Not able to buy returns on trains, only singles?

Discussion in 'Fares Advice & Policy' started by barnesg, 3 Feb 2010.

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  1. A60K

    A60K Member

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    It won't matter in this case whether a railcard is held or not. If a passenger boards at a station with no ticket issuing facilities, is not sold one on the first train they take, and then don't have enough time to get a ticket at an interchange station (whether the first train is running late or whether it's a short booked connection doesn't matter) then they have to be sold on board (or at their destination) whatever ticket they could have bought at the origin station as if that station had ticket issuing facilities.

    This is in the NCoC and cannot be overridden by any TOC's own on board sales conditions, regardless of whether they do or don't operate the origin station, the first train (or any subsequent if there still hasn't been an opportunity to purchase), the interchange station(s) or the destination station.

    Note that for this to apply there must genuinely have been no opportunity to purchase a ticket, not that the person got up late, or, as I've heard once in relation to Doncaster "didn't know where the ticket office was"!


     
  2. 142094

    142094 Established Member

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    I wonder how that would be policed? Would be very easy for the conductor to say "I don't believe you" and not offer the discounted ticket.

    In many cases I bet people think that they have had the first leg for free, then stump up for the non-discounted ticket on the second, which would probably mean they end up paying more for their tickets, but would feel as though they had paid less (if you get what I mean). I didn't know that you could do that, so I would have just bought the undiscounted ticket on the train on the second part of the journey.
     
  3. royaloak

    royaloak Established Member

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    The conductor can check to see if the first train was late or not then issue the correct ticket.
     
  4. janb

    janb Member

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    Sorry for not responding sooner, but the tolerance of those who have no intention of paying really winds me up and I wouldn't get much support here. So I resolved to go away and enjoy life away from this forum for a bit.

    In the first three examples I don't think you should be penalised. The last as well you have a case, although perhaps it might be possible to ask the booking office if they are willing to non-issue your ticket if you can't get on board.

    Dolive has posted the railway byelaws which really sum up my viewpoint.

    We live in different areas, but in mine there are stations with plenty of ticket buying facilities still (multiple booking office windows without queues or with minor ones, and ticket machines). People walk blithely past knowing that they will perhaps get away with it x times a week, and even if the guard comes down he/she will sell a discounted ticket. That just doesn't sit well with me.
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    Neither station is barriered (although Wigan NW would be easy to do if there was the will). Preston may have ticket checks at times.
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    Exactly, happens all the time sadly.
     
  5. barnesg

    barnesg Member

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    Spotted someone buying a return today, on the train so I presume the ticket guy the day before was lieing again.
     
  6. transportphoto

    transportphoto Established Member Associate Staff Quizmaster

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    What do you mean by 'Non-Issue' the ticket?

    Sorry if it is an obvious answer which I have not picked up on.

    I have not come across the phrase before...
     
  7. SWT Driver

    SWT Driver Member

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    Would off me!
    The thing people get confused with is between the ones that want to buy a ticket on board with no problem, and the ones that want a free ride and will give the guard shed loads of grief, dont confuse the 2 types of people, I am sure you have time for the first but not the second type!

    I just wish all the moaners would try the job on a Friday or Saturday night then they would understand how much cr4p the staff have to put up with.
     
  8. Greenback

    Greenback Emeritus Moderator

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    Where exactly is all this tolerance of people who have no intention of paying?

    I worked int he ticket office for almost three years. I encountere dplenty of idiots giving me crap. But that is no excuse for becoming judge, jury and executioner. I don't like it when it is automatically assumed that someone has no intention of paying, without knowing the circumstance, and a blanket statement that 'anyone who gets on a train without a ticket is a fare evader', or similar, is unfair, incorrect and needs to be challenged.

    Just for the record, I am a supporter of barriers, regular on train ticket checks as well as more reliable TVM's, longer ticket office opening hours with additional staffing and a zero tolerance for proven repeat fare evaders.
     
  9. janb

    janb Member

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    A Non-Issue is when a ticket that has been issued is then cancelled (fed back into ticket printer and voided) on the system and the card credited back/money returned. This can happen for instance if the clerk issues for wrong date, single instead of return, with or without railcard discount etc and they or the customer realise the mistake.

    There are time limits on how long after issue it can be done, and of course larger stations with more trains may be more sceptical/unwilling. It may also depend on the TOCs own policies/the TIS (I only know about Fujitsu STAR) and the context.
     
  10. barnesg

    barnesg Member

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    They appear to still be enforcing this single only procedure on the train but only from Wigan to Preston or Preston to Wigan. The 'revenue officer' stated that they are losing too much money from this route and this is what they are brought in to do, specifically. This morning they even got off at Preston and boarded another train back to Wigan.

    Apparently they are some Virgin ToC's that state they can only give out singles (although I can't seem to find this) but aren't the NRCoC the ones that a commuter refers to?

    Surely this isn't legal is it?
     
  11. aformeruser

    aformeruser Veteran Member

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    On Virgin trains if you look at the little LED displays next to the door some text scrolls across telling you that you cannot buy cheap tickets or get a railcard discount on board.

    They or any other operators staff should use discretion in some circumstances e.g. if the ticket office should be open but is closed due to staff sickness or if the only ticket machine is out-of-order. In some cases at smaller stations I've been told by the ticket office staff to board without a ticket as they don't have enough resource to cope with demand.

    On a 12 minute journey conductors are more likely to think that you're fare evading if you board without a ticket than if you're doing a 1 hour journey.
     
    Last edited: 27 May 2010
  12. janb

    janb Member

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    No, it isn't. I have heard of it happening between Lancaster and Preston as well. At first I just thought it was bad training, but if they are aware they are breaking the NCoC...

     
  13. Sapphire Blue

    Sapphire Blue Member

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    On the odd occasion, if for whatever reason I have boarded without a ticket, I have found the guard is far more likely to believe my story (and issue discounted tickets as I am clearly not trying to evade) if I choose to sit near to where he starts his "round" with my money/card in my hand and not at the very front of the train pretending to read the Metro.
     
  14. yorkie

    yorkie Forum Staff Staff Member Administrator

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    No, the NCoC states you have to buy a full fare single or return.
    That isn't being disputed. What is being disputed is whether you can buy an Anytime Return rather than be forced to get an Anytime Single.

    If a passenger wants a return they should be sold a return.
    This isn't about getting discounted tickets so all that is irrelevant.
    If they have evidence that someone is fare evading, then they should complete an MG11. If someone asks for a return ticket, that surely does not suggest they are wanting to fare evade. It would suggest the opposite to me...
     
  15. clagmonster

    clagmonster Established Member

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    The National Rail Conditions of Carriage have this to say on the matter:
    "Before you travel you must have a ticket or other authority to travel which is valid for the
    train(s) you intend to use and for the journey you intend to make.
    If you travel in a train:
    (a) without a ticket; or
    (b) the circumstances described in any of Conditions 10, 11, 12, 18, 19, 22,
    30, 35 and 39 apply;
    you will be liable to pay the full single fare or full return fare or, if appropriate, a Penalty
    Fare (see Condition 4) for your journey. You will not be entitled to any discounts or special
    terms unless either:
    (i) at the station where you started your journey:
    there was no ticket
    office or no ticket
    office was open
    and
    there were no
    self- service ticket
    machines or no
    self-service ticket
    machines were in
    full working order
    and
    in Penalty Fares areas
    you bought a Permit
    to Travel unless no
    Permit to Travel issuing
    machine was in full
    working order
    or
    (ii) the notices and other publications issued by the Train Company in whose
    train you are travelling indicate that you can buy tickets in that train.
    In circumstances where (i) or (ii) apply, you only need to pay the fare that you would have
    paid if you had bought a ticket immediately before your journey.
    Special arrangements may apply if you are disabled. You will find details of these
    arrangements in each Train Company’s ‘Disabled People’s Protection Policy’.
    For the purposes of this Condition, and Conditions 4, 39 and 41, “full single fare or full
    return fare” means the highest priced single or (if requested by the passenger) return fare
    appropriate to the class of travel for the journey you are making."
    http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/system/galleries/download/misc/NRCOC.pdf p4-5

    During booking office opening hours at Wigan NW, part i does not apply, and judging from the discussion, I think it safe to assume that part ii also does not apply. Therefore, passengers boarding without a ticket would "be liable to pay the full single fare or full return fare". This is even clarified, not that I consider it necessary, as "the highest priced single or (if requested by the passenger) return fare
    appropriate to the class of travel for the journey you are making". Therefore, I think it is quite clear that the NRCoC compels Virging to sell Wigan-Preston day returns on the train as they are the only standard class ticket type available for that flow. In addition to the Virgin passenger charter stating that Virging comply with the NRCoC, the following paragraph is a part of the introduction of the NRCoC:
    "It is a condition of the Passenger Licence granted to each Train Company by the Office
    of Rail Regulation that these Conditions apply to tickets sold for journeys involving its
    services and those of other Train Companies. There is a list of the Train Companies in
    Appendix C."
    The list in appendix C contains: "West Coast Trains Limited (trading as Virgin Trains)"

    I think that is fairly conclusive.
     
  16. reb0118

    reb0118 Established Member Fares Advisor

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    Many moons ago when I was a fresh faced Ticket Examiner we worked a morning commuter service leaving a big city against the peak flow. However there was a rail served out of town business park with lots of offices and bank HQs &c. and the train was invariably full and standing - sometimes up to 200 people on board. The journey to this stop was eight minutes with one intermediate stop where many more people boarded. Most passengers alighted at the business park stop.

    I was based in the city depot and used to work that job on a regular basis however the conductor in charge was rostered from a rural depot and they worked that train on a less frequent basis and were usually "surprised" at how busy it was.

    In the days before barriers the vast majority of passengers did not buy tickets prior to boarding this train in fact some would be waiting ticket less on the platform for the train to come in - a good 20 minutes before departure time. Now this was from a main station with two booking offices and plenty of booking clerks. When I asked one pax why he did not have a ticket he replied that he only had two hands - one for his coffee and one for his paper.

    It came to light that the passengers had formed their own little "commuters group" with tips on their company notice boards about how to avoid paying their fares. eg sit in the middle of the train as the train crew approach from either end; take it in turns to pay with a £20 or even better £50 to slow down the train crew and hopefully take all his change; pay with a credit card as again this takes time esp if the magnetic strip is wonky and all the numbers have to be typed in by hand; ask the train crew seemingly innocent questions about season ticket & train times again to slow them down so your office buddies further up the train don't have to pay; crowd into the aisles & doorways to block the train crew from performing their duties &c, &c..........

    When the above was brought to our attention we decided to strike back. Via the PA system we informed the pax that as from the next day the train would be barriered and that having no ticket = no travel. On the next day we did indeed barrier the train and there must have been about 50 people left without tickets however for good customer service we did in fact let them travel and managed to get most of their fares en-route. For the rest of the week, again after suitable warning over the PA, we enforced the no ticket no travel rule.

    The dispatch staff put a stop to this though due to some delays to the start of the train and the fact that they were the ones left dealing with the angry mob of passengers left waiting without tickets.

    Now managements solution to this was to tell us to charge an on-train return (remember them) priced at 2xSDS. This facility was available on the old SPORTIS machine but not on the Avantix. This did not make sense as very few pax actually wanted returns because they knew there was a great chance of not paying on their return journey. Any pax wishing a return in my opinion was NOT avoiding their fare and should not be penalised. The railway at that time seemed to target pax who had bought the "wrong" ticket, eg a CDR but then now wished to travel peak, but did nothing about persistent fare evasion of the kind mentioned above.

    Oh, and what was the fare I was writing about above £1.10.

    Now I have no objection to selling any walk up fare onboard my train from staffed stations esp single manned stations as how do we know what the clerk is doing when our trains pull in. However I would expect that passenger to identify himself to me prior to boarding - I do not think that this is unreasonable. What do others think?

    Remember we can all run late, find it hard to find a parking space, get caught short, &c. Treat people like you wish to be treated yourself.

    Happy Travelling
     
  17. Greenback

    Greenback Emeritus Moderator

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    Agree with your last sentence! Not sure that passengers should approach train staff before boarding. As you say, a one perosn ticklet office may have had to close temproarily, but that doesn;t mean it's the passengers fault any more than it is the clerk at fault for having to perform 'other duties'!

    Your story shows why barriers can be useful for short distance city type trips, although they are not the answer everywhere.
     
  18. aformeruser

    aformeruser Veteran Member

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    So in that case would you be happy having 20-30 people all telling you that they were unable to buy a ticket before you shut the doors, delaying the train for around 3 minutes even if it's already 10 minutes late?
     
  19. barnesg

    barnesg Member

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    Intresting to see the differant views regarding this, thanks. Clearly from the outside looking in, it appeared to be a very grey area. Is continuously boarding a train without a ticket fare evading?

    What would people suggest if this was to happen again, or I over hear this happening (as I did today) a poor lad paid 12.20 for 2xsingles, after giving in to the the barrage of lies the two 'ticket enforcers' were giving him. Other than carrying with me the NRCoC and pointing out the lies, is there anything else? take their names?

    I've spoken to customer relations who had logged a complaint and urged to put this in writing but if a commuter refuses to buy a single(after asking for a return and being refused) what can be done?
     
    Last edited: 27 May 2010
  20. tony_mac

    tony_mac Established Member

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    You can always just refuse to buy a single ticket, but then you have broken railway byelaws by boarding a train without a ticket (where you had the opportunity...etc...etc.). While extremely unlikely, they could eventually also decide to be difficult and have you up before the magistrates for it.

    That doesn't mean Virgin should be doing this, if they don't deal with your complaint (I am sure they won't!), complain to Passenger Focus. When they can't get a response from Virgin either, you can forward your complaint to the ORR - who don't generally deal with complaints directly from the public so it will probably be ignored.
     
  21. yorkie

    yorkie Forum Staff Staff Member Administrator

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    If someone asks for a return and they refuse to sell one, I don't see how the customer can be breaking byelaws! The members of staff who are refusing to adhere to the NCoC - that's their problem, not the customers'.
     
  22. tony_mac

    tony_mac Established Member

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    They are breaking the byelaws by being on the train without a ticket in the first place.

    Obviously, in normal circumstances, this is not enforced - but if they have a repeat 'offender', who is also being difficult, then I suppose they may actually consider a prosecution. I have no idea if they really would - but it is possible.
     
  23. Chris-P

    Chris-P Member

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    If they suspected fare evasion then they could issue an MG11. I don't think it would be valid to tell the person that they can either buy a single or get an MG11, as the NRCoC states that the person would be entitled to a return.
     
  24. 222007

    222007 Member

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    The person going to do the MG11 would need to be trained to do so. My TOC for example only RPI's like myself can write MG11's TM's for example can not
     
  25. jon0844

    jon0844 Veteran Member

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    What if someone allowed it to go to court, would the magistrate be given suitable advice to come to a proper decision (as they should) or just side with the TOC (which would be quicker).
     
  26. Chris-P

    Chris-P Member

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    They would have to be given suitable advice, otherwise it would be grounds for a mistrial!
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    In which case they'd have to sell the ticket, as advised by the NRCoC or call the BTP/an RPI.
     
  27. tony_mac

    tony_mac Established Member

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    I agree, it shouldn't be done, but what would stop them saying that? The DVLA do it all the time - you get to pay an 'admin fee' or be reported for prosection.

    But that wasn't what I meant; just that if someone draws attention to himself by arguing about the fare and quoting the conditions of carriage, then they may be remembered in future. If that person regularly travels without buying a ticket, then this could be a problem.
     
  28. furryfeet

    furryfeet Member

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    Do you have a web link to where this information is available, so that one may take a copy if necessary with them to prove the point, lest the guard argues "you should have bought a ticket at the interchange station" ?

    This would clear up this "grey area" for good !
     
  29. yorkie

    yorkie Forum Staff Staff Member Administrator

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    No, as Virgin advertise the fact they sell full fare tickets on board. Neither station is a penalty fare station, neither have warnings saying you must buy before you board, there are no compulsory ticket areas.

    Any attempt to prosecute someone for asking to buy an Anytime Return on board a Virgin service would, I'm sure, result in failure, embarrassment and bad publicity for Virgin. I can't see them even considering such a move.
     
  30. A60K

    A60K Member

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    PDF version available here: http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/times_fares/nrcc/

    Carry these with you and it makes it crystal clear. That's not to say that the occasional guard won't argue with you, either through being poorly trained or just bloody minded*, but you are absolutely in the right and make sure you stand your ground. If you get charged incorrectly write to the train company, demand a refund of any overpayment as well as a £10 admin fee.

    * seem to remember Chester being mentioned in the past, with someone connecting from a Merseyrail to a VT London service


     
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