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Lenient Guards/Train Managers

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WCML

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Evening all,

Recently around the Midlands, I've found that guards are being very lenient with tickets and on-board purchases.

A few weeks ago I was on an xx:36 evening peak service ex New Street towards Liverpool. The guard checked all the tickets and approached this woman near me. She boarded at New Street, and the ticket check was between Coseley and Wolverhampton. She asked the guard for an off-peak return to Wilmslow from BHM. Guard says he should charge her full fare, which she protested and thrust the £32 cash or whatever it is in front of him. He said that she should have bought before boarding and that he should be charging her full fare. After a few groans from the woman and her protesting "there's nothing stopping you getting on without a ticket", the guard issued an off-peak fare.

Similarly, the guards frequently sell tickets on board from Stafford, even though LM operate a penalty fares system. The same with CrossCountry, they let people buy on board on this route too.
Recently, a passenger opposite me boarded a Cross Country service at BHM with a Virgin only ticket to Wolverhampton and the TM said he would let her off this time, but it was an invalid ticket.

This really isn't on. These services are crowded enough, especially the XC ones and it seems that you can get away with pretty much anything. Passengers pay enough for season tickets and the ever increasing peak time fares and there are plenty of people blatently flouting the system and the TOCs are doing little to deter them.
 
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MidnightFlyer

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Do LM operate penalty fares between New St and Liverpool? I always thought it was stopped north of Wolves.
 

185

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Sometimes people need to see things from the other angle.

1. Passengers becoming abusive, agressive or violent. For the wage staff take, they are in no way expected to put up with faceloads of grief from commuters in this godforsaken country who flushed their manners down the bog, along with their brains. That's why many staff are not interested in challenging people nowadays.
2. Cowardly pathetic train companies ready to lynch traincrew for anything they can, even if a conductor has told someone off for murdering a fellow passenger, the company would still try stick them on a disciplinary for being impolite. That also is why many staff are not interested in challenging people nowadays.

Can't win. Staff that are strict are bullies. Staff that are leniant are lazy ;)
 

Pumbaa

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Do LM operate penalty fares between New St and Liverpool? I always thought it was stopped north of Wolves.

Yes - there are LM penalty fare posters at Lime St and Stafford, and Crewe for that matter. I have never seen a guard though not sell a ticket on the train on one of the Trent Valley or Liverpool runs, and I myself frequently buy my ticket on the train if I know the guard, sorry, conductor, sorry, senior conductor.
 

dvboy

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Penkridge doesn't have a ticket office, so you'll find LM selling tickets from there to BHM, often still working through the train after WVH. Likewise stations before WVH on the Shrewsbury line. The ticket office at Coseley isn't always open the times its advertised and is on the Birmingham-bound platform nowhere near the car park, so guards often allow northbound passengers to buy on board from there.

Since they have to do a ticket check and sell tickets anyway for these reasons, they might as well sell them to/from anywhere.

You can often get to the platforms at BHM without an opportunity to buy a ticket if you come in the Victoria Square entrance, for which I'd expect guards to be lenient to, though when I have done this in the past I have always sought out the guard.

XC don't do penalty fares, do they? I agree they shouldn't be letting Virgin Only ticket holders on unless there's been disruption but if the train's too busy there's not much can be done about this.
 

AntoniC

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It costs me £1097/year for my season ticket for an all zone annual season ticket, and I see people get on the train with no tickets and NOT get challenged by the Guard , because they dont want to walk through the train. <D<D
 

Bellwater

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It costs me £1097/year for my season ticket for an all zone annual season ticket, and I see people get on the train with no tickets and NOT get challenged by the Guard , because they dont want to walk through the train. <D<D

I pay £400 for a Year's Bus Travel and I see people getting on without paying all the time. They take all the seats too.

They also get on the Tram without paying when I have to. So they can leave their cars at home, I don't have one.

Its great isn't it?
 

34D

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Sometimes people need to see things from the other angle.

1. Passengers becoming abusive, agressive or violent. For the wage staff take, they are in no way expected to put up with faceloads of grief from commuters in this godforsaken country who flushed their manners down the bog, along with their brains. That's why many staff are not interested in challenging people nowadays.
2. Cowardly pathetic train companies ready to lynch traincrew for anything they can, even if a conductor has told someone off for murdering a fellow passenger, the company would still try stick them on a disciplinary for being impolite. That also is why many staff are not interested in challenging people nowadays.

Can't win. Staff that are strict are bullies. Staff that are leniant are lazy ;)

Think you've hit the nail on the head here.
 

LexyBoy

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Penalty Fares are one of the few ticket types that guards are unable to issue. Full Anytime should technically be issued- but better any ticket sold than none.

At least you have guards on LM- in a lot of southern PF-land ticket checks are so rare that if someone doesn't buy before they board it's nearly always a free journey.
 

martinsh

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Recently, a passenger opposite me boarded a Cross Country service at BHM with a Virgin only ticket to Wolverhampton and the TM said he would let her off this time, but it was an invalid ticket.

Well lots of people still think that XC is run by Virgin, so an understandable mistake ...
 
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tgsh2011

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Last Wednesday evening a LM guard allowed a passenger who had a Standard ticket remain in First Class! The train had been full and standing (including in 1st) from Euston to Coventry! This young man occupied a seat all the way from Euston to New Street!
 

scrapy

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It costs me £1097/year for my season ticket for an all zone annual season ticket, and I see people get on the train with no tickets and NOT get challenged by the Guard , because they dont want to walk through the train. <D<D

How do you know they don't have a ticket?
 

BestWestern

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Penalty Fares are one of the few ticket types that guards are unable to issue. Full Anytime should technically be issued- but better any ticket sold than none.

At least you have guards on LM- in a lot of southern PF-land ticket checks are so rare that if someone doesn't buy before they board it's nearly always a free journey.

That's a very good point. It's worth bearing in mind that there are many 'dodgers' who will refuse to pay, or do their very best to avoid it. Challenging somebody who is willing to pay because they should have bought beforehand can be a time consuming and sometimes fruitless exercise, unless you work for one of very few TOCs who know how enforce a very strict policy properly. In most cases, a word of warning and the requested ticket can be the best approach.
 
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Urban Gateline

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The OP seems to forget that Guards don't issue penalty fares, they issue a warning on the back of the ticket which they sell. It is up to Revenue Protection employees to enforce penalty fares, they would not sell a ticket unless the passenger boarded at an unmanned station or the ticket issuing facilities were out of use.

If the Guard was to just refuse to sell a ticket, that would be counter productive as the passenger may get off at their destination and walk out of the station unchallenged, thus no revenue is gained at all, as said before, some is better than none!
 

michael769

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But should the guard not in theory issue a ticket for the full standard fare?
 

Urban Gateline

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But should the guard not in theory issue a ticket for the full standard fare?

Yes, in theory, but what do you do when someone kicks up a huge fuss and refuses to pay the full Anytime fare? Delaying the train or causing more conflict is probably best avoided even if it means giving in and selling the cheaper ticket sadly.
 

Ferret

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Most Guards use common sense - not worth delaying the train if the passenger is perfectly happy to buy an SVR for 40 quid but not an 80 quid SOR. Not to mention while arguing with one bloke over whether he can have an SVR or not, you may well be allowing people further down to travel for free!
 

BestWestern

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Something which is drummed very thoroughly into Guards, certainly at my shack and I would imagine most others also, is that you don't cause undue grief over a revenue issue. Don't delay the train, don't put yourself in the way of a smack in the face, and so on. So working to those general guidelines it is often far better to sell an off-peak and move on.
 

Ferret

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Generally goes without saying though BW! Common sense to most....
 

exile

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In other words, if you're sufficiently aggressive to staff you can avoid paying for a ticket.

I can see why staff wouldn't want to challenge a passenger but can't they call the BTP and ask them to meet the train?
 

ralphchadkirk

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There aren't enough BTP to attend every fare evasion case.


Sent from my iPhone 4 using Tapatalk
 

Lampshade

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It costs me £1097/year for my season ticket for an all zone annual season ticket, and I see people get on the train with no tickets and NOT get challenged by the Guard , because they dont want to walk through the train. <D<D

Have you personally checked to see if they have tickets?
 

exile

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Have you personally checked to see if they have tickets?

If the stations are unstaffed it's a good bet they don't have tickets when they board.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
There aren't enough BTP to attend every fare evasion case.

Even if the passenger is aggressive?

Aren't we in effect saying that staff will only pursue a fare evasion case if the passenger doesn't kick up a fuss?
 

175001

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Something which is drummed very thoroughly into Guards, certainly at my shack and I would imagine most others also, is that you don't cause undue grief over a revenue issue. Don't delay the train, don't put yourself in the way of a smack in the face, and so on. So working to those general guidelines it is often far better to sell an off-peak and move on.

Hear Hear.
 

MidnightFlyer

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Yes - there are LM penalty fare posters at Lime St and Stafford, and Crewe for that matter. I have never seen a guard though not sell a ticket on the train on one of the Trent Valley or Liverpool runs, and I myself frequently buy my ticket on the train if I know the guard, sorry, conductor, sorry, senior conductor.

Never knew that - probably goes to show how heavily it is implemented then!
 

BestWestern

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In other words, if you're sufficiently aggressive to staff you can avoid paying for a ticket.

I can see why staff wouldn't want to challenge a passenger but can't they call the BTP and ask them to meet the train?

Frankly, the BTP are often not interested. I've had them sent out in lieu of the requested revenue staff, and nearly had a row with them over their attitude, not at all pleased at being asked to attend. In fairness, it really ought to be up to the train operators to enforce revenue collection, the Police have better things to do on the whole.

It isn't necessarily about passengers being 'aggressive', often people will routinely board the train and buy a ticket when they see the Guard on a regular basis, and unless the company has a scourge on it there is little point in waging a one man war and getting everybody's back up, you are far better off to politely advise them of the 'correct' way of acquiring their ticket and move on. In a situation where they know could probably have ignored the Guard, gone unnoticed and paid nothing, it doesn't do any favours to be unduly harsh in dealing with them. There are plenty of places where technically there is a 'Buy before you board' policy but in reality it is never enforced, and often people feel they are perfectly correct in buying from the Guard.
 

RJ

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Something which is drummed very thoroughly into Guards, certainly at my shack and I would imagine most others also, is that you don't cause undue grief over a revenue issue. Don't delay the train, don't put yourself in the way of a smack in the face, and so on. So working to those general guidelines it is often far better to sell an off-peak and move on.

Some guards I know are lenient with respect to selling off peak tickets, but have zero tolerance towards those who refuse to pay. If they're also rude then that's it, train won't move until they're off. Known guards to throw said people's bags off the train. Then again, I've known some guards to get bottled so it's a risky game.

When I was working in revenue protection, I was wholly unfazed by the prospect of abuse from people. I treated everybody fairly and those who attempted to manipulate me emotionally or threaten me physically lost all chances of being shown any discretion. I never once needed to call the police as I always had the situations under control although they did magically appear at times. I used to receive phonecalls from guards who were having problems with fare evaders on board and I was more than happy to deal with them once they arrived.

IMO one can't be faint hearted in such a job otherwise the company is just going to lose money.
 
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Flamingo

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Just to agree with 185, Molesey Boy and Best Western.

NOBODY will thank me for getting any fare (let alone a full open) out of the most difficult passenger.

If I get assaulted by said passenger, my manager will (and has) told me it is my fault for antagonising them, and escalating the situation. I should have ignored the tickets and walked away.

If I delay the train over a ticketing issue, there is a bigger response from management than if I walked through the train naked. I have been told by Chief Executives downwards NEVER delay the train under ANY circumstances over a ticketing issue. Therefore I don't.

I have been told very recently that a reasonable approach is to say to the passenger "don't do it again", and walk away when finding a ticket irregularity. When I replied that wasn't much of a deterrent, I was told that was not my problem, and I had to look at "the bigger picture".

BTP's attitude (with very few exceptions) to ticketless travel is "not our problem". Their whole attitude when they do turn up displays that, and in the most blatant cases of fraud, they don't want to know. I could quote dozens of cases. So could any other guard on here.

Practically every complaint I receive are from passengers who have had to buy a ticket or been issued a UFN because of a ticketing issue (invalid or missing). I then have to spend time with my manager filling in a "please explain", and justifying my (invariably "rude, bullying and unreasonable") actions in selling this person the correct ticket for their journey. I've had three this week. (I'd take it personally, except every complaint about every guard I know claims they were "rude, bullying and unreasonable". It must be in the job description!).

So, taking this and all my colleagues responses into account, is the OP surprised that we don't change full opens in every case?

Personally, I am constantly amazed that we don't just walk through the train saying "Does anybody want to buy a ticket", and leave it at that. Because we get ZERO support to do anything more than that!
 
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Travelling last week on holiday, I noticed at the stations with ticket offices there were posters stating the £20 penalty fare. I boarded the 2 coach train. Tickets checked within 6 minutes. After the next stop the conducter came around saying any more ticket? The next stop has no ticket office, and he was busy selling tickets. Then I noticed there were 2 conductors both with ticket machines patrolling the train. When we left the station (with ticket office) before I got off a conductor still politely asking everyone 'any more tickets?' When I left the train there were 4 staff on the footbridge, and 4 on the car park exit checking tickets. BTP in attendance. My ticket was quickly checked, and a very polite 'thank you'. A few could not produce a ticket. I really felt sorry for them!!! :lol:
 
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