Northern issue penalty fares after ticket office left unmanned

Discussion in 'Disputes & Prosecutions' started by aformeruser, 19 Sep 2018.

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  1. davart

    davart Member

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    Barnsley.

    Slightly odd, as usually, I buy the day before when I come back from work.

    To be honest the member of staff that I asked is hard work to deal with. Most are pretty helpful. This one clearly hates their job I would say.

    Anyway, doesn't matter now. Just seemed a barmy rule.
     
  2. BackOnTheTrain

    BackOnTheTrain Member

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    But _that_ large? Granted as I am somewhat visually impaired the larger screen may actually be useful to me, depending how they use it for the ticketing bit, but at first glance the massive screen shouts “advertising screen” and not “ticket machine”. If one were to appear in the same spot as a ticket machine I’ve used before then that would give a clue to what it is... but had I been travelling and not familiar with the station then I could very easily have missed it.

    However. I now know to look for 5 foot high screens on Northern routes.
     
  3. najaB

    najaB Veteran Member

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    I wonder if it really is a rule, or just one person doing their own thing.
     
  4. ForTheLoveOf

    ForTheLoveOf Established Member

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    I find it madness that ticket offices expect to still be around in 10 or 15 years if they continue to have absolutely ridiculous policies like this. It is precisely the reason why I don't like using ticket offices as a) there's often a longer queue than for the TVMs, b) they may be slow and unable to find the ticket I want, c) they may sell me the ticket on loo roll!

    Far easier to go online on your mobile device and buy it. It takes a minute or two at most if you know what you're looking for, and if you buy through the right site you can pick up the tickets there and then.
     
  5. davart

    davart Member

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    I actually said to the chap that I might as well use the machine.

    Strangely, it too only offered peak tickets at that time.

    It does prompt you when there is a cheaper ticket later in the day.

    There are a few bugs in the software too. Try buying a ticket from Barnsley to Pontefract Tanshelf. You can't!!
     
  6. najaB

    najaB Veteran Member

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    That's common - many machines are programmed to offer the cheapest ticket *currently* valid. Though, it does raise an interesting question: let's say that an off-peak fare is valid for trains departing after 0930, but the last 'peak' departure from a given station is at 0915, what ticket would/should a TVM at that station offer at 0920?
     
  7. Signal Head

    Signal Head Member

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    And following on from that, if Off Peaks don't become available until valid, how are you supposed to buy the cheapest available ticket for travel on a train timed to depart at 09:31?
     
  8. cuccir

    cuccir Established Member

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    Aha! So those are ticket machines then?

    I travelled from Saltburn a few week back and saw one - I tried to use it but whatever was on the screen was 100% obscured by the Sun's reflection. It was completely unusable - and indeed, no other passengers botherrd to try and use it.
     
  9. Class 172 Fan

    Class 172 Fan Member

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    If I was on a TOC PF appeals team and I saw a photo of number 2 as evidence by the TOC, I would more than likely be ruling in favour of the appellant and rising bloody hell with my boss, my bosses boss and their boss over the inadequate signage.
     
  10. Harpers Tate

    Harpers Tate Established Member

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    Yes, and it is that last part that is where they start being immoral. Ten minutes is reasonable, I guess. It's a time that (old) Northern quoted in a Social Media response as being reasonable, so it all gels nicely - right up until the point where (a) they fail to make adequate provision for this reasonable timescale to be achievable and then also (b) still proceed with penalty etc., when it is not.
     
  11. njamescouk

    njamescouk Member

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    time was you couldn't get on the platform without a ticket. that cut out the majority of these problems, the remainder were picked up on attempting to leave, where you had to explain your predicament / get arrested / whatever. northern have decided to get rid of a load of staff, pay themselves loads of money and make up a load of arcane rules to catch the unwary and empty their pockets.

    latest fun thing on my line is off peak times between denby and barnsley. does anyone know? is the ticket machine programmed correctly? is there actually anyway of finding out short of a decision at the ECHR?
     
  12. aformeruser

    aformeruser Veteran Member

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    That's the only full picture of one of the new TVMs which came up in a Google search, other than the ones built in to the smart wall at Harrogate. I've not attempted to skew anything, I've attempted to do what many of the other posters on here are too lazy to bother doing. If you want to try and find better images on the web or to go to a Northern station and take some better photos feel free.
     
  13. swt_passenger

    swt_passenger Veteran Member

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    On most SWR machines I find the offpeak appears just after the previous timetabled train has left. But that wasn’t initially the case, they took quite a long time to fine tune it. I guess it also means TVM reprogramming after timetable changes if they want it to be accurate. The problem comes when there isn’t enough time between the successive trains for all those who want to buy. IIRC this happens at Winchester if heading for Waterloo when the offpeak becomes valid.
     
  14. Gareth Marston

    Gareth Marston Established Member

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    Buy when Challenged sir? We're now challenging you to buy before boarding :D

    It's other members of the public that have "ruined it" for all the moaners on here.
     
  15. 30907

    30907 Established Member

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    I have to agree. When I last travelled from Blackburn, soon after the new wall machines went in, I wasn't expecting to see them (several metres to the right!), walked right past, was sent back from the gate line and still didn't realise ...
     
  16. marcouk2

    marcouk2 Member

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    I've had a few fun times with Barnsley refusing to sell certain tickets; most recent was on a strike day when the lady (don't know who she actually was, not one of the usual staff and didn't have Northern uniform in so guess a manager/office staff) point blank refused to sell me a ticket to Grindleford (for use with a Wayfarer) as the Hope Valley stoppers weren't running.

    Don't know what she thought she was stopping me from doing as I just popped up to the TVM and bought it there instead. My complaint got ignored and then fobbed off by Northern.
     
  17. yorkie

    yorkie Forum Staff Staff Member Administrator

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    What are you on about? Who are you referring to?

    Did you read the post above yours? Your reply makes no sense in relation to it. Did you mean to quote someone else else?

    I really find your anti passenger attitude quote staggering for a retailer. Are your employer and your customers aware of your anti-passenger views?
     
  18. davart

    davart Member

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    One criticism of the new vending machines is in the West Yorkshire area for topping up MetroCards.

    Firstly, you can't buy the cards at the machine if you don't already have one.

    Secondly, the button for topping up the cards should say 'top up card' rather than just a black M button. It's also offset too far to the bottom right. I'm very computer literate and it took me a couple of goes to spot it.

    Border stations outside West Yorkshire should offer this facility. The card readers are present on the machines after all.

    If you're going to be Draconian in relation to Penalty Fares, then everything else needs to be spot on.
     
  19. davart

    davart Member

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    Just had a thought though: why are the on board tickets so large?

    TVMs sell the credit card size, as do most ticket offices.

    I would have thought that in an era of recycle and use less, reducing paper usage would be the way.

    Is it to discourage from buying on board i.e. you'll need to bring a used kitchen roll tube to stow your ticket in if you buy on board
     
  20. najaB

    najaB Veteran Member

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    Is that tied to the timetable or realtime running information? If the latter then it's possible (though an edge-case) for someone to get caught out by a late-running 'peak' train.
     
  21. Gareth Marston

    Gareth Marston Established Member

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    It is challenging to purchase your ticket before boarding if the ticket office is closed and the TVM is on the other platform and you've arrived with little time to spare.

    As Bob Dylan said " the times they are a changing". Is it the policy or the implementation of the policy that Northern Rail users don't like? I often detect undertones that it's the policy itself that posters don't like, so naturally the implementation is to be moaned about, criticised and belly ached at. Like any major change people do need to get use to it.

    However it's the actions of your work colleagues, friends, family and neighbours in outright fare dodging, short faring, pay when challenged that has allowed the DFT and Northern to implement the policy and its (not always perfect) implementation. The reality is there's been an obvious problem asking for a solution. What solutions were the critical posters on here putting forward prior to the award of the franchise? Or maybe some of them were happy to have an occasional free ride?

    You are all suffering because of the consequences of the actions of other passengers I'm afraid. And of course the technology is the way forward brigade have helped the policy by allowing people to buy tickets to download on their mobile phones so the operator can gamble on increasing percentages doing so so they don't have to invest in station facilities.

    Something similar is coming to South Wales. At least we can smooth some of the rougher edges by looking at the Northern experience. The TVM's will all be on the Cardiff bound platform for instance.
     
  22. Bantamzen

    Bantamzen Established Member

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    If you put your MCard into the reader before selecting anything on the screen it triggers the renewal process.

    As for MCard issuing as well as outside the borders of West Yorkshire that's a matter for Metro, not Northern as it is their product.
     
    Last edited: 23 Sep 2018
  23. Bantamzen

    Bantamzen Established Member

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    I'm glad someone else sees this in the same light. Whether any of us like it or not, Northern are compelled to tighten revenue loss as part of their franchis commitments. Some may take issue with it, some have even spent many months trying to pick legal holes in the application of FPs, but most passengers have just got on with it with no fuss.

    The message is clear, buy before you board, and if the ticket machine doesn't jump out at you, look carefully. If you drove to a new car park and couldn't immediately see a ticket machine would you walk away? Or if you walked into a new store to buy something and couldn't instantly see a place to pay, would you just shrug your shoulders and walk out with the item? Of course nobody here would, yet it seems perfectly acceptable for people to not pay when required at FP stations, when the facility to do so exists.
     
  24. yorkie

    yorkie Forum Staff Staff Member Administrator

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    Even Northern don't use so much spin to make their arguments.
    How long should one allow at Garforth? Say you are entering from the north side of the town, paying with cash, and going to York. What would you do and how many minutes would you allow?

    Your store analogy is amusing but totally flawed. The correct analogy on the railway is that you see no opportunity at any point, and so you stay at your destination forever until an opportunity presents itself.

    Indeed myself and another member made a journey a few weeks back with no such opportunity, and asked at the gateline what I should do. We were specifically told (by a member of SWR gateline staff) to exit the station without paying.

    If you must use an analogy for anything other than amusement purposes, at least get it right!
     
  25. Starmill

    Starmill Veteran Member Associate Staff Events Co-ordinator

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    The policy has been to buy a ticket before boarding for decades. I do not see what about the policy has changed? The problem is that Northern don't stick to the rules. My own case from 11 months ago where they demanded to record my name and address as the only available method of collecting my fare has still not been resolved. This has been said again and again though, and if you still don't get it by now then...
     
  26. mmh

    mmh Established Member

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    Looks like a confectionery vending machine. It's even painted in Cadbury's colour.
     
  27. mmh

    mmh Established Member

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    I despair of unquestioning apologists and - although your name doesn't remind me of the usual suspects - the forum members who seem to monitor fares threads like hawks, ready to indignantly remind us that rules are never wrong but the customer always is.

    Why is the ticket machine on the platform and not at or by the ticket office where you might reasonably expect one to be?
     
  28. Mutant Lemming

    Mutant Lemming Established Member

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    It's the crazy inconsistency in all of this which seems to boil down to the luck of the draw regarding where and when you travel . You arrive late at night at a station with a barrier but a closed ticket office. The person on the gateline is pretty much just a 'minder' watching over the gateline. If you arrive without a ticket he can't sell you one, if you have come from somewhere you could have bought one he can't fine you - all he can do is let you through the barrier. Elsewhere people are expected to hunt down obscure ticket machines at stations they are unfamiliar with and face fines when they haven't passed the Krypton Factor style tests to do so.
     
  29. Bantamzen

    Bantamzen Established Member

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    They don't need to, it is as you well know in their franchise agreement.

    How long should you allow at any station? For that matter how should you leave yourself to get to the cinema for the seven o'clock showing, or that table you booked at nine? Do you really need there to be set rules, regulations and instructions for every facet of life?

    But in the specific case of the topic of this thread, if a sign tells you to buy a ticket from the nearest ticket machine you go and use your initiative and find it. Once upon a time, mankind discovered unknown and distant lands, often navigating thousands of miles at sea with little more than the skies to guide them. Now it seems a finding a device to procure tickets at a railway station is beyond some.

    I now fear for the human race...

    Sorry, but go back and read my posts. I am not an apologist, just someone sick and tired of paying ever more for fare dodgers and their apoligists.
     
  30. yorkie

    yorkie Forum Staff Staff Member Administrator

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    I didn't think you'd answer that, so no surprises there!

    I do not think there should be any requirement to allow excessive lengths of time in this circumstance.

    There is no facility to issue the ticket at Garforth when the ticket office is closed, and no signs to say where the machine is, so it's unclear what you think people should do and how long they should allow to do it, but it sounds like you think people should allow a lot of extra time to cross the bridge and back and conduct a sweep of the station, is that right?

    How long would you allow for this?
    Arriving at a station intending to take a train should not in any way need to be compared to discovering unknown and distant lands. The fact you think these are comparable say a lot.

    To suggest that you are not an apologist for Northern and I am an apologist for fare dodgers is absurd.

    Do you have anything to say about the analogy that I corrected you on? What would you have done if you were given the instruction that I was given?
     
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