Northern Ticket Machine Update Issues

xotGD

Established Member
Joined
4 Feb 2017
Messages
2,791
The issues I've experienced or witnessed other people experience is generally the user interface being unclear, confusing, complicated and long winded. There are also problems with the touch screen being unresponsive and the help button not doing anything. I've also seen a machine refuse to issue prebooked tickets as the card inserted doesn't match the one on the booking - unhelpful when an employer has booked the ticket.

So the buying a ticket process. Keep in mind that a station TVM is generally used for immediate travel.

1 - there is a list of "popular products" to choose from. In the case of the machine at Dore & Totley, a single to Sheffield is listed but a return isn't. I've seen new rail users buy a single then pay the difference to a return on the train as they thought you couldn't get a return from the machine.
2 - you have to press "other tickets"
3 - you then get a list of popular destinations. You have to press "other destinations" to get to the a-z search function.
4 - It gives you a form to fill in on the left of the screen, however the actual buttons are on the right hand side of the screen. Its a big screen and you don't always spot that the first time you use it.
5 - having selected the destination, it asks you if you want to travel now, later or another day
6 - it then makes you do a journey planner enquiry, although it will not quote any train due to depart in less than 5 minutes time. Therefore if you try and buy a ticket at 0820 for an 0824 departure it will not allow you to.
7 - it then asks if you want to return the same day or within a month.
8 - if you select "within a month" and only day return tickets exist, the vending process simply fails
9 - it then makes you do a return journey plan, even if you are buying an open ticket and don't know what time you will return
10 - it then offers you the choice of tickets
11- you are then asks if you want to make a seat reservation, even if the facility doesn't exist.
12 - it finally allows you to put the ticket in a shopping basket
13 - you can then pay for the contents of the shopping basket.
You missed out the final question: Do you want a receipt?

No, but after that experience I could do with the number for The Samaritans!
 
Sponsor Post - registered members do not see these adverts; click here to register, or click here to log in
R

RailUK Forums

Killingworth

Established Member
Joined
30 May 2018
Messages
2,088
Location
Sheffield
The issues I've experienced or witnessed other people experience is generally the user interface being unclear, confusing, complicated and long winded. There are also problems with the touch screen being unresponsive and the help button not doing anything. I've also seen a machine refuse to issue prebooked tickets as the card inserted doesn't match the one on the booking - unhelpful when an employer has booked the ticket.

So the buying a ticket process. Keep in mind that a station TVM is generally used for immediate travel.

1 - there is a list of "popular products" to choose from. In the case of the machine at Dore & Totley, a single to Sheffield is listed but a return isn't. I've seen new rail users buy a single then pay the difference to a return on the train as they thought you couldn't get a return from the machine.
2 - you have to press "other tickets"
3 - you then get a list of popular destinations. You have to press "other destinations" to get to the a-z search function.
4 - It gives you a form to fill in on the left of the screen, however the actual buttons are on the right hand side of the screen. Its a big screen and you don't always spot that the first time you use it.
5 - having selected the destination, it asks you if you want to travel now, later or another day
6 - it then makes you do a journey planner enquiry, although it will not quote any train due to depart in less than 5 minutes time. Therefore if you try and buy a ticket at 0820 for an 0824 departure it will not allow you to.
7 - it then asks if you want to return the same day or within a month.
8 - if you select "within a month" and only day return tickets exist, the vending process simply fails
9 - it then makes you do a return journey plan, even if you are buying an open ticket and don't know what time you will return
10 - it then offers you the choice of tickets
11- you are then asks if you want to make a seat reservation, even if the facility doesn't exist.
12 - it finally allows you to put the ticket in a shopping basket
13 - you can then pay for the contents of the shopping basket.
You've omitted the multiple options for railcard and other discounts, some with time limitations. There must be about 20 possibilities.
 

sheff1

Established Member
Joined
24 Dec 2009
Messages
4,688
Location
Sheffield
Is it not feasible to have tow different ways of purchasing your ticket, one if you require an AP purchase ticket or which to do things such as reserve seats or buy a PlusBus & another menu that simply bypasses that and allows you to quickly purchase your ticket?
Sam
It should be perfectly feasible with an appropriately specified system.

I have probably bought tickets from the TVMs operated by 15 or so TOCs. The new Northern ones take much longer than average .... as well as the mutiple unecessary steps, it dosen't help that the screen is so big it is difficult to scan quickly to find the correct button.
 

Bletchleyite

Veteran Member
Joined
20 Oct 2014
Messages
51,557
Location
Up and down the south WCML (mostly)
I have probably bought tickets from the TVMs operated by 15 or so TOCs. The new Northern ones take much longer than average .... as well as the mutiple unecessary steps, it dosen't help that the screen in so big that it is difficult to scan quickly to find the correct button.
I agree about the big screens - they are a pointless and difficult to read gimmick. Having a relatively low (so usable by a wheelchair user or a child) but angled upwards 14" ish screen as per most Scheidt & Bachmann machines seems to work best. And the least said about the GWR large screen machines where you have to squat on the floor to use the card machine (it's about a foot off the ground) the better - at least it's more sensibly positioned on the Northern ones.
 

sheff1

Established Member
Joined
24 Dec 2009
Messages
4,688
Location
Sheffield
And the least said about the GWR large screen machines where you have to squat on the floor to use the card machine (it's about a foot off the ground) the better - at least it's more sensibly positioned on the Northern ones.
I haven't used a large GWR one (the older ones are/were? fine) ..... sounds like probably best to keep it that way !
 

Bletchleyite

Veteran Member
Joined
20 Oct 2014
Messages
51,557
Location
Up and down the south WCML (mostly)
I haven't used a large GWR one (the older ones are/were? fine) ..... sounds like probably best to keep it that way !
Quite. The fundamental problem with this kind of design is that they make the assumption that disabled=wheelchair. This is sort of fine when it comes to toilet facilities and ramps/lifts, because those things are not negative to anyone and are useful to those with prams, luggage and the likes. But if you design everything (cash machines, ticket machines etc) with everything low down, they become unusable to what you might term "ambulant disabled" e.g. older people - and there are far, far more of those than there are wheelchair users. And hugely complex UIs and screen layouts make things hard for people with mental/learning type disabilities.
 

janb

Member
Joined
16 Jul 2008
Messages
473
Is it not feasible to have tow different ways of purchasing your ticket, one if you require an AP purchase ticket or which to do things such as reserve seats or buy a PlusBus & another menu that simply bypasses that and allows you to quickly purchase your ticket?
Sam
Yes that would be the ideal. The complication lies in a) the creation/existence of Advance Purchase on the day tickets, and b) the commitment made that TVMs will offer the lowest fare.
 

YorksDMU

Member
Joined
5 Jul 2019
Messages
161
Location
Beverley
I had a query about a ticket purchase which I was able to get answered by the lovely lady in Beverley station booking office. I’m travelling to Hull on Wednesday, but the time of day makes it so that I will have to use the TVM - there’s a shift change between 13.15 and 13.30. I was informed that the TVM, in the booking hall is out of use, and has been since last Wednesday. I looked at it and there is a notice on it to that effect.
I then asked about the situation if the TVM on the up Hull platform is out of use, and, of course, I would be able to purchase a ticket on the train.
I’m left wondering if Northern will ever get the issues with these machines sorted out. If it’s not the software, it’s the hardware.
 

Bletchleyite

Veteran Member
Joined
20 Oct 2014
Messages
51,557
Location
Up and down the south WCML (mostly)
If there is no opportunity to purchase a ticket at your origin (the ticket office is not open AND there are no working TVMs on the station at all) you may pay on board or at your destination, yes, or at an interchange point if there is time but you do not have to miss a connection to do this.

You do have to use a TVM on another platform if present and working.
 

thejuggler

Member
Joined
8 Jan 2016
Messages
758
Another day, another abandoned attempt due to someone trying to use the machine for the first time.

List of services shown, wouldn’t accept a press on any of the services.

We tried for 8 minutes to buy a ticket. No idea if he was successful as I had to leave ticketless as my train was due.
 

DaveB10780

Member
Joined
10 Sep 2015
Messages
154
A quiz how many button presses to buy a return ticket with railcard from furness vale to manchester. Answer about 20
Manchester not on fast buttons
List to select from 4 goes before I click the right line
Add railcard
When am I travelling
Which train out and back
Plus bus
Reserve seats really ....... please fix this
Routing via stockport ok
Payment
Receipt
This is complete and utter rubbish and my finger now hurts.
NEVER AGAIN
 

DaveB10780

Member
Joined
10 Sep 2015
Messages
154
Interestingly I bought a weekly season for my daughter with 3 big button taps. Only issue there was at 2000 in the evening I could not buy a ticket starting the next day. This is perfectly valid so why not allow select next day. Anxious travellers like to be prepared.
 

Kaydee

Member
Joined
3 Dec 2016
Messages
7
A quiz how many button presses to buy a return ticket with railcard from furness vale to manchester. Answer about 20
Manchester not on fast buttons
List to select from 4 goes before I click the right line
Add railcard
When am I travelling
Which train out and back
Plus bus
Reserve seats really ....... please fix this
Routing via stockport ok
Payment
Receipt
This is complete and utter rubbish and my finger now hurts.
NEVER AGAIN
I wholehearted agree, having the same experience at Disley last week. It took me 3 minutes to buy a return to York, and that was with some experience of how the wretched interface works. As a retired IT professional who once worked on system usability I feel qualified to venture the opinion that the TVM interface is an abomination. At least it didn't ask me for my mother's maiden name before it letting me into the basket! Intelligent most certainly not!
 

Killingworth

Established Member
Joined
30 May 2018
Messages
2,088
Location
Sheffield
Is there any that work these days?
"Work" is a difficult description. Our one machine works most of the time. That may not be what a passenger tells a guard on the train.

It takes so long for an inexperienced user that 5 or 6 others may not have time to get a ticket before the train arrives.

"It doesn't work for me" is possibly a truer explanation, and those in the queue may report it's out of order.

However the machine is sensitive. If a debit/credit card is left in the slot for too long the machine will resent the intrusion and may close down. It may then reset itself automatically, but that may take 2 or 3 critical minutes. In theory it should be automatic, but there are a range of reasons why the machine can close. If whoever controls it notices it can often be reset/rebooted in minutes. There may be some conditions that will trigger an automatic reboot, but it's too slow. Too often nobody centrally seems to notice and it stays shut until one of us phones or tweets to tell them.
 

js1000

Member
Joined
14 Jun 2014
Messages
846
But if you design everything (cash machines, ticket machines etc) with everything low down, they become unusable to what you might term "ambulant disabled" e.g. older people - and there are far, far more of those than there are wheelchair users. And hugely complex UIs and screen layouts make things hard for people with mental/learning type disabilities.
Quite. In terms of usability the ticket interface is an absolute disgrace. On the couple of occasions I have tried to buy and ticket from the machine and given up I think there is no way in a million years my grandmother would be able to buy a ticket from that. In a era where the DfT and train companies are looking to minimise manned ticket offices that's clearly not acceptable.

Fundamental to my everyday job is demonstrating a duty of care and reasonable skill. The individuals who thought this user interface was good and somehow acceptable should be embarrassed. No duty of care has been exercised in producing this overly complicated user interface and many elderly (less technologically savvy) or those who are less able will have no chance in working these machines.

Nor has reasonable skill has been exercised that even the user interface is simple enough for those who would consider themselves technologically savvy! Not acceptable. But then we have train that are not accessible so maybe it's not so irrational that the railway industry seem to thinks it is above the law when it comes to accessibility.
 

DaveB10780

Member
Joined
10 Sep 2015
Messages
154
Quite. In terms of usability the ticket interface is an absolute disgrace. On the couple of occasions I have tried to buy and ticket from the machine and given up I think there is no way in a million years my grandmother would be able to buy a ticket from that. In a era where the DfT and train companies are looking to minimise manned ticket offices that's clearly not acceptable.

Fundamental to my everyday job is demonstrating a duty of care and reasonable skill. The individuals who thought this user interface was good and somehow acceptable should be embarrassed. No duty of care has been exercised in producing this overly complicated user interface and many elderly (less technologically savvy) or those who are less able will have no chance in working these machines.

Nor has reasonable skill has been exercised that even the user interface is simple enough for those who would consider themselves technologically savvy! Not acceptable. But then we have train that are not accessible so maybe it's not so irrational that the railway industry seem to thinks it is above the law when it comes to accessibility.
The effect of varifocal glasses should also be considered since does tend to take screen areas out of focus. However the hardest by far for me was selecting from a list of stations, I actually selected the line above 4 times before success and there was no back button I could see at that point just back to home. The analogy to me is like playing Snakes and Ladders without having any of the latter.
 

_toommm_

Established Member
Joined
8 Jul 2017
Messages
3,157
Location
Leeds
I've got to say the design of the recessed contactless pad is absolutely awful - getting it to communicate with my rather large phone is a pain in the backside, and I often fail to get a connection at all...
 

R G NOW.

On Moderation
Joined
25 Jan 2019
Messages
395
Location
gloucester
Having read the first post, I cannot believe people are having problems with machines. All I can say is, the GWR ones are a breeze, You touch the screen and get a list of available tickets, then click on Cheltenham Spa ANYTIME DAY RTN, and press a complete button, then it askes to insert card or scan it and tickets print, lovely.
 

xotGD

Established Member
Joined
4 Feb 2017
Messages
2,791
Having read the first post, I cannot believe people are having problems with machines. All I can say is, the GWR ones are a breeze, You touch the screen and get a list of available tickets, then click on Cheltenham Spa ANYTIME DAY RTN, and press a complete button, then it askes to insert card or scan it and tickets print, lovely.
Please try buying the same ticket at a Northern machine and let us know how you get on!
 

ALEMASTER

Member
Joined
18 Aug 2011
Messages
135
Having read the first post, I cannot believe people are having problems with machines. All I can say is, the GWR ones are a breeze, You touch the screen and get a list of available tickets, then click on Cheltenham Spa ANYTIME DAY RTN, and press a complete button, then it askes to insert card or scan it and tickets print, lovely.
Ah well you see on the Northern ones it won't give you a list of tickets until you've told it what time train you are getting there and back...
 

SteveM70

Member
Joined
11 Jul 2018
Messages
483
Ah well you see on the Northern ones it won't give you a list of tickets until you've told it what time train you are getting there and back...
Exactly! Surely even Northern realise that the price of the ticket might inform the choice of at least the return train (I’m being generous and assuming people using these machines are at the station and want to start the outward journey asap)
 

Kaydee

Member
Joined
3 Dec 2016
Messages
7
Bought a return to Manchester today from Stockport using a Virgin machine - heaven! less than 1 minute including entering card PIN etc.(and selecting which of the 12 or so available tickets, but that's another story) Previous time using Northern machine - 3 minutes and considerably raised blood pressure...........)
 

exesoundtech

Member
Joined
15 Sep 2018
Messages
57
Bought a return to Manchester today from Stockport using a Virgin machine - heaven! less than 1 minute including entering card PIN etc.(and selecting which of the 12 or so available tickets, but that's another story) Previous time using Northern machine - 3 minutes and considerably raised blood pressure...........)
Of course, the other story may actually be a key part of the story here. Those 12 or so available tickets (which are, of course, daft) are likely part of the reasoning behind the interface on the new Northern machines. While the VT machine is quick if you know which ticket you need, if you don't know how would you work it out? Faced with all those options, most passengers not "in the know" will likely buy the £4.10 any permitted single to be "on the safe side". When I played with them, this seems to be the purpose of the train selection. I've noticed that if you chose a ticket rather than a train it greys out the trains you can't use - so on Stockport to Manchester you'd have a chance to use the TfW only £2.30 single if you happened to be there at the right time! ;)
 

exesoundtech

Member
Joined
15 Sep 2018
Messages
57
Of course, the other story may actually be a key part of the story here. Those 12 or so available tickets (which are, of course, daft) are likely part of the reasoning behind the interface on the new Northern machines. While the VT machine is quick if you know which ticket you need, if you don't know how would you work it out? Faced with all those options, most passengers not "in the know" will likely buy the £4.10 any permitted single to be "on the safe side". When I played with them, this seems to be the purpose of the train selection. I've noticed that if you chose a ticket rather than a train it greys out the trains you can't use - so on Stockport to Manchester you'd have a chance to use the TfW only £2.30 single if you happened to be there at the right time! ;)
The full horror of the daftness being illustrated by this snippet of a Trainline search for next Sunday afternoon:

Capture.JPG
 

Jozhua

Member
Joined
6 Jan 2019
Messages
989
Salford Crescent machines appear to be having much worse touch registration than Manchester Victoria machines.

I'm guessing the touch calibration varies across the board? My guess is that some machines have always been a bit off perhaps, but the new software requires more accurate presses so has brought the issue to light.

I'd guess they're built to be sturdy and cheap, rather than massively accurate, which is fine, as long as the user interface is designed to compensate, with nice big software buttons/keyboards rather than more fiddly stuff.
 

northernman

Member
Joined
19 Jul 2012
Messages
85
Good morning all. Apologies for radio silence from me on this for a few weeks. We are progressing some screen changes with the supplier, based on your feedback, and that of customers, stakeholders and staff. By the end of this week all 'quick select' screens (the first screen with the top 10 most commonly requested journey/ticket combo will be updated. We will also remove the reservation question, therefore reservations apply only to tickets where the condition is mandatory. Still lots more to do, and further updates to follow when I can confirm dates and changes.

Ian Borthwick
Retail Systems Manager, Northern Rail
 

DC2001

Member
Joined
4 Aug 2019
Messages
90
Good morning all. Apologies for radio silence from me on this for a few weeks. We are progressing some screen changes with the supplier, based on your feedback, and that of customers, stakeholders and staff. By the end of this week all 'quick select' screens (the first screen with the top 10 most commonly requested journey/ticket combo will be updated. We will also remove the reservation question, therefore reservations apply only to tickets where the condition is mandatory. Still lots more to do, and further updates to follow when I can confirm dates and changes.

Ian Borthwick
Retail Systems Manager, Northern Rail
I actually quite like the reservation system, particularly if making a longer distance trip as it does save having to visit a ticket office before returning.
Will the 'Quick tickets' screen be full with 10 tickets at each station? Currently some only seem to have a couple of 'quick tickets' listed.
 

Top