New Ticket Design Launched

Discussion in 'Fares Advice & Policy' started by Solent&Wessex, 7 Mar 2014.

  1. Haywain

    Haywain Established Member

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    We already have a good bit of information in that space on some tickets, such as reference number, customer name, selling office, NRS reference, date and time of issue. In my experience they are usually legible.
     
  2. button_boxer

    button_boxer Established Member

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    Yes, but the new design appears to have the font in that section at least 30% smaller than I've seen it on any current design tickets.
     
  3. TEW

    TEW Established Member

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    Some TVMs (S&B ones I believe) print tickets which are harder enough to read as it is. Surely they can't print font that small legibly?
     
  4. bb21

    bb21 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    That's exactly my point. The prominent wording for discount status could simply be moved to the place where the shapes are (with minor alterations from the current format). Codified means can help with complex text, but it is not going to be faster to process than a short word (which for many people are processed as a shape anyway).

    Why are all the details hidden in a mass of text? It just makes it more difficult for everyone. At the moment guards can inspect Railcards and discounted tickets with a short glance if presented at the same time. Why complicate that? A glance at a rhombus and a Senior Railcard presented at the same time is hardly going to tell anyone whether the Railcard is the correct one. It will also make it more difficult for passengers to spot a ticket issued with the wrong type of discount.
     
  5. mikeg

    mikeg Member

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    Am I the only one who likes this new design?

    Though I echo the concerns over small font, I like the fact the reservations are now on the main ticket for advances (though what happens when you have say 5 reservations I don't know). I also like the fact that off peak tickets now have a way to get the restrictions, which is much clearer than 'see restrctns'. This has long been a gripe of mine, although some Fastticket machines print the restriction code it's not clear enough to most passengers.

    I also like the presence of more characters in the route. Presumably the 'any permitted' states 'any permitted route' rather than just 'any permitted', which has long been a problem as some passengers seem to get confused and think that any old route is permitted. Why just last month someone came into Thirsk ticket office rather hacked off that they couldn't double back via York on an Edinburgh to Northallerton SVR and their point was it says any route is permitted and they wondered why they had been charged extra on the train!
     
    Last edited: 7 Mar 2014
  6. bb21

    bb21 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    They will be issued on separate coupons. The ticket itself can only contain reservation details for two trains.

    I may be of a minority here but I immensely dislike this new design. I feel that the insistence on having reservation details on the ticket itself causes many unintended problems. We are constrained by the physical size of the ticketing stock, so there should be a realistic expectation as to how much information could be crammed onto one coupon.

    The other thing I absolutely hate is inconsistency, which is demonstrated in this case by having separate designs for different fares. Why? Just why?

    Only time will tell how good this new design is but at the moment, my opinion is that it is a massive step backwards. The current design is not perfect, but there is no need for wholesale changes. A few minor tweaks can improve things massively.
     
  7. maniacmartin

    maniacmartin Established Member Senior Fares Advisor

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    Most non-enthusiasts seem to find the separate reservation coupons annoying and confusing though (or claim to be confused when they're on the wrong train), especially if they booked APs for a return trip for multiple passengers in one booking. This will help remove that confusion, so I am in favour. It's a shame you can only fit 2 legs on the ticket though :(.

    I agree - it is confusing
     
  8. Harpers Tate

    Harpers Tate Member

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    Different designs might tend to obviate repetition blindness in staff.
    And I must say - having only recently criticised the cryptic codes (Y-P, SNR etc) as being meaningless to Joe Public, the very unambiguous "With a X----X Railcard" is very wecome as is the other "plain English" content.
     
  9. transmanche

    transmanche Established Member

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    I believe that Irish Rail have done this for a while, but I haven't seen an example myself. Does anyone know what they look like in practice (as opposed to mock-ups).

    At least having the reservation(s) on the ticket will reduce the chance of coupons getting left in the TVM or coupons getting lost (whether accidentally or "accidentally").
     
  10. bb21

    bb21 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    If there were a uniform approach to ticket design, then it will be far less confusing - so again it comes back to the issue of consistency. The real problem we have at the moment is that a passenger who is unfamiliar with the system never knows where he stands, eg. people who end up with double-digit coupons for one journey, and there really is no need for it. All reservations for a journey should be able to fit on one coupon (possibly separate ones to attach to cycles when required but that is only in a small minority of cases), so the solution is quite simple really. The new system is not resolving the issue of passengers not really knowing where they stand. They might have one coupon with an Advance ticket, but may have more than one. With Advance fares reservations are issued on the ticket itself, with walk-on fares they are not.

    If all walk-on fares with reservations come in two coupons per person, and all Advance fares with reservations come in two coupons (and only two coupons in the overwhelming majority of cases) per person, you massively reduce the problems we are facing at the moment, once the general public becomes familiar with it. The general public can adapt, but only if it is a simple system to understand. The current system is not simple, but neither is this one being proposed.

    You will never be able to resolve the problem of people not reading their tickets. You will never be able to resolve the problem of people not waiting till all tickets are printed before collecting them. And you will never be able to eliminate problems associated with whether different people in the same booking should have their reservations issued together.

    In an ideal world, we will have the ticket details printed on the front, and reservation details printed at the back, or even just bigger ticket stock, so everything fits on one coupon. But we don't live in an ideal world. I am not saying that including reservation details on the ticket itself is a bad thing, but in the grand scheme of things at the moment, I feel that the over-emphasis on trying to get everything on one coupon comes to the detriment of a lot of other things, especially with this proposed design.
     
  11. transmanche

    transmanche Established Member

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    We could revert to the 'airline style' tickets which were used for a while (and still used by Eurostar and SNCF). Then you can print a barcode on them, to allow them to be used at ticket gates (certainly East Coast's gates have barcode readers for 'Print at Home' tickets, and others can have them fitted).
     
  12. bb21

    bb21 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Yes, in an ideal world, but obviously I am not going to go down that avenue in this thread as we have had plenty of discussions on this matter before.
     
  13. BurtonM

    BurtonM Member

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    I like the idea of this but I somehow don't think we'll be seeing tickets printed in Rail Alphabet any time soon. The whole idea depends on the method of ticket printing and font, really.
     
  14. island

    island Established Member

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    I have a stack of them. Will scan some if I get around to it.
     
  15. Hassocks5489

    Hassocks5489 Member

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    Thanks to kwvr45 for posting the scans. Compared to the original mockups I saw some months ago, some improvements have been made ... but I'm not entirely convinced.

    I have an unusual position on this: I am a regular buyer of tickets, but also a collector. Having collected (and researched) tickets since the start of the APTIS era 25 years ago, this is a big thing to get used to - probably bigger than the change from APTIS to New Generation systems. Like most collectors, I collect mainly by machine number and system (S&B, Shere SMART, TRIBUTE etc). Having the machine number, NLC and window number in tiny print in the lower orange band is reasonable because that info is irrelevant to the passenger, but it will make my life more difficult! :D Other than that, the layout looks quite cluttered: as BB21 said, the classic five-character status code (Y-P, CHILD etc) was perfectly clear; why do we need a whole line of text? Why is the Class relegated to that same line?

    Some other things that occur immediately:
    - We have lost the long-established convention of having an asterisk after the station name, to prevent fraudulent additions (DERBY > DERBY RD IPSWICH and that sort of thing).
    - Having more than 16 characters available for the route is good :)
    - I think the circle/rhombus thing will work quite well
    - Northern Rail, who are doing the trial, have two self-service TIS: Scheidt & Bachmann and Parkeon. Will we see one of each being used, I wonder? Whatever happens, the tickets won't look quite like the scans, given the unconventional fonts used by those systems
    - I don't like the Advance ticket much. Why is the date so buried? Why so much unused space?


    Just some random initial thoughts from somebody who has been looking at tickets day in day out for years :D

    Please could anybody who gets hold of one of these tickets next week upload a scan if possible - that would be much appreciated.
     
  16. Merseysider

    Merseysider Established Member Fares Advisor

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    While not an objective criticism of the new design, the information on the walk-up ticket certainly seems more sporadically arranged. With the old design, you knew where the 'from' 'to' and ticket type fields etc were; now the information is all over the place. There also seems to be more wasted space on the new design; surely this could be used to explain to the holder what restrictions 9I or B1 actually entail rather than two lines about where you can find the information.

    I presume data will be encoded on the magnetic strip in exactly the same way so the new design operates ticket barriers correctly, but what happens when you find a guard who hasn't heard about the new design or doesn't know what the shapes mean and thinks something fishy is going on? A brief would need to be sent to all TOCs, not just one for Northern staff.

    I know it would never happen because of the sheer vast amount of data that would need writing into TVMs but tickets printed with relevant easement numbers or relevant pages in the Routeing Guide for the journey being made would go some way in assisting the passenger when he/she runs into hassle with an over zealous / unfamiliar guard.

    If it works, don't fix it. And I think the original ticket design works pretty well. But that's just my two cents.
     
    Last edited: 8 Mar 2014
  17. Hassocks5489

    Hassocks5489 Member

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    I agree with everything JakeF says there. The "familiar" layout of info on tickets has been with us for nearly 35 years (since the INTIS system was introduced - the temporary stopgap between the mechanical/electromechanical era and the computer era), and so this change needs to be communicated very clearly and widely - otherwise there will be confusion, to say the least.

    I've got a pile of tickets on the desk next to me, in the middle of being sorted out. Several different ticket issuing systems are represented; but the format is absolutely consistent. Basically nothing has changed since APTIS - the date is in the middle, the class is in large characters in the top left, the two stations are in the bottom left ... anybody checking the ticket can see all the relevant info easily. I just don't think the layout of either new-style ticket (standard or advance) is intuitive enough ... but I'm happy to be proved wrong! It's certainly going to be interesting times for us collectors :D
     
  18. Merseysider

    Merseysider Established Member Fares Advisor

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    I think that's the first time anyone's actually agreed with me on this forum ;)
     
  19. scotsman

    scotsman Established Member

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    I like it. The language is plain English, reservations are much clearer. Only thing is it might take whoever's checking it slightly longer to ascertain what railcard is being used. (Although I find my punters are quite good at showing railcards unprompted...)
     
  20. Goatboy

    Goatboy Established Member

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    I wish I could buy a First Class single from Penzance to York for £23!
     

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