Northern penalty fares - excessive?

Agent_Squash

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Was on the 0827 Oxenholme - Kendal this morning and the guard managed to issue three penalty fares by the time I'd got off 4 minutes later! What's more, the ticket check had barely passed the first half of the first carriage.

The guard did seem very rude with the issuing of these fares - indeed, I've never seen a Northern guard refuse to issue a ticket on the Lakes line before. Some passengers were (quite rightfully, in my opinion) quite shocked by this - even though the PF policy has been in place since (at least) 2019.

I know Oxenholme does have a ticket office - but most of these passengers are connecting off the Avanti service, and there isn't time to get over to the TVM and still make the connection.

I just dread to imagine the reaction if it was a train full of tourists...

And to clarify - I did have a through ticket for my journey and had my railcard ready for inspection. :)
 
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Bletchleyite

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I know Oxenholme does have a ticket office - but most of these passengers are connecting off the Avanti service, and there isn't time to get over to the TVM and still make the connection.

Why would you not buy a through ticket or a split in advance? And given the high usage of e-tickets on phones on Avanti services (well over 90% in my observation) most people could buy one on their phone.

Won't be the guard, they don't do PFs, it will be an RPI.

I smell "pay when challenged" :)
 

Agent_Squash

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Why would you not buy a through ticket or a split in advance? And given the high usage of e-tickets on phones on Avanti services (well over 90% in my observation) most people could buy one on their phone.

The Lakes service does have a particular reputation for unreliability (I don't know why - it's been fine for me), which leads to people buying up to Oxenholme then buying on the train or the bus as necessary. Personally, I do buy a through ticket and then use the delay repay to pay for the bus.

Won't be the guard, they don't do PFs, it will be an RPI.

Didn't know this - which probably explains why they're happy to sell tickets :)

I smell "pay when challenged" :)

It would be quite shocking if it was *that* bad though - he'd barely got past the first half of the first carriage!
 

Bletchleyite

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The Lakes service does have a particular reputation for unreliability (I don't know why - it's been fine for me), which leads to people buying up to Oxenholme then buying on the train or the bus as necessary. Personally, I do buy a through ticket and then use the delay repay to pay for the bus.

Technically you're not eligible for the Delay Repay if you end short instead of actually being delayed, though, so you shouldn't really do this. It's probably fairly hard to catch it but do be careful.

If you do want to buy at the last minute setting up a phone app is probably the way to do it. I reckon there's more people just "paying when challenged" due to the short journey.
 
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Lemmy99uk

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It would be quite shocking if it was *that* bad though - he'd barely got past the first half of the first carriage!

You would be surprised!

I worked several barrier operations at Oxenholme for the Lakes Line and Lancaster for the Morecambe line and the number of ticketless passengers was huge.

Morecambe was by far the worst but Windermere could be as bad and it was not unusual on a busy train to get a dozen or more from Windermere alone without tickets.
 

Agent_Squash

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Technically you're not eligible for the Delay Repay if you end short instead of actually being delayed, though, so you shouldn't really do this. It's probably fairly hard to catch it but do be careful.

Interesting - so if you were commuting in the morning, and had to take the bus in to get in on time as a result of the late arrival, you couldn't claim back the railway delays causing this?

(It's only happened once to me and I just checked - actually forgot to claim - but still!)
 

Bletchleyite

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Interesting - so if you were commuting in the morning, and had to take the bus in to get in on time as a result of the late arrival, you couldn't claim back the railway delays causing this?

(It's only happened once to me and I just checked - actually forgot to claim - but still!)

Correct. Delay Repay is payable on what actually happened, so you have to actually be delayed to be entitled to it, not choose to end short to avoid any delay.

I suspect "end short, claim DR and take a taxi" is a very common thing to do, but it's not technically allowed.
 

Watershed

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Correct. Delay Repay is payable on what actually happened, so you have to actually be delayed to be entitled to it, not choose to end short to avoid any delay.

I suspect "end short, claim DR and take a taxi" is a very common thing to do, but it's not technically allowed.
You don't have to necessarily complete the journey by rail to be eligible for Delay Repay. If the TOC has cancelled a train you are entitled to minimise the delay by making your own way to the destination and claiming based on that arrival time.

Alternatively, you can claim a partial refund, or require the TOC to re-route you via the earliest available option if the delay is likely to be more than 1 hour (e.g. onto the bus).

Realistically, a TOC would be on a hiding to nothing trying to claim back any Delay Repay they paid out in such situations.
 

Bletchleyite

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You don't have to necessarily complete the journey by rail to be eligible for Delay Repay. If the TOC has cancelled a train you are entitled to minimise the delay by making your own way to the destination and claiming based on that arrival time.

Yes, true. But not based on when the train you didn't use arrived.

Alternatively, you can claim a partial refund, or require the TOC to re-route you via the earliest available option if the delay is likely to be more than 1 hour (e.g. onto the bus).

I think it is highly questionable as to whether the right to re-routeing includes non-railway modes of transport. How about a flight? It can quickly get silly.

Realistically, a TOC would be on a hiding to nothing trying to claim back any Delay Repay they paid out in such situations.

I wouldn't put it past them to try where they have evidence of not having travelled, e.g. an e-ticket scan out but not back in at the interchange onto the delayed train. They'd pick up loads of cases of this at places like Oxenholme, MKC etc where there's an interchange onto a very short connecting journey and an easy alternative option.
 

Agent_Squash

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I wouldn't put it past them to try where they have evidence of not having travelled, e.g. an e-ticket scan out but not back in at the interchange onto the delayed train. They'd pick up loads of cases of this at places like Oxenholme, MKC etc where there's an interchange onto a very short connecting journey and an easy alternative option.

If Oxenholme had barriers, I suspect this would be the case. A 4 minute journey does make it quite hard to get through everyone though - especially if you're in 'the right part of the train'
 

Bletchleyite

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If Oxenholme had barriers, I suspect this would be the case. A 4 minute journey does make it quite hard to get through everyone though - especially if you're in 'the right part of the train'

If the plan is to move these services to 4, 5 and 6-car to deal with capacity issues once they run via Bolton this will mean two units, which will mean the guard is not in the front one at all due to Northern's rules, so I guess a push is being made for a culture change as otherwise evasion will increase.
 

Watershed

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I think it is highly questionable as to whether the right to re-routeing includes non-railway modes of transport. How about a flight? It can quickly get silly.
It absolutely does; there is nothing in the Regulations limiting re-routing to railway options - though in most cases, remaining on the railway will make the most sense.

The Intepretive Guidelines explicitly envisage such a scenario:
Concept of ‘comparable transport conditions’ in cases where a journey is continued or re-routed (Article 16(b) and (c))

...

when using another rail carrier or an alternative mode of transport for the part of the journey not completed as planned, the total travel time should be as close as possible to the scheduled travel time of the original journey;

I wouldn't put it past them to try where they have evidence of not having travelled, e.g. an e-ticket scan out but not back in at the interchange onto the delayed train. They'd pick up loads of cases of this at places like Oxenholme, MKC etc where there's an interchange onto a very short connecting journey and an easy alternative option.
The absence of a scan isn't conclusive evidence that someone wasn't on a train. The passenger could quite plausibly claim that their ticket wouldn't scan for some reason and so the guard just accepted it. Or they were in the loo.
 

Bletchleyite

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The absence of a scan isn't conclusive evidence that someone wasn't on a train. The passenger could quite plausibly claim that their ticket wouldn't scan for some reason and so the guard just accepted it. Or they were in the loo.

I'm talking about scanning out of the gateline at the interchange station but not back in. There's no gateline at Oxenholme but there are plenty of examples of interchanges where this could happen. These days staff are instructed that people shouldn't be let through without a scan (even if they know it won't open the gates) because otherwise a refunded ticket may not be detected.
 

voyagerdude220

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Sorry off topic- I hate to think how much revenue Avanti/TPE/Northern are losing as a result of Stations like Oxenholme, Lancaster, Preston, Wigan and Warrington Bank Quay not having ticket barriers. Particularly considering for example on Avanti if it's an 11 carriage Pendolino and only one Train Manager, it will naturally take them a while to get from one end of the train to the other. Also I think on most services the Train Manager changes at Preston.

Heading back on topic- I don't have any sympathy with pax in the OP's scenario if they've started their journey from somewhere which has an open ticket office.
 

Haywain

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The Lakes service does have a particular reputation for unreliability (I don't know why - it's been fine for me), which leads to people buying up to Oxenholme then buying on the train or the bus as necessary.
Given the small price differentials I find that hard to believe.
 

Agent_Squash

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Sorry off topic- I hate to think how much revenue Avanti/TPE/Northern are losing as a result of Stations like Oxenholme, Lancaster, Preston, Wigan and Warrington Bank Quay not having ticket barriers. Particularly considering for example on Avanti if it's an 11 carriage Pendolino and only one Train Manager, it will naturally take them a while to get from one end of the train to the other. Also I think on most services the Train Manager changes at Preston.

This is true - I know Virgin was very anti-barriers previously which is probably why it has never been done.

Heading back on topic- I don't have any sympathy with pax in the OP's scenario if they've started their journey from somewhere which has an open ticket office.

Perhaps I've been too used to hearing people just buying tickets on the train - it just came as a shock this morning with the sea of penalty fares before we'd even reached Kendal!

Given the small price differentials I find that hard to believe.

I can only comment on my experience :)
 

Bletchleyite

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This is true - I know Virgin was very anti-barriers previously which is probably why it has never been done.

Wigan NW would be reasonably easy to gate, as would Warrington BQ. The others have a slightly awkward layout for it, particularly Preston. It would require a major rebuild there to be viable, unless you gated all but P5/6 by going diagonally across the ramp. The Fishergate entrance is the main obstacle - it's by far the main entrance/exit despite being quite small because it's closest to where people want to go. Closing it would be very unpopular. Oxenholme could be done but at the expense of the town-side entrance/exit which would again be very unpopular as it's a long walk round.
 

Kite159

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If the plan is to move these services to 4, 5 and 6-car to deal with capacity issues once they run via Bolton this will mean two units, which will mean the guard is not in the front one at all due to Northern's rules, so I guess a push is being made for a culture change as otherwise evasion will increase.
It will be like when pairs of 331s or 150/1s (and the 2 coach 195s) run around. All those who think payment is optional will jump into the front unit knowing it will be a decreased chance of getting asked to pay the correct fare.

Only to get caught out when there is a RPI waiting to pounce
 

td97

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require the TOC to re-route you via the earliest available option if the delay is likely to be more than 1 hour (e.g. onto the bus).
Does a passenger need explicit/written permission from the TOC to re-route if a delay is likely to be in excess of 1 hour, or would a passenger be able to re-route themselves and explain if challenged on board the alternative service (for the example of using an alternative rail service).
 

Bletchleyite

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Does a passenger need explicit/written permission from the TOC to re-route if a delay is likely to be in excess of 1 hour, or would a passenger be able to re-route themselves and explain if challenged on board the alternative service.

Unless blanket acceptance is in place, yes, one needs one's ticket endorsed to do something that it isn't normally valid for (the default with a cancellation on Advances being validity on the train before or the train after of the same TOC, I believe).

Nothing in the legislation states that you have the right to do this without asking outside of normal policy; it's an airline-style right taking into account airline-style operations on high speed routes in many EU countries. You also aren't given the right to choose what form this re-routeing takes, it is up to the TOC what they arrange provided it complies with the "comparable transport conditions" stipulation, which I suspect has not yet been tested in Court. Similarly "at the earliest possible opportunity" probably hasn't been tested but does not necessarily mean the next train on the board; if it meant that the word "possible" wouldn't be there.

I'd also think it likely that "ask the guard" will die out because with e-ticket scanning guards would be pulled up for accepting something they shouldn't, plus at gated stations you may not be able to get to them to ask anyway.
 

Haywain

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Does a passenger need explicit/written permission from the TOC to re-route if a delay is likely to be in excess of 1 hour, or would a passenger be able to re-route themselves and explain if challenged on board the alternative service (for the example of using an alternative rail service).
Your 'right' is to have the train company (that delayed you) re-route you, it is not something you can exercise independently.
 

td97

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Unless blanket acceptance is in place, yes, one needs one's ticket endorsed to do something that it isn't normally valid for (the default with a cancellation on Advances being validity on the train before or the train after of the same TOC, I believe).

Nothing in the legislation states that you have the right to do this without asking outside of normal policy; it's an airline-style right taking into account airline-style operations on high speed routes in many EU countries. You also aren't given the right to choose what form this re-routeing takes, it is up to the TOC what they arrange provided it complies with the "comparable transport conditions" stipulation, which I suspect has not yet been tested in Court. Similarly "at the earliest possible opportunity" probably hasn't been tested but does not necessarily mean the next train on the board; if it meant that the word "possible" wouldn't be there.

I'd also think it likely that "ask the guard" will die out because with e-ticket scanning guards would be pulled up for accepting something they shouldn't, plus at gated stations you may not be able to get to them to ask anyway.
Your 'right' is to have the train company (that delayed you) re-route you, it is not something you can exercise independently.
Interesting, thanks both
 

Watershed

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Similarly "at the earliest possible opportunity" probably hasn't been tested but does not necessarily mean the next train on the board; if it meant that the word "possible" wouldn't be there.
Well the next train on the board might be an overtaken service. Or it might be reservations compulsory and fully booked. But absent such issues, that would be what they would have to re-route you on. If they refuse (as in this thread), you would have to buy a new ticket and reclaim the cost.

There is plenty of aviation precedent regarding the right to re-routing which would, given the similiarity of the respective Regulations, likely be read across.

I'd also think it likely that "ask the guard" will die out because with e-ticket scanning guards would be pulled up for accepting something they shouldn't, plus at gated stations you may not be able to get to them to ask anyway.
I'm not so sure about that. There will always have to be a degree of discretion for the likes of cancellations and missed connections.
 
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185

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In fainess to the passengers, I've seen Oxenholme, miles away from the height of tourist season with 20+ minute queues at the booking office window.

Most passengers could buy tickets on their phone... BUT many at Oxenholme are tourists and would like to pay cash for a paper thingy.

A cash TVM in multiple languages would be ideal for Oxenholme, selling multimodal / plusbus / rover / ranger tickets which many tourists need there.

But they ain't gonna do that....
 

Bletchleyite

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In fainess to the passengers, I've seen Oxenholme, miles away from the height of tourist season with 20+ minute queues at the booking office window.

Most passengers could buy tickets on their phone... BUT many at Oxenholme are tourists and would like to pay cash for a paper thingy.

A cash TVM in multiple languages would be ideal for Oxenholme, selling multimodal / plusbus / rover / ranger tickets which many tourists need there.

But they ain't gonna do that....

Oxenholme is in the middle of a field. The vast majority of people arriving there are doing so on another train (or are relative locals doing park and ride, but hardly anyone will be doing that to go to Kendal or Windermere; if they're getting in the car they'll drive all the way - the P&R facility is more about going to London, Manchester or Glasgow/Edinburgh). The local population is tiny. It's the very definition of a classic junction station (plus the addition of a modern car park).

The question we need to be asking is why they don't have a through ticket to/from their destination. Sometimes that's because you can't get a cheap Advance if you do that, but surely now Trainline are doing that kind of split by default this issue must be subsiding.

I would strongly suspect that the reason quite a lot of people there don't have a through ticket (or suitable equivalent split) is this - "don't worry about paying the extra, sit in the front coach, you can pay if the guard gets to you but he probably won't".

If we want to do Swiss style connections (as I'd say we do), people queueing at change stations to get onward tickets is not a sensible approach.
 

Haywain

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BUT many at Oxenholme are tourists and would like to pay cash for a paper thingy.
The idea that tourists are paying cash is complete nonsense. A small percentage of tourists may pay cash in the same way that a small percentage of GB residents are paying cash.
 

Bletchleyite

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The idea that tourists are paying cash is complete nonsense. A small percentage of tourists may pay cash in the same way that a small percentage of GB residents are paying cash.

It's probably now that's a good time to say I prefer using a TVM as a tourist than a ticket office, as I can take my time working out the language issues (and there's often buttons for different languages). Speaking to a person is much more stressful. It's not like the ticketing on the Lakes Line is particularly complex - Anytime Day Single/Return and Off Peak Day Single/Return (0900 or later) plus Northern Duo are basically it.

These days tourists are more likely to use card (often a tourism-specific pre-paid Visa/Mastercard) than cash.
 

scrapy

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Wigan NW would be reasonably easy to gate, as would Warrington BQ. The others have a slightly awkward layout for it, particularly Preston. It would require a major rebuild there to be viable, unless you gated all but P5/6 by going diagonally across the ramp. The Fishergate entrance is the main obstacle - it's by far the main entrance/exit despite being quite small because it's closest to where people want to go. Closing it would be very unpopular. Oxenholme could be done but at the expense of the town-side entrance/exit which would again be very unpopular as it's a long walk round.
It is/was in the Avanti franchise to gate both Wigan and Warrington. This was supposed to be being done in 2020, however obviously dropped down the list of priorities. I've noted the ticket vending machines at Wigan have recently been moved (when Avanti introduced the new type) to where would likely be outside a gateline so maybe a sign that putting ticket barriers in is still the intention?
 

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