How do you know which ticket offices can handle seat reservations?

Discussion in 'Fares Advice & Policy' started by dmncf, 26 Sep 2018.

  1. dmncf

    dmncf Member

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    I bought two train tickets online but because they had to be bought in separate transactions, I ended up with seat reservations in different carriages. I was in Stratford this morning so I decided to visit a ticket office to ask for one of the seat reservations to be moved closer to the other seat reservation. I went to Stratford International Station, but the Southeastern staff there told me that they couldn't handle seat reservations. Perhaps I made the wrong call and I should have gone to one of the ticket offices at Stratford Station - are there two ticket offices; one TfL Rail and one GA?

    My question is, how do you know which ticket offices can handle seat reservations? I'm happy to travel to a ticket office that can handle seat reservations, but despite researching station facilities online, I can't find any way of determining which ticket offices can or cannot handle seat reservations.
     
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  3. Intermodal

    Intermodal Member

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    The short answer is that you can't.

    The long answer is that you must build a list based on prior experience, personal knowledge and word of mouth.

    It sucks.


    Edit: I'm wrong, see below!
     
    Last edited: 26 Sep 2018
  4. causton

    causton Established Member

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  5. Intermodal

    Intermodal Member

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  6. maniacmartin

    maniacmartin Established Member Senior Fares Advisor

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    You'd assume so, but actually Schedule 17 says RESERVATIONS NO for STRATFORD LONDON!
     
  7. dmncf

    dmncf Member

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    Stratford International is listed separately, under Southeastern and says "RESERVATIONS" "YES". I could return to the station and present this document to the staff, but if it's the same pair of staff who earlier didn't have a clue, then it won't change the situation. Their answers this morning included "You have to go to a station run by the train operator who operates the train that you have reserved seats on". It's like the railway is fragmenting by stealth, due to lack of staff training.

    Thanks to those who replied to my post.
     
  8. dmncf

    dmncf Member

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    I should add that this morning's difficulties were nothing in comparison with earlier this week, when I had the misfortune to press the 'Information' button on a Help Point at a London Overground station to report a beggar on a train. Not even on the same scale. :lol:
     
  9. FQTV

    FQTV Member

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    Is there not a distinction between stations that can issue a reservation, and stations that can actually select seats?

    I was at Manchester Victoria on Saturday, and the (Northern) ticket office staff member showed me that he could issue an LNER seat reservation, but just like any non-LNER website, it would only be what the system spat out to him. He couldn't pick seats like an LNER office can, or as is (admittedly sometimes only theoretically) possible on the LNER website.

    This is also distinct from my local LNER office, which can select specific seats on (at least) CrossCountry and Transpennine Express services. It is served by both these operators as well.

    So, in the OP's case, wanting to move to specific seats may indeed have been something that Stratford couldn't in fact do.

    Maybe others who work at offices could shed more light.
     
  10. district

    district Established Member

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    I did my ticket office course with staff from Stratford International and we both received the same training on the same equipment.
     
  11. route101

    route101 Established Member

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    Do the computer systems show a seat map of a 390 or 91 set ?
     
  12. district

    district Established Member

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    Certainly not on Star. We can set preferences such as facing, window or aisle, table or quiet coach and the system will try and find a best match based on availability or we can choose specific seats but have to look up the seating plan ourselves if required.
     
  13. sharpley

    sharpley Member

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    I know LO information buttons on help points used to connect to an Indian call centre, not sure if they still do though. This was a couple of years ago on the north London line part of LO.
     
  14. dmncf

    dmncf Member

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    Yes, they do still go through to India. Not that it matters to me if they're in India or Islington; either way, they're not at the station and that's fine. But I was under the delusion they might be watching me on CCTV. Or at least know that I was calling from Brondesbury westbound platform. My bubble was burst when they said "So this was on the Southern service?". I then spelt out the name of the station, over the crackly line, and they said "Okay, so it was a South Western Railway service?". Neither of these operators serve Brondesbury. You've gotta feel sorry for them, doing the best with the tools they're given, which don't even include the equivalent of 'caller display' telling them where I'm calling from.
     
  15. causton

    causton Established Member

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    (Unless I am mistaken) no ticket office would get a 'seat map' as is shown online but on Tribute at least (LNER use it, so other operators might have software where you can't) you can type in the seat number manually. To find a seat map I have to Google PDFs of them and hunt around typing in numbers till one comes up available - nothing more technical than that!

    All of this is quite time consuming and requires a bit of technical knowledge so I would not be surprised if people would be unwilling to do it.
     
  16. VT 390

    VT 390 Member

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    If you visit a ticket office that can issue seat reservations then is it possible to get seats reserved on rover and ranger tickets?
     
  17. ForTheLoveOf

    ForTheLoveOf Established Member

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    Provided the relevant TOCs don't block it, yes. Some TOCs (e.g. LNER, TPE) block you from making reservations unless you have an Advance. This seems to apply only to certain trains, though.
     
  18. Wallsendmag

    Wallsendmag Established Member

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    Tribute doesn't but the LNER web does.
     
  19. TUC

    TUC Established Member

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    I have to admit that I did not know that some ticket offices did not offer reservations. Looking at the list, the ones that do not look to be overwhelmingly in the south east, Scotland and to a lesser extent the south west. The rest of the country has much more consistent availability. What are the origins of this geographical disparity?
     
  20. robbeech

    robbeech Established Member

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    What?

    Really?
    I’ve never had a problem getting a seat reservation from LNER for any ticket I’ve had including rangers and rovers. Staff at Doncaster are particularly good at just giving you exactly what you ask for even if you’ve not got the ticket yet or only hold 1 ticket and request several seats on the same train.
     
  21. TUC

    TUC Established Member

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    Why would you want several seats on the same train from one ticket?
     
  22. ForTheLoveOf

    ForTheLoveOf Established Member

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    I've seen reports on here. It's not to do with staff refusing, it's to do with NRS quotas blocking it (as TPE do on many/most of their trains).
     
  23. robbeech

    robbeech Established Member

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    If you wanted to book a table of 4 for you and 3 colleagues or friends but everyone was buying their own ticket.
     
  24. Puffing Devil

    Puffing Devil Established Member

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  25. infobleep

    infobleep Established Member

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    The document is out of date, at least in terms of company names. South West Trains don't exist now. I see it lists Great Northern and Thameslink together and Southern separately. It doesn't list Gatwick Express at all, yet I thought there were Gatwick Express branded ticket windows at Victoira, if not at Gatwick Airport too.

    Interestingly under South West Trains only one ticket office can't issue reservations and that is St Denys. Even the Island line can issue seat reservations.
     
  26. OwlMan

    OwlMan Established Member

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  27. Puffing Devil

    Puffing Devil Established Member

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  28. Wallsendmag

    Wallsendmag Established Member

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    Have they now.
     
  29. robbeech

    robbeech Established Member

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    Yes and if that’s so wrong then it’s disappointing that customer service isn’t top priority.
    You can’t use a seat reservation. Not issued at the same time as a ticket in one transaction as proof of validity so without a valid ticket you cannot travel.
     
  30. TUC

    TUC Established Member

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    Given the increasing numbers of online and TOD purchases, any ticket office that doesn't offer facilities such as reservations really is shooting themselves in the foot in terms of the public seeing any value in the ticket office being there.
     
  31. Wallsendmag

    Wallsendmag Established Member

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    The company policy is that reservations are available upon production of a valid ticket. No ticket no reservation. This is to make sure that one person doesn't book half a dozen reservations on different trains.
     

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