Nearly sold incorrect ticket by FGW guard

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Drsatan

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Hi everyone,

I was nearly mis-sold a CDR (Off-Peak Day Return) from Romsey (ROM) to Waterloo (WAT) a couple of weeks ago.

I arrived at ROM one Sunday to catch the 0819 FGW service from ROM to BTN (Brighton) as far as Southampton Central, as opposed to catching the rail-replacement bus to Eastleigh and changing there. As the train was waiting, the guard offered to sell me a ticket instead of me using the machine, so I asked for a day return from ROM to WAT with a 16-25 card discount. The following conversation went something like this:

Guard: That'll be £29.30 please
Me: Hang on, is that an Off-Peak Day return?
Guard: Yep, it is
Me: Well, I'd like to buy a Super Off-Peak Return please
Guard: Ok, we don't deal with those
Me: I looked on the internet and the ticket's TOCs say it's valid for travel today.

(Guard then sells me SCO for £24.05)


Now, the restriction code for this ticket is BE, which according to this list of restriction codes means it is valid

By any train except those scheduled to arrive at
London Terminals or Kensington Olympia
Mondays-Fridays before 1200 and connecting
trains.

I'm annoyed that FGW have not informed their guards that they are allowed to sell Super Off-Peak tickets at times when they are valid. While there is a ticket machine at ROM, what if the ticket machine was out of action (or a passenger boarded at a station with neither a ticket office nor a TVM) there, meaning a passenger had to buy on board, and was unwittingly sold the wrong ticket?
 
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richw

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Maybe flamingo will call by and advise whether or not the can sell these tickets?
 

Flamingo

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No idea, don't work anywhere near that line!

Although I would say that it was probably an honest mistake by the guard, as when it was pointed out by the OP as a mistake, the guard didn't argue but sold the op what they asked for.

I would imagine it would not be a "normal" ticket for the guard to be selling (FGW guards would not routinely be selling tickets to Waterloo, I would guess), and I know have sometimes inadvertently called up the wrong ticket when being asked to sell a ticket off-route so to speak. Sometimes the passenger is able to query it with me, but I am sure that I have sometimes sold the wrong ticket.

I would put this down to human error, not a deliberate attempt by either the guard of FGW to defraud the travelling public.
 
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Urban Gateline

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I'm annoyed that FGW have not informed their guards that they are allowed to sell Super Off-Peak tickets at times when they are valid. While there is a ticket machine at ROM, what if the ticket machine was out of action (or a passenger boarded at a station with neither a ticket office nor a TVM) there, meaning a passenger had to buy on board, and was unwittingly sold the wrong ticket?

You hit the nail on the head, there IS a TVM at Romsey which should be used to buy tickets before travel, the Guard was just doing you a favour in selling you the ticket as he had time presumably before the train left. Had you boarded that train without purchasing a ticket or asking the Guard first then you would quite rightly have been sold the undiscounted ticket (Anytime (day) Return) with no Railcard discount.

Unstaffed stations with no ticket purchasing facilities are different, the Guard would have treated passengers from those stations differently in terms of ticket offerings to those who board where facilities were available. The "What-if" situation you mention relates nothing to your situation so I don't think you should judge how a Guard would act in that different situation!

No doubt you would've avoided all the hassle just by using the TVM which offers the SCO fare! ;)
 

Greenback

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No idea, don't work anywhere near that line!

Although I would say that it was probably an honest mistake by the guard, as when it was pointed out by the OP as a mistake, the guard didn't argue but sold the op what they asked for.

I would imagine it would not be a "normal" ticket for the guard to be selling (FGW guards would not routinely be selling tickets to Waterloo, I would guess), and I know have sometimes inadvertently called up the wrong ticket when being asked to sell a ticket off-route so to speak. Sometimes the passenger is able to query it with me, but I am sure that I have sometimes sold the wrong ticket.

I would put this down to human error, not a deliberate attempt by either the guard of FGW to defraud the travelling public.

I agree. I doubt the guard would be very familiar with Romsey - Waterloo tickets, so may not have been aware of the existence of a Super Off Peak Return, or may have simply selected the wrong ticket on the screen.

You hit the nail on the head, there IS a TVM at Romsey which should be used to buy tickets before travel, the Guard was just doing you a favour in selling you the ticket as he had time presumably before the train left. Had you boarded that train without purchasing a ticket or asking the Guard first then you would quite rightly have been sold the undiscounted ticket (Anytime (day) Return) with no Railcard discount.

I think the OP realises this. What he is saying, as I read it, is that soemone from an unstaffed station with no ticket facilities, may not have been so aware of the different fares.

Unstaffed stations with no ticket purchasing facilities are different, the Guard would have treated passengers from those stations differently in terms of ticket offerings to those who board where facilities were available. The "What-if" situation you mention relates nothing to your situation so I don't think you should judge how a Guard would act in that different situation!

No, the concern is that if the guard did not know there was a Super Off Peak return available, how many people might have paid too much, particularly travelling from an unstaffed station?

No doubt you would've avoided all the hassle just by using the TVM which offers the SCO fare! ;)

There was no real hassle, just a simple mistake in my view which the OP has overreacted to a bit.
 

LexyBoy

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I had the same issue at Didcot a while ago, except in my case the clerk said that the fare was not in the system and she could not find it. Refund from FGW on that occasion.
 

Urban Gateline

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No, the concern is that if the guard did not know there was a Super Off Peak return available, how many people might have paid too much, particularly travelling from an unstaffed station?

The Guard may not know, however all the fares will appear when the Origin and Destination station is entered into an Avantix, so they will then see that there is a cheaper fare which is likely to be the Super Off-Peak fare and can then offer it to the passenger if applicable.
 

Greenback

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The Guard may not know, however all the fares will appear when the Origin and Destination station is entered into an Avantix, so they will then see that there is a cheaper fare which is likely to be the Super Off-Peak fare and can then offer it to the passenger if applicable.

In that case, the question reverts back to why the guard did not offer this fare to the OP?
 

Flamingo

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That depends on the "filter" and how it is set up to give priority
 

Drsatan

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Thanks for your replies everyone.

What I was initially annoyed about was the guard's claim that FGW don't sell Super Off-Peak tickets. Hopefully it's because, as Greenback suggested, the guard wasn't familiar with selling Romsey-Waterloo tickets! I think FGW ought to refresh guards on the Cardiff-Portsmouth route about selling Super Off-Peak tickets since if someone boarded who was genuinely unable to buy a ticket (for instance, the TVM was out of use or had run out of change (which does happen) and a passenger didn't have a credit or debit card), he or she might be inadvertently overcharged.

In fairness, the guard didn't have to sell the ticket on board the train, but he chose to, which I thought was fair of him since I arrived 10 minutes before departure. I think for the time being FGW need to send a few of their guards on the Cardiff-Portsmouth route on a refresher course.
 

GadgetMan

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Thanks for your replies everyone.

What I was initially annoyed about was the guard's claim that FGW don't sell Super Off-Peak tickets. Hopefully it's because, as Greenback suggested, the guard wasn't familiar with selling Romsey-Waterloo tickets! I think FGW ought to refresh guards on the Cardiff-Portsmouth route about selling Super Off-Peak tickets since if someone boarded who was genuinely unable to buy a ticket (for instance, the TVM was out of use or had run out of change (which does happen) and a passenger didn't have a credit or debit card), he or she might be inadvertently overcharged.

In fairness, the guard didn't have to sell the ticket on board the train, but he chose to, which I thought was fair of him since I arrived 10 minutes before departure. I think for the time being FGW need to send a few of their guards on the Cardiff-Portsmouth route on a refresher course.

It doesn't matter how many 'refresher courses' us guards get sent on. We will still occasionally make the odd mistake by offering/selling an inappropriate ticket.

The fares system isn't just confusing for passengers, a long list of tickets with various different restriction codes and in some cases unfamiliar ticket type codes on the Avantix screen can lead to a incorrect ticket being sold.

SOS, SOR, SVS, SVR, SSS, SSR, CDS, CDR are all pretty straight forward. But then some TOCs insist on giving their version of these ticket types a unique 3 letter code which is what can throw some of us off, and thats before evening tickets etc a factored in.
 

BestWestern

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I think for the time being FGW need to send a few of their guards on the Cardiff-Portsmouth route on a refresher course.

That is a slightly discriminatory comment, any reason why mention those Guards in particular? As others have said, there can often be a myriad of unfamiliar tickets and codes when selling fares off the usual route, that applies to just about anybody anywhere selling tickets! I would suggest that perhaps the comment that "We don't deal with those" may actually have been a reference to the fact that FGW do not generally sell tickets to Waterloo, or that the specific ticket type you requested is not frequently sold by those particular Guards on that route?
 

221129

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Sorry to Hijack this thread slightly but I had a similar issue with a FOSS 3in7 rover as I Boarded at Tiverton Parkway but the Ticket Office was closed so boarded the FGW train and sought the Guard who asked why I didn't buy at TVP and I explained. She Spent most of the time Between TVP and Taunton trying to find it but couldn't so told me to buy at Westbury. My question is can FGW TMs Issue Rail Rovers?
 

BestWestern

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Sorry to Hijack this thread slightly but I had a similar issue with a FOSS 3in7 rover as I Boarded at Tiverton Parkway but the Ticket Office was closed so boarded the FGW train and sought the Guard who asked why I didn't buy at TVP and I explained. She Spent most of the time Between TVP and Taunton trying to find it but couldn't so told me to buy at Westbury. My question is can FGW TMs Issue Rail Rovers?

The Avantix has a Rovers facility (it's called that or something similar - been a while since I had cause to use it!), which requires any such fares to be looked up through that screen. If you search on the normal Fares function, they generally won't show up. It's caught most of us out somewhere along the way! Nobody would sensibly refuse a nice healthy fare like that :D
 
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laird

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The Avantix has a Rovers facility (it's called that or something similar - been a while since I had cause to use it!), which requires any such fares to be looked up through that screen. If you search on the normal Fares function, they generally won't show up. It's caught most of us out somewhere along the way! Nobody would sensibly refuse a nice healthy fare like that :D

As a community the readers of this board are perhaps more likely than the general population to be aware of Rover tickets.

Maybe more so than the ticket selling population from the number of posts reporting difficulties experienced with having Rover (or Ranger) tickets issued.

Perhaps it would be helpful to have a step by step guide online detailing how to issue Rover tickets for each of the major systems including Advantix? (Perhaps a candidate for a sticky post on the board?).
 

BestWestern

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Well, it would be a tad embarrassing if TOC staff were getting their briefings from internet forums! But I suppose we could aim the information at the purchaser, so that they may be able to offer some assistance in those cases where there are difficulties. Having said that, we don't want to be providing a user's handbook for ticket machines, particularly the mobile sort, to those who have no authority to be using them!
 

34D

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Well, it would be a tad embarrassing if TOC staff were getting their briefings from internet forums! But I suppose we could aim the information at the purchaser, so that they may be able to offer some assistance in those cases where there are difficulties. Having said that, we don't want to be providing a user's handbook for ticket machines, particularly the mobile sort, to those who have no authority to be using them!

I think a guide to issue 'unusual' tickets is a very good idea. See my recent thread about wanting a Greater Manchester train&tram ticket which three on-train guards couldn't work out.
 
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