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Discussion in 'Fares Advice & Policy' started by barnesg, 3 Feb 2010.
Preston isn't always barriered, only occasional random spot checks by Virgin RP staff.
I'm not so convinced! If barriers at Preston are anything like the barriers at Lime Street or Piccadilly then waving something orange from 10 feet away would be enough. I haven't been at Preston very often, but don't remember any ticket checks.
If he has bought half a dozen tickets on the train, how many times did the guard not get to him? It has to be an awful lot more than 6 - the chances of being gripped on a 5 or 9 carriage train in 13 minutes must be quite low.
It looks like this person has boarded more times without tickets in the last few months than I have in my life. And all at a not massively busy manned station, with ticket machines. Not proof of anything, but it would make me suspicious!
Some of the Virgin RP staff that do Preston are very switched on, they set up an in/out checkpoint and scrutinise every ticket. I don't actually know how frequently they do this though, it seems to be at random to catch people out.
Sometimes, again at random, G4S barrier the western footbridge for Northern but they just lean against the side of the bridge going 'yep, yep, yep'.
My feeling is still that the OP wasn't evading their fare. It just doesn't read like they have been and a lot of those that evade fares are pretty open about it if it won't mean being caught.
This is ridiculous. The OP clearly wasn't evading their fare, as they willingly asked for a ticket at their destination from their origin. If they were evading, they'd have lied and for a ticket from Lostock Hall or claim to have been spotting/seeing a relative off or something, or even run off. The OP did nothing of the sort. So why on earth does anyone speculate otherwise?
To those who suspect otherwise.... I suspect you of shoplifting the other day, and you only paid because you saw that the checkout was manned. But you're still attempted shoplifters. And the other day when you used that toll bridge, I can guarantee if no-one was collecting the toll money you'd have driven away, I find you guilty of considering avoiding the toll. :roll: Or is that unfair, and you'd like to re-consider your attitude toward the OP?
Sorry, I didn't realise a response was wanted, I'll happily do so. The original topic for your query was here, and all I can add is that return tickets can be bought on board, however the guard can insist on selling only full-fare single or return tickets (as mentioned earlier in this topic) rather than discounted ones, if the ticket office is manned. Obviously they can use discretion, and if you ask before boarding it is quite often acceptable to buy on board, particularly where you started your journey at a previous station and are extending it and you ask the guard before joining - I'd be surprised if any guards refused to sell an Off Peak ticket in such circumstances, but in the rules, they can. But they can't refuse to sell an Anytime, or apparently the "highest priced" return ticket, in the case of Cardiff - Bristol this is £4.50 extra.
Just to clarify - he is buying onboard a Virgin service between Wigan and Preston, so he doesn't really have any other option but to buy the correct ticket.
I shouldn't go so far as to suggest evasion, but I am guessing that he is choosing to buy tickets on the board in the hope that he doesn't get asked to pay. If he gets asked, then he pays the same onboard as he would have at the station, so there is no incentive to try and buy in advance.
It would be extremely naive to believe that people don't ever do this; I may have even done it myself, in my youth, but I have a bad memory, and that's too long ago to remember for sure!
We have no idea if he does buy a ticket when he gets to Preston, he did not answer that. But I am guessing that it would generally be easier for him to buy his ticket at Wigan.
Ok, maybe I shouldn't speculate, and I admit it is rather rude. However, I do think it looks suspicious, even though it may be entirely innocent.
I can't think of any suitable similar example for this, the best I can come up with is if there was a toll bridge where you could pay at either end. If you usually left it until the far end to pay, and knew that it was often unmanned, then I think I would also be suspicous.
There was so much talk of barriers at Preston I thought he bought one there, looking back it seems he bought on board, but anyway I'll re-word it. If he was evading he'd have locked himself in a toilet for the journey or something. He didn't, so that's that.
If there's no Off Peak ticket, then that's the TOCs choice. The customer does not make that choice. If the TOC advertises the fact that the price is the same if bought from the ticket office or on the train then the customer can't be blamed for that.
But it becomes a case of the 'thought police'. If someone boards GC between Thirsk and Northallerton, are they guilty if they think 'I hope the guard doesn't get to me in time?' If so, what are they guilty of, is it fair to accuse someone of thinking this, and what can the punishment be? I once got a bus journey free because it was pay on board and the driver's machine was broken. I didn't think 'I hope his machine is broken' but if I went and did the same journey again (Kyle-Armadale) and I thought that, am I then guilty of attempted bus fare evasion by thought?
The car drivers who pay for petrol after they have put it in their tanks, well that looks suspicious too, even though it 'may' be entirely innocent.
If a confectionary machine occasionally dispensed 2 chocolate bars instead of one, and someone decided to use that one just in case it happened to them, would that be suspicious, what would they be suspected of, what would the crime me, and what punishment could they get? Also how could you prove they were hoping to obtain 2 chocolate bars?
I had the same problem! Going to Leeds and now Manchester I've had to buy two singles in advance both times with no option for a return, although when I got to the ticket office at York for the Leeds journey, the guy said that although there is no return ticket to Leeds, buying a return ticket to Bradford would work out cheaper... what the f--?
You're talking about a 'period'/'open' return, ie valid for more than a day.
Shorter distance journeys often have no such option (but see the recent topic about short-distance SVR/SORs as there are some exceptions such as Scarborough-Seamer!), and indeed York-Leeds has no option. So yes, Bradford is cheaper, you can buy as far as Hebden Bridge for bonus miles for the same price.
Cattal-Hebden Bridge is £14.30 SVR valid any train. But for York-Leeds, less than half the distance, they want £22.00 for 2x singles. (13.75pence/mile versus 44pence/mile)
It's not uncommon for it to be cheaper to buy beyond your origin and/or destination and either start or finish 'short'. If you're doing a medium or long distance journey, I'd be surprised if it wasn't cheaper to either split the ticket or buy a longer distance ticket, such is the unfairness of many tickets, particularly the more popular ones between major stations.
Gosh, you are cynical!
Perhaps I could use the term 'fare avoidance' for those that don't go out of their way to avoid paying, but also only buy tickets when they are asked to? (or when buying on-board is more expensive!)
Or do such people not exist?
It is interesting to consider what people may or may not pay for if they are given the chance. Not that I'm saying anything about the OP - just adding to the thread that has gone off on a tangent.
I think most people will pay for fuel, or their shopping, even if they saw an opportunity to avoid doing so.
However, I think people would happily avoid paying their fare (or the toll road fee) if given a half a chance. Few would try to find someone at the end of the journey to pay if the station was open - but if a member of staff had disappeared in a shop for some reason, I suspect most would wait or call for someone rather than walk out.
I wonder if it is because an item in a shop has a value, and you're 'keeping' something, as against travelling where 'there's no harm done' and has no perceived cost.
Yes, you have some habitual fare evaders that might well be shoplifters too - but I bet more people would abide by the law for just about everything else, yet still feel happy to avoid paying to travel on public transport.
I suspect it is a mix of feeling that you are actually stealing something with a physical good and the increased chance of actually being arrested and taken to court.
I think there's also the feeling that you've 'got one over' the railway, who are only out to rip you off anyway. Would you feel the same way about grabbing something off a shelf in a shop and running out?
Obviously some do, hence the fact we have shoplifters - including those who will brazenly grab and run. We just seem to have more for what we perceive as 'victimless crimes'.
Not necessarily fare evasion in this case, but some passengers only pay when challenged. If there are no Penalty Fares, and the only ticket for the journey is an Anytime one, then there is not really much incentive to buy before boarding. The OP says he regularly buys on board. If he's actively seeking out the Guard all and good. But some passengers wait for the Guard to come to them. Hence the pay when challenged, when facilities exist where they boarded.
i'm intending to buy on board on Saturday and wait for the guard to come to me. i will quite deliberately avoid the ticket office run by a rival (sometimes hostile) company , partly to prove a point to you but mainly to support that company and give them the commission they deserve. they are more than happy for me to do that, it's in no way evading anything. happy? if not, tough!
Another situation is Market Rasen - Lincoln (but many examples exist over the UK). Market Rasen is unstaffed so you have to buy on board. A 153 turns up and it is already overcrowded. About 50 people board at Market Rasen.
The train is now so overcrowded so the gaurd can't move down the coach and the passengers can't go an seek them out.
When the train arrives at Lincoln most people just leave, it has saved them 10p (the difference between the CDR and the standard single which they will need to pay on their return). Do they feel guilty? No because they only had a 153 and have been crammed in it like a sardine. The down side when you used to write to CT about the overcrowding of that service every week they used to say passengers counts and ticket sales show there is no problem! Hence why I personally used to buy a ticket at Lincoln (even with the long queue).
CT put barriers up at Lincoln Central to solve the problem of passengers who couldn't pay the fare even if they wanted to. Thankfully EMT provide a better solution a 156, which the gaurd can sell tickets to most passengers who want one!
I wanted a pasty and a bovril at Newcastle United at half-time in a match the other week. I queued, had my money out, but the server - who had been chatting with her mate whilst serving me - got talking whilst at the hot water dispenser after giving me my pasty whilst making my bovril. This caused a delay and by the time she asked me for the money she had forgotten completely about the first item and charged me only for the bovril. So I took my free pasty.
My point being that I've no qualms with getting the odd free thing from large firms, especially ones who I feel sometimes rip me off at other points, or where it is partially a fault in the service which means I have the opportunity to not pay. If, on other hand, my local greengrocers made an error and undercharged me, I'd tell them because I appreciate their service and their status as a small, local business.
If the only option on offer is an anytime return, and that is available on board, then there is no financial reason to buy before boarding, especially if there's a chance of travelling without paying. The TOC should be aware of this situation and either: a. ensure that guards can get along the train between stations where this is the case or b. offer a cheaper ticket that can be bought at the station but not on board.
a) Northern generally do, but this is not possible on a Pendolino with a 13-minute journey.
b) Virgin generally do, but they don't set the prices for Wigan to Preston.
I very much like the fact that I can board a train and buy a ticket with no penalty to pay and no suspicion, I think that it's a more civilised way to do business!
However, I can see that if it causes a significant loss of revenue because people frequently don't 'get round' to paying when they board at staffed stations, we will just end up with penalty fares across the board and the hassle and stress that can cause.
I too would prefer the more civilised system we could have if those who cheat didn't do so. Not just it being easier to buy on board, but bikeing to a station would be a breeze, you could park without the bike getting knicked, or put the bike on a locker (which you can't do because someone would try and blow it up). Sigh. Not to mention I wouldn't need a badge around my neck to go in to college.
Easily solved by having a cheap Virgin only CDR fare. They do this on other routes, e.g. MAN-MAC is £5.60 Virgin Trnsonly CDR or £12.10 on board. No excuses for Virgin on this flow, it's their choice, and they decide what choices to give the customer.
Correction: If the guard/conductor doesn't 'get round' to collecting.
The companies do not want passengers to buy on board, it saves a fortune in commission payments to revenue staff/guards.
If by 'cheating' you mean deliberately avoid/refuse to pay, then penalty fares should not be issued in such circumstances. The fact that they are demonstrates that the PF system is flawed. I agree I prefer a more 'civilised' system.
That is very definitely not what I am saying. Are you saying that passengers shouldn't pay if the guard doesn't get to them, even when travelling between staffed stations?
They could only choose figures lower than £6.20 return, I don't think that gives them massives of room to offer incentives.
No, I am not saying that, but I am saying that the suggestion that the customer has to go searching for a guard isn't right.
Still no excuses.
Stockport - Manchester CDR Route: Any Permitted £2.60
Stockport - Manchester CDR Route: Virgin Trnsonly £2.00
Stockport - Manchester SDR Route: Any Permitted £4.70
Stockport - Manchester SDR Route: Virgin Trnsonly £3.60
So the incentive for buying on board after 0930 is a reduction in fare from £4.70 to £2.00.
Virgin choose not to offer a reduction on Wigan to Preston and other flows despite the fare from Wigan to Preston being greater than Stockport-Manchester, thus they have more room to offer incentives, yet they choose not to.
Preston - Wigan will cross a boundary though (Lancashire County Council to GMPTE) so it's bound to be more expensive. Also don't forget that there are six operators with services from Manchester to Stockport with the same journey time (give or take a couple of minutes) so there's more incentive to have VT fares on that route whereas Virgin pretty much have a monopoly on Preston to Wigan as face it, who opts for the slower service?
I didn't say that! I just don't want to see penalty / higher fares introduced, which I think is the inevitable result of too many people that only buy a ticket when challenged, even from staffed stations like Wigan. Which is why I don't support someone who seemingly does it pretty regularly.
But that isn't the point...
cuccir made this point (only the relevant parts quoted) among others:-
which got this response...
However it is not true that Virgin cannot do what cuccir suggests. They can, and I have demonstrated that they can do it and have done it on other routes.
If Virgin choose to make the price identical on board to what you pay at the station (like Grand Central do) then that is their choice.
If they wish to make it cheaper from the station, then they can do - the claim that they are unable to do so is not true.
Exactly, Commercial Guards and Revenue staff are generally not employed to be the primary method of retailing tickets. Where facilities exist these should be used before boarding the train. It's not unheard of for a Guard to spend 5-10 minutes with a passenger assisting with a timetable enquiry or another query, and on a lengthy train it means the Guard isn't going to be checking every ticket between every station. It can take an hour to check a busy 12-coach train fully, so someone just taking a seat and waiting to be 'found' could make a journey without paying.
I really can't think of another service or product where it'd be considered acceptable to start using it and only pay for it when somebody came and told me to. The nearest I can come to is parking, where some people think it's okay to chance parking an hour in a 20 minute bay, or stop on some double yellow lines, or use a pay & display car park without buying a ticket - and then complain when they get hit with a parking ticket.
Today I overheard the ticket inspector mention to someone that as of tomorrow, the policy is changing and you can only buy singles. Is this just a scare tactic?
Also a young woman claimed to board at Brynn (unmanned station), got off at Wigan to get the Virgin train to Preston. Her Brynn train was running late which left her no time to buy a ticket at Wigan, does she have to forget her Virgin connection and get a later one?
You should still be able to buy a return ticket on the train. It would have to be an almighty change in policy to say you couldn't.
Depends on what type of ticket she wanted to buy. If she had a railcard, then yes she would have to buy it at the station to get the discount. If it was just a normal walk up ticket she should be able to buy it on the train.