Lack of Ticket Inspector?

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43313

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I was on a Northern service from Thornaby to Middlesbrough today and throughout the journey (albeit only one stop, about five/ten minutes) nobody came to check/sell tickets. Myself and a few others who boarded at Thornaby were sat with our money waiting to pay for tickets, but the guard didn't come through the train.

I think the guard was on the train, because when it first stopped at Thornaby I noticed someone standing at one of the doors, but it's possible that was just a passenger getting off because I didn't look properly.

But my main question is, is this something that happens regularly? The train was terminating at Middlesbrough so everybody got off there, including the people who boarded with me and didn't have to pay either, but it surprised me when nobody came through the train.

Cheers,
Andy
 
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ainsworth74

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All those Northern services have guards. The likelihood is that they decided that there may not have been time to do a ticket check, it can be a bit hit miss between Middlesbrough and Thornaby due to the short journey time. Certainly if you'd traveled further I'd have been very surprised if there wasn't a ticket check at least once as in general all the guards in this area are hot on revenue protection.
 

GadgetMan

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The guard's Avantix machine may have been knackered as they are not very reliable.
If your destination station has a ticket office then you can pay for your journey there.
 

yorkie

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There was definitely a guard on the train!

Ticket machines run out of stock, run out of battery power, or stop working for another reason, they are effectively small computers after all.

It may surprise you but all these possibilities do happen from time to time.

The guard's Avantix machine may have been knackered as they are not very reliable.
If your destination station has a ticket office then you can pay for your journey there.
According to Stations Made Easy for [[stn]MBR[/stn]] the opening hours should normally be:-

Sunday 08:15-18:00

If the passengers arrived after this time, then the OPs assertion that passengers "didn't have to pay" appears to be true, though I suppose a request for an invoice could be sent to Northern ;)

However there is the question over whether or not a "reverse ticket" could/should be purchased from the ticket vending machine (TVM) at the destination, and also whether it would even be valid. In the case of a return ticket that would put the passenger in contravention of NRCoC Condition 17. Surprisingly TPE did inform a passenger that this was acceptable, and a member of SWT staff has confirmed it's his policy to insist passengers purchase such tickets when he is on the gateline at his station and the ticket office is closed. It's not yet been confirmed by ATOC that it's valid though, but I've asked someone to find out!

43313 - Perhaps you'd like to ask TPE (who manage the station and who presumably supply the ticket machines) and also Northern (who you travelled with) if it is compulsory to purchase a reverse ticket from the machine on arrival at Middlesbrough.
 

43313

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There was definitely a guard on the train!

Ticket machines run out of stock, run out of battery power, or stop working for another reason, they are effectively small computers after all.

It may surprise you but all these possibilities do happen from time to time.

According to Stations Made Easy for [[stn]MBR[/stn]] the opening hours should normally be:-

Sunday 08:15-18:00

If the passengers arrived after this time, then the OPs assertion that passengers "didn't have to pay" appears to be true, though I suppose a request for an invoice could be sent to Northern ;)

However there is the question over whether or not a "reverse ticket" could/should be purchased from the ticket vending machine (TVM) at the destination, and also whether it would even be valid. In the case of a return ticket that would put the passenger in contravention of NRCoC Condition 17. Surprisingly TPE did inform a passenger that this was acceptable, and a member of SWT staff has confirmed it's his policy to insist passengers purchase such tickets when he is on the gateline at his station and the ticket office is closed. It's not yet been confirmed by ATOC that it's valid though, but I've asked someone to find out!

43313 - Perhaps you'd like to ask TPE (who manage the station and who presumably supply the ticket machines) and also Northern (who you travelled with) if it is compulsory to purchase a reverse ticket from the machine on arrival at Middlesbrough.

Ah, I didn't realise there was even such thing as a 'reverse ticket', if I'm completely honest. :p Should I just try sending an e-mail off to TPE/Northern asking whether I should purchase one?

But another question of mine is that only five or six people boarded the train at Thornaby so presuming the guard had checked tickets before then, surely they could have managed it in time. And even if their Avantix was broken, would it not be better off (and potentially more profitable) just to check tickets and advise anyone without one to purchase one from the station?

Obviously I don't really know anything about policies for guards or what should be done in certain situations but this did seem a little bit strange to me. I've also had journeys in the past from Kings Cross to Darlington where the tickets haven't been checked and both sets of gates have been open which seemed quite strange.
 

cuccir

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I'm always surprised when people sseem to get so worried when they don't pay in these circumstances. No ticket office or TVM + no guard + no ticket office at destination = no opportunity to buy. This is quite common on short journeys in Northern Rail land, and a commercial decision on behalf of the operator. So don't fret!
 

142094

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Thornaby is a staffed station between 09.15 and 17.15 on Sundays and IIRC has a ticket machine in the booking hall, but I'm not sure if this is accessible after the ticket office has shut. If it is accessible, then you should buy the ticket at the machine.

Thornaby - Middlesbrough is quite a short trip, so it is not uncommon to see tickets going uncollected between the two, but Northern guards are usually quite good at getting a few done. As has been said above, it might have been a problem with the Advantix, so the guard may not have been able to sell tickets even if they wanted to.

It is very rare for a guard to not check tickets without a valid reason, and I know Northern are trying to find evidence of staff who regularly do not check for tickets when they are supposed to.
 

DaveNewcastle

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Thornaby is a staffed station between 09.15 and 17.15 on Sundays and IIRC has a ticket machine in the booking hall, but I'm not sure if this is accessible after the ticket office has shut.
Its not (unless the arrangement has recently changed).
But there is a Customer Help Point outside the hall, from which passengers will be advised to board the train and buy their ticket on-board or at their destination.
 

34D

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I'm always surprised when people sseem to get so worried when they don't pay in these circumstances. No ticket office or TVM + no guard + no ticket office at destination = no opportunity to buy. This is quite common on short journeys in Northern Rail land, and a commercial decision on behalf of the operator. So don't fret!

This doesn't sit well with me. I acknowledge that you are right in a lot of cases, however we do have a thred on here (the lucy helen case, at glossop or somewhere near Glossop) where a passenger assumed just that, only there was an RPI at the station exit.
 

cuccir

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Wasn't there an open ticket office on arrival in that case, but the passenger missed it?

--
Ah yes, it's here. There was an opportunity to buy, but the passenger wasn't aware of it. The message being that you should always look for ticket office, but don't worry if it's shut/you can't find one.
 
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district

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I recently sent a cheque to First Great Western for an unpaid fare when the guard's Avantix had broken, and there were no facilities to purchase a ticket at either station. The fact is that I had used a service and not paid for it. The train is not a 'social service' as should be paid for at all costs.
 
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cuccir

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Just thinking through the Conditions of Carriage: I suppose condition 3 could apply for journeys where there was no opportunity to purchase en route, and a TVM but no ticket office at the end.

Even there, though it is unclear: if I was doing (say) Newton Aycliffe to Darlington, I couldn't
buy a ticket or Permit to Travel before you travel that entitles you to
make at least part of the journey
on arrival, because a Darlington-Newton Aycliffe single would cover none of my journey. I use that particular example after over-hearing a Northern Guard tell a passenger who had not been able to buy a ticket on her previous journey to "not worry - it's not your fault"!

I presume clarification on this what Yorkie has sought out in the letter that he mentioned above!
 

142094

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I recently sent a cheque to First Great Western for an unpaid fare when the guard's Avantix had broken, and there were no facilities to purchase a ticket at either station. The fact is that I had used a service and not paid for it. The train is not a 'social service' as should be paid for at all costs.

You will be in the minority. Unfortunately there are a lot of people who will take it as a free ride, and also a lot of people who will assume incorrectly that you don't have to buy a ticket at the end of your journey, if the conductor did not make it down the train.
 

cuccir

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district:1137878 said:
I recently sent a cheque to First Great Western for an unpaid fare when the guard's Avantix had broken, and there were no facilities to purchase a ticket at either station. The fact is that I had used a service and not paid for it. The train is not a 'social service' as should be paid for at all costs.

By doing that, you're effectively subsidizing TOCs commercial decisions to sack ticket office staff, or reduce their working hours, reduce the.number of guards, or buy cheap materials for staff to work with. Why on.earth should you have any.obligation to a private company, an organisation whose sole purpose is to extract profit from you?


Edit - in fact, that is bizarre attitude! It would be much much worse not paying if it was a socially run public service!
 

34D

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The message being that you should always look for ticket office, but don't worry if it's shut/you can't find one.

I do take your point with which I do largely agree with, however I am of the opinion that "don't worry" is not the message to promote here.

A lot of operators set up 'one man plus avantix mobile' on both a regular and occasional basis, both with and without advertised opening hours.

I would not want passengers conditioned into thinking that it is always okay.

If for example a station has an RPI block, and someone ignores the people in hi viz near one entrance and heads for another entrance straight into a line of plain clothed RPI then I think we know what will happen.

Also as per the glossop case, many stations have booking offices that have either moved or do not look like a booking office - example I recently used halifax station and thought the booking office had been fully closed, then I realised that the 'shop' was actually a new ticket office.

Do you see my point (even if you don't agree with it)?

I agree with you on the issue of sending a cheque to the TOC.
 

Flamingo

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I recently sent a cheque to First Great Western for an unpaid fare when the guard's Avantix had broken, and there were no facilities to purchase a ticket at either station. The fact is that I had used a service and not paid for it. The train is not a 'social service' as should be paid for at all costs.

Fair doos. Thanks ;)
 

cuccir

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I do take your point with which I do largely agree with, however I am of the opinion that "don't worry" is not the message to promote here.

A lot of operators set up 'one man plus avantix mobile' on both a regular and occasional basis, both with and without advertised opening hours.

I would not want passengers conditioned into thinking that it is always okay.

If for example a station has an RPI block, and someone ignores the people in hi viz near one entrance and heads for another entrance straight into a line of plain clothed RPI then I think we know what will happen.

Also as per the glossop case, many stations have booking offices that have either moved or do not look like a booking office - example I recently used halifax station and thought the booking office had been fully closed, then I realised that the 'shop' was actually a new ticket office.

Do you see my point (even if you don't agree with it)?

I agree with you on the issue of sending a cheque to the TOC.

Well my don't worry was directed at the oddly-frequent posts which people make in which they seem terrified that they've not had to pay!

But I'll grant you that if you haven't had the opportunity to pay en route, it's the passenger's responsibility to make sure that there is no way to pay, rather than presume that they've got a free ride (I recall hiking around Mansfield station one afternoon convinced that somewhere that size would have to have an open ticket office or TVM... apparently not in afternoons!).
 

transportphoto

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I have to point out that it is possible at Ticket Vending Machines operated by Southern (I know the case here is no-where near Southern land) to buy tickets from another station, this will enable you to pay for the correct ticket for the journey you have undertaken.

TP
 
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I travelled from York to Thornaby to Stockton to-day. The Conductors were most diligent. Unfortunately the same cannot be said for the Conductor on the Leeds to Lunnun train who didn't say a word to the posh fillies who got on at Leeds shod with wet mud encrusted boots which they put all over the seats they were in as well as the ones opposite and the carpeted floor.
 

district

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By doing that, you're effectively subsidizing TOCs commercial decisions to sack ticket office staff, or reduce their working hours, reduce the.number of guards, or buy cheap materials for staff to work with. Why on.earth should you have any.obligation to a private company, an organisation whose sole purpose is to extract profit from you?


Edit - in fact, that is bizarre attitude! It would be much much worse not paying if it was a socially run public service!

It is not for me as the passenger to decide on what the TOC spends the money on. The fact is, I have used a service which I should have paid for, regardless of whether I had the immediate oppurtunity to pay for it. The amount of money I should have paid is widely published and I do so by sending a cheque to the train operator concerned.

As to your question to "Why on.earth should you have any.obligation to a private company, an organisation whose sole purpose is to extract profit from you?" is that my obligation comes from the fact that I used their service; I accepted the advertised cost when I boarded the train. I was willing to pay for the fare. I couldn't do this conventially (i.e. onboard or at the station) for a number of various reasons, however I am quite capable of writing a cheque and sending it to the operator.

I appreciate that I am in the minority who agree this is the right thing to do, but I do agree this and I express this belief on this forum.
 

bb21

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Edit - in fact, that is bizarre attitude! It would be much much worse not paying if it was a socially run public service!

Using your own words, your criticism levelled at district's behaviour of paying the correct fare is bizarre to say the least.

He might be in a minority as 142094 pointed out. Could you please explain how you think paying for a service you have used is in anyway questionable?
 

34D

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I have to point out that it is possible at Ticket Vending Machines operated by Southern (I know the case here is no-where near Southern land) to buy tickets from another station, this will enable you to pay for the correct ticket for the journey you have undertaken.

TP

This is an interesting point. I think we could express the caution that ticket machines on any network are liable to be upgraded in this manner at any time and so people ought to get in the habit of checking TVMs on arrival.

This may or may not be practicable (ie if machines are on different platforms etc).
 

cuccir

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bb21 said:
He might be in a minority as 142094 pointed out. Could you please explain how you think paying for a service you have used is in anyway questionable?

Because the company has to make a decision - do they pay for more staff/TVMs, and collect revenue, or do they cut back on facilities, and accept some level of revenue loss? They've clearly made a commercial decision in order to maximise their profit.

My attitude would be very different in a charity shop, a local business, a social enterprise etc. But I hold no moral obligation to an.international corporation's commercial decisions
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
34D:1138626 said:
This is an interesting point. I think we could express the caution that ticket machines on any network are liable to be upgraded in this manner at any time and so people ought to get in the habit of checking TVMs on arrival.

This may or may not be practicable (ie if machines are on different platforms etc).

An efficient starting point to solving this problem would be a couple of TVMs selling tickets to a station at those terminals that have had a lot of unstaffed stations en route, particularly in PF areas.
 

bb21

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Because the company has to make a decision - do they pay for more staff/TVMs, and collect revenue, or do they cut back on facilities, and accept some level of revenue loss? They've clearly made a commercial decision in order to maximise their profit.

My attitude would be very different in a charity shop, a local business, a social enterprise etc. But I hold no moral obligation to an.international corporation's commercial decisions

Whether a passenger has an obligation to pay for a service used is irrelevant to what measures the company put in place to protect its income.

I do not think that a passenger should be forced to go the extra length in order to make the payment if the company chose not to put adequate measures in place to protect its revenue, and I don't see anything morally wrong about that either. It is your criticism of a passenger who chose to fulfil his obligation, by whatever means, that is most strange to me.

Unfortunately I think we will have to agree to disagree on this.
 

island

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I recently sent a cheque to First Great Western for an unpaid fare when the guard's Avantix had broken, and there were no facilities to purchase a ticket at either station. The fact is that I had used a service and not paid for it. The train is not a 'social service' as should be paid for at all costs.

Was it cashed?
 

cuccir

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Whether a passenger has an obligation to pay for a service used is irrelevant to what measures the company put in place to protect its income.

I do not think that a passenger should be forced to go the extra length in order to make the payment if the company chose not to put adequate measures in place to protect its revenue, and I don't see anything morally wrong about that either. It is your criticism of a passenger who chose to fulfil his obligation, by whatever means, that is most strange to me.

Unfortunately I think we will have to agree to disagree on this.

Well It's clearly up to District what s/he manages to do with his/her money, but I do think that it is odd that people would chose to go out of the way to spend their money when the company hasn't chosen to collect it - but maybe I'm just tight :lol:!
 

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So it's OK to get away with a free journey then?

Let's turn this round. What will you do if they don't cash your cheque? Will it then be ok to get away with a free journey? What you have done is admirable, but it really does go beyond what can reasonably be expected. The TOC just has to make some effort to enable collection of the fares due without the passenger having to resort to spending 50p on a stamp. If they have decided that it isn't cost effective for them to do so, then they have in effect given permission for people to take a free ride.

Seriously, I'm not having a go at what you've done, that was absolutely the right thing to satisfy your conscience, but you have to understand that if the TOC makes no effort whatsoever to collect the fare they have to accept people will ride for free. Please don't make out every other person who doesn't go to extra-ordinary lengths to pay the fare is a criminal. They are not.
 

142094

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Probably costs more to the TOC for the administration and cashing of the cheque than it would for an RPI to collect the money on the day. Plus, leaves the question - do they actually issue a ticket or just bank the money?

TBH the furthest point I have got to when I haven't paid for a journey is to buy a ticket at the destination where possible. If there is no ticket machine or booking office then that is the TOC's fault and not mine.
 

yorkie

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So it's OK to get away with a free journey then?
If you felt guilty for not making an offer to the TOC, then I would have thought a request for an invoice, providing details of the journey may be appropriate. It's beyond any obligations though IMO.
 
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