Johnny Foreigner

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LNW-GW Joint

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I have just returned from a tour in Central Europe, visiting Munich, Vienna, Prague, Dresden and Frankfurt.
I did not encounter a single ticket barrier in any of these cities, using trains, trams and buses (usually using local travelcard-type day tickets).
There were also precious few on-board ticket checks - none at all on the local services, usually one or two on the long-distance trains (whenever there was a crew change).
Why are we so obessed with barriers?
These are not sleepy old-fashioned places, they are modern advanced business and tourist centres.

I also obtained all my long-distance tickets online at cheap advance rates, printed them off at home and had them validated on board with no problems.
This included cross-border and cross-operator services.
And of course no passport checks.
And all the stations are completely open, with multiple exits.

Why is this so difficult in the UK?
Why are we all treated like criminals and herded through single access points, when other networks operate on the honour principle and are fully open?
It must be a cultural issue.

All (manual) announcements on long-distance trains were in English as well as the local language, with station signs in multiple languages.
How long before we recognise the large number of foreigners on our trains (Eurostar excepted)?
Does any TOC have a web site to buy tickets in other than English?
 
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nedchester

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I have just returned from a tour in Central Europe, visiting Munich, Vienna, Prague, Dresden and Frankfurt.
I did not encounter a single ticket barrier in any of these cities, using trains, trams and buses (usually using local travelcard-type day tickets).
There were also precious few on-board ticket checks - none at all on the local services, usually one or two on the long-distance trains (whenever there was a crew change).
Why are we so obessed with barriers?
These are not sleepy old-fashioned places, they are modern advanced business and tourist centres.

I also obtained all my long-distance tickets online at cheap advance rates, printed them off at home and had them validated on board with no problems.
This included cross-border and cross-operator services.
And of course no passport checks.
And all the stations are completely open, with multiple exits.

Why is this so difficult in the UK?
Why are we all treated like criminals and herded through single access points, when other networks operate on the honour principle and are fully open?
It must be a cultural issue.

All (manual) announcements on long-distance trains were in English as well as the local language, with station signs in multiple languages.
How long before we recognise the large number of foreigners on our trains (Eurostar excepted)?
Does any TOC have a web site to buy tickets in other than English?

In the UK we just love our officiousness and lack of customer care!
 

6Gman

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All (manual) announcements on long-distance trains were in English as well as the local language, with station signs in multiple languages.
How long before we recognise the large number of foreigners on our trains (Eurostar excepted)?
Does any TOC have a web site to buy tickets in other than English?[/QUOTE]

Arriva Trains Wales offers the facility through the Welsh language. Scotrail does not appear to offer Gaelic.

[I know that's not what you were getting at though :) ]
 

Monty

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I have just returned from a tour in Central Europe, visiting Munich, Vienna, Prague, Dresden and Frankfurt.
I did not encounter a single ticket barrier in any of these cities, using trains, trams and buses (usually using local travelcard-type day tickets).
There were also precious few on-board ticket checks - none at all on the local services, usually one or two on the long-distance trains (whenever there was a crew change).
Why are we so obessed with barriers?
These are not sleepy old-fashioned places, they are modern advanced business and tourist centres.

I also obtained all my long-distance tickets online at cheap advance rates, printed them off at home and had them validated on board with no problems.
This included cross-border and cross-operator services.
And of course no passport checks.
And all the stations are completely open, with multiple exits.

Why is this so difficult in the UK?
Why are we all treated like criminals and herded through single access points, when other networks operate on the honour principle and are fully open?
It must be a cultural issue.

All (manual) announcements on long-distance trains were in English as well as the local language, with station signs in multiple languages.
How long before we recognise the large number of foreigners on our trains (Eurostar excepted)?
Does any TOC have a web site to buy tickets in other than English?


When I have travelled across Europe I've seen my fair share ticket inspections both uniformed and plain clothed (infact in some parts of Europe the inspectors are armed!). Yes they do seem to have little to no ticket barriers and do indeed have an honour system where you are required to validate your ticket prior to or during your journey. However the punishment if caught is far more severe it appears, it also seems irrelevent if the irregularity is an honest mistake or an intent to commit fraud.

Also going through a ticket barrier is hardly being treated like a criminal and I can name a number of foreign cities who use them.
 
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RJ

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I also obtained all my long-distance tickets online at cheap advance rates, printed them off at home and had them validated on board with no problems.
This included cross-border and cross-operator services.
And of course no passport checks.
And all the stations are completely open, with multiple exits.

Why is this so difficult in the UK?
Why are we all treated like criminals and herded through single access points, when other networks operate on the honour principle and are fully open?
It must be a cultural issue.

Sounds like you managed to do successfully what many people in this country are far too disorganised to manage!

As for the honour principle, do consider that there are quite a lot of people who don't feel that rail travel in itself is worth paying for - it's more a case of buying a ticket to avoid getting into trouble. The amount of people I've heard saying they wasted their money because their ticket wasn't checked at all would seem to support this.

Plus "enthusiasts of the railway" have been known to brag about scarpering up and down the country on dodgy rovers and tickets with obscure locations on them, much for the same reason as the above.

Also, whilst passengers of all types continue to demonstrate that they are happy to walk past an open ticket office then claim they were going to buy a ticket when encountering an inspector, I shouldn't think that such a system would work well in this country. People often "forget" to date boxes and carnets after all!

Cultural issue? I couldn't agree more!
 

hairyhandedfool

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....Why is this so difficult in the UK?
Why are we all treated like criminals and herded through single access points, when other networks operate on the honour principle and are fully open?
It must be a cultural issue....

Having barriers isn't a case of being treated as a criminal (I dare you to get onboard an aeroplane without a ticket), but given the known level of ticketless travel in this country and the way franchising has worked out, can you blame the TOCs for taking revenue seriously?

....All (manual) announcements on long-distance trains were in English as well as the local language, with station signs in multiple languages.
How long before we recognise the large number of foreigners on our trains (Eurostar excepted)?....

To be fair, people complain about the number and length of announcements in this country already, that's before you even begin to think about 'foreign' languages! If we were to adopt 'the most popular languages' for announcements, you'd likely need a second guard on most train services just to do the announcements!
 

exile

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Having barriers isn't a case of being treated as a criminal (I dare you to get onboard an aeroplane without a ticket), but given the known level of ticketless travel in this country and the way franchising has worked out, can you blame the TOCs for taking revenue seriously?



To be fair, people complain about the number and length of announcements in this country already, that's before you even begin to think about 'foreign' languages! If we were to adopt 'the most popular languages' for announcements, you'd likely need a second guard on most train services just to do the announcements!

The on train staff also announce connecting services and what platform they depart from, taking into account whether the train is running late.

Re: the honour system - I did manage to lose my ticket in Berlin and was then caught by a plain clothed revenue inspector.....
 

tannedfrog

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Cultural issue? I couldn't agree more!
I am sure that there are plenty of young (and older) Europeans who take the risk of not buying tickets, especially on local transport

I don't believe we in this country are less honest
 

Clip

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I am sure that there are plenty of young (and older) Europeans who take the risk of not buying tickets, especially on local transport

I don't believe we in this country are less honest

We may not be less honest then other inhabitants of other countries but that doesnt mean to say we shouldnt as a business try and protect our revenues as best we can.

Few cases I know of through revenue investigations of people defruading the railways for £10K+ over time and thats shocking and I dont doubt there are a few more people out there still willing to take the risk.

Barriers are just an assistant to protecting the revenues of the TOCs just the same as other businesses have ways of trying to protect thier revenues from electronic alarms to security guards too. I see no one getting up in arms about this, yet for some reason people get their knickers in such a twist when the railways try and do the same in their own way.
 

Oscar

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In my experience RPIs tend to turn up relatively frequently and the penalty for not having a ticket is high. I am sure that buying tickets tends to be cheaper that fare evading and paying the penalty (usually double figures, possibly triple for a second offence) when caught. I am aware that fare evasion is 3% in Germany overall and in Berlin is 6%. When someone is caught, the inspectors seem to take the offender's details and send a bill, which is obviously easier with a system of compulsory ID cards than it would be in this country.
 

87015

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To be fair, people complain about the number and length of announcements in this country already, that's before you even begin to think about 'foreign' languages! If we were to adopt 'the most popular languages' for announcements, you'd likely need a second guard on most train services just to do the announcements!
Well why do we have to announce so much unnecessary nonsense? Don't hear anything about wet weather or telling you to use the stairs and escalators in the correct manner at Berlin Hbf, whilst the trains are only interested in telling you where you are than reminding you to buy season tickets on their website, quiet coach or the security piffle.
 

island

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I saw a number of people in the same carriage being PFed on a trip from Düsseldorf to Aachen a while back. The penalty is €40 and must be paid through a bank within (I think) 14 days. As carrying ID is mandatory in Germany (per Oscar) it is not easy to avoid.
 

Oscar

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I saw two men being Penalty Fared in the Lausanne area last week - 100 CHF (about £70) each.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Does any TOC have a web site to buy tickets in other than English?

Try www.raileasy.fr or www.raileasy.de - see what happens after initial journey details are entered. Would any German speakers like to comment on the quality of the language?! It's almost incomprehensible.
 
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hairyhandedfool

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Well why do we have to announce so much unnecessary nonsense? Don't hear anything about wet weather or telling you to use the stairs and escalators in the correct manner at Berlin Hbf, whilst the trains are only interested in telling you where you are than reminding you to buy season tickets on their website, quiet coach or the security piffle.

The railway in the UK don't announce the 'unnecessary nonsense' for fun you know, there is always a reason for it, most of which involve prevention of law breaking, potential accidents or blood-sucking lawyers.
 

185

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www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blackstone's_formulation

European railways = Blackstone
First Capital Connect = Bismark
:)

I am aware of a certain employment court case where FirstGroup twice insisted that Transforming Travel is not akin to the 'Final Solution'. First were complaining about pictures appearing on several peoples' Facebooks with their corporate photos photoshopped onto other photos "taken in a well-known 1945 bunker".

I do genuinely think that customer care on our railways is hit and miss and many of those who receive bad customer service are just as rude themselves.

That said I do take issue with fellow members of staff who take their job too seriously. One corner I am currently fighting is about the way a seriously disabled girl on walking canes was treated by Virgin after losing part of her ticket. You simply, as a human being, do not tell them "tough".
 

LNW-GW Joint

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When I have travelled across Europe I've seen my fair share ticket inspections both uniformed and plain clothed (infact in some parts of Europe the inspectors are armed!). Yes they do seem to have little to no ticket barriers and do indeed have an honour system where you are required to validate your ticket prior to or during your journey. However the punishment if caught is far more severe it appears, it also seems irrelevent if the irregularity is an honest mistake or an intent to commit fraud.

Also going through a ticket barrier is hardly being treated like a criminal and I can name a number of foreign cities who use them.

Yes, I dare say I only saw the good side on what was a brief trip.

BR did a good job making stations open in the 70s when they abandoned station ticket collection and did more checking on board.
However I think the policy never reached the Southern Region where the "guilty unless proved innocent" policy continued to apply.
The creation of NSE then brought Southern methods north of the Thames, and now we have it forced down our throats practically everywhere.

I just think it's a shame that a relaxed and civilised means of travel has, probably unwittingly, now become something of an endurance test.
 
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WestCoast

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www.raileasy.de - see what happens after initial journey details are entered. Would any German speakers like to comment on the quality of the language?! It's almost incomprehensible.

Hmm, that's obviously a machine translation from English. Aside from Eurostar and the TfL 'minority language guides' in London, the only decent multi-lingual transport information I've come across in the UK has been a 'how-to guide' from Lothian Buses (LINK).
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
I am sure that there are plenty of young (and older) Europeans who take the risk of not buying tickets, especially on local transport

I don't believe we in this country are less honest

There are certainly fare evaders on the continent, in German it's called "Schwarzfahren" (literally travelling black in English). It's just that the tactics to catch fare evaders have to be different on mainline rail systems, since the stations are not generally 'compulsory ticket areas' and ticket inspections are not undertaken at mainline rail stations.

The focus is therefore on catching people on trains. I've seen a trick used on the double deckers in Germany (RE services) and the Netherlands (IC services), whereby one guard starts checking at one end of the carriage and the other at the opposite end, so they meet in the middle. Therefore, no one can escape to the toilet or wherever. Anyone without a ticket on these services is subject to a fine which must be secured against ID (not too hard when it's compulsory in these countries to carry ID). Regional rail tariffs and passes tend to be quite attractive as they are usually state supported, so the vast majority are incentivised into buying tickets.

If you're not employing inspectors at stations, you can afford to employ more on-train staff. That also includes security staff, who I've seen accompanying guards on late night services.

Local transport is a bit different, it's network specific. Few examples; in Amsterdam, they rejected the honour system and they have actually introduced barriers on the metro and file everyone on the trams past the (seated) conductor or driver, to check they are swiping their Chipkaart or buying a ticket. Paris has barriers on the metro.

In some countries, it's completely honour system everywhere on local transport (with very few exceptions); Belgium, Switzerland, Germany, Czech Republic, Poland e.t.c. They tend to operate with uniformed and plain clothed inspectors doing stings with sometimes very high penalties

Well why do we have to announce so much unnecessary nonsense? Don't hear anything about wet weather or telling you to use the stairs and escalators in the correct manner at Berlin Hbf, whilst the trains are only interested in telling you where you are than reminding you to buy season tickets on their website, quiet coach or the security piffle.

The 'safety announcements' have a lot to do with a compensation culture. Too many of them and people switch off entirely to the important ones, but there you go.

DB has to give the best information in Europe on the train, the conductors advise on connections, platforms and delays upon approach to the station as well as which side of the train the doors will open. That's very useful stuff in my mind.
 
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Hmm, that's obviously a machine translation from English. Aside from Eurostar and the TfL 'minority language guides' in London, the only decent multi-lingual transport information I've come across in the UK has been a 'how-to guide' from Lothian Buses (LINK).
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---


There are certainly fare evaders on the continent, in German it's called "Schwarzfahren" (literally travelling black in English). It's just that the tactics to catch fare evaders have to be different on mainline rail systems, since the stations are not generally 'compulsory ticket areas' and ticket inspections are not undertaken at mainline rail stations.

The focus is therefore on catching people on trains. I've seen a trick used on the double deckers in Germany (RE services) and the Netherlands (IC services), whereby one guard starts checking at one end of the carriage and the other at the opposite end, so they meet in the middle. Therefore, no one can escape to the toilet or wherever. Anyone without a ticket on these services is subject to a fine which must be secured against ID (not too hard when it's compulsory in these countries to carry ID). Regional rail tariffs and passes tend to be quite attractive as they are usually state supported, so the vast majority are incentivised into buying tickets.

If you're not employing inspectors at stations, you can afford to employ more on-train staff. That also includes security staff, who I've seen accompanying guards on late night services.

Local transport is a bit different, it's network specific. Few examples; in Amsterdam, they rejected the honour system and they have actually introduced barriers on the metro and file everyone on the trams past the (seated) conductor or driver, to check they are swiping their Chipkaart or buying a ticket. Paris has barriers on the metro.

In some countries, it's completely honour system everywhere on local transport (with very few exceptions); Belgium, Switzerland, Germany, Czech Republic, Poland e.t.c. They tend to operate with uniformed and plain clothed inspectors doing stings with sometimes very high penalties



The 'safety announcements' have a lot to do with a compensation culture. Too many of them and people switch off entirely to the important ones, but there you go.

DB has to give the best information in Europe on the train, the conductors advise on connections, platforms and delays upon approach to the station as well as which side of the train the doors will open. That's very useful stuff in my mind.

At Munich last week I noticed that it was possible to leave the train on both sides - a measure which is also being built into the new Vienna Central, to make embarking/disembarking faster.
 

sheff1

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To be fair, people complain about the number and length of announcements in this country already, that's before you even begin to think about 'foreign' languages! If we were to adopt 'the most popular languages' for announcements, you'd likely need a second guard on most train services just to do the announcements!

Well, in Switzerland last week on-train announcements were made in German, French and English ... but they only told you useless things like which train you were on and where the next stop was, then, when approaching each stop, which side the doors would open and which platforms the connecting trains left from.

They did not feel the need to tell you important things like 'keep your luggage with you at all times'; 'read the safety notices'; 'report anything suspicious to a member of the train crew'; 'the doors will not open until the light is illuminated'; 'take your belongings with you when leaving the train': 'take care when alighting as the surfaces may be slippery' 'a trolley will pass through the train serving a wide variety of overpriced refreshment' and the like.


At Munich last week I noticed that it was possible to leave the train on both sides - a measure which is also being built into the new Vienna Central, to make embarking/disembarking faster.

Also it is common on S-Bahn & Metro systems that pressing the relevant button before reaching the station means the doors open the instant the vehicle stops (or even,as in Berlin, before it has stopped) again speeding up the disembarking.


Also going through a ticket barrier is hardly being treated like a criminal ...
Going through a barrier isn't .... being questioned/accused when a perfectly vaid ticket is rejected by the barrier can certainly feel that way.
 
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hairyhandedfool

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Well, in Switzerland last week on-train announcements were made in German, French and English ... but they only told you useless things like which train you were on and where the next stop was, then, when approaching each stop, which side the doors would open and which platforms the connecting trains left from.

They did not feel the need to tell you important things like 'keep your luggage with you at all times'; 'read the safety notices'; 'report anything suspicious to a member of the train crew'; 'the doors will not open until the light is illuminated'; 'take your belongings with you when leaving the train': 'take care when alighting as the surfaces may be slippery' 'a trolley will pass through the train serving a wide variety of overpriced refreshment' and the like....

The safety announcements are made for a reason, usually because of previous incidents where it is deemed that the incident could have been avoided if the announcement was made. The rest might be of interest to some people.
 

Lampshade

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Also going through a ticket barrier is hardly being treated like a criminal...

It's what's implied - "Welcome to London - now prove you paid for the journey".

As if every passenger is guilty of fare evasion until they prove otherwise.
 

Bungle73

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It's what's implied - "Welcome to London - now prove you paid for the journey".

As if every passenger is guilty of fare evasion until they prove otherwise.

So do you feel like you're treated "like a criminal" when you go through the supermarket checkout, or when they ask to see your ticket at the cinema, or to see it at an event, or indeed anywhere else where you have to prove you've paid for something? It's a ridiculous argument.

As for annocuments and signs in other languages, what for? English is pretty much the universal language and most people from other countries can speak it so there's no need. Which other language would you choose, out of the hundreds out there, anyway? It would just complicate things unnecessarily.
 

Monty

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It's what's implied - "Welcome to London - now prove you paid for the journey".

As if every passenger is guilty of fare evasion until they prove otherwise.

But that's no real different when staff carry out ticket checks though really is it? As you are proving to the guard or RPI you have paid.
 

LNW-GW Joint

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So do you feel like you're treated "like a criminal" when you go through the supermarket checkout, or when they ask to see your ticket at the cinema, or to see it at an event, or indeed anywhere else where you have to prove you've paid for something? It's a ridiculous argument.

As for annocuments and signs in other languages, what for? English is pretty much the universal language and most people from other countries can speak it so there's no need. Which other language would you choose, out of the hundreds out there, anyway? It would just complicate things unnecessarily.

One check, no problem, or even one per train.
But you shouldn't need both on-train and barrier checks, that's the TOCs just being over the top.
I also object to my perfectly valid through ticket being spat out at Cardiff and having to negotiate with the barrier staff (both ways), because "your ticket does not say Cardiff on it".
It's just so unintelligent.

I don't do languages either, but always regretted it.
Many, many travellers are now from overseas and they deserve some respect for their language, particularly when things go wrong.
I agree it's not a uniquely railway failing, airports are as bad.
In any case you need foreign languages to pronounce all the footballers' names these days...

I've never forgotten being invited into an SNCF DMU driver's cab in Nice because he saw me taking train photos and wanted to chat (in English) about his last trip to Crewe!
I doubt if the reverse would ever happen, again Eurostar excepted.
 
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