Itinerary as proof of contract

Discussion in 'Fares Advice & Policy' started by najaB, 3 May 2015.

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  1. najaB

    najaB Veteran Member

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    Hi all,

    A question that just came to mind: it's a common bit of advice to use a printed itinerary as proof of contract to avoid the validity of your journey being questioned. Definitely good advice, but could TOC A refuse an itinerary booked via TOC B's website? Or by a third-party site (e.g. TheTrainline or TrainSplit)? Is it a good idea to stick to the 'main' TOCs website or National Rail Enquiries?

    Thoughts?
     
    Last edited: 3 May 2015
  2. Mojo

    Mojo Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    The National Rail website says: "When you book your journey online, any ticket offered in connection with the timetable or itinerary produced by the journey planner will be accepted as a permitted route." Given that the National Rail website does not sell tickets, then the only logical argument surely is the itinerary provided on the website at the time of booking.

    Of course having that on the website is all a moot point, because I personally have been told a number of things in the past ranging from "the website is wrong" to "that is National Rail, we are *Toc name*"
     
  3. najaB

    najaB Veteran Member

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    How can you win then if a small minority of guards/RPIs aren't even willing to take NRE as proof of validity?
     
  4. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    There's no material difference in my opinion but yes, I'd book on the website of the Train Company concerned if possible/practicable.
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    You either pay up and request a refund (and take it to Transport Focus etc if you are refused a refund), or you refuse to pay and, if issued an unpaid fare notice, refuse to pay that too.

    You should also seek assurances that the staff will be given appropriate advice and training and if assurances are not given, escalate the matter appropriately.
     
  5. RJ

    RJ Established Member

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    I've found my current method to be 100% effective so far. Explain the validity, clearly, once. Be concise, laconic. Give the person inspecting the ticket a chance to understand. If they decide you aren't worth listening to, it's not a two way conversation, so you're within your rights to terminate the conversation and don headphones/stare out of the window as appropriate. The ticket inspector will likely either relent or go about their business.

    No arguing, being confrontational or giving them any reason to claim you were being abusive. The type of ticket inspector who persists is the type of person who relishes arguing with people and winning, regardless of whether or not they are in the right. If you withdraw from such foolishness, they have the power to do the square root of naff all.

    Never hand over any money. Both IPFAS and the IAS reject appeals if they don't understand your ticket. Customer Relations can be pretty inefficient at times as well, requiring several attempts before getting hold of someone who understands the situation, with 20 working days between each response. It's much better for everyone concerned if it is nipped in the bud. The way to do that is to compel the member of staff on the day not to open up that can of worms.

    As a member of staff, I'd sooner walk away from confrontational situations and as a passenger, I'd sooner take away the power of such an individual simply by blanking them. If they persist in their persecution or call the police, fabricating some tale, or delay that train to prove a point, it's only going to come back on them at a later date.

    Gatelines are a whole different ballgame!
     
    Last edited: 3 May 2015
  6. gray1404

    gray1404 Established Member

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    What is the best tactic to play with gatelines and do you mean entering or leaving a platform?
     
  7. First class

    First class Established Member

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    You can blank them all you want once you've given them your correct name and address, if they request it and SUSPECT your ticket is invalid.
    To refuse, as I'm sure you know, is a criminal offence.
     
  8. RJ

    RJ Established Member

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    Believe me, there are a good number of the argumentative type that have no interest in taking details, favouring the dinosaur attitude of "I'm not listening to you, pay up or get off my train." A paying customer should not have to put up with that. Some ticket inspectors deal with things in a less ethical way to others.

    Back when I could be asked to converse with these hard head types, I had the BTP called on me a few times over silly fare disputes, in all of which the ticket inspector rejected my suggestion of taking my details and dealing with the dispute properly. Every single time, I turned the situation around so that it was the ticket inspector the BTP started questioning, instead of me. Quite a few of them failed the attitude test with the BTP too. I actually pitied them as it was a sorry, embarrassing thing to watch, them losing their temper with the police at work - but they chose to create the situation for themselves.

    There is a power to request name an address, but there needs to be a reasonable suspicion that another byelaw has been broken as I'm sure you know. I was taught not to abuse the powers bestowed when I worked in revenue protection. If you've been shown written evidence that your initial suspicion was wrong but choose to persist, I wouldn't rely on the BTP to cart off someone you call on them - that customer might do a good job of convincing the police that your suspicion and behaviour was unreasonable. Probably better to be nice and provide good customer service instead - or stick to using powers against actual fare evaders, not calm natured people who take the time to explain why their ticket is valid to you and show you proof.

    If they won't let you leave when you have a valid ticket, call the BTP. If you don't have the time on your hands, you'll need to think of some other way to leave the station which doesn't have potential to land you in trouble. Where there's a will, there's always a way. On other occasions, I've telephoned the relevant manager, who has then instructed them to open the gates. Not always an option to everybody, granted.

    Getting in is a bit more difficult. Not much you can do if you're refused travel, especially as station staff tend to close ranks even if the initial colleague dealing with it was wrong.

    Of course, staff can avert these awkward situations by giving the benefit of the doubt, listening and being reasonable or simply getting it right first time. A situation is as difficult as you allow it to become.
     
    Last edited: 4 May 2015
  9. Flamingo

    Flamingo Established Member

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    It's quite common to find passengers with a print out from a booking office or a screen shot of a journey plan, but they have a route-specific or split ticket which is invalid for the trip they are making or the train they are on. Sometimes it is nearly impossible to explain to them that the ticket is not valid for the journey they are making, regardless of what they were given.
     
    Last edited: 4 May 2015
  10. DaveNewcastle

    DaveNewcastle Established Member Fares Advisor

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    Just for clarity . . . .
    Yes, that's right, though I wouldn't call an intinery 'proof' of a contract, rather it is 'evidence' of a contract. The only document which in itself could be called 'proof' of contract is the ticket.

    It might be better to think of a printed itinery as evidence of some of the key Conditions in that contract, which would apply in situations where the information on the ticket was not adequately comprehensive to clarify the details.

    I don't want to see my fellow passengers on my journeys to London this week being challenged after producing only a printed itinery and no ticket! "But that nice Railforums website told me that this itinery would be proof of our contract!".

    To illustrate this distinction concerning 'proof of contract', and recalling that there is a prohibition on transferring tickets and on copying them (but that there is no such prohibition on an itinery), we could have the untenable situation in which a train contains one ticket holding passenger and many others holding copies of that person's 'printed itinery' claiming the right to travel. This example clearly illustrates that the 'printed itinery', in itself, cannot stand as 'proof of contract'.
     
    Last edited: 4 May 2015
  11. najaB

    najaB Veteran Member

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    Thanks for the correction - I understand the distinction, I should have said that the itinerary is used to provide proof of validity of the ticket.
     
  12. Prairie_5542

    Prairie_5542 Member

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    Surely an itinerary just gives train times? You must pay for the trains using? Please explain as I may have missed something here. Thanks
     
  13. TUC

    TUC Established Member

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    The kind of situation I have found frustrating is one where I have not at all been abusive (I would never do that). I have simply been very calm and explained politely but clearly why a ticket is valid, only for the member of staff to get very agitated and difficult, as if I had been rude to them. There does seem to be some people who interpret a passenger simply being knowledgeable and politely assertive as somehow being rude.
     
  14. crehld

    crehld Established Member Senior Fares Advisor

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    This is broadly the approach I adopt when the validity of my tickets is questioned. I explain the ticket is valid regardless of what the guard / RPI says and hand over any supporting evidence such as itineraries, booking confirmations and sometimes even seat reservations. This is always done in a calm way. At this point one of three things happens:

    1. 85% of the time: "ah ok, I see, thank you sir. Have a nice journey".

    2. 10% of the time: staff still not convinced by validity despite irrefutable evidence presented in front of them. But they're nice enough and pass the attitude test. They're host trying to do a job and have been let down by poor (or a lack of) training. So take the penalty fare (but don't pay up) which is always successfully appealed, because, of course, the ticket was valid.

    3. 5% of the time: staff member is quite clearly confrontational, fails the attitude test and seems to be looking for an argument regardless. I don't rise up to it but politely explain they are wrong, I will not provide any details nor accept a penalty fare because it'll be a waste of both of our times considering the ticket is valid, and that I will be continuing my journey in accordance with the ticket's validity. I might occasionally request they produce evidence to back up the assertion my ticket is not valid, which of course can never be produced. They either relent or call a colleague for back up (which on one occasion led to a colleague saying "what are you on about you fool, of course it's valid"). Send letter of complaint about the poor attitude of front line and get fob off response saying all staff will be retrained (again) in ticket validity issues and customer service skills.
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    Quite. I broke my journey overnight on an anytime return ticket and a northern guard took exception to that, saying it was company policy not to permit breaks of journey over more than one day. I replied that the national rail conditions of carriage clearly permit this and that Northern's policy doesn't override this. The reply I was given was: "how do you know what the national rail conditions of carriage say? That's an internal railway document and you shouldn't have access to that. You're clearly very good at defrauding the railway":roll:
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    I'm afraid to say as a passenger it's not totally uncommon to have a print out from a booking office or an itinerary which clearly lists my ticket as valid for that particular route, yet sometimes it's nearly impossible to explain to staff the ticket is valid for the journey I am making, regardless of what they think. It's a particular problem for me using this ticket between Reading and Paddington: http://www.brfares.com/#faredetail?orig=CRE&dest=PAD&grpd=1072&tkt=SVR
     
    Last edited: 4 May 2015
  15. SickyNicky

    SickyNicky Verified Rep

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    That does surprise me, in fact, as it's always been valid that way and back in the day, I would frequently go from Birmingham to Paddington that way. B'ham tickets even open the Paddington barriers (or they used to).

    Heck, even the London Terminals data feed (which is prettu rubbish usually) manages to list PAD as a valid terminal for CRE.
     
  16. crehld

    crehld Established Member Senior Fares Advisor

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    Yes the barriers are OK at Paddington and let me through no problems... it seems to be a small minority of FGW staff who appear to think I'm taking the mick by going via Reading and not direct to Euston.
     
  17. Mojo

    Mojo Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    When you go to an online booking engine and put in that you wish to travel from Origin A to Destination B, you get an itinerary which tells you some of the trains you can travel on.
     
  18. cuccir

    cuccir Established Member

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    To clarify further, I think that the premise of the post is that the customer is travelling with a ticket. The question is whether (with the ticket in hand) the itinerary is proof of that ticket's validity.
     
  19. LNW-GW Joint

    LNW-GW Joint Established Member

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    I use that ticket/route too, from Chester/Flint.
    Breaking the journey at Reading out/back is always a bit iffy as the gates reject the ticket, but I haven't had any trouble showing the ticket at the manual gate.
     
  20. dgl

    dgl Member

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    one problem I had recently was during the SWT spring fanfare offer. not bothering to read the t's & c's but going by the journey planner it suggested that ANY train was valid for the return journey back to Weymouth when the conditions actually stated that return from London had to be after 19:05 9as we found out) we ended up doing some more shopping so it did not matter but was still a bit annoying.
     
  21. crehld

    crehld Established Member Senior Fares Advisor

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    My itineraries fall into one of two categories

    1. It's issued as part of an online booking. The way online booking systems work is that I specify an origin, destination and sometimes a route and I am offered the relevant valid ticket for my purchase the ticket, so the itinerary issued with that specific ticket will be valid. The same principle applies when booking journey through a ticket office.

    2. I get one from national rail enquiries without booking online (because a: I already ready have the ticket, or b: I wish to get a ticket on the day). In this case the itinerary always specifies the ticket valid for that journey, so providing the ticket I have in hand corresponds with the one listed on the itinerary, it's valid.

    The national rail conditions of carriage clearly outline what is considered a valid route, including shortest route, direct trains and those contained within the routing guide. The routing guide itself suggests (although not a requirement) passengers check the validity of their tickets by obtaining an itinerary from NRE. Thus if a passenger has an itinerary which corresponds to the specific ticket they have, they are travelling on a valid ticket: no ifs, no buts.
     
  22. najaB

    najaB Veteran Member

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    That's exactly the scenarios I was considering in my post. The specific question I had was if anyone had experience of one TOC refusing to accept an itinerary that had been provided to go with a ticket bought from another TOC's website - using the "That's what <insert TOC> says, but we are <another TOC>" as experienced by mojo above.
     
  23. maniacmartin

    maniacmartin Established Member Senior Fares Advisor

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    My favourite was when in possession of a letter from the TOC's fares manager, on their letterheaded paper, saying my ticket was valid via a certain station, including Break of Journey, and *still* being denied by gateline staff as "I know better than the fares manager"
     
  24. najaB

    najaB Veteran Member

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    Well, if they know better than their own fares manager there's no help for anyone!
     
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