.

Its probably just an error on behalf of the person who has booked the tickets(and now saying FGW fault) but at least you got your fare refunded.
Oh sure, it's just a minor annoyance (and the company has lost 12 quid, but I'm sure they can afford it). The other two people may not have been so careful though. What if one of them had tried to travel on an invalid ticket? Presumably the automatic ticket barriers can't tell whether you're part of a group or not, so it's only when they were on the train that the problem would come to light. And "GPS-3" meant absolutely nothing to me until this morning (apart from "Global Positioning System"), so it's unlikely that it would have meant anything to someone without an interest in railways.

If special conditions are going to be attached to a ticket then they should be spelt out explicitly, not referred to by an obscure code.
 

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Oh sure, it's just a minor annoyance (and the company has lost 12 quid, but I'm sure they can afford it). The other two people may not have been so careful though. What if one of them had tried to travel on an invalid ticket? Presumably the automatic ticket barriers can't tell whether you're part of a group or not, so it's only when they were on the train that the problem would come to light. And "GPS-3" meant absolutely nothing to me until this morning (apart from "Global Positioning System"), so it's unlikely that it would have meant anything to someone without an interest in railways.

If special conditions are going to be attached to a ticket then they should be spelt out explicitly, not referred to by an obscure code.
Its going to be difficult to put groupsave 3 in full on a ticket wouldnt you say?

And as for the scenario above with the other 2 people if they did get into a conflict wiht suing the ticket then at least they would have proof that someone else bought them for them and someone else made an error. They wouldve probably got a PF and that would be easily squashed with the weight of evidence that someone else has made an error in purchasing the tickets.

Its not ideal, but it appears to be just an error - one that hopefully wont happen again.
 

johnnycache

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On websites run by the trainline you have to select groupsave from the railcard list so can't happen by accident

On webTIS sites groupsave is presented on the mixing deck as an option if you have selected a qualifying group size
 

GuyBarry

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Its going to be difficult to put groupsave 3 in full on a ticket wouldnt you say?
There's plenty of space to put "groupsave". "GPS-3" was written in a large font size, and in any case there's a load of unnecessary information on the ticket.

"Number: 87044". Why do I need this?
"2077327143". What's this? It's not explained anywhere.
"Start date: 15 Jun 12", "Valid until 15 Jun 12", Validity "on date shown". The last one follows logically from the first two.

Add to that the rather broad borders at the top and bottom of the ticket, the large bold text saying "2-PART RETURN", and the National Rail symbol. I think there's enough space all round.
 

transportphoto

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There's plenty of space to put "groupsave". "GPS-3" was written in a large font size, and in any case there's a load of unnecessary information on the ticket.
I have to disagree with you.
"Number: 87044". Why do I need this?
YOU don't, it is used for administration reasons, even most till receipts have a numerically counted reference number on them. They come in handy for refunds, excesses, etc...[quote;GuyBarry;1118836]"2077327143". What's this? It's not explained anywhere.[/quote]This is a set of numbers that indicate a variety of things, the 2nd four numbers (in this case 3271) indicate what station (other location) the ticket was issued, the last two the window where the ticket was issued. It all varies place to place.
"Start date: 15 Jun 12", "Valid until 15 Jun 12", Validity "on date shown". The last one follows logically from the first two.
Its a quick reference, having the start / end dates - where 'on date shown' is shown on your tickets, others show 'See Restrictions' etc...

TP
 

hairyhandedfool

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There's plenty of space to put "groupsave". "GPS-3" was written in a large font size, and in any case there's a load of unnecessary information on the ticket.

"Number: 87044". Why do I need this?
"2077327143". What's this? It's not explained anywhere.
"Start date: 15 Jun 12", "Valid until 15 Jun 12", Validity "on date shown". The last one follows logically from the first two.

Add to that the rather broad borders at the top and bottom of the ticket, the large bold text saying "2-PART RETURN", and the National Rail symbol. I think there's enough space all round.
Everything that is on the ticket is needed for one reason or another, it may not be obvious to you, but if it wasn't needed no-one would've bothered to put it there in the first place!
 

Flamingo

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A Groupsave would not have been sold without the buyer asking for it, so the fault is with whoever bought the tickets. They are trying to pass the buck, I'm afraid.

Regarding any excess / PF / UFN issued in a circumstance like this, I would be very surprised if it was quashed. If I found this on train my response would be to look for at the least an excess, or issue a UFN if paying for it was an issue, and tell whoever it was to get it refunded by whoever bought the incorrect ticket.

Putting it bluntly, why should my company subsidise theirs?

Good luck with the job by the way, I hope it works out.
 

MikeWh

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A Groupsave would not have been sold without the buyer asking for it, so the fault is with whoever bought the tickets. They are trying to pass the buck, I'm afraid.
Try putting London to Cambridge and back into NRES for 3 adults, 2 with senior railcards and 1 with 16-25 railcard. When the results first come back it highlights the cheapest fares as being with GA using the railcards as entered. Now try selecting one of the trains from and to Kings Cross. Wham! The railcards disappear and are replaced by a Groupsave discount.
 

GuyBarry

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I have to disagree with you. YOU don't, it is used for administration reasons, even most till receipts have a numerically counted reference number on them. They come in handy for refunds, excesses, etc...
OK, thanks for explaining that.

"2077327143". What's this? It's not explained anywhere.
This is a set of numbers that indicate a variety of things, the 2nd four numbers (in this case 3271) indicate what station (other location) the ticket was issued, the last two the window where the ticket was issued. It all varies place to place.
Who uses this information? Can't it be coded electronically?

Its a quick reference, having the start / end dates - where 'on date shown' is shown on your tickets, others show 'See Restrictions' etc...
Well it still seems to be saying the same thing twice as far as I can see. In fact, since the ticket's labelled as an "anytime day return", it's arguably saying the same thing three times.

Anyway, even if all this information is needed, there's still plenty of space to print "Groupsave", either on the top border or on the bottom one below "2-PART RETURN". (Why are two parts required anyway? Bus companies seem to make do with a single return ticket.)
 

GuyBarry

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Well, OK. It could still be printed up in the corner though, or in smaller type. In fact the technology is now available to print all this stuff on the back of the ticket (Sainsbury's issued double-sided receipts for a while, though they seem to have stopped now).

My main point is that the main area of the ticket should contain information that's useful to the passenger and the staff that have to check it. Administrative stuff doesn't need to be displayed prominently.
 

Flamingo

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Try putting London to Cambridge and back into NRES for 3 adults, 2 with senior railcards and 1 with 16-25 railcard. When the results first come back it highlights the cheapest fares as being with GA using the railcards as entered. Now try selecting one of the trains from and to Kings Cross. Wham! The railcards disappear and are replaced by a Groupsave discount.
What happens if no RC are selected?
 

LexyBoy

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What happens if no RC are selected?
NRE will select GroupSave automatically if it's the cheapest option, and transfer this to the booking site if the user clicks through to purchase. (Equally, Trainline based sites won't offer it unless specifically selected, which means that lots of groups who are travelling together will pay more than needed).

In my experience ticket office staff asked for tickets for 3 or 4 people will ask "are you all travelling together" and if the answer is yes, sell GroupSave tickets (usually explaining the restrictions briefly). Which is as it should be.
 

bb21

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Well, OK. It could still be printed up in the corner though, or in smaller type. In fact the technology is now available to print all this stuff on the back of the ticket (Sainsbury's issued double-sided receipts for a while, though they seem to have stopped now).

My main point is that the main area of the ticket should contain information that's useful to the passenger and the staff that have to check it. Administrative stuff doesn't need to be displayed prominently.
I agree with your point. More detailed descriptions could be shown, and there is the technology to do so. I believe that ATOC are currently investigating the possibility of an alternative format on the front of tickets.
 

johnnycache

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Market research has been carried out and the results due to be presented soon

One of the objects would be to have fields which are less restrictive in length eg at the moment the route field is limited to 14 characters i think which leads to awkward abbreviations

A lot of the information which is mainly for administrative use (ticket number, place of issue detail) rather than passenger info could be made much smaller and placed at the bottom of the ticket freeing up space for more info about restrictions etc
 
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