Northern's policy for buying tickets on board

Status
Not open for further replies.

Oscar

Member
Fares Advisor
Joined
11 Feb 2010
Messages
1,127
Location
Switzerland
I have long got used to the idea that Northern sell all tickets on board (whereas First TransPennine Express only sell full price Anytime Singles and Returns unless the ticket office is closed). However, Northern's timetable leaflets dated 22 May 2011 and 11 December 2011 state:
If you avoid using the ticket office or vending machine when they're available, the conductor will charge you the full Anytime Single/Return fare.
I cannot see this in any earlier leaflets. My question, therefore, is whether Northern's policy has changed in practice or not. Northern have also stated that they want passengers to buy tickets before boarding at staffed stations but have never seemed to penalise customers for not doing so. Tickets checks on Northern services in fact often do not seem to be at all thorough - I have recently seen some guards simply walking down trains asking if anyone needs to buy a ticket rather than checking tickets at all.
 
Sponsor Post - registered members do not see these adverts; click here to register, or click here to log in
R

RailUK Forums

34D

Established Member
Joined
9 Feb 2011
Messages
6,032
Location
Yorkshire
I have long got used to the idea that Northern sell all tickets on board (whereas First TransPennine Express only sell full price Anytime Singles and Returns unless the ticket office is closed). However, Northern's timetable leaflets dated 22 May 2011 and 11 December 2011 state:

I cannot see this in any earlier leaflets. My question, therefore, is whether Northern's policy has changed in practice or not. Northern have also stated that they want passengers to buy tickets before boarding at staffed stations but have never seemed to penalise customers for not doing so. Tickets checks on Northern services in fact often do not seem to be at all thorough - I have recently seen some guards simply walking down trains asking if anyone needs to buy a ticket rather than checking tickets at all.

I agree with your observations.

HOWEVER the published policy of Northern (reinforced by posters at many stations) is onboard staff will sell full price tickets only, when ticket office/machine are operational. This has been the case for many years.

It is worth bearing in mind that many Northern stations have either fully functional TVMs or card only TVMs - and it wouldn't actually surprise me if this was preparatary to introducing a PF scheme around Leeds and around Manchester. Comments?
 

Failed Unit

Established Member
Joined
26 Jan 2009
Messages
7,516
Location
Central Belt
This policy has been in place since regional railways. It is to prevent people doing journeys like Grimsby - Habrough for free. On short hops like that people are prepared to take the risk in the hope the gaurd won't get to them. It is the only real way Northern (and other TOCs can discourage this). They can't go down the penalty fare route as many rural stations the cost of a TVM is more than that fare box for it.
 

IanXC

Emeritus Moderator
Joined
18 Dec 2009
Messages
5,823
My experience is that Northern's official policy is at least being refered to when people have passed a ticket buying opportunity. I've not seen the rules strictly enforced, except for some passengers who have been seen to repeatedly board without tickets.

Northern seem to have also spent a fair amount of money on new TVMs, in locations which didn't previously have them. Perhaps more evidence to support the idea that Penalty Fares might be on their way.

I have also heard "does anyone need tickets", but as far as I've seen, only on services where the next, and terminating stop is a barriered station.

 

Failed Unit

Established Member
Joined
26 Jan 2009
Messages
7,516
Location
Central Belt
I have seen Northern Gaurd refuse railcards after staffed stations, but that is it, not sure if the refuse to sell CDR if asked following a staffed station. They don't seem to take any action if the station only has a TVM.
 

aformeruser

Veteran Member
Joined
23 Jan 2009
Messages
30,637
My experience is that Northern's official policy is at least being refered to when people have passed a ticket buying opportunity.

Yes the only change is how they've publicised this.

Northern seem to have also spent a fair amount of money on new TVMs, in locations which didn't previously have them. Perhaps more evidence to support the idea that Penalty Fares might be on their way.

MCRUA reported that new ticket machines at Knutsford and Northwich and a proposed one at Greenbank are due to rising passenger numbers and a change in policy. The change in policy being that Northern can get the second hand value of the ticket machines back if they don't win the next franchise. The new ticket machines are blue but don't have any Northern branding on them.

The ticket machines are presumably cheaper than the long term cost of extra ticket selling staff. They can also offer TOD which can potentially increase online sales and not require additional staff/machines when passenger numbers rise further. Although, when there's only the one machine at a station that can offer TOD in my opinion it's a bit risky to use that option as it only requires one machine to be out-of-order and then you have to buy a new ticket.

All new ticket machines at unstaffed stations will be card only, which doesn't suggest the penalty fare route is being looked at. However, there are suggestions that Merseyside will become a penalty fare zone with Merseyrail and LM already having penalty fares and there being very few unstaffed stations on Merseyside.

I have also heard "does anyone need tickets", but as far as I've seen, only on services where the next, and terminating stop is a barriered station.

There's a small number of conductors that seem to do that all the time, although saying that one of them who did that once got to the front and noticed two schoolkids standing by the front door and asked them for tickets, which they didn't have.
 

Failed Unit

Established Member
Joined
26 Jan 2009
Messages
7,516
Location
Central Belt
jcollins - do Northern Ticket machines accept cash? In Scotrail they don't any more because of vandlism? Just wondering if the policy is the same in other areas?
 

aformeruser

Veteran Member
Joined
23 Jan 2009
Messages
30,637
jcollins - do Northern Ticket machines accept cash? In Scotrail they don't any more because of vandlism? Just wondering if the policy is the same in other areas?

The Northern policy is apparently card only TVMs unless the station has a ticket office which is open for the majority of the day. To be slightly confusing some Northern TVMs have misleading messages scrolling across like the one at Knutsford which can say card only which is followed by a message saying correct change only!
 

Failed Unit

Established Member
Joined
26 Jan 2009
Messages
7,516
Location
Central Belt
Whch will make it hard for Northern to ever have a penalty fares scheme if you can't pay by cash at a lot of thier stations, even if a TVM was present. I think some of the G4S representatives at Manchester already think we are in a penalty fare systems when they tried to charge me for "breaking" my outward Edinburgh - Heald Green journey once to buy some food within the station! ie I never attempted to leave the station!
 

WelshBluebird

Established Member
Joined
14 Jan 2010
Messages
3,408
Although, when there's only the one machine at a station that can offer TOD in my opinion it's a bit risky to use that option as it only requires one machine to be out-of-order and then you have to buy a new ticket.

Really?
So if you buy a ticket online, but cannot pick it up because the ticket machine is not working, then you have to buy a new ticket? How the hell is that at all fair?

All new ticket machines at unstaffed stations will be card only

So presumably if you did not have card that would work, then you would be offered the full range or tickets onboard?
 

tony_mac

Established Member
Joined
25 Feb 2009
Messages
3,625
Location
Liverpool
Really?
So if you buy a ticket online, but cannot pick it up because the ticket machine is not working, then you have to buy a new ticket? How the hell is that at all fair?
Who said anything about fair? That's what the byelaws say, and I have known it to be enforced. (i.e. told they had to buy a new ticket before boarding, then claim for a refund).
 

WestCoast

Established Member
Joined
19 Jun 2010
Messages
5,439
Location
Glasgow
So presumably if you did not have card that would work, then you would be offered the full range or tickets onboard?

Yes, of course.

Northern's official policy is that only full fare tickets are available onboard from staffed stations.

However, I'll be honest and say that with such a high number of unstaffed stations or stations without adequate purchasing facilities, most guards seem to be quite lenient about this policy. Much more so than I've seen on other TOCs.

For example, one of my local stations is staffed with one ticket window during the day, but some people seem to think they can walk past and buy all tickets onboard. On Northern this is possible most of the time, however I have seen it refused. On First TPE, who stop in the peaks, this is seemingly almost always refused.

It's quite annoying to hear people say, "oh, I just get on and hope the ticket guy (sic) doesn't come around". I have heard this a number of times on local trains in the North West!
 

Wath Yard

Member
Joined
31 Dec 2011
Messages
864
Some of the ticket machines Northern are installing at unstaffed stations are more trouble than they are worth, from a passenger's perspective, and actually encourage passengers to purchase the incorrect ticket. At Steeton & Silsden the West Yorkshire Day Rover ticket isn't available from the machine. Also when you select a non-discounted ticket a box pops up telling you that a concession ticket is cheaper and asking if you want to continue, however there is no information anywhere regarding who qualifies for concessionary tickets. I assumed I didn't but I can imagine many people, when told there is a cheaper ticket available, will automatically purchase it.

Concessions as an option are fine, but not to pop up after you have chosen a non-concessionary ticket, telling you it is cheaper.
 

headshot119

Established Member
Joined
31 Dec 2010
Messages
1,937
Location
Dubai
Who said anything about fair? That's what the byelaws say, and I have known it to be enforced. (i.e. told they had to buy a new ticket before boarding, then claim for a refund).

An absolutely ridiculous policy. If the TOC offers TOD when you purchase online, then they can't provide TOD at the point of departure, why should I have to pay again.

I'm actually waiting for this to happen to me, I'd certainly refuse to part with a penny.
 

142094

Established Member
Joined
7 Nov 2009
Messages
8,789
Location
Newcastle
I certainly remember the days when I could get a discounted ticket on Regional Railways, then Northern Spirit and ATN after that. The first time I can remember being told that Northern were going to start enforcing the rule was in the first year when Northern took over the franchise. Later on, coming back from Hartlepool, I asked for a discounted ticket on board and was refused, until the guard remembered that the ticket office was in fact closed.
 

trickyvegas

Member
Joined
10 Dec 2009
Messages
361
I've never had an issue with Northern guards. My local station's TVM never used to offer the GM Cheap Evening Returns and I used to buy them onboard. When it had started selling them (unbeknown to me), the guy was still happy to sell me one even though the passngers he checked before me had bought the same ticket from the TVM.
 

hairyhandedfool

Established Member
Joined
14 Apr 2008
Messages
8,837
An absolutely ridiculous policy. If the TOC offers TOD when you purchase online, then they can't provide TOD at the point of departure, why should I have to pay again.

I'm actually waiting for this to happen to me, I'd certainly refuse to part with a penny.

You would be given a full refund on the new ticket by the TOD issuer after you have collected your tickets. It is a policy to stop people boarding trains without a ticket claiming they couldn't pick it up and getting a free ride.

Refusing could be seen in a bad light and I wouldn't advise it.

Back on topic, Northern have had posters printed to the effect that only the full fare ticket is available on board when travelling from a staffed station (it happened a while ago, last year I think). It's not strictly a new policy, but one that they are now seeking to enforce more, possibly they have seen the number of guards issuing discounted fares from staffed stations and don't like the figures.
 

185

Established Member
Joined
29 Aug 2010
Messages
3,864
I certainly remember the days when I could get a discounted ticket on Regional Railways, then Northern Spirit and ATN after that. The first time I can remember being told that Northern were going to start enforcing the rule was in the first year when Northern took over the franchise. Later on, coming back from Hartlepool, I asked for a discounted ticket on board and was refused, until the guard remembered that the ticket office was in fact closed.

Nothing has changed, for a very long time, since RRNE there has been a policy of 'charge the full price on board' if the passenger has walked past a chance of purchasing a ticket on the station, for most train companies.

The important thing many people miss is discretion. Staff have it, and will use it if they feel it is necessary. The passengers who usually get no discretion are those who, quite rudely, expect it to be used. Occasionally if people are sat waiting with their money ready, and looked like they were rushing on board, I sometimes would apply it.
 

Failed Unit

Established Member
Joined
26 Jan 2009
Messages
7,516
Location
Central Belt
You would be given a full refund on the new ticket by the TOD issuer after you have collected your tickets. It is a policy to stop people boarding trains without a ticket claiming they couldn't pick it up and getting a free ride.

I know it is off topic, but if you journey is between Bolton and London and you have an AP ticket to be collected. You would be charged the full anytime return so you would not be happy just to get a refund for the AP ticket.

I understand that you can travel to Manchester to collect and get a refund from of you Northern ticket in this situation.

Personally I have not risked it happening and always collect in advanced at a station that normally has staff just in case, but does the railway have a procedure for this. I suspect you are just referning to avoid people travelling from Bolton - Manchester for the prevention of a free ride. (as an example)
 

hairyhandedfool

Established Member
Joined
14 Apr 2008
Messages
8,837
I know it is off topic, but if you journey is between Bolton and London and you have an AP ticket to be collected. You would be charged the full anytime return so you would not be happy just to get a refund for the AP ticket....

A refund of the new ticket, not the one you bought in advance.

I have had to deal with situations where a passenger has assumed they can pick up the ticket at a non-TOD collection station. They bought a ticket to the nearest collection point on the route of their journey where they can pick their ticket up, not the whole distance of their journey.
 

142094

Established Member
Joined
7 Nov 2009
Messages
8,789
Location
Newcastle
Nothing has changed, for a very long time, since RRNE there has been a policy of 'charge the full price on board' if the passenger has walked past a chance of purchasing a ticket on the station, for most train companies.

The important thing many people miss is discretion. Staff have it, and will use it if they feel it is necessary. The passengers who usually get no discretion are those who, quite rudely, expect it to be used. Occasionally if people are sat waiting with their money ready, and looked like they were rushing on board, I sometimes would apply it.

Perhaps it is the discretion element, but I did notice that Northern were keen to enforce it more when they took over the franchise. Indeed, I remember there being revenue blocks on the bridge to platforms 5/6/7/8 at Newcastle, and also at MetroCentre, which very rarely happened previously.
 

WelshBluebird

Established Member
Joined
14 Jan 2010
Messages
3,408
You would be given a full refund on the new ticket by the TOD issuer after you have collected your tickets.

And if you could not pay for the new ticket?

If I have already paid for a ticket, I do not expect to have to pay again because of something that is the fault of the railway (while I realise a ticket machine breaking isn't specifically the fault of the railway - it is their machine, and so it is up to them to make sure it works).

Who said anything about fair? That's what the byelaws say, and I have known it to be enforced. (i.e. told they had to buy a new ticket before boarding, then claim for a refund).

Utterly ridiculous and another example of how the railway loves to pile the T&C's against the passenger.
As I said above, what if you couldn't pay for another ticket?
 

scrapy

Established Member
Joined
15 Dec 2008
Messages
1,378
Northerns advice to conductors, where TOD is not available due to machine falure is as follows.

1) The conductor should confirm the machine is not operational. Usually they will recieve an email on Blackberry telling them this, if not it can be checked with control.
2) If the passenger then has proof (i.e email on phone or printout). They should be allowed to travel and pick up their tickets at next suitable location. They should not be charged again.
3) Discretion should be used if only a reference number held, checking with control if possible.

They should be issued a ticket if:-

1) The machine is working (It is the passengers responsibility to allow sufficient time to collect ticket)
2) There is no machine at their departure station (It is the passengers responsibility to obtain ticket before departure, and if they choose TOD they will have to have selected a station with a TOD enabled machine.
 

exile

Established Member
Joined
16 Jul 2011
Messages
1,337
Northerns advice to conductors, where TOD is not available due to machine falure is as follows.

1) The conductor should confirm the machine is not operational. Usually they will recieve an email on Blackberry telling them this, if not it can be checked with control.
2) If the passenger then has proof (i.e email on phone or printout). They should be allowed to travel and pick up their tickets at next suitable location. They should not be charged again.
3) Discretion should be used if only a reference number held, checking with control if possible.

They should be issued a ticket if:-

1) The machine is working (It is the passengers responsibility to allow sufficient time to collect ticket)
2) There is no machine at their departure station (It is the passengers responsibility to obtain ticket before departure, and if they choose TOD they will have to have selected a station with a TOD enabled machine.

It would be interesting to know how the conductor would check if the machine is working.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
You'd probably get an Unpaid Fares Notice.

Yes - an unpaid fare notice for a journey for which you have already paid.
 

34D

Established Member
Joined
9 Feb 2011
Messages
6,032
Location
Yorkshire
It would be interesting to know how the conductor would check if the machine is working.

Speak to his control, who will speak to the control at the TOC who's station/machine it is, who can see whether it is online/offline/empty of paper.
 

exile

Established Member
Joined
16 Jul 2011
Messages
1,337
Speak to his control, who will speak to the control at the TOC who's station/machine it is, who can see whether it is online/offline/empty of paper.

Would he/she really have time to do this in the 1-2 minutes between stations?
 

exile

Established Member
Joined
16 Jul 2011
Messages
1,337
You could say the same if someone had bought a ticket then lost it.

Sure - but in that case the passenger could be said to have been careless. If he/she has no ticket because the machine wasn't working that is in no way the responsibility of the passenger. I'm assuming that the passenger is actually able to demonstrate that he/she did order the ticket (email etc).
 

yorkie

Forum Staff
Staff Member
Administrator
Joined
6 Jun 2005
Messages
50,924
Location
Yorkshire
scrapy - thanks; that sounds sensible. If you, or anyone you know, works for Northern, could you check if it is their official policy that someone in possession of cash and a credit card that they do not wish to use and/or should not use (e.g. a company credit card, or for an account that may go overdrawn), wishing to pay by cash and not by card, is compelled to pay by card, when there is no open ticket office and the machine only accepts cards?
It would be interesting to know how the conductor would check if the machine is working.
Northern have ticket machines that have a light on them that is green when it is working, and - IIRC - red when it is not. However I do not know what happens if the machine is only accepting certain payment types.

We collected a lot of tickets at Knaresborough before having a meal at the pub, as dozens of coupons were printed it ran out of stock. After the meal we realised the stock had been replenished as the light had turned green. The machines should be positioned in such a way that the guard can see the light.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

Top