M tickets are now E tickets but who is responsible?

Discussion in 'Fares Advice & Policy' started by robbeech, 8 Apr 2019.

  1. robbeech

    robbeech Established Member

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    I frequently travel between Harrogate and either York or Leeds using the Northern services (and the occasional LNER) and for the short simple trip I normally buy an M ticket on the day on the Trainline app. There’s no fees on the day and I find the app easier to use than some others.
    Yesterday I went to purchase a Harrogate to Leeds CDR and was only offered an E ticket. This was perfectly ok for me and I went ahead. I thought little more of it until I saw a social media conversation today.

    Someone else has done a similar thing with a different journey and has asked Trainline why they aren’t doing M tickets any more (I assume they were limiting the request to their flow). Trainline immediately passed on all responsibility to the TOC (coincidentally perhaps) Northern in this case saying that it is them that defines what tickets can and cannot be used on services and was nothing to do with them.
    Northern replied afterwards to say that it was Trainline that decided what tickets to offer and was nothing to do with them.

    I don’t want to turn it into another passing the buck discussion of which we have lots of (and I’m guilty of contributing to) but I’d be interested to know :
    A) why has this changed? It matters not to me but it did to them for some reason.

    B) why is there confusion in this scenario as to who is responsible and who therefore is right and wrong.


    Northern don’t appear to scan the barcodes (maybe they have no facilities to do this) so would have no way of telling if multiple copies of tickets exist and as it’s not an M ticket there’s no activation necessary. They’d be reliant on gatelines rejecting tickets and prompt database updating if that is even a thing yet.
     
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  3. Indigo2

    Indigo2 Established Member

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    It's up to Northern, but in the relevant data feeds as supplied to booking engines, they allow both e-Tickets and m-Tickets for this fare (Harrogate to Leeds CDR). So the restriction to e-Tickets is clearly being implemented by Trainline, overriding the data. But that's not to say that Trainline haven't separately agreed with Northern to override the data and not to offer m-Tickets! Who knows. This side of things is such a mess.
     
  4. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Buy it on the LNR app and you can download any e-ticket as an m-ticket (but keep the e-ticket's better T&Cs, and it can still be used as an e-ticket I believe). And avoid Trainline fees.
     
  5. whhistle

    whhistle Established Member

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    THe less people use the Trainline as a standalone company, the better.
     
  6. ThisIsSurbiton

    ThisIsSurbiton Member

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    An m-ticket has no advantages over an e-ticket, and I imagine that the costs of supporting the e-ticket are less (fewer questions and complaints to call centre, etc. - just a guess, I don't know). I'm a bit surprised that a TOC would offer both, except that perhaps there are apps - their own app perhaps? - that only do the older m-tickets.

    Seems strange that they wouldn't just show the e-ticket... I don't have the app.
     
  7. Andybravo

    Andybravo Member

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    This is concerning as it seems like it is massively open to abuse from the more advanced fare dodger.
     
  8. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    E-tickets are a PDF sent by e-mail, not something in an app. The advantage of having them in the app is that it works with no signal, whereas Gmail etc don't (messages sometimes cache but attachments don't), and most people aren't clued up enough to download a PDF to their device.
     
  9. ThisIsSurbiton

    ThisIsSurbiton Member

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    They can be in an app - Trainline for instance - this is how I use them, although I have the email as well as a back-up.
     
  10. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    What I find interesting is that ages ago I proposed the idea of "true e-ticketing" which included "passive revenue protection" by scanning barcodes and amassing and processing data. Yet the TOCs seem to have gone ahead with it without a full system of such revenue protection. Clearly the minor losses are massively outweighed by the reduction in ticket office/TVM costs.
     
  11. Clip

    Clip On Moderation

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    this i

     
  12. Andybravo

    Andybravo Member

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    Yeah I acknowledge it would only be minor losses, but still. For local journeys a fare dodger could have a valid e-ticket, even show it to the guard and be secure in the knowledge that once he/she gets home they can just log-in to their app and request a refund :|

    Doesn't sit right with me! I'm not a fan of barriers but more of them would at least put a stop to something like this. Or make e-ticket anytime day returns unrefundable unless you cancel the tickets within 15 mins of purchase
     
  13. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    The kind of place where you'll get that kind of fraud is around the major cities, and most of those tickets are going to either be under £10 or only a bit over it, so that sort of fraud is pointless. Particularly given that they've got your name and card details, so if you keep doing it they can take action.

    I bet large numbers of ticket refunds will flag up somewhere, if only to detect possible money laundering.
     
  14. Andybravo

    Andybravo Member

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    Agreed and we're probably talking about less than 1% of fare dodgers here but you can't put anything past them. Multiple trainline accounts, multiple devices, anonymous paypal accounts etc

    What is probably more common is fake e-tickets. Guards should be able to scan the barcode and detect its validity onboard, but they don't (or can't?). So for some chancer who commutes from station a to station b for work (both with no barriers) probably feels its worth the risk.
     
  15. setdown

    setdown Member

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    I had a bit of fun with an e-ticket travelling from Birmingham on an LNR service last year. I added the ticket from the Trainline app to my Wallet app on my iPhone. Unfortunately my battery died before the ticket check. Fortunately, the ticket had synced across to my Apple Watch’s wallet app, and the guard was only too happy to accept the ticket! (With a fair bit of scrolling on the tiny screen of course). I don’t think that would have been possible with an m-ticket.
     
  16. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    E-tickets are acceptable in any form that can be scanned - so take your pick of device!
     
  17. Skie

    Skie Member

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    Our travel provider also gives you a link to add them to your phones wallet, so they are always available. But yeah, no activation needed and you can share the email around to you hearts content, so if theres no scanning going on the tocs are just asking for fraudulent use to become prevalent.
     
  18. paddington

    paddington Member

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    Or take a screenshot??

    Do you need to give your real name? The determined fare evader would use a virtual or prepaid card which is harder to track.

    Anyway, if you are so inclined you can do the same for paper tickets when the guard doesn't bother to scribble through them
     
  19. ThisIsSurbiton

    ThisIsSurbiton Member

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    SWR and others do scan them, I think it's just something that will take a while to be widespread, similar to how nobody on a train could validate an Oyster card (or ITSO for that matter) for a while after they were available on National Rail. If overall fraud is less than with orange cardboard, it will take a while to happen, if not, expect scanning soon.
     
  20. Adsy125

    Adsy125 Member

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    How does break of journey work with scanning, surely that means it would have to be able to be scanned multiple times anyway, many fraud and legitimate use difficult to distinguish.
     
  21. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Scanning is exactly the same as physically marking the ticket with a set of nips - it just records a use, it does not invalidate the ticket.

    The advantage of it is that it can record a lot more data than a set of nips.

    The trap you are falling into is assuming that these tickets need to be 100% secure - as almost everyone did when I proposed this kind of ticketing approach on here a while ago. They don't. They simply need to be no less secure than orange card. Indeed, if they save TOCs money on things like TVMs and ticket offices, they might actually accept them being slightly less secure.
     
  22. suzanneparis

    suzanneparis Member

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    Everything seems so complicated. When I was young - a long long time ago- You just bought a ticket. Now there are millions of permutations and issues such as this etc etc. I'm a pensioner and I find the whole thing bewildering but also worrying and upsetting.

    My post on travelling back from London to Leicester this coming Saturday illustrates this point. Because thare aren't any direct trains running I am planning on a different route. But I am upset and worried that I will be prosecuted if I am not in fact allowed to use my ticket on the Euston to Nuneaton to Leicester route. It is ruining my time in London with my grand children.
     
  23. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    This is very, very unlikely, if for no other reason that WMT is not particularly prosecution-happy - even if it wasn't valid (it is valid) a PF is the worst you would be likely to get.

    Go on the VTWC planner (the Trainline style grid shows it clearly) and plan a journey from Euston to Leicester, it will come up as an option showing the fare you have paid as valid. Print or screengrab it and take it with you.
     
  24. Starmill

    Starmill Events Co-ordinator

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    All that's really doing is loading the ticket into their app, rather than the now outdated idea of an m-ticket which must be activated. E-tickets can be loaded in apps or PKpass viewers, printed out or shown as PDFs, among other things.
     
  25. radamfi

    radamfi Established Member

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    People seem to be forgetting that print at home/mobile ticketing has been possible for walk on fares for probably more than a decade in several neighbouring countries. There has been many years of experience in dealing with fraud, if it ever was a significant issue.
     
  26. daveshah

    daveshah Member

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    I've noticed that some countries' print-at-home schemes require photo ID together with the ticket (which is valid for a named individual only), which certainly reduces the scope for fraud when it comes to things like duplicating tickets.
     
  27. radamfi

    radamfi Established Member

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    But not usually for mobile tickets.
     
  28. smsm1

    smsm1 Member

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    I recently (past couple of month) used a Greater Anglia E-ticket advance fare between Ipswich and London Liverpool Street. When I downloaded the ticket into the Greater Anglia I still had to activate it like any other mobile ticket that I normally use on the Greater Anglia trains.
     

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