LM Penalty Fares

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AlexS

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London Midland are expanding their penalty fares scheme - it's now going to cover unstaffed stations between Brum and Worcester and Brum and Shrewsbury from 1st October.

How are they implementing it? By dropping unrefurbished ex NSE PERTIS machines at the unstaffed stations.

Current issues include 'What if I only have a note or a card rather than change to pay my fare, notes don't go in these machines' 'Why are you doing it on the cheap using these piles of crap, they don't make you look good' 'Don't you remember what happened on the chase line when CT tried it' and 'Why are you installing machines that are broken more often than not after 25 years of service elsewhere'.

It's not a hugely terrible idea in principle but why oh why can't it be done properly with proper ticket machines, new ones that havent spent a quarter of a century in service elsewhere, and ones that don't actually degrade the level of service received (I don't always carry change but I do usually have a note on me or a card to pay with!).
 
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Solent&Wessex

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I remember when Arriva Trains Northern tried to introduce Penalty Fares on the Leeds Northwest Triangle services. It was a complete disaster as virtually all the stations were unstaffed, and they dropped tatty NSE pertis machines (many still had the NSE logo on!) in at stations. If the machines weren't out of service after being vandalised (which was about 75% of the time), the scheme never worked as everyone just put in 5p, and then the Guard on the trains took so long to issue tickets and start faffing around with all the pertis vouchers, that I'm led to believe revenue actually dropped. Combined with the fact there were never any Revenue Protection staff to enforce the Penalty fare anyway, then the scheme was quickly abandoned. Stations such as Keighley still bear the scars where the pertis machines were to this day...
 

Mojo

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It's like FGW's Penalty Fares scheme in the South West which I'm surprised the DfT even approved. Look at pages 2 & 3 of the attatched and see the number of unstaffed stations: http://www.firstgreatwestern.co.uk/Documents/Custom/Penalty Fares maps.pdf.

None of the stations' ticket offices are staffed all day and none have PERTIS (just self-service machines). If I'm going from Filton to Bedminster I would be boarding at an unstaffed PF station, the train would then call at two unstaffed non-PF stations, call at a staffed PF station and then I'd be alighting at un unstaffed non-PF station!

The ticket machines are still to this day quite unreliable. The first week of PFs the machine at my old local (unstaffed but PF station) the machine didn't work Monday - Thursday, was working on Fri; over the weekend someone smashed it so wasn't working on Monday the week after, on Tuesday it was replaced but wasn't responding to touch and then the rest of the week wasn't working as it was raining and the machines don't work when it rains! Other stations that had a "ticket office" formed from a man in a temporary building and an Avantix suddenly found their offices closed, although some were later reinstated.

Of course it's not a problem now as FGW have cut their revenue protection department over here to mainly assist the guard on lines with loads of unstaffed trains.
 

glynn80

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Current issues include 'What if I only have a note or a card rather than change to pay my fare, notes don't go in these machines'

This is sort of explain in the Penalty Fares Policy document on the DfT website (http://www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/rail/legislation/pf/penaltyfarespolicyb.pdf):

Penalty Fares Policy said:
Using discretion. Authorised collectors must be given the discretion not to charge a penalty fare in a particular instance, even where the passenger is liable to pay a penalty fare under the Penalty Fares Rules. Operators must think carefully about the guidelines they give to authorised collectors about how they should use this discretion. We expect authorised collectors to use discretion towards:

• passengers who are travelling from stations where the only ticket facilities available are ticket machines or a ‘permit to travel’ machine, and who have enough money (or a credit or debit card) to buy a ticket but not in the form needed to use the ticket or ‘permit to travel’ machine;
 

paul1609

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Are these PERTIS machines green by any chance?
If so they are most likely the machines removed from the majority of Southern Stations over the last couple of years when the Fasticket machines were installed. If so althought the outer casing is original the inwards were either new or heavily refurbished and they were quite reliable
 

yorkie

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The wording "using discretion" suggests that the collector can, at a whim, choose to give a PF if they desire. Yet they cannot do so, as cards and notes are valid payment types and if they can't use them they cannot be penalty fared.

The wording of that piece of junk should say "You MUST NOT issue a penalty fare in these circumstances"

The people who suggest, approve, and implement such schemes are enemies of customers, pure and simple.
 

Helvellyn

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Well if you can't buy a ticket at the station, and you can't get a PERTIS (machine broken, you've only notes), then go find the Guard straight away. Don't just take a seat and wait to see if anyone comes round to check your ticket, then ask for one, as that's when discretion may not be used.
 

paul1609

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Do conductors or guards actually issue penalty fares then? Despite living in a pf area for 30 years Ive yet to see one issued on train. If they do, do the conductors get commision on them?
Down here as I understand it the conductors get 5% commision on ticket sales and are very happy to sell you any ticket you want. Even in Portis days a saver return to Fort William was no problem on the early morning stopper to Brighton although the conductor had to phone somewhere to get the fare.
 

glynn80

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Do conductors or guards actually issue penalty fares then? Despite living in a pf area for 30 years Ive yet to see one issued on train. If they do, do the conductors get commision on them?

The issuer of the penalty fare must be an "authorised collector". As far as I am aware, no TOC have designated their guards as authorised collectors and the only persons entitled to issue them are RPIs and such like.
 

paul1609

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We had the annual visit of the SWT RPIs to Portsmouth Harbour today, I think there is something on on the Island this weekend there was a huge queue for the fast cat.
There were even 2 BTP officers sitting at the end of Platform 1 at a table but no one seemed to be taking much money.
 
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