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Rob F

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Went to watch Forest today at Sheffield United (what a mistake!) and travelled by train. Outbound by Northern, Nottingham to Leeds trains, pretty busy but not bursting at the seams, arrived on time but no revenue protection on the train at all before Sheffield.

Coming back, EMT had put on an extra from Sheffield direct to Nottingham, no intermediate stops and formed of an HST. Excellent you might think and demonstrates flexibility and some forward planning (1R99, 14:50 Sheff-Nott).

However it all falls apart in the implementation. The cheapest ticket between Nottingham and Sheffield is a Northern only one, which of course the vast majority of supporters had. The platform staff were, rightly I suppose, informing everyone that their ticket was not valid on the extra service.

The result?

An 8 coach train leaves almost entirely empty and a huge number of people board the next Northern service which was formed a single class 150/2. No aircon, a hot day and crush loadings led to a very uncomfortable journey. And again no revenue protection so we could have done the entire journey for free if we were that way inclined (which we are not).

I find it quite depressing that someone was obviously thinking on their feet in providing the extra service but the benefits were not reaped because of lack of communication on the ground. I assume EMT could have collaborated with Northern and accepted their tickets but they did not. The net result being that the extra need not have run at all and lots of people having a very uncomfortable journey.
 
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Plethora

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Sounds like two out of three people in the chain were thinking things through properly. Sadly with the railways, the complexities are such that it only takes one broken link to lead to such outcomes.

UTB
 

Surreytraveller

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Would platform staff know about ticket validity? If so, would those organising trains realise platform staff know about ticket validity, and know they'd need to be told?
 

yorkie

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An 8 coach train leaves almost entirely empty and a huge number of people board the next Northern service which was formed a single class 150/2. No aircon, a hot day and crush loadings led to a very uncomfortable journey. And again no revenue protection so we could have done the entire journey for free if we were that way inclined (which we are not).
If I didn't know the rail industry so well, I'd be shocked at this.

But, given what I know, I have to be honest and say: I am not surprised at all.
I assume EMT could have collaborated with Northern and accepted their tickets but they did not.
Other things they could have done include introducing a temporary EMT only fare, and/or offering cheap Advance fares on that train.
 

Iskra

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If I didn't know the rail industry so well, I'd be shocked at this.

But, given what I know, I have to be honest and say: I am not surprised at all.

Other things they could have done include introducing a temporary EMT only fare, and/or offering cheap Advance fares on that train.
Considering Northern provide the majority of the service of the route, why didn't they just transfer the set to Northern to run as a Northern service for one train only?
 

sprunt

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Would platform staff know about ticket validity? If so, would those organising trains realise platform staff know about ticket validity, and know they'd need to be told?
You would assume that the managers would realise that the front line staff would need the information, and communicate it to them, yes. It's not a lot to ask.
 

yorkie

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Considering Northern provide the majority of the service of the route, why didn't they just transfer the set to Northern to run as a Northern service for one train only?
I'd imagine Northern wouldn't want to pay for it. They don't tend to do extra trains.
 

Iskra

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I'd imagine Northern wouldn't want to pay for it. They don't tend to do extra trains.
Surely EMT made a loss on this so even if they hired it for £1.

Northern do run extra services. Subject to rolling stock (and strikes). They've done services from Sheffield-Huddersfield before, Huddersfield-Barnsley and Blackburn-Leeds.
 

yorkie

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Individual services do not make a loss, as such, but yes it was totally pointless running the extra train in the end.

Northern are not as keen as the likes of EMT when it comes to extras. I am not saying they never run them.
 

Starmill

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The cheapest ticket between Nottingham and Sheffield is a Northern only one, which of course the vast majority of supporters had
While I agree that there is a very firm likelihood of people generally turning up at the station and just wanting whatever the cheapest ticket is, this is not necessarily a good buy.

For one adult, the Northern Only ticket is £12.10. A ticket valid on any train is £14.90. The saving is £2.80, or less than 20%. Is it really worthwhile to cut in half the number of trains available in exchange for a discount of not even 20%?

One could argue that people knew for certain which train they wanted to travel on. One could convincingly argue that, at the point of purchase, there was no clear information anywhere about the expected capacity of the trains. But still it seems a bit wrong to just assume than an 18% discount will be judged worthwhile by almost everyone.
 

Starmill

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I assume EMT could have collaborated with Northern and accepted their tickets but they did not.
Were Northern willing to pay for this to happen? I suppose a question we'll never know the answer to.

Northern were free to remove their dedicated ticket from sale for today only. They'd be quite entitled to do so.
 

Surreytraveller

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Were Northern willing to pay for this to happen? I suppose a question we'll never know the answer to.

Northern were free to remove their dedicated ticket from sale for today only. They'd be quite entitled to do so.
They wouldn't remove a dedicated ticket from sale, as they would then receive less revenue
 

Dai Corner

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Didn't EMT advertise the additional service at Notts to fans on their way to the match, explaining that paying an extra £2.80 would buy them a more comfortable journey home?
 

dk1

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Didn't EMT advertise the additional service at Notts to fans on their way to the match, explaining that paying an extra £2.80 would buy them a more comfortable journey home?
If that was the case £2.80 is a very small price to pay for comfort. What's wrong with these people?
 

Rob F

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Didn't EMT advertise the additional service at Notts to fans on their way to the match, explaining that paying an extra £2.80 would buy them a more comfortable journey home?
No, I don’t believe the service was advertised at all. It even seemed something of a surprise to the station staff at Sheffield when it arrived. It was not announced at all on the PA until it had sat in the platform for over 10 minutes and, as I said, left almost completely empty.

Criticism for buying the Northern only ticket is unjustified. The Northern services were at a convenient time for the match and on a normal day, you have a better chance of a seat on the Northern train to Leeds than you do on the EMT to Liverpool.

I praised the foresight of someone for providing this train and criticised the implementation. It seems there are those on here that will defend the railway for whatever it does. I just think, in this case, a lot of friends could have been won with the application of a little common sense and flexibility.
 

ComUtoR

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Criticism for buying the Northern only ticket is unjustified.
How so ? There is a choice of ticketing and a choice of prices and a choice of method of travel. Isn't that what people want ? You chose the cheaper option and got a cheaper service. If you had chosen the better option you would had took that 8 Coach train. I'm not sure how that is anyone else's fault than your own.

I had a similar situation a few weeks ago. I went up to Peterborough and had a choice of paying for an LNER service or getting a Thameslink service. One if comfortable and one would be hell and an all stations snail crawl. I think it would certainly be unjustified if I took the cheaper option then complained about it :/

I praised the foresight of someone for providing this train and criticised the implementation. It seems there are those on here that will defend the railway for whatever it does. I just think, in this case, a lot of friends could have been won with the application of a little common sense and flexibility.
The most common, and reasonable complaint, about match day services is that they don't put on additional services. If a TOC wishes to put on an additional service then I firmly believe they should be allowed to charge a premium for it, or at least have a share of the revenue generated. If they fail to advertise that or make a loss then that's their fault as they should accept the risk. If passengers KNOWINGLY choose to take the cheaper and more restrictive ticket then they have to accept the consequences. I don't believe that, in this case, EMT should automatically allow a passenger who has bought a Northern only ticket to travel on their services.

If that was the case £2.80 is a very small price to pay for comfort. What's wrong with these people?
People want choice, people want additional services, nobody wants to pay for it. I think that too many people prioritise price over quality and price over flexibility. They also want to be spoon fed information, directly via an app that sends notifications when your at a specific location and auto purchases the best ticket (with a discount code), backed up by a 2 week poster and local TV advertising campaign.
 

Randomer

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Isn't this kind of situation one of the primary reasons that the restriction from getting an excess on TOC only tickets should be removed? I can't see a justification for it in modern times with computerised ticket sales both on board and at stations for revenue calculation purposes. The majority of travellers frankly don't do that much research into exactly which ticket they are going to purchase and situations like this seem to prove that a restriction like this just causes grief for all passengers.

It just seems silly that people cannot purchase a relatively small excess on occasions like this. Would people at the time have been prepared to board the service if they were told they had to pay an extra £2.80, possibly not but worth platform staff at least having the option of offering it to them.
 

yorkie

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I went up to Peterborough and had a choice of paying for an LNER service or getting a Thameslink service. One if comfortable and one would be hell and an all stations snail crawl. I think it would certainly be unjustified if I took the cheaper option then complained about it :/
In the case of Nottingham <> Sheffield, the journey time is around the same, the Northern trains are more likely to be a more comfortable travel experience as they are usually less crowded.

So the analogy doesn't stack up.


The most common, and reasonable complaint, about match day services is that they don't put on additional services. If a TOC wishes to put on an additional service then I firmly believe they should be allowed to charge a premium for it, or at least have a share of the revenue generated. If they fail to advertise that or make a loss then that's their fault as they should accept the risk. If passengers KNOWINGLY choose to take the cheaper and more restrictive ticket then they have to accept the consequences. I don't believe that, in this case, EMT should automatically allow a passenger who has bought a Northern only ticket to travel on their services.
Are you sure passengers did know that the cheaper ticket would deny them the opportunity to take a spacious, non-stop train? From the information provided, it appears passengers did not 'KNOWINGLY' make that choice


People want choice, people want additional services, nobody wants to pay for it. I think that too many people prioritise price over quality and price over flexibility. They also want to be spoon fed information, directly via an app that sends notifications when your at a specific location and auto purchases the best ticket (with a discount code), backed up by a 2 week poster and local TV advertising campaign.
Nope.
Isn't this kind of situation one of the primary reasons that the restriction from getting an excess on TOC only tickets should be removed? I can't see a justification for it ...
I completely agree. There is no sensible justification.
 

bobbyrail

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I praised the foresight of someone for providing this train and criticised the implementation. It seems there are those on here that will defend the railway for whatever it does. I just think, in this case, a lot of friends could have been won with the application of a little common sense and flexibility.
Nothing to do with defending the railway, if you bought a ticket for an Easyjet flight to Spain for £30 do you think British airways with a higher ticket price would allow you to board their plane going to the same destination if it was nearly empty?
 

Rob F

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Nothing to do with defending the railway, if you bought a ticket for an Easyjet flight to Spain for £30 do you think British airways with a higher ticket price would allow you to board their plane going to the same destination if it was nearly empty?
I don’t think this a valid analagy because people do not perceive the railway in the same way that they do air travel. The public is pretty savvy about which airline they are using but most people just ‘get the train’. The level of understanding of the industry on this forum does not align well with general public’s perception.
 

njamescouk

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go to ticket window.

buy ticket.

get on train, oh wait, where's my lawyer with in depth knowledge of ticketing restrictions and Victorian by laws?

buying a ticket is just surreal. going to Cambridge once, was asked did I want "any permitted" or "not via London"? asked the guy what that meant and just got a shrug and question was repeated.
 

Matt_pool

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A few years ago I tried to collect an advance ticket for an EMT service from the ticket machine at Liverpool South Parkway.

The ticket machine was out of order, so I went to the Merseyrail operated ticket office to ask if they could print the ticket.

"No, you will have to contact Northern, it's their machine"

"But the ticket's for an EMT service"

"You will have to contact EMT then"

"That's irrelevant, you should be able to print my ticket no matter what TOC I am travelling on!"

"Sorry, can't help you!"

I couldn't be bothered arguing so I went to Lime Street and used a VTWC machine to print the ticket instead!
 

mrmatt

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Isn't this kind of situation one of the primary reasons that the restriction from getting an excess on TOC only tickets should be removed? I can't see a justification for it in modern times with computerised ticket sales both on board and at stations for revenue calculation purposes.
It isn't just a simple case of charging the excess though. The excess in the accounting processes would need to effectively refund the Northern only ticket then sell any any permitted to ensure ORCATS allocations work themselves out I would expect - which is likely more complex than the systems were designed to handle.

To achieve that the POS would need to know which ticket type was being excessed - when an excess is issued does this data (or perhaps more likely can this data) get recorded?

So without more widespread changes EMT would only get a % allocation of £2.80 - which is probably not worth it (not withstanding the fact the train left empty with I assume only a slightly increase ORCATS share for that day than normal?).

At least that would be my expectation.
 

Randomer

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To be honest it would be my expectation that the ticketing back-end might not be able to process it as well but I was under the perhaps false impression that ticket sales in terms of ORCAT attribution were not processed immediately but after some amount of time (daily, weekly I'm sure one of our members experienced in ticket retailing might have the correct answer.) I'm fairly certain ticket sales from on-board machines aren't processed in real time or they would require a constant data connection back to a server.

Likewise I'm pretty sure the newer ticketing systems seem to require the original ticket number to be inputted (at least the ones I have asked for an excess from on Northern, TPE and XC) and thus would be traceable. It would seem to be a matter for perhaps the RDG to investigate if they actually want to simplify ticketing for customers even without wholesale reforms.
 

yorkie

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I see it's time to dispel some myths and excuses.
Nothing to do with defending the railway, if you bought a ticket for an Easyjet flight to Spain for £30 do you think British airways with a higher ticket price would allow you to board their plane going to the same destination if it was nearly empty?
Your analogy displays a lack of understanding about how air and/or rail fares work.

For your analogy to work, fares set by British Airways would be valid for immediate travel on any EasyJet flight. EasyJet would have absolutely no say in what that price was, and would not be able to refuse travel to any passenger holding such a fare. The EasyJet fare would be sold by BA for immediate travel and without limitation of capacity on EasyJet services. BA would then decide to operate an additional unadvertised plane, and would allow this plane to depart empty.

Clearly that is far from the case, so the analogy is null and void.
A few years ago I tried to collect an advance ticket for an EMT service from the ticket machine at Liverpool South Parkway.

The ticket machine was out of order, so I went to the Merseyrail operated ticket office to ask if they could print the ticket.....
A ticket office is required to help if they are in a position to do so; the caveat here is that Merseyrail might not have access to the TOD collection system.

It isn't just a simple case of charging the excess though. The excess in the accounting processes would need to effectively refund the Northern only ticket then sell any any permitted to ensure ORCATS allocations work themselves out I would expect - which is likely more complex than the systems were designed to handle.....
This is a case of the tail wagging the dog.

As I said last time this cropped up:

it's a spurious and flawed argument as route specific tickets such as "via High Wycombe" suffer from the same technical limitations, yet the rules do allow these to excessed.

Virgin get no revenue from tickets routed "WMT only", or "via High Wycombe", between, say London and Coventry, yet Virgin are compelled to excess the latter while treating the former as if no ticket held.

It's bonkers and unfair on passengers.
I stick with what I said in post #18: There is no sensible justification.

... require the original ticket number to be inputted (at least the ones I have asked for an excess from on Northern, TPE and XC) and thus would be traceable....
It's not a unique number; excess fares do not result in the original fare being redistributed. But that isn't considered sufficient justification to abolish excess fares.
 
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xotGD

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Another example of the nonsense we have ended up with as a result of fragmentation of the national passenger network.

Not quite as nonsensical as a TPE service operated by Northern using a Scotrail unit, but a jolly good effort.
 

yorkie

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Ok. It is just a cock up. Happens ALL the time. It shouldn't but does becuase of the fractured nature of our railway.
If something like this happens all the time, the system is utterly broken and needs to be fixed urgently.

Let's not forget a lot of public money goes into the railways (though not as much as I'd like to see personally, but that's another matter) and our fares are higher than ever, so if it's wasted it's not good value for money for any of us.
 

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