London Travelcard combined with Super Off Peak Return Query

Discussion in 'Fares Advice & Policy' started by scottish rider, 2 Oct 2019.

  1. scottish rider

    scottish rider Member

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    Just to check I am correct before I complain to East Midlands Railway.

    I was planning to travel from St.Pancras to Luton on Sunday, I held a Zone 1-6 travelcard on my oyster card and bought a super off peak return from Boundary Zone 6 to Luton at £8.50.

    Due to signalling problems south of the Thames, Thameslink services were disrupted so I planned to take an EMR service but was refused at the barrier "as that ticket is only valid downstairs" - presumably meaning Thameslink only, I had no joy in convincing the chap on the barriers otherwise.

    I went back to the ticket office who voided the Boundary - Luton ticket for me and sold me a London Terminals to Luton Super Off Peak for an additional £2.30.

    I missed the 0956 because of this and took the 1030 EMR which was the next train to Luton.

    Is my understanding correct that my ticket combination was valid?
     
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  3. hkstudent

    hkstudent Member

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    Your ticket combination is valid.
    DId you mention that there's a travelcard loaded in the oyster, instead of using oyster pay-as-you-go?
    Of course, what I will do first is, ask for refund for the difference of boundary ticket and the ticket you have bought from EMR
    And then, try also attach a 30 minutes delay claim in the same email.

    If no positive result, get to London Travelwatch
     
  4. scottish rider

    scottish rider Member

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    Thanks for that. Yes I explained (or at least tried) but the response was "only valid downstairs". I used the GTR ticket office to buy the tickets, they suggested I go to the EMR office - who thought the EMR chap on the barriers was "probably correct" that it wasn't a valid combination for travel with EMR. They also advised that EMR don't have complaint forms when I asked for one, apparently EMT did but since the change to EMR there hasn't been any need for them, which struck me as strange. Overall I wasn't impressed.
     
  5. Hadders

    Hadders Established Member

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    Can you confirm what was held on your Oyster card.

    If it is a Travelcard season ticket then your combination is valid and you should complain to EMR.

    If it was only PAYG credit it wouldn’t be valid, even if you had reached the daily cap.
     
  6. scottish rider

    scottish rider Member

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    Hi thanks, yes I held a 7 day Zones 1 - 6 Travelcard not PAYG credit. I arrived midweek and did a lot of travel so purchasing the travelcard worked out better value than using PAYG.
     
  7. Trackman

    Trackman Member

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    I thought anything Oyster-wise are not valid on EMR services full stop.
    A paper travelcard might be a different matter.
    No expert on the matter, just what I think.
     
  8. Hadders

    Hadders Established Member

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    In that case the combination is perfectly valid.

    A Travelcard is a travelcard. The medium it's held on is irrelevant.
     
  9. iphone76

    iphone76 Member

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    Out of interest, was your Oyster card rejected at the barriers so you had to seek assistance from the staff member?
     
  10. Hadders

    Hadders Established Member

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    IIRC there aren't Oyster readers on the high level barriers at St Pancras. I think there are separate standalone Oyster readers for when Thameslink get diverted to the high level platforms.
     
  11. iphone76

    iphone76 Member

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    Gotcha. I haven't been up there for a few years. Seems so long since I've seen a barrier without smartcard/oyster pads.
     
  12. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    What you think is incorrect.

    Oyster is just a medium, not a product

    A Zones 1-6 Travelcard plus Boundary Zone 6 to Luton is absolutely valid for non stop travel from St Pancras to Luton.

    A breach of contract and consumer laws has occured; EMR have breached the terms of their franchises by not honouring fares in accordance with the Ticketing Settlement Agreement and Conditions of Travel; compliance with these is required by the terms of their franchise.

    EMR should provide appropriate compensation and assurances that there will be no such repeat. The ORR and DfT should be informed of the matter .
     
  13. higthomas

    higthomas Member

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    Indeed. I'm not sure I'd take a bet on this at 10-1
    And they should do something to ensure EMR is suitably reprimanded and the same thing never happens again on them or any other operator. I think the odds would have to be better than 100-1 on this one.
     
  14. Chris Butler

    Chris Butler Member

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    Is it as clear cut as you say ? Under the National Rail Conditions of Travel use of electronic tickets is subject to those tickets' own T&Cs. I don't think EMR are included by the Oyster T&Cs. If so, they are not obliged to accept Oyster cards.

    You are correct that Oyster is a medium, not a product, but I am not sure it is a medium that EMR has to accept.
     
  15. Clip

    Clip On Moderation

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    Not sure that is correct

    from the Oyster T&Cs

     
  16. Chris Butler

    Chris Butler Member

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    Exactly. I am not sure that "offering services" (NB, not "trains") into the London Zone includes operating trains from Luton which offer no service between stations in the Zone even thougn they enter the Zone.

    I am not sure either way.
     
  17. MikeWh

    MikeWh Established Member Senior Fares Advisor

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    I'm going to be blunt here. A travelcard is a travelcard whether it's printed on orange card, white card, bogroll or stored on any one of a number of smartcards (Oyster, The Key, etc etc). EMR have to accept them.


    Oh, SEHS and HEX don't accept inboundary travelcards on paper either, so it's not a problem that they don't accept them on Oyster.
     
  18. scottish rider

    scottish rider Member

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    Thanks for the comments. I'll take it up with EMR and advise on the outcome. If I had realised the hassle it was going to turn out to be I would just have paid the extra £2.30 for a ticket from St. Pancras to start with, but now it's the principle so I'll see what EMR have to say.
     
  19. Chris Butler

    Chris Butler Member

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    Any electronic ticket is subject to its own T&C's as is made clear by National Rail Conditions of Travel §4.2. This is not the case for paper tickets. Therefore the medium does matter. The travelcard is the travelcard; that's agreed. That's not, with respect, the question. The question is whether the medium is accepted.

    Now whether the T&Cs of the electronic medium restrict acceptance (or, to be more precise, fail to enforce acceptance) is a separate question. I really can't tell from the Oyster T&Cs whether EMR are obliged to accept the card. It has to be said that I can't understand a lot of the T&Cs that TfL publish (or I can understand them, but TfL's actual practice is diffetent from what they say).

    London TravelWatch say that "Oyster cards are not accepted on East Midlands Trains ..." on this page => https://www.londontravelwatch.org.uk/faqs/oyster/where_can_i_use_my_pay_as_you_go_oyster_card_, but I think they may well mean only PAYG.

    It will be intetesting (but not conclusive) to see if EMR say they accept Oyster. I find it difficult to understand how ToCs which serve a London Terminal, but nowhere else in London can, in practice, handle Oyster cards (which doesn't completely preclude them having a legal obligation to do so).
     
  20. Hadders

    Hadders Established Member

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    This has been done to death over the years and there have been a number of high profile cases - Euston to Watford on Virgin Trains springs to mind where someone even made a website describing the problem. I can't remember the web address or whether it's still on line.
     
  21. MikeWh

    MikeWh Established Member Senior Fares Advisor

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    Ah yes, that's actually very pertinent indeed. It is still online http://virgintrains.org.uk/. Then click on "Why this site was set up in 2009" in the left had column.
    An electronic ticket is subject to it's own T&Cs if you are using features (like PAYG) which are only available on that electronic ticket. If you are simply using the travelcard stored on it then the medium does not matter. I'm going to have to be more blunt here - you are wrong, as are EMR.
     
  22. Hadders

    Hadders Established Member

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  23. sheff1

    sheff1 Established Member

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  24. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    With respect, "what matters is the message, not the medium" - Roger Ford, c.2005.
    .

    I can tell you EMR are required to accept Travelcard products, on any medium on which they have been issued

    They only mean PAYG.

    I don't want to criticise LTW; they are good people who have good intentions, and achieve some excellent outcomes , but they are a small organisation on a limited budget.


    If someone was go get a statement from EMR that it's official company policy not to accept Travelcard products that have been issued on Oyster cards then this would be a very serious matter that would need investigating.
     
  25. scottish rider

    scottish rider Member

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    Quick update - EMR have come back to me and agree the ticket combination was valid. They have offered the £2.30 difference, I have asked they consider a greater amount in the circumstances. I'll post an update on the reply.
     
  26. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    Can you keep the evidence of this please as it may come in useful one day. Let there be no mistake: this was a breach of contract and consumer law.

    It's not worth perusing as an individual case, however.

    Did the company make any assurances about the future conduct of their staff? I would be seeking assurances that appropriate safeguards will be put in place to avoid a repeat incident.
     
  27. maniacmartin

    maniacmartin Established Member Senior Fares Advisor

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    My other half has used a combination of a Travelcard season with a boundary zone on EMR out of St Pancras numerous times without issue so I guess you were just unlucky with whoever happened to be manning the barriers that day.

    This is a bit easier if you have an annual ticket as you can show the gold record card to ‘prove’ that you have a Travelcard I’d staff don’t have the equipment to read it.
     
  28. scottish rider

    scottish rider Member

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    EMR have come back and agreed to refund the whole fare and the details will be "passed to the relevant manager to provide any further training needed". Acceptable result, thanks for the advice and thoughts.
     
  29. Chris Butler

    Chris Butler Member

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    TfL's "Oyster Conditions of Use on National Rail services" includes a whole section on Travelcards. The applicability of the conditions is not restricted to PAYG only.

    In fact the very first condition in that section (section 3.5) tells you that a Travelcard on an Oyster is not valid when the PAYG balance on that card in negative. Obviously a paper Travelcard is not subject to that condition.

    Therefore if you do have a negative balance on your Oyster card, then any Oyster travelcard you have is invalid while any paper travelcard you have is valid. The medium does matter.

    The medium doesn't matter much, but that is because no sponsor of an electronic ticket product is going to make significant changes to the validity of Travelcards for fear of confusing everyone. Nevertheless National Rail Conditions of Travel §4.2 says that the T&Cs of electronic tickets apply, and even take precedence over National Rail Conditions of Travel. In principle, there is no limit to the divergence between the conditions applicable to paper and electronic travelcards. In practice, of course, there is.
     
  30. Chris Butler

    Chris Butler Member

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    Yes, that was true then but the National Rail Conditions of Travel are different now to the Conditions of Carriage that applied then.

    Back then the conditions said that 'a ticket was a ticket' and paper and electronic tuckets were the same. Now the conditions say that each electronic ticket has its own T&Cs and those T&Cs take precedence over the National Rail Conditions.
     

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