Northern to introduce a Penalty fare scheme

Discussion in 'Fares Advice & Policy' started by 185, 3 Nov 2017.

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  1. furlong

    furlong Established Member

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    No - if the Authorised Collector is unsure, they should not issue the Penalty Fare. The company should provide all its Authorised Collectors with accurate up-to-date information (or a quick way to check) so that these situations do not arise.
     
  2. furlong

    furlong Established Member

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    From the old rules (SRA Policy document):
    So (repeatedly) issuing PFs in these circumstances would have provided grounds for the DfT to suspend the scheme (in respect of the unstaffed stations concerned).
     
  3. Starmill

    Starmill Events Co-ordinator

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    Oh I see! Thanks :)
     
  4. Bantamzen

    Bantamzen Established Member

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    Shipley is a bit of an oddity, its surprisingly easy to get around revenue checks from certain platforms with most having two or more exit points including through the ticket hall from P3. I too am not overly concerned at a few incidents, so long as Northern seek to tackle the issue and make the information available. Something as simple as a text message to revenue officers saying they are aware of any TVMs that are down, or dedicated number to call in queries in the absence of a more technical solution. Where I would be concerned is if this became a very regular occurrence, and that passengers could directly and/or indirectly show that they indeed had no opportunity to buy a ticket.

    As above I agree, and the solutions are not particularly difficult.

    Yes, under now defunct rules there would have been a potential for these grounds where the problem became persistent. How much influence DfT will have now remains to be seen. However in this day & age customer opinions of a TOC can be swayed a lot more easily with the use of social media. If lots of people take to Twitter to complain about any future issues like this, no TOC including Northen can hide from it. I've used company Twitter accounts on many occasions to resolve issues with accounts I hold with companies, and it is amazing how quickly a bit of (well earned) negative feedback can prompt a company into action where phone calls, letters & emails all fail. (nPower, I'm looking at you in particular!!)
     
  5. Starmill

    Starmill Events Co-ordinator

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    What counts as 'logged' out of service? If you select a ticket and insert your card, and the machine's screen then goes blank, does that get logged as out of service? This has happened to me many times the light on top of the machine remains green but it is not possible to buy a ticket. What about if there's a power issue (as I believe has affected Saltburn recently) and the machine and the light is off? What about if the machine is working normally but gets stuck on this screen, again with the green light still on?

    And what about, crucially, if the ticket you want is unavailable from the machine? If you want to buy a West Yorkshire Train Dayrover with a card and you start at Steeton & Silsden, what then?

    This, in general, is the opposite of how any other Penalty Fare scheme works. However, now that the government have apparently rolled over and removed all of the protections for customers from being treated in the way that you describe, it would seem that this is now possibly legal (although reprehensible in my view). Probably best we agree to disagree on this point!
     
    Last edited: 17 Apr 2018
  6. WelshBluebird

    WelshBluebird Established Member

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    So is it now essentially company policy that a passenger should have to take pictures of broken / closed ticketing facilities so they won't get a PF? Seems very customer unfriendly to say the least!
     
  7. Starmill

    Starmill Events Co-ordinator

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    The customer can refuse to accept a Penalty Fare. In the circumstances laid out where there is only one machine, nothing else, and that machine is out of order, they can simply claim that there was no way to buy a ticket. They do not need to offer any evidence to support that claim as long as they offer to pay the fare when stopped. They can just refuse to accept the Penalty Fare, although if they are asked to provide their name and address they would need to do so, but I think verbally is adequate to satisfy the Byelaw.

    Of course, based on my own past experience, the loss prevention officers may try to prevent the customer from leaving the station until they have completed an unpaid fares notice or penalty fare notice...
     
    Last edited: 17 Apr 2018
  8. Bantamzen

    Bantamzen Established Member

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    The Rover buying issue was clearly resolved by the Tweet you quoted earlier, you obtain a P2P and buy on the train.

    The regulations have changed, this happens all the time in all walks of life. For the vast majority of people this will have little or no effect other than a slight change in when & where they buy the tickets.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 17 Apr 2018
  9. Clip

    Clip On Moderation

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    Generally the machines should send a signal back along the phone line to show itsome working and there should be a system whereby if it doesn't then it gets logged. Or if a helpful passenger who rather than moan about it uses a helpline if provided or indeed email or twitter to inform the TOC of it.

    You do seem to pick some small and random stations to try and prove your point but as Bantamzen has already pointed out what to do in that situation then I struggle to wonder why you keep on about it
     
  10. Clip

    Clip On Moderation

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    That'
    Not what they said is it?
     
  11. ForTheLoveOf

    ForTheLoveOf Established Member

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    The new 2018 PF regulations are clear that, in an appeal, it is for the TOC to disprove (or place sufficient doubt onto the veracity/accuracy of) the appellant's claims. However, that is only relevant if the TOC wanted to pursue a PF in County Court - something which is, at best, rare and possibly even unheard of.

    If it comes to a criminal prosecution under Byelaw 18 (which has many of the same impacts as RoRA if convicted) then it is only for the TOC to prove beyond reasonable doubt that a ticket was not shown. If the passenger wants to rely on any statutory or other defence to this then it is for them to prove (it's not clear to what standard) that this applies.

    All of which is to say - if Northern have a questionable PF, it may well be struck down at an appeal (if the appeal bodies are actually competent and independent!), but that doesn't prevent them from prosecuting. Here, the passenger is much more likely to settle to avoid the costs, distress and risk of going to Court.
     
  12. lyndhurst25

    lyndhurst25 Member

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    A Tweet isn't clearly resolving the issue. How many of Northern's customers do you think read that particular Tweet?!!! What is needed are clear instructions at stations, on a Northern's and WYPTE's websites (or getting the TVMs to sell all tickets including Day Rovers).

    If you are wanting to buy WY Day Rover using a credit card, in order to get a P2P you have to: lie to the TVM that you want to pay by cash and then select a random fare that you have no intention of buying because Day Rovers aren't listed. Then you have to hope that the guard comes around so you can actually buy the Day Rover before you encounter a RPI. A member of the public not following this thread or specifically asking Northern beforehand what to do, has lots of hurdles to fall at.
     
  13. Starmill

    Starmill Events Co-ordinator

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    Exactly. I've made this point clearly I think but it's frustrating when people just don't think about how an actual customer will respond to the situation.

    For what it's worth, Northern do seem to state, only when pressed, that their policy is for you to lie to the ticket machine by pretending that you do not have a card when in fact you do, and you intend to use it to buy your ticket. I will leave others to decide for themselves what effect on enforcement of these notices is.
     
  14. Bantamzen

    Bantamzen Established Member

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    In reality how many people would know they could buy a rover/ranger ticket onboard in the first place? If one were not available at their starting station a lot of people would likely buy a ticket to the nearest staffed station in the first place. But moreover this is where crew discretion comes in. I am losing track of how many times I've highlighted this but the regulations, the new regulations state a penalty fare may be charged, not will, if a passenger boards a train without a ticket. It can be left to the crew and/or revenue staff to decide when discretion ought to be applied.

    As for members reading this thread, well now you all know so there are no excuses anymore. I'm sure the TVMs won't hold a grudge against anyone for a little white lie....
     
  15. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    Will that be refunded though? (including where the operator of the staffed station is a different company)
    I don't really understand what you are trying to say.
     
  16. Bantamzen

    Bantamzen Established Member

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    I would say that would be another question to ask Northern.

    What I am trying to say is that reading the new April 2018 regulations there is clearly room for discretion when a member of crew or revenue staff when dealing with a passenger without a ticket, and that a penalty fare is not necessarily the only option available to them.

    For quite a few pages now there has been a focus on specific tickets, and how to obtain them. I did point out that a query to Northern would resolve this. And so it has proved, although potentially inadvertently as far as this thread is concerned as no-one seems to have actually asked the question from this hete. So maybe the answer is not a lot of hand wringing, speculation and referencing out of date regs as we've seen on this thread, but just to put the question to them in the first place?
     
  17. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    You can't excess to a Rover, so you are unlikely to be able to pay the difference. Do you think it's correct or appropriate that a passenger should have to pay twice?


    You are saying that the rules should not consistently be enforced? If so, why are you so keen on the rules?
    No. I have asked Northern some questions; they were extremely evasive.

    Northern have made all sorts of dubious claims in correspondence made with forum members, including that a passenger may be required to provide their date of birth in order to pay for their journey.

    If you are so keen to get answers from Northern, you go and ask them. Though the answer you get will depend on exactly what you ask and who answers, so it may or may not be of much use.
     
  18. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    You've made that up.
     
  19. Bantamzen

    Bantamzen Established Member

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    Is it appropriate, no. But that was not my point.

    Which rule am I saying should not be consistently enforced? Please include a quote and the relevant section of the current regulations.

    Without context that is just a meaningless comment. What were the circumstance for example?

    There it is, the classic "why don't you?". Well its quite simple, I don't have an axe to grind with Northern. I use 4 trains a day on a daily basis, most are on time, most get me to work and back. I don't see half of the problems that are constantly moaned about on this thread.

    I'm sorry to say but there is an uneven level of bias against Northern that runs through this forum, regardless of whom has held the franchise. I am not for or against them, I just call it as I see it, and I am not interested in joining the "Northern Fail" club.

    It was sarcasm....
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 18 Apr 2018
  20. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    You tell me! You are saying that "discretion" should be shown. If you felt the rules were entirely adequate then there would be no need to show discretion, surely?

    An example of a case where Northern Rail state a date of birth is required is where the origin & destination stations are both unstaffed and the passenger is unable to purchase a ticket from revenue contractors at the destination station. Perhaps there are other circumstances but we can't

    If you do not see the problems, then why are you arguing against those of us who do see the problems?
    The only person who I see as being "biased" in recent posts is you. I am at a loss as to what your motivation is!

    Your posts are so bizarre at times, if you do not indicate them as such (e.g. by the use of "(!)" or ";)") then I don't see how we are supposed to tell.

     
  21. island

    island Established Member

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    Whilst no laws/regulations require this, in practice the vast majority of passengers routinely carry a device such as a mobile phone with the capability of doing so. Despite the lack of obligation, those passengers who do take photos of out of service ticket facilities are likely to considerably reduce the amount of argument, faff, and potentially liability to which they’re exposed in the event they do wind up encountering an RPI.
     
  22. Bantamzen

    Bantamzen Established Member

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    Why do you need rules for everything? Isn't a qualification that penalty fares may be applied enough, leaving the implication that crew & revenue staff have room to decide if they feel a penalty fare is not required or appropriate? This is one of the problems I have with the general direction of the thread (or so it feels anyway), that every fine detail needs to be covered by a regulation.

    Sorry Yorkie, that's so vague that I can't take it seriously. Without any context to the situation or knowing the circumstances involved, & possibly the age of the passenger you seem just to be finding excuses. Which is a theme that runs deep in this thread.

    Because most of the "problems" raised on here seem to be based either on the perceptions of the operator and not the scheme itself, or if not that based on outdated regulation. Either way its about the balance between opinion & reality, something that happens a lot where people come together to discuss & debate.

    I said way down this thread that I cautiously welcomed the scheme, subject to their being no major problems. And so far I see none yet some members continue to insist that it is failing or somehow flawed.

    Bias towards whom? You accuse me of making things up earlier yet go straight on to do the same yourself. As above I am simply trying to bring some balance through my own experience. Isn't that what forums are about, or am I committing some unspoken faux pas?

    My motivation is of a customer of the franchise that has witnessed years & years of chronic fare evasion, and a franchise that for many years was hamstrung by a zero-growth policy whilst passenger numbers grew. So I am very keen on anything that helps protect revenue, which in turn helps control fare increases and/or allows for improvements. I'm likely going to be using an average of 4 Northern franchised routes for at least another decade and a half, maybe more, so I am keen to see operators maximise revenue controls to prevent future loss.

    Perhaps though the motivation of this thread might be called into question, there seems far more concern about how to procure rangers & rovers than general revenue protection, which whilst understandable on a specialist forum for rail enthusiasts does not represent even a small proportion of the travelling public.

    Well its a good job you don't know me in real life then.....;)

    Seriously though what is bizarre about challenging people's perceptions when you think they are wrong? Further down this thread, and before the scheme's trial on the Aire & Wharfe lines, some were predicting chaos & lots of angry customers. But that hasn't happened, and so now some are trying to pick holes in the policy, it's application & the regulations around it in the vain hope that they can generate these problems (or so it seems). I'll tell you what is really bizarre to me, the fact that several months into it some on this thread still seem to be vainly trying to undermine it, even trying to prove that it is somehow against regulation even after the new regs have been offered, which for a sub-forum that regularly offers advice worryingly seemed to come under the radar.

    So I'm sorry to have come along and upset you by daring to challenge people's views, but I'm afraid I will continue to do so where I feel it is justified.
     
  23. WelshBluebird

    WelshBluebird Established Member

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    Would they? I'm not sure that is the case tbh! If I can't find the ticket I want on a ticket machine, I'd want to speak to a member of staff, who may well be the guard on the train.

    True, but then that leads to an easy slippery slope where those without photographic evidence are assumed to be lying. Which is not acceptable at all. The default position should be innocent unless proven guilty. So you assume the passenger is telling the truth unless you have evidence to the contrary.
     
  24. Bantamzen

    Bantamzen Established Member

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    Yes but you are an established member of this forum, and you have access to much more debate and information than a regular member of the public. Many turning up at a TVM only station may not know that the guard could sell them these types of tickets, and would just simply head for a station with a ticket office & obtain the required ticket there. The Northern site does detail what can & can't be bought onboard in the case of starting at an unstaffed station, but will most people probably wouldn't go into that level of detail and assume that they would either be available via the TVMs or all have to be bought at a ticket office.

    Just as an aside, as an WY MCard user I could potentially face arriving at my starting station needing to renew that day & finding that the TVM was down and I was unable to do so. What would people suggest in such a case? MCards can only be renewed at TVMs, there is no option to offset the cost of any ticket bought to get to a working machine, so most people myself included would simply buy a single to the next logical station with a TVM and accept the cost, and remember to renew before the day in future or use the NFC device compatible app if they owned one.
     
  25. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    Penalty Fares legislation exists for good reason. You can't just threaten passengers with a Penalty Fare if a member of staff happens to decide that it may be appropriate.


    I said:
    What more information do you need? The age of the passenger isn't relevant as we are not talking about a child ticket, or I would have said so.

    Just because you see none, does not mean flaws don't exist.

    You say you are bringing "balance" but all you are doing is saying you agree with Northern's treatment of passengers, despite the fact that many of us aware of many cases where Northern's treatment of passengers is clearly not appropriate.

    It was you who makes a claim of "bias" but many people have given you examples of valid concerns, which is clearly not "bias". You appear to be the one whose judgement is being clouded, not because you are aware of specific cases, but because...
    ... however, where there is evidence of fare evasion, the selling of a higher than normal fare shouldn't be done. The view of several train companies is as follows:
    https://www.chilternrailways.co.uk/sites/default/files/files/timetables/Chiltern Penalty Fares.pdf
    That was a DfT decision when the franchise was let. It has nothing to do with the matters being debated in this thread.
    That is exactly the problem that many of us find very concerning. I've seen evidence of "anything" being done, where "anything" is clearly not within the rules.
    Fare increases and improvements are determined by the DfT.

    That should not be done at the expense of mistreating and/or overcharging customers.
    There are many occasions when a passenger may be unable to purchase the intended ticket(s) for their journey; Rovers and Rangers are merely one example. To dismiss these concerns in this manner demonstrates what your values are, and I know I am not alone to find that very concerning. It won't make us go away, but rather galvanises us (I was prepared to ignore this thread in recent weeks, but your posts have caused several readers to become concerned, hence why I am challenging your assertions).
    That's rather apt, as we know your perceptions are wrong, so we will challenge them.
    I can assure you that we will continue to challenge your views where we feel it is justified.
    If you accept that some of us have access to more "information", why do you dismiss our concerns, on the basis that you do not see the problems that we do?
     
  26. IanXC

    IanXC Emeritus Moderator

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    I don't think anyone is suggesting that staff should or could apply a Penalty Fare when it is not warranted; more that staff may decide not to do so if they do not think it appropriate. You may disagree with this but Government and Parliament do not, the Penalty Fares Regulations 2018 state:

    https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2018/366/part/2/made

    I note your theoretical concerns, however I only have one point to raise - we are yet to see an example of a member of the public coming to the Forum looking for advise over a Penalty Fare they believe to have been incorrectly levied.

    I don't think there is any need to be so personal. Questioning someones values and telling someone their perception is wrong is not adding anything to the discussion.
     
  27. bb21

    bb21 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I think everyone should take a step back for now, so thread is closed for the time being. It will be reopened at a more suitable time.

    Anyone with a specific example of mistreatment by Northern please open a separate thread specifically for that purpose.
     
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