ITSO smartcard on the railway failings

Discussion in 'Fares Advice & Policy' started by Tom, 26 Oct 2011.

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  1. Tom

    Tom Member

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    Some of you will no doubt have been following this on my Twitter - and it is has now largely been sorted 24 hours later after a phone call with a SWT manager and sending an email to a Southern manager too (and discussing it with relevant people in other TOCs with smartcard schemes).

    Link to my blog post about this: http://thomas-cairns.co.uk/2011/10/itso-failings-on-the-nr-network-continued/

    To summarise, 7 day season between Bournemouth and Southampton Airport Parkway issued on ITSO. The crux of it was Southern refused to accept it on their (limited) services between Southampton Central and Southampton Airport despite receiving ORCATS and it would have been valid on paper.

    As I say, after a little to and thro with the important people this problem was resolved. However, this problem came to being seemingly due to a policy failure at either DfT/ATOC and I'm going to be taking this up with them next week.

    Anyone who may be interested in the workings of ITSO generally and my experiences after using it on the railways for 2 years may be interested to read this blog post here: http://thomas-cairns.co.uk/2011/09/itso-smartcards-and-you/
     
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  3. swt_passenger

    swt_passenger Veteran Member

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    SN and XC were both required (for their current franchise agreements) to accept SWT's ITSO cards on the relevant parallel routes; for example, the wording in the 'New XC' stakeholder briefing back in 2006 was:

    you might find these references useful if not already found.

    The XC franchise agreement Appendix 13 article 5.1:

    and the SN franchise agreement reference is Appendix 11, article 2.3 (b):

    This probably never filtered down far enough to make it obvious to staff on the trains, but that isn't really your problem...
     
  4. Tom

    Tom Member

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    It's largely an irrelevance now as the issue in this particular is sorted - I used the Southern reference against them when I emailed them yesterday. XCs reference is a good one though, as I initially had problems in April 2009 when I started using the system (was quickly sorted by phoning up SWTs Smartcard Manager... :))

    Only posted it as I thought people might like to know the context of how smartcards are going on with the system as it is implemented.
     
  5. swt_passenger

    swt_passenger Veteran Member

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    The question I would have to ask is why do SWT's ITSO season tickets have to be validated (as per the instruction posters) at stations where there are no barriers?

    What is the fundamental issue if you ignore the validators at Parkway? SWT miss recording the journey maybe? It just seems you are having to jump through an additional hoop that isn't necessary on a paper season.

    It wouldn't be considered a problem with a season loaded on Oyster in London unless you were outside your zones and should be using a PAYG balance in conjunction.

    But that's all academic on SWT's limited system, as they only offer seasons anyway...

    However with respect to breaking your journey, would a Bournemouth to Parkway mag stripe season work at Central? If it doesn't, the ITSO version is no worse...
     
  6. Tom

    Tom Member

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    I don't believe there is much of an issue currently relating to that. I think the reasoning is that eventually when it's national they expect all tickets to be validated - but as far as I'm concerned my ticket is valid for the journey I'm undertaking and will happily argue it if I get PF'd (it's not going to happen...).

    There isn't an issue as far as I'm concerned. Journeys auto-timeout anyway (around 3 hours it seems) and with the number of "misreported" journeys I have on my smartcard is rather amusing (think it's in the region of around 300). It may become an issue when they start using the Stored Credit product.

    They are only offering it to season ticket holders at the moment, yes, but I can put any ticket type I want in the service zones. For instance, I can quite easily go to the TVM at, say, Basingstoke, and buy an electronic Off Peak Day Return to Woking discounted with my railcard.

    Paper works fine, it's an inherent flaw in the current version of the software which is being resolved. I find the smartcard much more helpful at Bournemouth where I frequently have to run for buses (and not fumble around for a paper ticket) as opposed to Southampton where the buses match up nicely to the train schedule with plenty of walking time at both Central & Airport.
     
  7. mattdickinson

    mattdickinson Member

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    A related question is whether First Great Western are accepting it for travel between Weymouth and Upwey.
     
  8. Tom

    Tom Member

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    Good question, I will ask them today.
     
  9. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    Unless a ticket is TOC-specific, it has to be accepted by all operators, otherwise they are in breach of the NRCoC and, therefore, their franchise agreement.

    I am not at all surprised to hear that Southern were in breach, again, of the NRCoC. Some of their staff have actually claimed to us, in person, that the NRCoC does not apply to them and that you need a "special ticket" to travel on some trains they operate.
     
  10. LexyBoy

    LexyBoy Established Member Fares Advisor

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    Can anyone clarify this statement from the NRCoC please?

    What exactly does "displayed" mean in this context? It's unclear whether it means that the passenger must show the ticket (which is already covered by the first sentence), whether it refers to damaged/corrupted cards, or whether it refers to the ability of the person inspecting it to check (which is surely unfair!).

    I shall watch the Smartcard saga with interest. I won't be participating until I'm happy that the rights a passenger currently has are not eroded, and that the system doesn't overcharge for travel made.
     
  11. button_boxer

    button_boxer Established Member

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    Hopefully this will also be the case when EMT rolls out its full smartcard scheme. If XC will accept EMT smartcard tickets between Derby and Sheffield I'd certainly be tempted to get one.
     
  12. wintonian

    wintonian Established Member

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    My guess is that if you smartcard cannot be read by the equipment due to ware and tare or a faulty card you risk being penalty fared etc. - which surely can't be right?

    It doesn't mean if equipment is not available to read your card.

    But thinking about it a bit more I am rather confused about what the term 'displayed' means?
     
  13. causton

    causton Established Member

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    I thought it referred to mobile phone tickets - i.e. if your phone runs out of battery you're screwed sort of thing ;)
     
  14. LexyBoy

    LexyBoy Established Member Fares Advisor

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    Oh yes, that makes sense!

    But it's not clear whether or how it applies to smartcards (the term "Electronic Ticket" encompassing all newfangled types of ticket in the NRCoC).
     
  15. wintonian

    wintonian Established Member

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    Yep thats more than likely it, completely forgot about mobile tickets in a thread about ITSO. ;)
     
  16. swt_passenger

    swt_passenger Veteran Member

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    I think a grey area has been discovered though. They give 5 examples in their 'electronic ticket' definition:

    An Electronic Ticket may be stored on a:
    (i) Smartcard (including an Oyster or ITSO card);
    (ii) payment card or identity card;
    (iii) mobile telephone;
    (iv) personal organiser; or
    (v) other mobile electronic device.

    The first of those is defined elsewhere as remaining their property at all times. So surely they can't make the passenger responsible if their portable equipment cannot read one of their Oyster or ITSO cards?

    The rest of the possible devices are almost certainly down to the passenger.
     
  17. wintonian

    wintonian Established Member

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    I assume if your ITSO card can't be read then you would be expected to buy a new ticket and claim a refund and replacement card.
     
  18. clagmonster

    clagmonster Established Member

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    According to swt_passenger's extract from the XC franchise agreement, then they are obliged to accept tickets from any ITSO sheme run along their route. The only way that wouldn't be the case is if an individual ticket issued on ITSO had an operator restriction on it, which would be unlikely as EMT set the Derby-Sheffield fares so aren't allowed to set an 'EMT only' fare unless it is a short term promotion.
     
  19. swt_passenger

    swt_passenger Veteran Member

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    You can just imagine the opportunities ill-trained staff will have for arguments once people can routinely load an operator specific ticket onto a general purpose ITSO card that just happens to be branded with another TOC's 'nickname' for its issued cards. EG travel on XC on a XC only ticket using a 'Stagecoach Smart' branded card.

    Because that is exactly how ITSO is supposed to work...
     
  20. wintonian

    wintonian Established Member

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    They will just have to be NR branded then, which is a better idea anyway IMO.
     
  21. Pumbaa

    Pumbaa Established Member

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    That was my interpretation. VT used to come down heavily on mobitix, while they were around for a short period of time.

    If it were relating to the card being faulty, how difficult could it be to prove that the reader is instead at fault rather than your card? Too many caveats and holes for my liking.
     
  22. Tom

    Tom Member

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    In theory, yes, it seems a better idea. However, this creates issues for the fact that you could have an ITSO operator issued by any public transport operator. I'm going up to meet up with the ITSO CEO at some point soon and will be discussing these sort of issues with them.

    There's one easy thing that could be done right now though...and that's ensuring the ITSO logo is on the front of the card and EASY to see.


    I've been given the impression by managers at SWT that you simply need to present an ITSO card, as that is "displaying" it. It is the TOCs responsibility to adequately provide the equipment in order to be able to check there is a valid ticket on it.

    Apparently, this isn't always true due to a flex in the Ticketing & Settlement Agreement. I am looking into this at the moment...
     
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