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Lots of 1st class ticket checks on Southern

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GodAtum

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For 3 mornings this week there have been 1st class ticket checks on my train coming out from East Croydon, which is fantastic. I think Southern made £200 today issuing £20 penalty fares in the compartment I was in.
 
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talldave

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I wish TOCs would put as much effort into getting rid of the "tissue parasites".
 

plymothian

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Beggars.

Their usual game is to leave packs of tissues on trains, hoping you'll pick them up and "donate". Very prevalent on the GWML.
 

All Line Rover

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It's about time, for Southern. But it's still a shame that so many commuter trains in the SE lack permanent ticket inspectors to check both first and standard class tickets. Ticket barriers, where they exist, don't solve many problems, even for standard class fare evasion.
 

Smitham

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Thank you. Not a problem I've come across up to now, but it sounds quite intimidating :( .

It isn't in my experience. They leave a packet of tissues with as polite note with a sob story asking you to buy what they have left. They then return soon after and pick up the note and tissues without a word. Irritating maybe, but not intimidating.
 

trainophile

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It isn't in my experience. They leave a packet of tissues with as polite note with a sob story asking you to buy what they have left. They then return soon after and pick up the note and tissues without a word. Irritating maybe, but not intimidating.

Fair enough. A bit like trying to avoid chuggers in the street then :( .
 

Busaholic

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Fair enough. A bit like trying to avoid chuggers in the street then :( .

Or the 'suggested donation' at a museum or gallery where admission is free, and where the institution involved is often in receipt of a good hand-out from the Arts Council.
 

Starmill

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Although the likelihood of that these days is also perhaps questionable on the basis of significant funding cuts that have taken place over the past few years.

Anyway back to the topic: this highlights sonething that so many TOCs seem to forget; on board ticket checks are important, should always be an important line of defense against fare evasion and should happen with frequency.
 

DarloRich

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Thank you. Not a problem I've come across up to now, but it sounds quite intimidating :( .

its not intimidating, it tends to be people with a little, poorly written note - just tell them to get lost.

BTW - i wish LM would police first class out of Euston more often, especially in the evening.
 
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racyrich

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Beggars.

Their usual game is to leave packs of tissues on trains, hoping you'll pick them up and "donate". Very prevalent on the GWML.

Just as I was thinking of bringing a box of tissues in to pass round, so thoroughly fed up am I of listening to people sniffing every 30 seconds.
 

jon0844

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I treat the tissues as a gift. Never had any grief when they don't get any money. They never ask for money, yet leave me a packet of tissues so what am I supposed to think?

Back on topic, I hope this is a sign of future checks as GTR seem to have cut back on checks of late. Or maybe it's just a one off sting over a short period before it goes back to business as usual.
 

Deepgreen

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Back on topic - yes, I have mentioned elsewhere (mainly in the London Bridge service disruption thread) that Southern seems to have acquired a new batch of inspectors recently, as none had been seen for around a year until a couple of months ago, since when I have been checked at least eight times. All good, especially now that the five car Electrostars are having their first class areas much more clearly labelled from the outside (yellow bands and large "first class" lettering).
 

wastedlife

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I'm not a Southern commuter, only an infrequent weekend leisure user. Last few times I've been on Southern, after listening to passive/aggressive announcements from the guard that passengers need a first class ticket to be in first class, and then having verified that Southern does £5 weekend upgrades, I took refuge in the empty first class from the full and standing standard class. And subsequently not been visited by the guard all the way from Brighton to Clapham Junction or CLJ to Lewes. On SWT, if you are sat in first class on the weekend, you WILL be visited by the guard and you WILL be paying for your upgrade. And in my experience Virgin Trains and Great Western have the same vigilence in collecting the upgrade fares, so not sure why my experience was so different on Southern.
 

Deepgreen

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its not intimidating, it tends to be people with a little, poorly written note - just tell them to get lost.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---

That will depend on one's personal situation, character, the actual behaviour of the beggar, etc. Some will find the behaviour unsettling simply by its out-of-the-ordinary nature. Not everyone feels comfortable dealing with beggars. However, I have no such qualms!
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
I'm not a Southern commuter, only an infrequent weekend leisure user. Last few times I've been on Southern, after listening to passive/aggressive announcements from the guard that passengers need a first class ticket to be in first class, and then having verified that Southern does £5 weekend upgrades, I took refuge in the empty first class from the full and standing standard class. And subsequently not been visited by the guard all the way from Brighton to Clapham Junction or CLJ to Lewes. On SWT, if you are sat in first class on the weekend, you WILL be visited by the guard and you WILL be paying for your upgrade. And in my experience Virgin Trains and Great Western have the same vigilence in collecting the upgrade fares, so not sure why my experience was so different on Southern.

"Passive/aggressive"? I really don't think that is the case - more like, informative and warning of possible unwanted penalties (not to mention factual!). Given the number of 'chancers' in first class, reminder announcements do not go amiss. If you were able to travel in first class without paying the upgrade unchallenged, so be it (and I'm not suggesting that you were seeking to evade the charge).
 
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DarloRich

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That will depend on one's personal situation, character, the actual behaviour of the beggar, etc. Some will find the behaviour unsettling simply by its out-of-the-ordinary nature. Not everyone feels comfortable dealing with beggars. However, I have no such qualms!

Agreed - but that is why they get away with it. People give money for a quiet life.
 

Deepgreen

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Agreed - but that is why they get away with it. People give money for a quiet life.


Absolutely so. The tissue 'sellers' are a funny lot though - I have never seen one come back and check on donations later in the journey (in my case, on arrival at Victoria) Some must, otherwise it wouldn't continue, but it's a risky way to make money!
 

zoneking

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Southern First Class is no different from standard class. They should abolish it or upgrade the seats.

Much more space would be freed up in regular off peak services if more people were encouraged to use the half empty Gatwick Express services. I am fed up having to stand when the (slow stopping) train is full of people and their luggage who have obviously come from Gatwick Airport and are going to central London.
 

hwl

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Much more space would be freed up in regular off peak services if more people were encouraged to use the half empty Gatwick Express services. I am fed up having to stand when the (slow stopping) train is full of people and their luggage who have obviously come from Gatwick Airport and are going to central London.

But if you want to change at East Croydon or Clapham Junction which many (including myself) do then the GatEx is useless.

If you want to shift the Gatwick - Victoria then axe the premium GatEx Fares. Also if you just miss a GatEx there is a southern train that is quicker than the next GatEX not to far behind...

I suspect Thameslink will prove very popular in 2018 with Airport travellers.
 

yorkie

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It isn't in my experience. They leave a packet of tissues with as polite note with a sob story asking you to buy what they have left. They then return soon after and pick up the note and tissues without a word. Irritating maybe, but not intimidating.
Some of them can be intimidating, though so far I've not encountered any that I've not been prepared to tell them where to go!

One was most annoyed when I hopped into the next coach at the next station, went ahead of him and informed the occupants that the individual was attempting to sell tissues and advising people not to buy them. The look on his face was priceless.

They prey on people who they think are weak minded. If they think you're assertive then they will not bother you. Their tactics are a disgrace and we're far, far, FAR too soft on individuals like them in this country.
 

blotred

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Back on topic - yes, I have mentioned elsewhere (mainly in the London Bridge service disruption thread) that Southern seems to have acquired a new batch of inspectors recently, as none had been seen for around a year until a couple of months ago, since when I have been checked at least eight times. All good, especially now that the five car Electrostars are having their first class areas much more clearly labelled from the outside (yellow bands and large "first class" lettering).

Shame they don't make it clear when first-class is not in service when said 377/6 or 377/7s are used on services without first class (like Metro services).

I often have to reassure myself on these services by consulting the timetable or trying to buy a fare online between Clapham Junction and Selhurst and not seeing a first class option. Just in case a first class fare is ever reintroduced and I get PFed.
 

Philip C

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Some of them can be intimidating, though so far I've not encountered any that I've not been prepared to tell them where to go!

One was most annoyed when I hopped into the next coach at the next station, went ahead of him and informed the occupants that the individual was attempting to sell tissues and advising people not to buy them. The look on his face was priceless.

They prey on people who they think are weak minded. If they think you're assertive then they will not bother you. Their tactics are a disgrace and we're far, far, FAR too soft on individuals like them in this country.

I'm not sure whether I'm particularly proud of my action but, the last time a packet of tissues and an accompanying card were left on my table (between East Croydon and Clapham Junction) I tore the card into small pieces and placed them on top of the tissues. When he came back for 'donations' I got a funny look but nothing worse. As I was in the rearmost first class section he had no right to enter the area in any case (unless he had a First Class ticket of course) and I would have challenged him on that had he got awkward.
 

Bletchleyite

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I'm not sure whether I'm particularly proud of my action but, the last time a packet of tissues and an accompanying card were left on my table (between East Croydon and Clapham Junction) I tore the card into small pieces and placed them on top of the tissues. When he came back for 'donations' I got a funny look but nothing worse. As I was in the rearmost first class section he had no right to enter the area in any case (unless he had a First Class ticket of course) and I would have challenged him on that had he got awkward.

You think he even had a ticket? :)

Selling things on trains is a Byelaw breach in any case. Just need the Byelaws to be enforced.
 

WestCoast

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I've never seen much begging of any form on trains outside of the South East but a few weeks ago there was a guy between Birmingham International and New Street on a Virgin 390 asking for money for some sort of booklet. I overhead one of the catering staff telling him to leave the train otherwise there would be further action.
 

Mojo

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You think he even had a ticket? :)

Selling things on trains is a Byelaw breach in any case. Just need the Byelaws to be enforced.
It's almost impossible to get any form of meaningful details from these kinds of people. They normally just show you a Romanian national identity card.
 

wastedlife

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"Passive/aggressive"? I really don't think that is the case - more like, informative and warning of possible unwanted penalties (not to mention factual!). Given the number of 'chancers' in first class, reminder announcements do not go amiss. If you were able to travel in first class without paying the upgrade unchallenged, so be it (and I'm not suggesting that you were seeking to evade the charge).

No, I think passive/aggressive is a fair description. An informative and factual - and commercially sensible - announcement would have told the people on the 8 or 12 car train that was pretty much full and standing out of Brighton that they could purchase £5 weekend upgrades and sit in the empty first class compartments. Instead, we got a factually incorrect announcement given quite vehemently about being charged penalty fares for being in first class with only a standard class ticket. And then, the guard doesn't even come to check. Strange. On Southern it's 0/3 times I've been asked to pay for the upgrade, on SWT/Virgin/GWT it's every single time.
 

tsr

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You think he even had a ticket? :)

Selling things on trains is a Byelaw breach in any case. Just need the Byelaws to be enforced.

Oh, they are. Especially as the beggars (from what I've found) don't have tickets or feel the need to pay up.

Plenty of resources are being thrown at hunting down the tissue beggars. Unfortunately for them, they know that there are only a few routes where they can really find enough people and trains to do it. Therefore it is also easy for enforcement staff to go round and play the cat and mouse game. Unfortunately there now seems to be a ready flow of tissue beggars and the exact quantity is unknown, with both familiar faces being hunted, and ready replacements being sourced. At the moment passenger awareness is also key, so the PIS systems on trains via the Metro area is being specially updated to warn of them, and there are also messages sent out on social media and via station PAs.

Anecdotally the biggest issues are between Clapham Junction and the Croydon stations at present. This is certainly what I've found. However, I've also seen them reported as far away as Brighton and towards the Gatwick area on other coastal/Sussex routes.

Another unfortunate thing for the beggars is that one day they will hit the wrong route, such as the Oxted lines or other Sussex and Surrey commuter routes, and to put it bluntly they do run the risk down there of getting lynched by the passengers and rail staff. Fare dodging and small amounts of ASB can be one thing, but organised crime (and any threats to passengers) are different matters entirely, and the whole job generally comes to a grinding halt if that happens. And then they'll be sat on by a Land Sheriff until the ringleader is identified and the BTP are knocking at their door.
 
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