On train Ticket Inspection and Barriers

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Requeststop

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I have just returned to work following a great holiday in London and my beloved Cornwall.

In London and the South East a few lines I have never ridden on before are now proudly coloured in on my rail map including Didcot–Kings Sutton–Marylebone, Victoria – Eastborne-Hastings-Ashford-St Pancras, St Pancras-Dover-Faversham-Margate-Canterbury-Ashford, Highbury and Islington-Crystal Palace, Victoria-London Bridge via Peckham Rye (wanted to do this line for years), St. Pancras to Sutton via Wimbledon.

I also did the Gunnislake branch for the first time in 20+ years.

I found that the ticket barrier system is very confusing coupled with on train ticket inspection. For instance – Paddington-Kings Sutton, I walked through the barriers onto the train – late announcing of the platform led to a rush to get on the service. My ticket was inspected just before Reading. At Kings Sutton - No Barriers or staff. Return journey to Marylebone no inspection and barriers open. Barriers in action at Victoria and St Pancras, but at Hastings and Dover, barriers open and no ticket inspection on train.

FGW to Truro on the 10:05 Monday Morning – Barriers at Paddington open - ticket inspection in 1st class after Reading. After that no inspection all the way down to Truro, not even a check for new passengers at Exeter or Plymouth. A young late teenaged girl sat in a first class seat all the way from Exeter to Liskeard (feet up on the opposite seat btw) and was not disturbed.

Truro Station sadly now has barriers. It is now a most unfriendly station. No-one allowed on platform to greet you, and help with baggage etc, friends/family now squeezed into a small area beyond the barriers. 2 staff at the barriers to “assist”. I didn’t manage to get down to Penzance as not aware if there are ticket barriers there but I am wondering if Truro is the only station in Cornwall with barriers? If there is staff available to “assist” passengers, why have the barriers? Surely, they could inspect the tickets and pass the ticket through a reader to check the validity of the tickets?

Going up to Gunnislake, I was able to enter the station through the refreshments room and pass onto the station without using the barriers. My train was late due to a XC service being cancelled and the Gunnislake train pulled out as I was approaching it. 2 hours to kill in Plymouth so I decided to go into the city. I was all prepared to ask at the barrier if I could break my journey, but the gates were wide open. Returning after a bit of a shop and a meal I walked straight onto the platform to the train for the excellent ride to Gunnislake. Tickets inspected both to and on the return to Plymouth.

Finally, last Monday, taking the Night Riviera back to London, again the barriers on the London side of Truro Station were wide open for anyone to walk through.

By the way on arrival at Padding I found that we were double headed by 57603 Tintagel Castle and 57604 Pendennis Castle. See Photo!
 

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Schnellzug

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Oh, I know and very much agree about the Barriers. They're all part of the general attitude that passengers should be treated as potential suspects until they can prove that they have paid for a Ticket, and should be herded about and kept in line by nannying "Security" and "Safety" announcements. But once again, you'll see people insisting that every station should have Barriers because they cut down on Fare Evasion, and user friendliness or convenience and helpfulness are not important. And it doesn't, as you say, even reduce the need for staff. This is, I suppose, the same attitude that says that automated Ticket machines should replace staffed Ticket offices because it Cuts Costs, and that cheap and inferior rolling stock should be used everywhere because it's, well, Cheap.
 

Clip

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Its not very good hearing so many barriers left open(especially Marylebone) when they are installed to do a certain job but I am surprised you didnt get a ticket check on trains to Dover(i take it it was HS1) and also the train to MArgate via Faversham as I have always had my ticekts checked on doing these routes.

But thats a great picture I must say and unusual.
 

BestWestern

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Whatever one's views on ticket barriers, it is always incredibly irritating to find them left wide open and unmanned rather than being used correctly. They do help, particularly with the 'opportunist' or casual fare dodgers, and they are a worthwhile deterrent. However when such people are able to wander straight through it creates a mentality that they no longer need a ticket, and makes the job on board the train that bit more difficult.

As for the lack of ticket checks, sadly this is a regular thing right across the network, with some staff more productive and proactive than others, though of course it's important to mention that there may have been other reasons for the Guard not making it to a particular part of the train. Also - I'll get in and say it before others jump on you! - the girl in First may just have had a valid FC ticket, you never know, though feet on seats is obviously bad manners!
 

Requeststop

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Its not very good hearing so many barriers left open(especially Marylebone) when they are installed to do a certain job but I am surprised you didnt get a ticket check on trains to Dover(i take it it was HS1) and also the train to MArgate via Faversham as I have always had my ticekts checked on doing these routes.

But thats a great picture I must say and unusual.

Yes it was HS 1 and a very good journey too, and I enjoyed the Dover-Faversham-Margate run too though a bit of a dash to get to the Margate train at Faversham especially for someone not used to the station.

Thanks also for your kind words about my amateurish photo.:)
 

island

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FGW to Truro on the 10:05 Monday Morning – Barriers at Paddington open - ticket inspection in 1st class after Reading. After that no inspection all the way down to Truro, not even a check for new passengers at Exeter or Plymouth. A young late teenaged girl sat in a first class seat all the way from Exeter to Liskeard (feet up on the opposite seat btw) and was not disturbed.

Feet on the seat aside, how do you know she didn't have a first class ticket? Barriers wouldn't have stopped that anyhow.
 

jon0844

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This is offensive to young people. Why does her age make her a fare evader?

Really? Offensive? Come on! We were all young once and age doesn't make any difference on spotting people that are likely up to no good. It's not just the age, or how they dress, but the little things that give the game away.

Ticket inspectors, police, customs officers, security guards can all spot the signs. The feet up on the seat is another sign of showing contempt.

All of the above would apply at any age, I'd have expected. The only problem for the youngsters is how they're treated when caught compared to, say, an old person. I've seen huge differences in how people are treated.

And, sure, I'll admit that I've suspected someone might not have a ticket (at all, or only standard in first) and then been proved wrong. And far more times, I've been proved right. Any RPI or TM on here will no doubt say the same.
 

SS4

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This is offensive to young people. Why does her age make her a fare evader?

Because it makes old folk feel better because it were better back in t'day. Didn't you know the free bus pass comes with rose tinted specs :lol:

Ironically of course if her aged had not been mentioned the thread would be in agreement :lol:
 

jon0844

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Nobody knows the age of the OP. Okay, so there's a comment about not being somewhere for 20+ years, but it could have been as a young child. Let's not assume that the OP is some old guy with a vendetta against teenagers.
 

Requeststop

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Nobody knows the age of the OP. Okay, so there's a comment about not being somewhere for 20+ years, but it could have been as a young child. Let's not assume that the OP is some old guy with a vendetta against teenagers.

The OP is 58 and 3/4. I have no vendetta against teenagers, some are my grandchildren (maybe and maybe not only in the UK - my behaviour when I was younger ok?). the 20+ years refers to my visit to the Gunnislake branch. Actually feet on seats by the younger generation that I noticed applies also to the tube and another ride I did but have forgotten.

The issue I wanted to raise was the lack of ticket inspection. My point being that it may well be, that the young person may be experienced in that no inspection of tickets takes place on these services, and that ticket barriers do not exist at certain stations and that they are also aware that barriers are left open at other times. Hence the chance of a free ride. I say this as one who booked well in advance to pay 3 pounds 30p to travel from Victoria to Hastings!
 

richw

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I'm assuming that your night riviera may of broke down somewhere to have arrived double headed at paddington.
You mention the truro barriers, one thing I have always found Is the Truro barrier staff always seem cheerful and friendly and assist passengers, which sadly I haven't seen from staff at many other barrier stations. Not saying there aren't other helpful and friendly barrier staff, just doesn't seem to be many of them about
 

TEW

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Penzance hasn't got barriers but they have recently installed manual gates on to all platforms so ticket checks can be carried about before boarding services at Penzance.
 

scotsman

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Really? Offensive? Come on! We were all young once and age doesn't make any difference on spotting people that are likely up to no good. It's not just the age, or how they dress, but the little things that give the game away.

Yes, as a Trustee of an organisation that has been trying to combat these attitudes for some time: yes, this is offensive.

If I substituted a teenager for a black person, for instance, in that comment, I'm sure you would agree that it would be bang out of order. Why should it be different because they are young?

Ticket inspectors, police, customs officers, security guards can all spot the signs. The feet up on the seat is another sign of showing contempt.

Which signs would those be? Feet on seat may show contempt, I'd also say that showed someone who is tired.

All of the above would apply at any age, I'd have expected. The only problem for the youngsters is how they're treated when caught compared to, say, an old person. I've seen huge differences in how people are treated.

Really? Depends what you define as young and old, but the worst reaction I ever saw was on BBC 2's "The Tube" where a 30/40-something man kicked off pretty dramatically at a pair of RPIs.

And, sure, I'll admit that I've suspected someone might not have a ticket (at all, or only standard in first) and then been proved wrong. And far more times, I've been proved right. Any RPI or TM on here will no doubt say the same.
Unless you have evidence, or you're meant to be checking tickets, I suggest it's best to keep that to yourself. Believe me, when I get "reminded" by some "public spirited" person that I'm in a First Class only area it thoroughly p*sses me off.
 

jon0844

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Who said I tell anyone? I'm not someone who would say 'This is first class'. In fact, the only thing I've ever told people (of all ages) is 'You can actually sit in here, first class is declassified'.

Feet on seats because you're tired? Erm, I don't think that makes it okay. It's contempt pure and simple. But, I never said that's something only youngsters do. Walk through a train in the late evening and tell me that it's not almost 50% of people doing it. Tired, drink, fare evading (or all three).. who cares about the background. I still look at all of them as being arrogant and not giving a **** about other passengers - given the fact every time I sit down, I'm almost certainly sitting on whatever the last passenger had on the bottom of his or her shoes.

As for The Tube - who cares about how someone treats staff. I talked about how staff treated passengers and pointed that youngsters probably get treated badly here compared to older people. If anyone kicks off them it's a whole different ballgame.

Finally, I'll skip the attempt to make a comparison to a black person. We're only one step away from someone mentioning the Nazis!
 

BestWestern

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I have to say that feet on seats is very widespread now, I see on just about every train I work. It isn't always arrogant yobbish 'yoof' types, although I would certainly concur that it tends not to be the more mature passengers. I don't think it is always a deliberate feeling of contempt, some people appear genuinely unaware of it being offensive to others, or in some cases even seem to be doing it 'subconsciously' you might say. The fact that some will continue to do it as they are showing you their ticket tends to imply to me that, for whatever reason, they don't appreciate that they shouldn't be doing it, or even don't realise that they actually are doing it. Most people are very quick to offer apologies and remove the offending feet, and I am always happy to suggest that if they remove their shoes I have no problem with it. Those who appear less compliant generally respond better to being asked very loudly and knowing that there will be much evil staring if they keep doing it once I've walked off ;)
 

Goatboy

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To be honest I find it hard to get annoyed with the barriers. I have never once been refused entry to the platforms at a barrier fitted station for non travelling purposes - I'm always allowed through to accompany my girlfriend to the train or meet her and have never been refused entry just to have a look round either. If you are polite to the staff they never have an issue.

As for feet on seats - very annoying. And of particular note is the member of FGW staff on the 18:41 Bristol Temple Meads to Great Malvern who set a fantastic example with her feet on the seats!
 

6Gman

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To be honest I find it hard to get annoyed with the barriers.

It's not the barriers which annoy me, it's the staff who are too busy chatting to each other [and, yes, they might be discussing important safety-critical railway matters ;) ] or checking their mobiles to deal with passengers unable to use the automatic barriers.

Bring back 'ticket snappers', with railway knowledge, perched in their little boxes to check tickets!
 

DynamicSpirit

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Yes, as a Trustee of an organisation that has been trying to combat these attitudes for some time: yes, this is offensive.

If I substituted a teenager for a black person, for instance, in that comment, I'm sure you would agree that it would be bang out of order. Why should it be different because they are young?

There are two sides to this. On the one hand, it is self-evidently unfair for someone to be regarded in a less favourable light purely because of their age, but on the other hand I don't think you could plausibly dispute that those who are inconsiderate to others or to railway property (putting feet on seats is both, in my view) are disproportionately young people. I would suggest there's at least one good reason for that - which is that the process of becoming mature and understanding of the needs of others is a lifelong process, not something that suddenly stops when you reach the age of 18. And for that reason it seems quite understandable that some people are going to feel more nervous of/suspicious of younger people. But of course that's not much comfort to a teenager who is viewed suspiciously on account of age or appearance, but who is actually not doing anything wrong, especially when an older person nearby might well be doing something wrong.

I don't know what the answer to all that is. I don't think Requststop's original comment about the girl is necessarily offensive - after all if you see someone behaving in an inconsiderate manner, it doesn't seem unreasonable to give some description of the person. And the fact that teenagers are less likely to be able to afford first class tickets than older people could be seen as making it more understandable if he is suspicious.

You point out that it would be out of order if you substituted 'teenager' with 'black person' - actually there is one difference that may be relevant, quite apart from the fact that teenagers are more likely to behave anti-socially: Almost all teenagers do later on grow up and become older adults, and conversely all older adults were once teenagers, so being more suspicious of teenagers does not, of the course of each person's lifetime, involve discriminating against any one person more than another: *Everyone* goes through the age when they are viewed in some quarters with more suspicion.

(Note that I'm not really trying to justify either side in this debate. I'm undecided on the issue, and I don't think it's clear-cut).
 

222007

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For me everyone is treated the same young or old black or white. I dont feel in this day and age you can discriminate. If someone forgets a railcard they get excessed up (company policy). For me though the issue of feet on seats. This is my number 1 pet hate and i ALWAYS tell people to remove there feet from the seats. That said i did once see a passenger who had put his newspaper down befor he put his feet up.
 

158801

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Sometimes I will suggest that they put a piece of their clothing (a coat or jumper for example) on the seat first then put their feet on that !

Often they are more than willing to dirty their own clothing to simply put their feet up,
 

Cherry_Picker

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What time did you pass through Marylebone? I have worked in and out of there for the best part of 15 years and it is very rare to see the barriers left open and unmanned, even late at night.
 

island

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For me everyone is treated the same young or old black or white. I dont feel in this day and age you can discriminate. If someone forgets a railcard they get excessed up (company policy).

It is interesting to hear that it is company policy not to charge people new tickets in line with the NRCoC!
 

David Goddard

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Having travelled 4,000 miles on sixty five services in the last twelve days, it is shocking to see the number of fellow passengers who think it is OK to ride with their feet up on adjacent or opposite seats.
On our first trip, the down "Night Riviera", we were greeted with a middle aged woman curled up in a seat with her wellington boot clad feet on the seat alongside. This soon came to an end as she had to give it up to let someone sit down.

On a Malvern to Birmingham train last Friday, three people (aged about 20-25) boarded, and immediately put feet up on opposite seats. They did not change this when the conductor came along, who did not comment in any case. After the ticket check, one of the group passed comment about his seemingly high fare along the lines of "£12.00 for a seat". He should been advised at this point that if people didnt put their feet up on seats and soil them, then they would not need replacing as often and so the TOCs maintenance bills would decline, and so fares might not be as high.
 

6Gman

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On a Malvern to Birmingham train last Friday, three people (aged about 20-25) boarded, and immediately put feet up on opposite seats. They did not change this when the conductor came along, who did not comment in any case. After the ticket check, one of the group passed comment about his seemingly high fare along the lines of "£12.00 for a seat". He should been advised at this point that if people didnt put their feet up on seats and soil them, then they would not need replacing as often and so the TOCs maintenance bills would decline, and so fares might not be as high.

Surely it was £6 per seat - one for his feet, and one for his a**e ?

:)
 
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The problem with ticket barriers is that they are not connected to a computer system, so that say it could work out the route you are taking and accept it. If it doesn't like your ticket, even valid, for whatever reason, you get that lovely message up and tonnes of people behind you tutting.

Then the barrier guard comes over and usually has a look of horror on his or her face when they realise that your ticket is valid and they have to let you in.

I had this with a super saver ticket once from Retford to Cardiff, changing at London for Paddington. Now at that time of day SS tickets are not acceptable, however mine was because of it being classed as going cross country. 5 minutes later I got the go ahead to actually get the train, which was leaving imminently.

What gets me more is the disappointment on their faces, and I've had this no end of times because I tend to make 'quirky' journeys for work, when they discover your ticket is VALID for route.

(Yes, I know I could have gone Nottingham to Cardiff direct or even Sheffield to Cardiff, but I like a few hours stopover in London.)
 

jon0844

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On the other hand, FCC seem to have pathetic coding at their gates and more often than not a ticket stopped with 'seek assistance' turns out to be totally valid and you're allowed through without being questioned at all - suggesting the staff are fully aware (and sick of it).

Examples; my carnet tickets not working when I start my journey, giving an error that says the date is invalid. It works fine at Finsbury Park or King's Cross to exit. I have given all details to FCC on Twitter and they've promised they're investigating (even sent a Tweet a few days later to say they've not forgotten) but I think they've now forgotten!

Or my season ticket from Hatfield to Z4/5/6, which would never let me enter or exit at Potters Bar. Again, it was never fixed and I was never given any bother as I was let out.
 

Requeststop

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What time did you pass through Marylebone? I have worked in and out of there for the best part of 15 years and it is very rare to see the barriers left open and unmanned, even late at night.

Yes, I caught the 18:17 from Kings Sutton to Marylebone arriving at 19:38 on time. Friday 15th June. In fact I have the ticket in front of me right now; cost = £43.00 and it's still valid until the 14th of July. I won’t be re-using it - I'm back in Baku now and I'd rather not pay the near £1,000 return air fare for the privilege of using the ticket again!:D

By the way - I found the Chiltern train was extremely noisy!
 
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