Northern Rail breaching NRCoC

Discussion in 'Disputes & Prosecutions' started by jcollins, 15 Nov 2011.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. jcollins

    jcollins Veteran Member

    Messages:
    30,528
    Joined:
    23 Jan 2009
    As some people have previously suggested but not provided much details, Northern Rail are not issuing National Rail Travel Vouchers when a journey is delayed by over an hour.

    For a journey of someone I know they made a 150 mile journey with around 20 miles of it using Northern, but for the Northern section a service was cancelled due to staff shortages delaying the journey by 65 minutes. Northern have, after 6 weeks, only sent them a complimentary voucher to use on Northern Rail services.

    They aren't just breaching the NRCoC but there own passengers charter. I'm helping them write an email in response to it and advising them if they don't get a satisfactory result to contact Passenger Focus.
     
  2. Registered users do not see these banners - join or log in today!

    Rail Forums

     
  3. 142094

    142094 Established Member

    Messages:
    8,780
    Joined:
    7 Nov 2009
    Location:
    Newcastle
    Let us know how you and your friend get on.

    In many respects I'd rather have a Northern all day ticket but that is just me. I bet they are saving themselves a lot of money in doing this.
     
  4. bluenoxid

    bluenoxid Established Member

    Messages:
    1,895
    Joined:
    9 Feb 2008
    If it was a short journey, then this would not be a problem, but if you can make a lot more due to the cost of the rest of the ticket, you might as well nail the rest out of Northern.
     
  5. 185

    185 Established Member

    Messages:
    3,585
    Joined:
    29 Aug 2010
    Location:
    Mess room, asleep
    Probably wasting your time with Passenger Focus, they are a fairly pointless organisation, far too close to the train companies. If you're in a PTE area, try get them involved and I'm sure Northern will come squealing with the Rail Travel Vouchers.
     
  6. jcollins

    jcollins Veteran Member

    Messages:
    30,528
    Joined:
    23 Jan 2009
    It depends where you live and what ticket you had originally as to which is best.

    If you had a £200 ticket then a complimentary Northern ticket is of far less value, while if you had a £4 ticket then it's better value.
     
  7. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

    Messages:
    39,263
    Joined:
    6 Jun 2005
    Location:
    Yorkshire
    What ticket was it, and what was the cost?

    If a £200 return ticket was held, then a delay of over an hour would get you 10% back, so £20. A complimentary Northern ticket for a day could be worth more than £20 depending on various factors. I would never pay that much for a ticket, so for me, a Northern voucher would be better value. The only people who wouldn't benefit are people who buy ridiculously expensive tickets, or people who don't live in the Northern area, I'd have thought? In which case they're entitled to get the voucher exchanged for the money if they want.
     
  8. bignosemac

    bignosemac Established Member

    Messages:
    4,824
    Joined:
    12 Oct 2009
    Are you sure?

    From Northern's website:

     
  9. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

    Messages:
    39,263
    Joined:
    6 Jun 2005
    Location:
    Yorkshire
    The claim was that Northern are "breaching the NRCoC". We do not know the value of the ticket in question, but a £200 ticket was mentioned, and under the NRCoC £20 is payable (assuming it was a return ticket). TOCs can, if they wish, be more generous, and some TOCs have franchise commitments to participate in the extremely generous Delay Repay scheme, but Northern are not one of them.

    It does, however, appear that Northern's policy for quite some time now (a year or more?) is different to their Passengers Charter, in fact I would say more generous than both their Charter and the NRCoC for most - though not all - passengers. If it is not advantageous for someone to accept Northern's offer, then they are entitled to vouchers to the appropriate value as per the NRCoC.
     
  10. bignosemac

    bignosemac Established Member

    Messages:
    4,824
    Joined:
    12 Oct 2009
    It maybe generous for most who are claiming for shorter journeys and who live in the Northern area. To offer a one day Northern only pass as compensation to someone who doesn't live in the area or for whom 50% of their ticket price is greater than the arbitrary worth of this one day pass, is wrong in my opinion and shouldn't be allowed. At least not as a default. Give the passenger the choice by all means. And in the absence of the passenger making that choice the default should be RTVs. If I were travelling from Bristol to Northern land and was delayed on the Northern part of my journey, I'd be peeved to receive a Northern only day pass instead of RTVs.

    Also even within the Northern area if someone is claiming with an 'Any Permitted' ticket then the compensation should allow purchase or part-purchase of another 'Any Permitted' ticket.
     
  11. jcollins

    jcollins Veteran Member

    Messages:
    30,528
    Joined:
    23 Jan 2009
    I did mention in the OP that they were also breaching their own passengers charter as well but didn't include it in the title. They are allowed to revise their own passengers charter as long as they offer above the minimum that NRCoC specifies. Most TOCs do state 25% of a return or 50% of a single in their passenger charters.

    The problem with the complimentary passes is they don't have a fixed value. Northern can argue they are worth more but what value do they have against an Advance single that involves a connection on a Northern service? Usually it's £1 or less.
     
  12. AlterEgo

    AlterEgo Veteran Member

    Messages:
    11,247
    Joined:
    30 Dec 2008
    Location:
    Milton Keynes
    The NRCoC does say TOCs can give you more extensive rights - I suppose the argument you quite validly make is that in some cases the pass won't be viewed as having the same value as travel vouchers.

    Hmm.
     
  13. jkdd77

    jkdd77 Member

    Messages:
    545
    Joined:
    16 Nov 2008
    I understand Megatrain-branded tickets don't give compensation (whether vouchers or otherwise) for delays- surely, this, too, is a breach of the NRCOC on the part of the TOCs concerned?

    The preamble of the NRCOC states: "...The Train Companies may not give you less extensive rights, except in the case of some types of reduced and discounted fare tickets where the relevant condition(s) specifically allow them to do so."

    I interpret this to be a reference to an Condition of the NRCOC specifically allowing them to give less extensive rights (e.g. Condition 16 on BoJ), rather than TOcs being allowed to exempt themselves from the NRCOC and give less extensive rights whenever they choose provided it is mentioned in the small print.
     
  14. AlterEgo

    AlterEgo Veteran Member

    Messages:
    11,247
    Joined:
    30 Dec 2008
    Location:
    Milton Keynes
    The Megatrain terms and conditions say that the NRCoC is amended by those terms, and that no compensation is payable on account of that.

    The version of the NRCoC you travel on under the NRCoC is different in this subtle regard, when travelling on a Megatrain ticket.
     
  15. jcollins

    jcollins Veteran Member

    Messages:
    30,528
    Joined:
    23 Jan 2009
    Megatrain branded tickets are for one operator only.

    I've looked in the Megatrain T&Cs and I think they are breaching not only NRCoC but also EU law.

    They state in the event of a cancellation you will get a refund or be allowed to travel on the next service with no compensation:
    http://uk.megabus.com/terms.aspx#megatrain

    If the next service is the next day and it's your return journey that's cancelled don't legally they have to pay for your overnight accommodation or pay to get you home another way? Ryanair tried to get out of doing this by declaring they only sold singles but the courts ruled if the return journey was paid for in the same transaction as the outward journey then it a return journey and not two singles.
     
  16. AlterEgo

    AlterEgo Veteran Member

    Messages:
    11,247
    Joined:
    30 Dec 2008
    Location:
    Milton Keynes
    I'm afraid you interpret it wrongly. The condition is quite clear in my mind...?
     
    Last edited: 16 Nov 2011
  17. Deerfold

    Deerfold Established Member

    Messages:
    9,534
    Joined:
    26 Nov 2009
    Location:
    Yorkshire
    One at a time, yes, but they're available on more than one operator.
     
  18. jcollins

    jcollins Veteran Member

    Messages:
    30,528
    Joined:
    23 Jan 2009
    One other thing I've just thought of with complimentary tickets, is what if your complimentary journey is delayed by over an hour? I doubt Northern will compensate someone travelling on a complimentary ticket.
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    Yes I was meaning it's, for instance, South West Trains only.
     
  19. AlterEgo

    AlterEgo Veteran Member

    Messages:
    11,247
    Joined:
    30 Dec 2008
    Location:
    Milton Keynes
    Compensation is paid out according to the price paid for the ticket.

    What's 25% of £0.00?

    :lol: ;)

    Also, there is no legally binding contract on a complimentary ticket, as the holder didn't pay for it and therefore no consideration has been given.
     
  20. jcollins

    jcollins Veteran Member

    Messages:
    30,528
    Joined:
    23 Jan 2009
    Exactly.

    If I had a £20 return and Northern's service caused me to arrive an hour late I should get £5 back. Instead I get I complimentary ticket.

    I then use the complimentary ticket for a journey costing £5.80 single and it looks like I've got an extra 80p back. However, there is then another one hour delay, so had I got the £5.80 ticket using a £5 voucher I should have got back another £3 in rail travel vouchers, instead I get nothing.
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    They've had a response back saying Northern now issue complimentary Northern only vouchers on lower value payouts because they believe they are of greater value. (I think by lower value they mean under £10)

    I suppose that depends how much you travel with Northern and how much you travel with other operators. If they offered delayed passengers a choice then it would be better for all passengers, but without knowing what journeys an individual will make I don't think their statement is that accurate.
     
  21. jkdd77

    jkdd77 Member

    Messages:
    545
    Joined:
    16 Nov 2008
    Appendix A (c) defines "Condition":
    http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/system/galleries/download/misc/NRCOC.pdf
    “Condition(s)” means these National Rail Conditions of Carriage;

    I would suggest that it is clear, at least to me, that the TOCs behind Megatrain have no right to unilaterally alter the NRCOC in this manner to deny rights to passengers, unless the NRCOC allows this.

    This also applies to charging a full undiscounted Single fare to a passenger who breaks their journey on a Megatrain ticket, when Condition 16 provides for payment of an excess fare where a passenger breaks their journey when not entitled to do so.

    Why on earth would the NRCOC contain a specific clause prohibiting TOCs from "giving less extensive rights" if it was intended by the writers to allow TOCs to do just this whenever they choose to, and to pick and choose which Conditions apply to them?

    By contrast, the break of journey restriction itself is entirely legitimate, because Condition 16 expressly permits this on reduced price tickets.

    A few months ago, two passengers were each given a PF by South West Trains (which the Megatrain rules at the time claimed to amend the NRCOC to allow for) for "finishing short" at Eastleigh on a Megatrain ticket to Southampton Central. As I understand it, they appealed against the PF, and won, at least partly on the grounds that the Megatrain rules were incompatible with the Penalty Fare Rules and Condition 16 of the NRCOC.

    The questions are not whether the claimed Megatrain 'amendments to the NRCOC' are clear in themselves, but rather whether they are compatible with franchise obligations to respect the NRCOC unless permitted to deviate, and whether the said 'amendments to the NRCOC' on Megatrain tickets are compatible with UK and EU consumer protection law.
     
    Last edited: 16 Nov 2011
  22. AlterEgo

    AlterEgo Veteran Member

    Messages:
    11,247
    Joined:
    30 Dec 2008
    Location:
    Milton Keynes
    They absolutely do have the right - the NRCoC allows TOCs to give less extensive rights in the case of discounted tickets. Such as Megatrain.

    In answer to your question, yes, the NRCoC can legitimately be amended if you are travelling on a Megatrain ticket.

    The term "condition" appears in lower case to (well in my view) distinguish it from Condition (capitalised) - which related to "these Conditions of Carriage". Clearly the sentence would make no sense if this was not the case. It just contradicts itself otherwise.

    I believe you're splitting hairs. ;)
     
  23. island

    island Established Member

    Messages:
    9,901
    Joined:
    30 Dec 2010
    Location:
    0036
    The law you're thinking of applies to air transport, not trains.
     
  24. jcollins

    jcollins Veteran Member

    Messages:
    30,528
    Joined:
    23 Jan 2009
    I thought it applied to all forms of transport not exclusively air travel. I'm sure someone posted a link to the EU law on here before.
     
  25. AlterEgo

    AlterEgo Veteran Member

    Messages:
    11,247
    Joined:
    30 Dec 2008
    Location:
    Milton Keynes
    Actually I think a good point has been made by jcollins -

    http://ec.europa.eu/youreurope/citizens/travel/passenger-rights/rail/index_en.htm

    Quite an interesting read...
     
  26. jcollins

    jcollins Veteran Member

    Messages:
    30,528
    Joined:
    23 Jan 2009
  27. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

    Messages:
    39,263
    Joined:
    6 Jun 2005
    Location:
    Yorkshire
    We still don't know the price of the ticket that was paid for, but it's becoming increasingly likely that the £200 example may in fact be very far removed from the value of the ticket in this case and we're talking a very small amount. In which case it is likely that for most people free Northern travel for a day is a better deal. It would be most disappointing if, as a result, Northern abolish this offer and the majority end up losing out!

    I do think that Northern should be giving out vouchers to the minimum they are required to give (they can of course give out more) in the event of a customer rejecting the offer of a free day out on Northern if unsuitable for the customer (e.g. not living in the Northern area), which would be for a minority of cases. Most trips on Northern would be low-value, low-mileage and the free Northern voucher as compensation in most cases would more than compensate the customer and much better for most than getting something like £1 back on a ticket that only cost a few quid.
     
  28. island

    island Established Member

    Messages:
    9,901
    Joined:
    30 Dec 2010
    Location:
    0036
  29. supervalkoinen

    supervalkoinen Member

    Messages:
    175
    Joined:
    21 Sep 2010
  30. 142094

    142094 Established Member

    Messages:
    8,780
    Joined:
    7 Nov 2009
    Location:
    Newcastle
    Probably not. Same as the free pass given out to station adopters - this is a complimentary pass but you are specifically denied the right to claim on delayed journeys.
     
  31. bignosemac

    bignosemac Established Member

    Messages:
    4,824
    Joined:
    12 Oct 2009
    Hang on. let me get my calculator out..... :lol:
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    You make a valid point there, yorkie.

    But I think the decision as to what to accept by way of compensation should rest with the passenger, not the TOC. In the absence of an informed decision by the passenger the default should be RTVs. Northern can, by all means, make the case that their offer of a day pass represents better value. But as others have pointed out, it's very hard to ascribe a notional value to a complimentary TOC only pass. It is, in my opinion, a dangerous precedent being set by Northern, and could be used by other TOCs to reduce the financial burden they face when offering compensation. Particularly when you factor in the minimum compensation that the DfT now require new franchises to offer, ie, Delay Repay. I'd rather see 'Delay Repay' continue and once all TOC franchises have to offer it then the NRCoC should be amended to reflect this.
     
    Last edited: 17 Nov 2011
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page