Is it illegal to sit in a reserved seat, given that someone else has paid for it?

Discussion in 'Disputes & Prosecutions' started by NorahP, 25 Aug 2019.

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  1. NorahP

    NorahP New Member

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    Morning,
    I had an incident yesterday on the 1800hrs Virgin train from Birmingham International to Euston. I had reserved and paid for 2 first class tickets in Coach E. I was with my teenage son, it was a real treat for us on our day out at the NEC. We boarded, and I noticed a woman sitting in my seat and very politely said, Hello...sorry...but I have reserved this seat and the one next to you, would you mind moving. With a nice smile on my face. The woman was vile. Around 60 yrs old, possibly drunk. She immediately raised her voice and said "Alright alright easy tiger, you don't own this seat you know". I replied, Madam, I have reserved and paid for this seat. She started flapping her arms about saying "This is utterly ridiculous, you have no right, I paid 90 quid to travel first class and I will sit where I wish". I replied Madam, the digital display says it is reserved from Birmigham, and that is my reservation. She then began to pack her things and said "This is ridiculous, in THIS country, when you buy a first class ticket, you have the right to sit wherever you wish in the cabin, so far, and in THIS country so far I have never been so rudely kicked out of mys eat". As my son was there, I just stayed quiet, and stared at her till she left, which she did. She was really horrible. I was tempted at one point to get the guard. But my question is, what are the legalities regarding sitting in someone else's reserved seat?

    Thank you
     
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  3. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    It's a Byelaw breach to remain in a marked reserved seat if it isn't yours and its reserver wants it. It's not unusual for people to sit in possibly reserved seats if they appear to be unclaimed, but you do have to be ready to move if you do.

    Were the displays working? On most TOCs, if the displays are not working the reservations do not apply as otherwise silly games of musical chairs ensue.

    Assuming they were, if someone gets like this the correct thing to do is to get the guard to resolve the situation.

    With the "this country" thing, are you non-white or non-English? If so, this is a very nasty piece of racism too, though sadly probably not enough to actually break a law and thus have her pulled up for it.
     
  4. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    As it was displayed on the screens then she is required to vacate the seat, and she is talking nonsense.
     
  5. Aictos

    Aictos On Moderation

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    I quite agree and while it might be surreal that I'm in full agreement with @yorkie if though you hadn't turned up within a reasonable amount of time upon said train departing then they wouldn't be required to vacate the seat however this isn't the case and she was in the wrong regardless of who she was.
     
  6. some bloke

    some bloke Member

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    Occupying a seat shown as reserved by someone else breaches Byelaw 19. Under Byelaw 24 that's a criminal offence which gave authorised people a right to remove her if they had reasonable belief that she was in breach, and made her liable to a fine.

    One or more of Byelaws 4 to 6 might apply even after a person left the seat (eg intoxication, unfit to be on the railway, disorderly, wilfully interfering with your comfort).

    https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/railway-byelaws
     
    Last edited: 25 Aug 2019
  7. GB

    GB Established Member

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    Simply occupying a reserved seat does not breach the byelaw.
     
  8. Bertie the bus

    Bertie the bus Established Member

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    Turfing people out of your reserved seat on a Virgin service is routine, especially if you have booked a table seat and join at a station other than the train’s origin. In my experience I’d say there is about a 75% chance of your seat being occupied under those circumstances. It’s all part of the awesomeness of travelling on Virgin Trains.
     
  9. some bloke

    some bloke Member

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    The text is:
     
  10. Quakkerillo

    Quakkerillo Member

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    With this topic now being here, I'd like to ask your opinion on something that happened last year with me. I was booked on a GWR HST from St Erth to Exeter, 2nd class aisle seat. The previous train was cancelled, and ours was 1h late, and running only on one engine, so getting more delayed as we went on.
    The seat next to me was booked from Truro, but nobody turned up, so I then switched to the window seat, and a standee took my seat. Only 3 stops later, at Liskeard, the woman with the reservation turned up, and asked for her seat. So I moved back to my seat, she into her reserved seat, and the guy was then forced to stand.
    What would you have been done, what would've been reasonable, and what are the rules about only turning up like 45 minutes and 3 stops late to à reserved seat?
     
  11. Western Sunset

    Western Sunset Member

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    I'd have thought that the seat was still the woman's, even though she got on later.
     
  12. paddington

    paddington Member

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    I think it's reasonable to let someone sit in their reserved seat even if they don't show up at the station it is reserved from - unless the train is so packed that it is physically difficult for people to move.
     
  13. GB

    GB Established Member

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    They keyword there is "remain". You are free to sit in a reserved seat untill the person who has reserved it turns up and/or you are told to move by an authorised person. Would be a waste of capacity to have it any other way.
     
  14. some bloke

    some bloke Member

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    It uses the same word for the provisions about a berth and a part of a train. I think it would mean you can't loiter standing in first class or go to sleep in someone else's berth, rather than you can until asked. If so we would expect the meaning to be the same with regard to reserved seats. I'd guess it was drafted without any expectation that someone might be prosecuted if they sat in a reserved seat then moved when asked.
     
    Last edited: 25 Aug 2019
  15. NorahP

    NorahP New Member

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    Thank you for all the replies, so useful and the digital display was saying Reserved, and it was very clear, and I"m glad to know she was definitely in the wrong. And her comments about THIS country, over and over, were ridiculous. I am actually white and English, but I went to an international school and sound a bit odd at times. God, she really was vile. THe information about the Byelaws is fantastic, I will memorise that. I hope it doesn't happen again, but it is super useful to know. Much appreciated.
     
  16. Western Sunset

    Western Sunset Member

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    One doesn't always get a better class of person in First Class..........
     
  17. crosscity

    crosscity Member

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    I don't think it's necessarily anything to do with Virgin Train's awesomeness (if there is such a thing). On many long distance trains with ridiculously cheap fares there are usually plenty of no shows. If I can't find an unreserved seat quickly, I sometimes will sit in a reserved seat. More often than not the reserver doesn't turn up. If they do, I move immediately.
     
  18. bb21

    bb21 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    The Byelaws aren't going to help you in any way in a dispute.

    Unfortunately there are horrible people around. Such is life. You can only do so much in these situations, be firm and point out the fact that you reserved the seats and relevant indications, but if someone refuses to budge, there is very little you can do. In these cases, if needed, you have to find the guard or First Class host.

    Ultimately if the person refused to move, there is very little even the guard or the host would be able to do, however they may find alternative arrangements for you.
     
  19. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    I'll be honest, I always used to find you got a better class of person in the Standard class smoking vehicle. And I don't smoke, never have smoked (other than maybe once to try it, I can't remember) and never intend to smoke.
     
  20. cosmo

    cosmo Member

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    If you have a reservation you're entitled to that seat.

    If you're in a reserved seat and the person who reserved it asks for it back, you move.

    It's simple. Just a shame some people in society can't even get a handle on that.

    First Class, contrary to popular belief, does not indicate the class of passengers in the coach... :P
     
  21. sheff1

    sheff1 Established Member

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    You can loiter standing in first class as long as you want if have a first class ticket. You can also sit in an unoccupied but reserved first class seat sit as long as you do not "remain" there if the person holding the reservation arrives. The woman described in the OP did not remain in the seat, albeit she removed herself with bad grace, and hence did not contravene Byelaw 19.
     
  22. Springs Branch

    Springs Branch Member

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    This has certainly been my experience in First Class in recent trips on both WCML and ECML.
     
    Last edited: 26 Aug 2019
  23. yorksrob

    yorksrob Veteran Member

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    Or even a seat (full stop).
     
  24. Journeyman

    Journeyman Established Member

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    If in First Class, I've usually never found there to be enough people around for a reservations issue to be a problem. I had an issue with a seat I'd reserved on an East Coast train last year, in that it seemed to have been reserved by someone else for part of my journey (no idea how that happened), but I just sat in an unreserved one instead.
     
  25. island

    island Established Member

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    That is incorrect. Sitting and staying in a seat is remaining in it. The word “remain” is used to distinguish between sitting and staying in a location and walking through a location, or briefly sitting in a seat to allow the trolley to pass, etc. This bylaw has been used in the past to prosecute people for being in 1st class without a 1st class ticket – leaving 1st class when challenged does not get you off.
     
  26. WesternLancer

    WesternLancer Member

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    I recall at one time it was typical to have your name taken on reserving, this then appeared on the seat slip. Even tho on line bookings could easily have names linked to your purchase log in, this practice now seems to only happen very rarely. Any thoughts on why?

    It always occurs to me that many a passengers searching for a seat might find their name more easily than a number o_O (finding a numbered seat does seem rather tricky for quite a large number of people...)
     
  27. MikeWh

    MikeWh Established Member Senior Fares Advisor

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    If GDPR wasn't the reason at the time, it would be now.
     
  28. Greg Read

    Greg Read Member

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    But a train going from A to C, if the seat is reserved by someone joining at 'B' then anyone can use it up to that point, they cannot 'remain' in that seat after that stop, (that's if it's claimed)
     
  29. WesternLancer

    WesternLancer Member

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    Yes, this did seem to wither (but not stop completely) way before GDPR came about. But even then given the offer of free reservations and it is all automated you'd just have a tick box on the booking form to add or withdraw your name - presumably.
     
  30. David M

    David M Member

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    GDPR applies only if you can use the information to the detriment of the person involved. If, for example, the seat reservation had name, postcode and date of birth then GDPR would apply. There is nothing within GDPR which prevents a name and a name alone being shown on a seat reservation. I have, also, no doubt that a site selling the ticket would have a check box with 'tick if you wish your name to appear on the reservation on board the train or don't tick if you only wish start and end stations to be shown'.
     
  31. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Exactly. You can consent to ANY data use you like provided it is not under pressure and is withdrawable.
     
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