Modernisation of procedures

Discussion in 'Fares Advice & Policy' started by Oswyntail, 24 Oct 2011.

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  1. Oswyntail

    Oswyntail Established Member

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    I may be sticking my neck out, but I would say from the general thrust of most threads in this sub-forum that it is widely accepted that many of the procedures at the "customer/company interface" are in desperate need of revision and modernisation. I include the: NRCoC; Routeing Guide; Fares Manual. There may be others. So I have two main questions:-
    1) Who has overall responsibility for these documents? ATOC? DfT? This makes a difference to the second question...
    2) How might the general public apply pressure to get these changed? Actually, I think the best route would be through MPs.
     
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  3. DaveNewcastle

    DaveNewcastle Established Member Fares Advisor

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    Lets proceed with caution!

    It's my opinion that the complexity has been institutionalised into a structure of Companies (as well as their procedures and documents) to the extent that any 'campaign' for change is likely to produce minor revisions only, and they in turn are likely to be promoting the political expedient of the month and will then quickly introduce a new raft of problems to replace any it solves!

    Its also my opinion that the creation of ATOC, ATOS, RSP etc was rushed in preparation for Privatisation and that that haste is as much the villan as any lack of will or ability in the industry. However, it appears to have reached the stage now, that the structure is so established and suffering from rigor-mortis that meetings between these bodies are now very poorly attended, perhaps there is little expectation that much can be achieved (rather than a lack of vision). Disinterest and/or defeat might have set in.

    But where does that leave us? Many of the complaints seem to be aimed at Company-specific products (Advances, Rovers, widely varying Restrictions) which suggests that the pressure to manipulate market forces is strong. As long as that is the case for all Operators, then perhaps the interface with the passenger should look and work more like a market. At present this is a mix of TOC-specific fares and those managed through RSP and its famous ORCATS (as long as we have companies whose existence is predicated on 'ORCATS raids' them I'm convinced that we have a structural failure). If RSP became more flexible in allowing dynamic pricing by TOCs and including sales across TOCs, and it became more pro-active in ensuring a consistent and available interface, and a more transparent and accurate method of distributiing revenue across Operators, then we may find that ATOC can concentrate on the practicalities of inter-Company operation and the ORR can concentrate on the standards and targets achieved set by government.

    [Other people on here will have their own widely different responses to your question]. But try saying any of this to your local MP and (s)he'd wish you just wanted a photo at the local flower show.
     
    Last edited: 24 Oct 2011
  4. Indigo2

    Indigo2 Established Member

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    It is my opinion that a lot of the difficulties in this area are also directly related to the botched procedures hastily put in place at privatisation. The way in which fares regulation is formulated effectively ties the TOCs to the British Rail-era mainframe computer system that hosts the fares database. The company that now has custody of this system (passed to it through privatisation of British Rail business systems and subsequent mergers and acquisitions) is presumably making a killing because of ATOC's and the TOC's dependency on it - and it won't be in its financial interest to make updates to the fares system simpler.

    Interesting that somebody should mention "modernising" the routeing guide though. It is a modern creation compared to the other issues under discussion! Didn't exist before 1997 as far as I know?
     
  5. Oswyntail

    Oswyntail Established Member

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    I suspect you are right - but, in approach it is truly back in the dark ages of pre"Customer Care":cry:
     
  6. Deerfold

    Deerfold Established Member

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    Replacing "reasonable routes" - presumbly it became more important to (try) and restrict which companies' trains you caught (although "reasonable route" sounds like a nightmare if trying to deal with irregularities - the routing guide has created winners and losers (and really needs to be restarted from scratch - but that's a huge job and there would inevitably be pressure from TOCs for it to be far more restrictive).
     
  7. John @ home

    John @ home Established Member Fares Advisor

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    The first edition of the National Routeing Guide (NRG) was given interim approval by the Office of the Rail Regulator on 18 September 1996. Approval letter attached.

    But there is a "British Railways Passenger Tickets - Book of Routes" dated May 1952. In my opinion, that's a far better place to start with any revision. It is 60 pages of Crown octavo size (190 mm x 126 mm) rather than the thousands of pages of the NRG. Crucially, it is recursive, so a statement such as:
    automatically applies to all tickets valid via Birmingham and Leamington.
     

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  8. barrykas

    barrykas Established Member

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    As the old saying goes, "Be careful what you wish for, it might happen!"

    I know it's unlikely to happen, but just as an example, here's what could happen if the railways switched back to mileage-based pricing using the HMRC car allowance of 45p a mile:

    Edmonton Green to Liverpool Street - 8.5 miles: £3.85 Single - Current: £4.00 Single / £6.80 Return
    Enfield Town to Liverpool Street - 10.75 miles: £4.85 Single - Current: £4.80 / £8.70
    Enfield Chase to Moorgate - 10.25 miles: £4.60 Single - Current: £4.80 / £8.70
    Enfield Chase to Kings Cross - 9.25 miles: £4.15 Single - Current: £4.80 / £8.70
    Euston to Manchester Piccadilly (via Stoke) - 184.25 miles: £82.90 Single - Current: £69.00 Off-Peak / £139.50 Peak Single, £70 / £279 Return
    Euston to Manchester Piccadilly (via Wilmslow) - 189 miles: £85.05 Single - Current: £69.00 Off-Peak / £139.50 Peak Single, £70 / £279 Return

    And so on...

    Cheers,

    Barry
     
  9. exile

    exile Established Member

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    Just because there's a mileage-based system doesn't mean that the rate can't reduce with the total journey length.... Switzerland operated such a system as far back as the 50s - and also doesn't mean "special offers" can't be available. Furthermore, the average fare today is far less than 45p per mile.
     
  10. Old Timer

    Old Timer Established Member

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    I really do wish we would go back to mileage based selective pricing as was done in BR days.

    We would have very few of the mass debates and arguments on validity/BoJ, etc, etc that go on here.

    Back to the days of OS/OR, Day Return, Weekend Return, 17 Day Return, and Monthly Return. None of the stupid priced tickets which just encourage short journeys and attempts to circumvent the various Ts&Cs.
     
  11. John55

    John55 Member

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    Although going in the opposite direction to the thread title does anyone know how the pre-1923 companies sorted out which routes were available for a particular passenger journey.

    For example if one travelled from South Wales to Scotland there were probably 7 or 8 routes involving dozens of combinations of companies. I presume it was necessary to select and use a single specific route with no alternatives allowed but would be interested if anyone actually knows what the arrangements were.

    There was of course the Railway Clearing House which administered the distribution of monies to the companies according to the rules as agreed. However I don't believe inter-available tickets were particularly widespread except by special agreement. As an example Liverpool to Manchester were an L&YR ticket would be accepted for a return by either L&NWR route or CLC route.

    Given that there was twice as much railway pre 1923 and 200 different companies (not all of which operated trains) the issues were potentially much greater then than now.
     
  12. thedbdiboy

    thedbdiboy Member

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    http://www.redtapechallenge.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/themehome/rail-transport/

    If you're still interested, the DfT has put a revised draft of the NRCoC in the government 'Red Tape Challenge' for consultation.

    This is your chance to let them know what you think of it. NOTE - although the conditions are effectively the same (apart from a long-overdue attempt to me more precise about when you should and should not be able to transfer a ticket), the style is from a draft worked up in conjunction with the Office of Rail Regulation designed to be much more even handed about passenger rights and obligations.

    If you've done that one, there are a few hundred other documents to review on that site as well :)
     
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