LNER reservation compulsory from 18 May! (Update: other TOCs limiting capacity but not requiring reservations)

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Wallsendmag

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So the traveller arrives at the London station for the final leg of the journey a few minutes before departure and is supposed to try to book a seat using a mobile phone or risk being stranded there for hours or even overnight? Bonkers!
The timetable feed has been changed so that every LNER service shows as compulsory reservations. So any TIS that journeyplans will not be able to issue a ticket much the same was as Advance tickets.
 
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Mainline421

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The timetable feed has been changed so that every LNER service shows as compulsory reservations. So any TIS that journeyplans will not be able to issue a ticket much the same was as Advance tickets.
That assumes that 1. the passenger knew what train they going to catch and 2. They used a TIS with a journey planner and 3. Nothing altered their plans or delayed them. 1 and 2 are rarely the case with me and that solution requires a fully charged phone and to use paid data which many people don't have all the time. There's also the question of what happens if there aren't any reservations left on the last train which is unlikley at the moment and I would expect staff to apply common sense but that shouldn't be a problem in the first place.
 

CaptainHaddock

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The timetable feed has been changed so that every LNER service shows as compulsory reservations. So any TIS that journeyplans will not be able to issue a ticket much the same was as Advance tickets.
That assumes that 1. the passenger knew what train they going to catch and 2. They used a TIS with a journey planner and 3. Nothing altered their plans or delayed them. 1 and 2 are rarely the case with me and that solution requires a fully charged phone and to use paid data which many people don't have all the time. There's also the question of what happens if there aren't any reservations left on the last train which is unlikley at the moment and I would expect staff to apply common sense but that shouldn't be a problem in the first place.
Yes, this sounds like a badly thought out knee jerk reaction of an idea from LNER. If it's anything like Cross Country's ten minute reservation phone app, the number of reservable seats will be so small that I expect most travellers will receive the dreaded "there is no seat availability for your requested journey" text.

I'm a key worker and have found social distancing no problem commuting on a Northern 158, why do LNER think it necessary to force people to specify a train when most of their services have 9 coaches and could carry a couple of hundred people without social distancing being an issue?
 

harz99

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LNER confirmed its shift to mandatory reservations in a tweet.

This contained "tips" for passengers, travelling on its trains, including:

  • Wear a facemask if you cannot keep your distance
  • Ignore the seat number on your ticket and choose your own seat
  • Keep 2 metres apart where possible
  • One person to a row unless travelling as a household
  • In standard class leave two empty rows and one in first class
  • Avoid facing other passengers
The company concluded by asking: "Can you travel another way? Help us keep the trains clear for those who really need them.""
The bit i've highlighted in red really concerns me, surely to heavens they can manage the seat diagrams in the reservation system and only release suitably distanced seating.

If this advice stays after the crisis is over the result for anyone boarding part journey, say with holiday luggage or children or both, is going to be a very unpleasant journey, the whole point of seat reservations is to ensure you know where your carriage is to board the train and you get a seat to suit your needs and journey.
 
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800001

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It won't be enforced by staff, lner staff been told not to intervene if people board with out reservation.

Ticket barriers are back from Monday at lner stations.

Travel centres reopen Monday, customers can reserve at travel centre or on the website from 11am Monday and can reserve upto 5 minutes before the train leaves there station.

Basically leaving it upto customers where to sit on train
 

Grumbler

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It won't be enforced by staff, lner staff been told not to intervene if people board with out reservation.

Ticket barriers are back from Monday at lner stations.

Travel centres reopen Monday, customers can reserve at travel centre or on the website from 11am Monday and can reserve upto 5 minutes before the train leaves there station.

Basically leaving it upto customers where to sit on train
So what about those connecting onto LNER's services with tickets bought from other operators?
 

duncanp

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It won't be enforced by staff, lner staff been told not to intervene if people board with out reservation.
So it might work for a week or two, but the whole system will go out the window if there is any significant disruption, or when if lockdown rules are eased at the beginning of June, and non essential shops begin to reopen.

If people cotton on to the fact that the system is not going to be enforced, they will ignore it.
 

mmh

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So it might work for a week or two, but the whole system will go out the window if there is any significant disruption, or when if lockdown rules are eased at the beginning of June, and non essential shops begin to reopen.

If people cotton on to the fact that the system is not going to be enforced, they will ignore it.
The last two months have shown that view of the public to be very wide of the mark, we've been very pliant and compliant with all manner of unenforced rules, to a degree probably unexpected by the rule makers.

If people know something is a rule they do generally follow it. This being railway ticketing, they're of course not very likely to know it! The negatives of it will probably be mitigated by two things: the impracticality of rigid enforcement and the unlikely will to, and the "turn up and go" railway having been massively reduced by thinned and skeleton services. Combined with a lack of leisure distractions people are more likely to know the train they will use and get to the station in advance.
 

Seehof

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In some countries (eg Switzerland) they accept that it is impossible to have complete social distancing therefore trains can be boarded by an unlimited number of passengers and face masks are recommended. Airports take the same view eg Stansted and Manchester require masks and gloves.
My local Tesco’s is now a farce as despite queueing to get in you constantly have a vastly increased number of home shoppers with their trollies coming close to you to grab a lettuce or something.
Best of luck to those at York who have just missed their London connection from Harrogate or Scarborough.
 

111-111-1

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As per my other thread, I would not even consider XC for business travel (or indeed any other travel unless totally unavoidable). It's just utter dross.
I hope this continues long term even if compulsory reservations don't. It's stupid how hard it is to make a reservation for a walk-up ticket you already hold.
You state, reasonably enough, that you avoid XC. I take it by that you do not have a great deal of experience of travelling with them since this last minute reservation system was introduced?

I do not reserve seats, generally as due to the nature of my travel all being last minute. Getting on a voyager, my normal XC conveyance, and finding a no reserved seat is hard enough but then finding that having got settled in that suddenly without you noticing it has become reserved is at best embarrassing when asked to move and then possibly leaves you standing or hunting for another seat. That is combined, LNER are the same, with finding a seat vacant reserved x-y but when you approach y it comes up reserved -z.

Yes make getting a reservation as easy as possible but none after a start station -30 minutes.
 

111-111-1

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Yes, this sounds like a badly thought out knee jerk reaction of an idea from LNER. If it's anything like Cross Country's ten minute reservation phone app, the number of reservable seats will be so small that I expect most travellers will receive the dreaded "there is no seat availability for your requested journey" text.

I'm a key worker and have found social distancing no problem commuting on a Northern 158, why do LNER think it necessary to force people to specify a train when most of their services have 9 coaches and could carry a couple of hundred people without social distancing being an issue?
Agree totally.

As far as I am aware there has not been a major problem with numbers of passengers except on LUL and a few comutor roots. Before lockdown there was not issues on IC type services after the work at home and avoid non essential travel advisory was given.

A far beter way would be to make strong efferts to stop non essential/work travel and monitor loadings. Have the systems set up if they become required.
 

Bletchleyite

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You state, reasonably enough, that you avoid XC. I take it by that you do not have a great deal of experience of travelling with them since this last minute reservation system was introduced?
I'm not opposed to that system, however I don't think it's well implemented. TPE's is better, as that allows seat selection and doesn't require the clunky approach of sending text messages.
 

Belperpete

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The timetable feed has been changed so that every LNER service shows as compulsory reservations. So any TIS that journeyplans will not be able to issue a ticket much the same was as Advance tickets.
So what will passengers who board at an unmanned station do, if wanting to make a journey for which e and m tickets are not available (such as cross-London)? Can they reserve a seat without buying a ticket? If so, what is to stop someone from reserving a seat on more than one train, say in case they miss the first?
 

Belperpete

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A far beter way would be to make strong efferts to stop non essential/work travel and monitor loadings. Have the systems set up if they become required.
Isn't the whole point that they are getting ready for when non-essential travel is allowed again?
 

Bletchleyite

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So what will passengers who board at an unmanned station do, if wanting to make a journey for which e and m tickets are not available (such as cross-London)? Can they reserve a seat without buying a ticket? If so, what is to stop someone from reserving a seat on more than one train, say in case they miss the first?
What is it with this forum and everything having to work perfectly for every single tiny niche situation?

It won't work for that situation, but people will find a way to work around it, such as splitting their tickets across London.
 

Starmill

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People don't pile on Avanti services between Watford and Euston...the Brummies will just have to discipline themselves too.
If I've explained this to you once, I've explained it a thousand times.

As far as 'normal' travelling goes, Stockport to Manchester and Wolverhampton to Birmingham are cases where people need to be encouraged to use the Avanti services. This is not like Watford Junction! Until now, they have been encouraged by the cheaper prices, although of course these are almost coming to an end.

If people don't aim for the Avanti services, they will end up on the stoppers. If they use the stoppers, the people at the local stations won't be able to get on, and those people can't use Avanti because they don't call. This is not the situation at Watford Junction.
 

6Gman

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So the traveller arrives at the London station for the final leg of the journey a few minutes before departure and is supposed to try to book a seat using a mobile phone or risk being stranded there for hours or even overnight? Bonkers!
In the current circumstances I think arriving for a long journey "a few minutes before departure" would be … unwise.
 

111-111-1

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Isn't the whole point that they are getting ready for when non-essential travel is allowed again?
Yes, precisely. It's the only sensible way to control non-essential travel. It has to be allowed at some point because otherwise it's to the great disadvantage of non-car users.
The only use of public transport at the moment is for essential travel and then where there is no alternative available, if it was in preparation for leisure travel there would be no need to impose it now. A far moor sensable approach would be to monitor the situation then if needed put it in placed.

When leisure travel is aloud it may have to change, how the key workers will be priority will be hard.
 

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Bletchleyite

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As far as 'normal' travelling goes, Stockport to Manchester and Wolverhampton to Birmingham are cases where people need to be encouraged to use the Avanti services. This is not like Watford Junction! Until now, they have been encouraged by the cheaper prices, although of course these are almost coming to an end.
I still don't agree with you.

But in any case, all of the stations under discussion have booking offices. If you want to travel on an Avanti service, go to one and grab a reservation. If there aren't any, then the situation is exactly the same as if there weren't any but the train was already too full to distance.
 

Bedpan

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I do not reserve seats, generally as due to the nature of my travel all being last minute. Getting on a voyager, my normal XC conveyance, and finding a no reserved seat is hard enough but then finding that having got settled in that suddenly without you noticing it has become reserved is at best embarrassing when asked to move and then possibly leaves you standing or hunting for another seat. That is combined, LNER are the same, with finding a seat vacant reserved x-y but when you approach y it comes up reserved -z.

Yes make getting a reservation as easy as possible but none after a start station -30 minutes.
I'm not sure whether I'd want to travel on a train at the moment whether I was permitted to or not, but if I did and I found somebody sitting in my reserved seat I don't think I'd want to sit in it just in case. That's the flaw with putting ticks and crosses on seats as they seem to be doing in some places. Surely it is safer to utilise every seat in a carriage, whilst maintaining social distancing, to allow maximum time for each seat to remain empty just so that any virus on it can be given a chance to die. The problem is, I would think, that it would be an absolute nightmare to devise a system for doing that and keeping trains as full as permissable, particularly as, when leisure travel is allowed, you will be getting people from the same household who can sit together. How could you account for that particularly if last minute reservations are allowed?
 

Starmill

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I still don't agree with you.
You can continue to be wrong then. It's not a question of good and bad ideas, it's a question of physical possibilities.

Your idea would result in effective closure of small stations, while Avanti trains with significant empty space pass through.
 

111-111-1

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I still don't agree with you.

But in any case, all of the stations under discussion have booking offices. If you want to travel on an Avanti service, go to one and grab a reservation. If there aren't any, then the situation is exactly the same as if there weren't any but the train was already too full to distance.
Watford Junction in my experience going toward Euston staff are good at spotting people intending to join trains that are not adverted and stoping most trying to get on. Going north trains are not adverted Watford at Euston that pick up only.
Coventry Wolverhampton Birmingham Int and New Street they are advertised between the places. I think same at Stockport and Manchester Picadilly.

Whether you get a resevation or not you must answer how it is going to be enforced, as with your many other good ideas.
 

yorksrob

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The only use of public transport at the moment is for essential travel and then where there is no alternative available, if it was in preparation for leisure travel there would be no need to impose it now. A far moor sensable approach would be to monitor the situation then if needed put it in placed.

When leisure travel is aloud it may have to change, how the key workers will be priority will be hard.
Restrict leisure travel to outside peak hours.

"Ah" I hear you say "but key workers don't always travel in peak hours". If it's a time when the train is unlikely to be busy, everyone will likely be able to fit on, peak or not.
 

jfollows

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Watford Junction in my experience going toward Euston staff are good at spotting people intending to join trains that are not adverted and stoping most trying to get on. Going north trains are not adverted Watford at Euston that pick up only.
Coventry Wolverhampton Birmingham Int and New Street they are advertised between the places. I think same at Stockport and Manchester Picadilly.
A very long time ago (when I went to school) all up trains from Manchester to London or Birmingham were "pick up only" at Stockport and Wilmslow, and during also peak hours only also at Macclesfield. In the reverse direction, "set down only" at Wilmslow and Stockport, however nobody would stop you boarding a down service at Wilmslow if you happened to be on the platform when it rolled in of course. This makes a lot of sense, and had to do with being able to leave before booked departure time in the down direction, which could happen.

The way in which ticket revenue is allocated to train operating companies changed this sensible approach, so that virtually no services are restricted in this way any more, meaning that Avanti now gets a percentage of a Manchester-Stockport or Manchester-Wilmslow fare revenue.

It was never about preventing people boarding really. I used to go home on the 16:23 or 17:12 Manchester-Macclesfield and never had a problem getting off at Macclesfield. My sister once didn't pay attention and got diverted via Crewe, and came home rather late but not having to pay extra from there to Macclesfield.

But I agree that Watford-Euston has always been an exception and generally policed.
 

Justin Smith

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I really hope this is only temporary, Realtime Trains is showing this on WTT schedules for this period which as someone who used LNER and it's predecessor regularly is extremely concerning (the only time I've ever had a reservation on LNER is an advance on the Chieftain). The walk-up railway is essential for many people especially the commuters it is supposedly primarily aimed at right now.

Without a clear end date indicated I fear this may be used to try and sneak in a permanent change under the guise of "social distancing" effectively turning the East Coast Mainline from a public transport artery to an airline on rails.
I agree entirely, I'm rather concerned this pre-booked travel only may be the thin end of a long, and very unwelcome, wedge.
 
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