Operator wide [email protected] tickets

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aformeruser

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Why is it that we don't have these in the UK, unlike some EU countries? It would seem to be one solution to some of the problems posted on here.

For tickets without reservations they would need to have a name printed on them and be produced with ID.

There is, however, a disadvantage to the passenger in that they would pay for the printing costs but maybe a small discount could be given for printing at home.
 
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jon0844

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You could argue for a discount for printing at home. You could also argue for a premium for the convenience (companies like to have these 'convenience fees*', such as 30 or 40p extra for paying by phone for your car park, or up to £2 to use a cash machine).

I think that another option is to simply keep the price the same!

[email protected] may be a short lived idea, and ultimately replaced by smart cards or NFC enabled mobile phones where you can download a ticket to your phone and then scan it at a gateline like a normal ticket/Oyster. I can already send a code/URL with my NFC phone, to any other phone set up to receive it, so instead of showing a barcode to a member of staff, I could just produce my phone and the code will be sent to the gate/connected terminal for validation (and then being subsequently 'killed' to prevent further use).

[*Damn, best not give the likes of Trainline.com more ideas on how to rip off punters]
 

SS4

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Discounts won't be given for print at home; rather collection by other means will be increased instead
 

WestCoast

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It would be a very good idea, but it would require cooperation and a joint investment as part of an integrated implementation of scanners to read barcoded tickets.

As you say, the system works extremely well in countries like Germany, where it's not uncommon to see at least half the train presenting A4 sheets to staff performing inspections. Of course, that system is very well developed and accepted by the travelling public, to the extent that virtually any ticket (including the equivalent of rovers/rangers) can be printed at home.

Again, the ticket is secured against ID such as a railcard or ID card, I guess it helps here that many EU countries have compulsory ID cards which most people carry in their wallet or purse.

I have never quite understood the snippets of opposition to it in the UK (it was covered in a newspaper article somewhere), I would find it extremely useful and I know of many people who would benefit from it. Smart cards seem a long way off in the regions, where there aren't even TVMs at many stations - and if there is one, it may well only accept certain cards!

I am also skeptical that smart cards would prove beneficial to irregular travellers or those travelling on advance tickets. Additionally, a smart card is not necessarily tangible in the way that it cannot provide visible information to the staff or passenger without the intervention of a machine.
 
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Failed Unit

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I guess they need the IT systems to combat fraud.

On east coast you MUST sit in the seat printed on the ticket and can't move and provide a 2nd form of ID to prevent me from giving printing of 2 tickets and giving you the 2nd but sitting away from the seat. I know East Coast have a list of people with print off tickets, but how do you know who has the genuine our (without the ID of course)

When you connect with Northern on the non-reservable service, it would be difficult to provide that list to Northern. If you have multiple option on unreserved train the it gets complex (but not impossible)
 

aformeruser

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On east coast you MUST sit in the seat printed on the ticket and can't move
If you have a seat reservation you are supposed to sit in the allocated seat, despite what some passengers think.

When you connect with Northern on the non-reservable service, it would be difficult to provide that list to Northern.
As most people on Northern services won't have Advance tickets, two matching Advance tickets may well ring bells for the conductor without additional security measures.
 

Failed Unit

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If you have a seat reservation you are supposed to sit in the allocated seat, despite what some passengers think.



As most people on Northern services won't have Advance tickets, two matching Advance tickets may well ring bells for the conductor without additional security measures.
True, but then it doesn't cover a changed date or person a getting one train and person b getting the one 30 minutes later (if the service is frequent) claiming that they had something to eat at the station.

My point is Northern will still need a list, which is not going to be fixed to a specific train. Of course we have IT that can get us by this they could use 3G or whatever and tick the ticket off. I don't think however the solution will have a long life when the way forward is really a smartcard which has downloaded the ticket.
 

moonrakerz

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On east coast you MUST sit in the seat printed on the ticket and can't move
I have used EC twice in the last 6 months - on both occasions their seat selection system didn't want to play (well reported on here already !) and I didn't get the seats I was after.
On boarding the train all the reservations had been placed in one coach, which was jam packed - the rest of the train was near empty. We moved to another coach - no comment was made on where we were sitting when the tickets were checked.

I would like to think that the ticket inspector was using a bit of common sense.............
 

Failed Unit

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I have used EC twice in the last 6 months - on both occasions their seat selection system didn't want to play (well reported on here already !) and I didn't get the seats I was after.
On boarding the train all the reservations had been placed in one coach, which was jam packed - the rest of the train was near empty. We moved to another coach - no comment was made on where we were sitting when the tickets were checked.

I would like to think that the ticket inspector was using a bit of common sense.............
Typically they don't care, the booking system has a habit of such bunching. But on my last journey the gaurd explicitly state passengers with print at home (rather than advanced) tickets must sit in thier allocated seat and have thier form of ID ready or the ticket would not be valid.
 

WestCoast

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If you have the IT systems you don't need a list. In fact, provided the ID is presented which matches the name on the ticket, I don't understand why a list is even necessary?

They certainly don't use lists on European networks, on DB, for example, the guard or inspector scans the barcode on the ticket and swipes the ID (which on DB can be a credit/debit card, ID card or railcard). It doesn't matter what the ticket type is, if it's the equivalent of an advance all the times and connection info is printed on the ticket.

The problem with smartcards that I can see is that they will still require some sort of TVM (absent from a lot of stations in certain areas!), which is the stage I think should be eliminated.
 
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Failed Unit

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If you have the IT systems you don't need a list. In fact, provided the ID is presented which matches the name on the ticket, I don't understand why a list is even necessary?

They certainly don't use lists on European networks, on DB, for example, the guard or inspector scans the barcode on the ticket and swipes the ID (which on DB can be a credit/debit card, ID card or railcard).
That is the problem with the UK - could you see the TOCs ever agreeing about what system to use. Look at Oyster and the other various smart card schemes! Before someone says DfT should organise it, ****-up, Brewery and DfT?
 

Deerfold

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If you have a seat reservation you are supposed to sit in the allocated seat, despite what some passengers think.
You can be required to but usually they don't mind you moving.

I used to use a lot of advance tickets on EC. Sometimes I'd travel with my wife who would usually have a ticket bought by her company many weeks later. We'd usually choose somewhere we could sit together, rarely near either of our reservations. We never had any comment from a guard.
 

WestCoast

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That is the problem with the UK - could you see the TOCs ever agreeing about what system to use. Look at Oyster and the other various smart card schemes! Before someone says DfT should organise it, ****-up, Brewery and DfT?
Good point. I could perhaps imagine the likes of Southern Region TOCs and InterCity TOCs with flashy barcode readers and ID swipers, and the likes of Northern, GA and ATW demanding printed lists to tick off with biros! :lol: Maybe substitute different TOCs, but you get the idea.

As for smartcards, well that should be interesting. I know they're all supposed to be ITSO, but I am not holding my breath for too much cooperation and integration between TOCs!
 

Skymonster

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The process isn't difficult, but the technology can be...

In the airline world home printing of tickets and boarding passes has become very pervasive. Each home-printed ticket (boarding pass) has a unique bar code. Passengers are electronically "ticked off" on a list as they present their document and the bar code is scanned, and the technology tells the user of the scanner whether or not the document is acceptable - i.e. whether or not that particular ticket has already been used and alerting to duplicates. Albeit requiring hardware to be deployed in a number of places (check-in, security, departure gate, etc), implementation is fairly straight forward in a network wired airport environment.

In the context of a train, before print-at-home can become pervasive and to get a totally robust system it'd be necessary to ensure that ticket scanners were installed at stations on provided to on-train staff. All these scanners would need to be networked to a central ticketing repository - so scanning could check real-time to ensure that a person hadn't tried to use a home-print ticket on two different trains on the same route (or two people on two different trains weren't using the same ticket). It'd also be to ensure the consistency and reliability of the "not used already" checks could be maintained should there be two ticket inspectors on the same train each using a scanner (perhaps working from each end of the train). It is also likely to be necessary for barriers to have scanners and be networked too, so that where the primary source of checks is a barrier again electronic real-time checks can be made to ensure a ticket isn't used twice. This makes the rail challenge for print-at-home somewhat greater than for air travel - stations with scanner barriers, staff onboard trains with networked always-on scanning devices... Its probably still a way off!!!

Andy
 

michael769

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That is the problem with the UK - could you see the TOCs ever agreeing about what system to use. Look at Oyster and the other various smart card schemes! Before someone says DfT should organise it, ****-up, Brewery and DfT?
Surely that is what ATOC is for?

Oh wait........ I see you point!
 

aformeruser

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I suppose one constraint is ticket barriers were designed to read magnetic strips not bar codes. The likes of Tesco and Nectar are moving away from magnetic strips to bar codes with their loyalty cards, while banks are using chips as replacement to strips, while mobile devices use bar codes and QR codes. Probably the train operators were not being very forward thinking when they installed ticket barriers reading magnetic strips.

Relating to Northern I suggested an ID requirement for tickets without seat reservations. I didn't clarify whether a ticket with a seat reservation for part of the journey should also have the ID requirement, so should that be a requirement?

If we look at advance tickets for Buxton to London, as an example, advance tickets start at £13.50 while for Stockport to London they start at £12. Would people risk using the same ticket on the Buxton-Stockport section to save £3 on a return journey? I don't know the answer it seems a small amount to risk getting caught over.
 

WestCoast

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In the context of a train, before print-at-home can become pervasive and to get a totally robust system it'd be necessary to ensure that ticket scanners were installed at stations on provided to on-train staff. All these scanners would need to be networked to a central ticketing repository - so scanning could check real-time to ensure that a person hadn't tried to use a home-print ticket on two different trains on the same route (or two people on two different trains weren't using the same ticket). It'd also be to ensure the consistency and reliability of the "not used already" checks could be maintained should there be two ticket inspectors on the same train each using a scanner (perhaps working from each end of the train).
I can't help but thinking this seems a bit unnecessary if the systems prints a name on the ticket and the guard/inspector checks the ID. Then the ticket is stamped or marked. The ticket can't then be duplicated or used more than once (by the way this is a problem with traditional tickets as well).

If someone objects to the ID situation, then they can still get a traditional ticket, although you must divulge your name for all tickets bought online and this is sometimes printed on the orange tickets. However, it's not going to bother railcard holders who can select that as ID, and people can also use the credit/debit card they booked with (which you also have to bring along if you're using ToD anyway!).
 
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Skymonster

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I can't help but thinking this seems a bit unnecessary if the systems prints a name on the ticket and the guard/inspector checks the ID. Then the ticket is stamped or marked. The ticket can't then be duplicated or used more than once (by the way this is a problem with traditional tickets as well).

If someone objects to the ID situation, then they can still get a traditional ticket, although you must divulge your name for all tickets bought online and this is sometimes printed on the orange tickets. However, it's not going to bother railcard holders who can select that as ID, and people can also use the credit/debit card they booked with (which you also have to bring along if you're using ToD anyway!).
A few issues:

1. Two family members, both same [last] name, two copies of the same ticket, decide to sit in different parts of the train to evade close scruitiny

2. I think the railway desperately wants to avoid forcing all passengers to carry ID - it's challenging enough in the aviation industry where there are plenty of would be domestic passengers who don't have a passport or driving licence. It would also create yet another bone of contention (similar to that with APs), because as soon as you enforce the carrying of ID you effectively have to start applying enforcement (penalty, new ticket, etc) if a passenger forgets their ID.

3. You can print two copies of the ticket (or photocopy it), so the act of the guard marking the ticket is a useless act

4. Using the debite/credit card as a check against the print-at-home ticket would mean printing the card number on the ticket - not good for card security even if it's just some of the digits printed especially if the full name is on the ticket too
 

aformeruser

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1. Two family members, both same [last] name, two copies of the same ticket, decide to sit in different parts of the train to evade close scruitiny
Print the full name then.

2. I think the railway desperately wants to avoid forcing all passengers to carry ID - it's challenging enough in the aviation industry where there are plenty of would be domestic passengers who don't have a passport or driving licence.
Railcard holders already carry photo ID on them. ID for other passengers would only be for passengers who choose to purchase a print at home ticket, not for all passengers.

The conductors and ticket inspectors could use discretion relating to IDs, they could ask for it as and when they feel it's required oppose to ask all passengers all the time.

3. You can print two copies of the ticket (or photocopy it), so the act of the guard marking the ticket is a useless act
Software allowing you to print a document once only exists. However, it's not foolproof against a printer flagging up an error message and not printing the document, meaning some people will be told their ticket has already printed when they haven't had a successful print out.

4. Using the debit/credit card as a check against the print-at-home ticket would mean printing the card number on the ticket - not good for card security even if it's just some of the digits printed especially if the full name is on the ticket too
Also doesn't allow, for instance, a parent to purchase a ticket for their son/daughter.
 

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Software allowing you to print a document once only exists. However, it's not foolproof against a printer flagging up an error message and not printing the document, meaning some people will be told their ticket has already printed when they haven't had a successful print out.
Any form of DRM on [email protected] tickets would be a terrible idea, it would only annoy users without actually preventing duplication of tickets.

Having a requirement for ID is the easiest way of doing it. The best solution IMO would be to have a centralised database which would be checked by ticket barriers and scanners carried by guards (or by phone in extremis); obviously this would cost money though.
 

Skymonster

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I can't see a new approach (wide scale print-at-home) being brought in if it creates yet further loopholes and potential for revenue loss, and I think without real-time electronic validation and ticket cancelling the potential risk of fraud is high. Forcing folks to carry ID isn't helpful - it'll just put off some people and reduce the effectiveness of the approach.

Besides, IMHO the way forward isn't print at home - the aviation industry has moved beyond that into mobile ticket/boarding pass on smartphones and if the rail industry is to move much more agressively towards a self-service approach that is probably a better way (and before someone says "not everyone has smartphones, true but not everyone has a printer at home either).

Another solution, better IMHO than print-at-home, would be a freely available network-wide smart card that can either be linked to a credit card and charged according to the journey made (similar to Oyster) or the fare drawn from a prepaid amount, or more likely in the case of longer and more expensive journeys be pre-loaded with a specific ticket either bought at a booking office or at a TVM, or bought at home by booking a ticket on the web and specifying the smartcard number it's to be loaded onto.

Andy
 

LexyBoy

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Or, seperate credit-card sized tokens for each trip, which would be printed on a proprietary base only available to the railway industry. They wouldn't be easily duplicated, so there would be no need to link them to a specific person. These "tickets" could be dispensed to passengers at their departure station...
 

emorris

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IMO, there's too much to go wrong with [email protected] Poor printouts meaning bar codes can't be read. People printing two tickets back-to-back (I've seen this whilst boarding at an airport - passenger printed the out and return portions back-to-back despite being told not to).

Plus it seems a bit unprofessional and outdated - carrying around a big sheet of A4 paper rather than a ticket or plastic card.

For the short term, I think the current system at Sheffield works OK. As well as the 6 or so TVMs, there's another number of TOD collection only machines, meaning that you rarely have to wait at all to collect tickets (in my experience). Perhaps the method of requiring a collection ref and the card you used to pay could be improved, but I can't see that it causes a massive delay to your journey.
 

jon0844

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Forcing folks to carry ID isn't helpful - it'll just put off some people and reduce the effectiveness of the approach.
If you only 'demanded' ID to be shown with print at home/e-tickets, I am not sure it's a problem. People accept they need to show ID for some things, and if it put people off - so be it.

I mean, when Oyster came out there were loads of people who were refusing to get one for privacy reasons (thinking every move was being tracked by 'The Man') but I think most people soon saw the benefits and convenience and stopped being so paranoid.

It would be good if we had a voluntary ID card system though, as we could use that for travel within the EU - and not everyone has a passport, or can drive.. the only main forms of ID I can think of for most people.

Besides, IMHO the way forward isn't print at home - the aviation industry has moved beyond that into mobile ticket/boarding pass on smartphones and if the rail industry is to move much more agressively towards a self-service approach that is probably a better way (and before someone says "not everyone has smartphones, true but not everyone has a printer at home either).

Another solution, better IMHO than print-at-home, would be a freely available network-wide smart card that can either be linked to a credit card and charged according to the journey made (similar to Oyster) or the fare drawn from a prepaid amount, or more likely in the case of longer and more expensive journeys be pre-loaded with a specific ticket either bought at a booking office or at a TVM, or bought at home by booking a ticket on the web and specifying the smartcard number it's to be loaded onto.
Yup, I hope that any future smartcard system will combine a range of options, to allow PAYG travel as well as loading on more complicated/expensive tickets, seat reservations etc.

NFC readers aren't expensive - so you could one day have a reader at your seat to validate you have 'boarded' and even do things like mark your seat as 'occupied' if you wanted to go to the shop/toilet etc.

It's all up to ATOC and the industry as a whole to look at things carefully and not cock it all up - given we'll probably have such a system in place for as long as the current magstrip tickets have been.
 
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button_boxer

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For the short term, I think the current system at Sheffield works OK. As well as the 6 or so TVMs, there's another number of TOD collection only machines, meaning that you rarely have to wait at all to collect tickets (in my experience).
You have the advantage that you actually look around you and realise that the collection-only machines exist! It amazes me the number of people who don't, and insist on queueing up, booking confirmation in hand, to use the bank of four TVMs under the departure boards when the collection-only machines and the other TVMs at the far end of the ticket counter are all available...
 

Skymonster

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The next step in the evolution to paperless/ticketless in aviation will be biometrics - either finger print or facial recognition. Initially this will most likely be still based around a passport, but ultimately it will be made possible by the travel provider storing biometrics for a registered customer and transmitting that along with the "permission to travel" to the airports, immigration, security checkpoints, other airlines, etc. that the passenger will use. There will then be no need for a ticket or a boarding pass - just a quick thumb print on a reader at a barrier (checkin, security, boarding gate, exit) will connect the traveller to the planned travel and paid for travel and determine elegability.

Rail needs to look beyond short term expediencies such as print-at-home which will create another layer of technology that will become redundant, and look at what solutions and processes could be put into place that could be viable for the next two or three decades or so

Andy
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
It's all up to ATOC and the industry as a whole to look at things carefully and not cock it all up - given we'll probably have such a system in place for as long as the current magstrip tickets have been.
Yup... As I said just above - go beyond the simple / short term expedient and look at what a proper investment in technology might enable for decades to come.

Andy
 

exile

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I sometimes wonder about whether we actually count as an advanced country any more. I used a whole series of [email protected] tickets on a recent holiday in Spain and the system worked perfectly - even when my browser crashed when I tried to print it the train operator was able to email me the link so I could print the ticket.

Station barrier staff and on-train staff had readers (ie the readers weren't built in to the barriers). Bear in mind that due to security concerns we had to get luggage scanned before boarding so the process was (a) show ticket for scanning (b) put luggage on belt (c) board train
 

sheff1

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I sometimes wonder about whether we actually count as an advanced country any more. I used a whole series of [email protected] tickets on a recent holiday in Spain and the system worked perfectly - even when my browser crashed when I tried to print it the train operator was able to email me the link so I could print the ticket.
Indeed. The system also works without apparent problem in Germany and Sweden, both of which have a number of different train operating companies. Unfortuntely the default position on the UK railway seems to be 'too difficult' and/or 'all passengers are on the fiddle'.
 

exile

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Indeed. The system also works without apparent problem in Germany and Sweden, both of which have a number of different train operating companies. Unfortuntely the default position on the UK railway seems to be 'too difficult' and/or 'all passengers are on the fiddle'.
I can imagine how Edmondson would have been treated if he'd suggested pre-printed tickets with serial numbers if the attitude of today's TOCs had applied then.
 

WestCoast

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Indeed. The system also works without apparent problem in Germany and Sweden, both of which have a number of different train operating companies. Unfortuntely the default position on the UK railway seems to be 'too difficult' and/or 'all passengers are on the fiddle'.
[email protected] is also available for most tickets on the TGV network in France, plus I know they are now available for services in Belgium, Austria, Switzerland, Denmark, Finland, Czech Republic, Poland, Egypt (!) and Spain.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Another solution, better IMHO than print-at-home, would be a freely available network-wide smart card that can either be linked to a credit card and charged according to the journey made (similar to Oyster) or the fare drawn from a prepaid amount, or more likely in the case of longer and more expensive journeys be pre-loaded with a specific ticket either bought at a booking office or at a TVM, or bought at home by booking a ticket on the web and specifying the smartcard number it's to be loaded onto.
The problem I see with that is the current generation of smartcards store information directly on the card, meaning that some sort of machine is needed at every station to load products onto the card. I am not saying a national smartcard isn't a good idea, because it is. However, my local station doesn't even have a TVM and its not exactly Berney Arms! There isn't much consistency on the network and I fear a smartcard would be TOC-specific and that would lead to all sorts of problems.

The [email protected] solution, I feel, can suit irregular and leisure users now and would also suit those who don't want to obtain a smartcard in future. I suspect it's actually saved money in countries like Germany as not as many paper tickets have to be printed!
 
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