Northern and Fare Evasion

Discussion in 'UK Railway Discussion' started by Class195, 11 Dec 2019.

  1. Paul_10

    Paul_10 Member

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    I don't usually commute on a peak train to Lancaster but I did a couple of weeks ago(08:27 train) and it was noticeable how many people made their way towards the front including myself, unfortunately for them there was 2 guards on board and you could hear the grumbles when he started to do the ticket check, did bought a smile on my face as I don't mind paying as I do if I travel from Morecambe but I do occasionally travel to Bare in the hope for free travel and why not, it's down to the TOC if they want money off me by installing a ticket machine and for the guard to do a proper ticket check and not just stay in their cab.

    In fairness most guards do a check but I find it odd on that line on why most of them don't start checking until the train leaves Bare Lane giving them little time to do the whole train unless we get held at a red signal. Also surely its not mandatory to start checking from the rear of the train, start checking from the front and make their way down from there, plus it gives you a little more time before you have to head towards the doors before everyone stands up.
     
  2. Intermodal

    Intermodal Member

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    Northern guards are measured on a tickets per time period metric - so there is no incentive for them to go to the front and start checking there when they would sell more tickets by just starting at the back and not wasting any time walking (and not checking).
     
  3. js1000

    js1000 Member

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    What a daft system considering those without a ticket tend to sit at the front of the train away from the guard's cab in the hope of a free ride. In all my years of commuting, only once has a guard ever started a ticket inspection from the front. Why not mix it up a bit?
     
  4. js1000

    js1000 Member

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    The 4th 'jobsworth' type are not helpful and create needless disputes with passengers who are genuinely on the wrong train or won't let the passenger take an alternative route due to delays/cancellations. Thankfully they're quite rare.
     
  5. Intermodal

    Intermodal Member

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    You are seeing it through your own lens. You look at a guard and don't see them doing what may be obvious to do in order to do what you perceive as the most important which is catch fare dodgers.

    As a guard, I work 40 hours a week on a good week and my focus is on coming in to work, doing my job, and going home. For me that means keeping my head down and being on the right side of management, not drawing any attention by being lower than average in terms of revenue at the depot. I can assure you that if I started going to the front of the train for every check and reporting every fare dodger I would quickly become one of the worst at the depot in terms of takings. I know because that is how I started when I became a guard and still saw the job through the lens of a passenger - I wanted to get those dodgers who annoyed me so much when I was a travelling passenger/enthusiast and I spent a lot of time practising various methods of getting them.

    One of the things I would do would be walk through the train asking if anyone needed to buy a ticket very loudly and then once everyone had bought one I would go back and do a full check of every passenger - anyone who didn't attempt to buy one on my first pass would get an SDS to a station that the service stopped at and I would feel satisfied that I had done the best I could to penalise those passengers who were paying when challenged or straight up dodging. What happened? It took too long and I never got to everyone on a busy train. My revenue was in the bottom 5 of the depot despite making more of an effort than the majority of the other guards, and having a more intense focus on catching fare dodgers. Management pulled me up about it in my PR. What do I do now? I go down from the end, check and sell as many tickets as possible and if I have time I will report a fare dodger for prosecution. My revenue is now above average.

    Perhaps this gives you a bit of an understanding as to why we operate why we do. We are at work trying to satisfy the targets our employer sets for us, and the way we are doing it is the best way to do so.
     
  6. Paul_10

    Paul_10 Member

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    As js1000 says, most ticketless travel are those at the front so your bound to sell more tickets that way? It's all too predictable really. Of course a guard shouting get all tickets/passes railcards out please could marginally speed up the process and as I say, a guard doing a ticket check from the front means they don't have to panic as much to do the doors as they should in theory be closer to operate them than they would be if they were near the front. That said I have seen guards(albeit very few) operate the doors from the front as it was too crowded to make their way through the train.
     
  7. Intermodal

    Intermodal Member

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    I work in an area that has been paytrain for many many years and doesn't have barriers anywhere and I just don't find that to be true where I work. Other areas may vary.
     
  8. randyrippley

    randyrippley Established Member

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    Weren't the "technical difficulties" someone stealing the machine with a JCB?
     
  9. Kite159

    Kite159 Veteran Member

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    There used to be a guard on the Basingstoke - Reading services which always used to walk through the train after departure from Basingstoke and check tickets from the front. Normally catches someone out heading to Bramley or Reading West having reached Basingstoke from another train
     
  10. sheff1

    sheff1 Established Member

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    Quite. Far better for your sanity, and TOC revenue, to sell tickets to 10 willing punters than spend ages with the one who doesn't want to pay - the latter type is what RPIs etc are (should be) for.
     
  11. js1000

    js1000 Member

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    Thanks for sharing. Seems as if it's more a result of the policy imposed by the TOC than the guard.
     
  12. Mathew S

    Mathew S Established Member

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    When they work they're great. I've been using one for about 3 months now, and other than the odd barrier having a strop at me, haven't really had any issues.

    What I will say is that since October I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of times my card has been checked on the train. Most often, it's enough to show the card - nobody bothers to check there's a ticket on it.

    As an aside, all the occasions it has been checked it's been the same guard who's done it. (If anyone knows Alan, a Northern guard often to be seen arond Wigan, tis he; which is unsurprising since he's one of the good ones.)
     

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