Northern ticket machine woes (hypothetical)

Discussion in 'Disputes & Prosecutions' started by vidal, 9 Jan 2019.

  1. John Kennedy

    John Kennedy New Member

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    Similar situation happened to me - the TVM wouldn't allow me to select my railcard on the screen, when I pressed it nothing happened but the other railcard buttons did work. Conductor on board didn't have a machine to sell tickets with him so requested me to purchase one at Preston. Was stopped on the way to the ticket office and issued a penalty fare notice for not having a ticket.
     
  2. Andrew Nelson

    Andrew Nelson Member

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    Northern are quite happy to put up posters that give out misleading information, or even downright lies.

    Many of the stations that display notices informing of fines for not obtaining "promise to pay" dockets, don't have machines with that option.
     
  3. Andrew Nelson

    Andrew Nelson Member

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    Do Northern's Ticket Machines (The ones carried by Conductors) issue "Duo"?
    As they certainly didn't originally. (or Plusbus or many rovers or....)
     
  4. vidal

    vidal Member

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    I'm not sure, as we didn't see a conductor that day. I don't travel much on the railways at the moment, and when I do it is as a leisure pursuit rather than for work. I don't seem to be the only one who struggled with the TVMs - is this some kind of cunning revenue raising plot by Northern? Or are they trying to lose their franchise by driving away passengers?

    James.
     
  5. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Member

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    That said, when I had trouble with one of the new TVMs last year (after I paid, the machine printed half of our tickets then spent 2-3 minutes frozen on the "printing 3 of 4" message before changing to an out-of-order message) the fact I had recorded a video of these problems on my phone was dismissed as zero evidence by the Northern employee I approached for help in the nearby ticket office. Fortunately the employee on the train we subsequently boarded was more than happy to accept it as evidence of our story and permit us to buy on-board.

    The Hexham and Corbridge machines certainly didn't last time I checked.

    On a related note, last time I passed through Haltwistle I noticed that the TVM there is a) very easy to miss or take for an electronic information board b) positioned near a printed sign telling passengers to buy tickets on-board the train. One wonders how many people get caught out by this....
     
  6. ForTheLoveOf

    ForTheLoveOf Established Member

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    If there's a sign saying you can buy on board, there's no obligation to use any ticketing facilities that are provided - you have an absolute "exemption" from the usual Byelaw 18, RoRA and NRCoT provisions.
     
  7. joke2711

    joke2711 Member

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    I noticed this morning at Rainford station that there was a penalty fare notice on entrance to the Liverpool bound platform. I don't know how long it has been there .. but it does say that if you don't have a valid ticket or a promise to pay notice, then you can be issued a Penalty Fare.

    As there is no ticket machine on either platform and a reliance on the conductor to get to you in the 7 minutes to Kirkby, what would happen (hypothetically) if I got on the Merseyrail (5 minute connection) and was revenue checked before I reached the ticket office at Manor Road?
     
  8. Andrew Nelson

    Andrew Nelson Member

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    I think that covers Wakefield Kirkgate then.
     
  9. ForTheLoveOf

    ForTheLoveOf Established Member

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    Well, that really takes the biscuit, doesn't it - making a station with no ticketing facilities at all (according to NRE and according to you) a Penalty Fares station!

    If there are no ticketing facilities at your origin then you categorically cannot be issued with a Penalty Fare. Doesn't matter how many signs you do or don't pass, doesn't matter whether you pass ticketing facilities en-route.

    Of course, avoiding available ticketing facilities en-route could be read by some as intent to avoid payment of the fare, i.e. a RoRA offence, but that is distinct from simply not having time to use them (without risking a delay to your journey). And there would never be a question of a Byelaws offence, due to the lack of ticketing facilities at Rainford.
     
  10. joke2711

    joke2711 Member

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    That is reassuring but I wouldn't expect Merseyrail revenue protection to be "sympathetic" .. I guess it is all part of the fun of travelling on the Railway!
     
  11. ForTheLoveOf

    ForTheLoveOf Established Member

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    They can be unsympathetic if they like, but if they don't understand the rules (and the difference between origin stations that are Penalty Fare-able, and which aren't, is a pretty fundamental part of the rules!), then they are not fit to be doing their job. Of course there will be those out there who are blissfully unaware of their own ignorance...
     
  12. joke2711

    joke2711 Member

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    Image-1.jpg

    This is the sign displayed at Rainford Station ...
     
  13. joke2711

    joke2711 Member

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    This morning I had my first problem since starting this commute.

    The Guard on the 0758 Rainford to Kirkby service didn't get to my seat to allow the purchase of a ticket.
    On arrival at Kirkby and bearing in mind there is a 5 min connection for Merseyrail, I walked through the train to the Guard and asked if he could sell me a ticket to Manor Road from Rainford, as I didn't want to onward travel in a PF area without a valid ticket.
    The reply was "I have to move to the other end of the train so I haven't got time" and with that he went.

    With no time to climb the steps and queue at Kirkby, I boarded the Merseyrail Service to Liverpool Central and used the down escalator to the Wirral Line. As this train was on time ... i caught a the New Brighton service and changed at Birkenhead North where to some bemusement of the ticket office I asked for my Rainford - Manor Road return and happily paid my £7.80 fare.

    Really is poor that you should be left traveliing knowing that at any time a Revenue Inspector might pounce and not believe you. It would have taken the guard 30 seconds to sell me a ticket ... shocking!
     
  14. ForTheLoveOf

    ForTheLoveOf Established Member

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    No need to be that apprehensive about it, though of course emotions aren't something that can just be rationally controlled! If, as NRE shows, there are no ticketing facilities at Rainford, it doesn't matter how many signs or schemes Merseyrail have - they are a part of National Rail and you are entitled to buy your ticket at the first available opportunity. If that isn't until you get to your destination, or considerably into your journey, that isn't your concern.

    If any Inspectors "don't believe" you then of course they aren't competent to be doing their job, but cooperate at the time and fight it later.
     
  15. farleigh

    farleigh Member

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    I am not an expert on ticketing and am in awe of the knowledge of many on here.
    I am reasonably savvy in general but ticketing seems so complex.
    There must be many people who are totally bemused by the complexity and do not understand the rules leading to incorrect fares and penalty fares etc.
    Not really right is it?
     
  16. ForTheLoveOf

    ForTheLoveOf Established Member

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    Not right, of course, but who is really going to hold the TOCs to account?! Since the (metaphorical) death of the Rail Regulator, no-one, really. The Office of Rail and Road has even had the word "Regulation" removed from its name a few years ago - appropriate, perhaps (even if done for different reasons!) as they don't seem to give a damn about regulating TOCs that are, in many cases, in breach of a wide number of obligations and requirements incumbent upon them. They only seem to care about the safety side of things. Consumer affairs might as well not be in their jurisdiction for all the use they make of their powers.
     
  17. Hadders

    Hadders Established Member

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    The fares system is complex but you have to remember that we have over 2,500 stations. Even if we just had Anytime and Off Peak single and return tickets plus 1st class variants we'd have millions of different possibilities. Add in Advance fares and TOC specific fares and it's not difficult to see where the confusion comes from.

    If fares are simplified it will result in huge increases in fares.
     
  18. ForTheLoveOf

    ForTheLoveOf Established Member

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    I don't think it's about the sheer number of fares out there. As you say, that is an inevitable outcome of having so many stations, and a point-to-point fare for almost any combination of stations. It's the number of possible fares for any given station-to-station combination that's confusing for many people. They go up to a ticket machine and want a ticket so they can just get on a train, in the same way they could if they were using a smartcard of some description in the London area. I've seen it first-hand, many times.

    Obviously, a lot of that can be solved by using a journey planner based ticket machine system, like LNER have done, with the choice between that and choosing your fare first. So you could have "let me choose the train I want", or "let me choose the fare I want".
     
  19. Hadders

    Hadders Established Member

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    That's true but even for a straightforward point to point journey you'll likely see the following:

    Anytime Day Single
    Anytime Day Return
    Off Peak Day Single
    Off Peak Day Return
    Off Peak Return
    1st Anytime Day Single
    1st Anytime Day Return
    1st Off Peak Day Single
    1st Off Peak Day Return
    1st Off Peak Return

    That's 10 fares before even think about Super Off Peak, different routes, TOC only tickets or Advance. Then for stations near to London add in Travelcard variants of many of the above.

    What is the solution?

    Abolish return fares and move to single leg pricing. Great as long as passengers do not end up paying more than they currently do, although if this happens I suspect there'll effectively be a big price increase.

    Abolish Super Off Peak tickets, routes with cheaper tickets (eg via High Wycombe), TOC only tickets and Advance. Fine, as it removes loads of tickets so simplifies things but these tickets represent some of the best value tickets. Abolish them and it's a massive price increase.

    There is no simple answer. Make no mistake, simplification means price increases.
     
  20. ForTheLoveOf

    ForTheLoveOf Established Member

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    I don't disagree, but I think single leg pricing is already going to be a major help. At a stroke you'd change all that to 4 fares, Anytime and Off-Peak for Standard and First Class. And like I say, if you offer itinerary-based ticket retailing, like the online retailers have been doing for two odd decades, then the complexity of the fare structure is much reduced, if not entirely eliminated.
     
  21. Hadders

    Hadders Established Member

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    It'll help reduce the number of fares but it'll result in large fares increases for Off Peak travel which is why we need to be very wary.

    Consider Stevenage - London Terminals. Current fares are:

    Anytime Day Single £15.10
    Anytime Day Return £22.70
    Off Peak Day Return £17.90 (no evening restrictions)
    Off Peak Return £28.90 (short evening restrictions)

    There aren't any Off Peak Day or Off Peak Singles

    I suspect single leg fares would be something like:

    Peak £11.40
    Off Peak £9.20 (I doubt it'll be half the Off Peak Day Return as the TOC will want to make up a bit of the premium they charge for the Off Peak Return)

    Anyone travelling there and back in the peaks will be ok. They'll pay the same as they do now.
    Anyone travelling out and back at Off Peak times would pay a bit more
    Anyone travelling out after the morning peak but returning in the evening peak will pay significantly more.

    Many off peak passengers from my local station use Network Railcards which have a £13 minimum fare. Will the minimum fare be reduced if we get single leg pricing - I very much doubt it, rendering the railcard useless and significantly increasing the cost of travel.

    Single leg pricing sounds great, it will simplify fares but at a cost of large fare increases.
     
  22. ForTheLoveOf

    ForTheLoveOf Established Member

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    Oh of course, it is about the principle. Having just one direction of fares to worry about simplifies things a lot. The level of those fares is what must be kept under close scrutiny (but unfortunately I fear that disproportionate increases will happen notwithstanding our protestations).
     
  23. Llanigraham

    Llanigraham On Moderation

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    So you are happy that this will potentially lead to substantially increased fares?
     
  24. 33117

    33117 Member

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    I know it's to stop them being broken into & vandalised but it's an annoyance that the northern ticket machines are card only.

    & as well when will the ticket barriers at piccadilly accept through tickets that have a QR code printed on? Becoming annoying that you have to show the gateline staff your ticket who are getting a bit brassed off with being moaned at for the barrier problems.
     
  25. vidal

    vidal Member

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    Sadly, another bump of an old topic. My partner and her sister wanted to travel from Euxton Balshaw Lane (EBA) to Liverpool earlier this week, with the Duo fare showing at £20.80. Sadly, the machine is still not able to sell Duo tickets.

    On arrival at Liverpool they went, with several others from EBA to the Northern desk to pay for their tickets. Old lady in front of them had to pay the full price fare, despite her telling the staff that she couldn't get the TVM to sell her a ticket with an old person's rail card, my partner and her sister were forced to pay full fare, the couple behind may have had the same problem.

    Three sets of passengers from the same station, all wanting to pay and being unable to do so because of the poor design of the machines or a lack of the full range of tickets.

    To be fair, the ticket staff did say to download the app and buy the ticket there and then, but my partner's phone is full and won't download any apps and her sister has no data in this country - she lives abroad.

    A dreadful way to run a railway.

    James
     
  26. najaB

    najaB Veteran Member

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    While this is unfortunate and shouldn't have happened, I hope it will be relatively painless to get a refund of the extra amount that your partner was forced to pay.
     
  27. js1000

    js1000 Member

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    Wish train operating companies would stop trying to put the onus on passengers and assuming everyone has access to or knows how to purchase tickets on their mobile phone. Long term it's just a profiteering measure to reduce ticket machine maintenance and put manned ticket offices out of business. Passengers will not benefit in anyway.
     
  28. najaB

    najaB Veteran Member

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    So there is zero benefit in being able to purchase tickets other than at a ticket office or TVM?
     
  29. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    I'd switch if someone offered an e-ticket (NOT m-ticket) app that wasn't horribly cack-handed to use to the point that it's quicker to use a TVM. Accepting Google Pay via fingerprint authentication is a key requirement - entering card details on a phone is extremely awkward and makes the purchase slower than a TVM.

    The break of journey bug also needs fixing as I often break my journey and do not want to be refused where it is permitted by the ticket but wrongly showing on the e-ticket.
     
  30. Josie

    Josie Member

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    Slightly piggybacking this thread as I think it's a broadly similar hypothetical.

    The TfGM 'accompanied child' 80p rail fare (discussed previously on these forums and subsequently in the press) is still not available at TVMs, as far as I know.

    If an adult and child pair start their single journey at a station with a TVM but no ticket office, what's the best way to buy their ticket? Can the adult buy their own single fare from the TVM and then board without a child ticket (so that they can buy on board)? Would a Promise To Pay be at all relevant here? It's another case of "only partial retailing facilities available" and I can't work out what the 'right' thing is for the passenger to do.
     

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