Over-distance excess - no zero fare?

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krus_aragon

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I travelled from Cardiff to Llandudno Junction recently on an off-peak return ticket, and then wanted to start my return journey from Llandudno (town) instead. I asked the clerk at the ticket office to pay the excess to travel from Llandudno, expecting to either be given a zero-fare excess, or be told 'never mind, just hop on the train'. The clerk actually issued me with a single ticket to the Junction, and when I pressed him on the matter he said 'it's the only way it can be done these days', or words to that effect. As I couldn't really back out at that point, I paid the single fare and went on my journey.

I contacted ATW's customer services, and the reply that I got was that no excess could be charged because the CDF-LLJ and CDF-LLD fares are the same, and the only way to provide me with a ticket was to issue a single fare for LLD-LLJ.

Before I press this any further, can someone back me up that zero-fare excesses haven't disappeared off the system entirely? I've had a read through the recently updated NRCOC but can't spot anything meaty to quote in reply. (Travel was before the latest update.)
 
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island

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Zero excesses do exist (I have one issued by FGW) but they are a bit of a faff and the clerk is supposed to fill in a form.
 

hairyhandedfool

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Zero fare excess fares do exist, however, over-distance excess fares apply to the destination printed on the ticket and must be done before travel commences (where possible). This means:

  • The destination of the outward portion can only be changed before boarding a train (where possible).
  • The Origin of the outward portion cannot be changed by over distance excess.
  • The destination of the return portion would have to be changed before boarding a train on the return journey (where possible)
  • The origin of the return portion can only be changed by excessing the destination of the outward portion (see above).

Discretion can be used where there was no opportunity to excess the ticket before departure as noted above. In this case, the clerk is not allowed to excess the ticket for you and the single was the correct course of action.
 

RJ

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Zero excesses do exist (I have one issued by FGW) but they are a bit of a faff and the clerk is supposed to fill in a form.
They're the same as any other excess - not a faff at all from my experience as a ticket office clerk.

Sometimes there are strict orders (whether right or wrong) from management not to go handing out free tickets unless there's a good reason for it. I think this has more bearing on the willingless of the clerk to do them rather than the process itself!
 
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GadgetMan

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They're the same as any other excess - not a faff at all from my experience as a ticket office clerk.

Sometimes there are strict orders (whether right or wrong) from management not to go handing out free tickets unless there's a good reason for it. I think this has more bearing on the willingless of the clerk to do them rather than the process itself!
This will be the real reason.

Managers don't seem to accept issuing zero fares is perfectly legitimate in the right situations.

Our conductor manager once told us that she expected a TIR (Travel Irregularity Report) for every single zero fare ticket we issued and there would be no exceptions.:roll:

Her reasoning was that there was no legitimate reason for a ZF to be issued other than for reporting someone for ticketless travel :lol:. The fact she had never done a guards job, nor had any retail training really helped her manage the guards at our depot.
 

krus_aragon

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Zero fare excess fares do exist, however, over-distance excess fares apply to the destination printed on the ticket and must be done before travel commences (where possible). This means:

  • The destination of the outward portion can only be changed before boarding a train (where possible).
  • The Origin of the outward portion cannot be changed by over distance excess.
  • The destination of the return portion would have to be changed before boarding a train on the return journey (where possible)
  • The origin of the return portion can only be changed by excessing the destination of the outward portion (see above).

Discretion can be used where there was no opportunity to excess the ticket before departure as noted above. In this case, the clerk is not allowed to excess the ticket for you and the single was the correct course of action.
Right, so the excess should be applied to both the outbound and return ticket before travelling outbound, not before the return travel (as I sought to do).

However, all of ATW's period return tickets have restriction code 8A(?) which disallow break of journey on the outbound journey. Unless the two legs can be excessed independently, I'd be falling foul of that restriction. How does that work given that I didn't want to travel further on the outbound ticket (and I couldn't have done so because of the luggage I was conveying)?
 

bb21

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This means:

  • The destination of the outward portion can only be changed before boarding a train (where possible).
  • The Origin of the outward portion cannot be changed by over distance excess.
  • The destination of the return portion would have to be changed before boarding a train on the return journey (where possible)
  • The origin of the return portion can only be changed by excessing the destination of the outward portion (see above).
Are these rules documented anywhere?
 

bb21

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Everything anyone needs to know about excess fares is in the NRCoC or NRE. If it's not in there, assume it can't be done ;)
Or the assumption is that if it does not say that something cannot be done, then it could. ;)
 

RJ

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Or the assumption is that if it does not say that something cannot be done, then it could. ;)
Depends on what your experiences are. Many ticket offices clerks don't know very much about excesses and won't do something because they don't know if they're allowed to. They're not going to get themselves in trouble for the sake of a customer. At least if you have the NRCoC to refer to, they can see for themselves and then do it for you.
 

Failed Unit

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I must admit, I tended to just book to the furthest station I was likely to need to avoid this. I guess in the days of barriers and the fact that you can't normally break on the outward portion you can't do that now. I used to prefer to use Market Rasen just so that it showed Central trains that people used it!

In the past most gaurds would accept a Lincoln - London ticket from a passenger boarding at Market Rasen, not sure if this is still the case. But they would take the view the price is the same and no-one else needs to know.
 

bb21

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Depends on what your experiences are. Many ticket offices clerks don't know very much about excesses and won't do something because they don't know if they're allowed to. They're not going to get themselves in trouble for the sake of a customer. At least if you have the NRCoC to refer to, they can see for themselves and then do it for you.
My experience with excesses is that most ticket office staff appear to have been trained to some extent however whether they are able to do it correctly or what they allege can/cannot be done varies widely, possibly depending on how much training had been provided.

Guards onboard, on the other hand, tend to be better at it.

I must admit, I tended to just book to the furthest station I was likely to need to avoid this. I guess in the days of barriers and the fact that you can't normally break on the outward portion you can't do that now. I used to prefer to use Market Rasen just so that it showed Central trains that people used it!
This is usually a good strategy as it saves potential hassle if you wish to return from a station further up the road, of course provided that there is no break of journey restriction on the relevant portion.

In the past most gaurds would accept a Lincoln - London ticket from a passenger boarding at Market Rasen, not sure if this is still the case. But they would take the view the price is the same and no-one else needs to know.
If you get an awkward guard then he could well point out that revenue allocation may be different, not that it applies specifically to the Market Rason example.
 

Wolfie

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Zero fare excess fares do exist, however, over-distance excess fares apply to the destination printed on the ticket and must be done before travel commences (where possible). This means:

  • The destination of the outward portion can only be changed before boarding a train (where possible).
  • The Origin of the outward portion cannot be changed by over distance excess.
  • The destination of the return portion would have to be changed before boarding a train on the return journey (where possible)
  • The origin of the return portion can only be changed by excessing the destination of the outward portion (see above).

Discretion can be used where there was no opportunity to excess the ticket before departure as noted above. In this case, the clerk is not allowed to excess the ticket for you and the single was the correct course of action.
Ah, interesting. I guess that explains why the Guard on an ATW service from Brum New St to Shrewsbury and onwards into Wales I was on sold an unwitting Swedish tourist with a Brum New St to Telford Central ticket a single from Telford to Shrewsbury when the tourist, with the assistance of some informed locals, worked out that Shrewsbury was closer to his final destination than Telford. I must admit I had expected an excess to be offered (this was all before arrival at Telford). You live and learn.....
 

Clip

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My experience with excesses is that most ticket office staff appear to have been trained to some extent however whether they are able to do it correctly or what they allege can/cannot be done varies widely, possibly depending on how much training had been provided.

Guards onboard, on the other hand, tend to be better at it.
I think this is because guards are more likely to be the ones who come across having to do so more often then more ticket office clerks. So there is caution used by some ticket clerks to not want to do them as they may have forgotten.
 

hairyhandedfool

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Right, so the excess should be applied to both the outbound and return ticket before travelling outbound, not before the return travel (as I sought to do).

However, all of ATW's period return tickets have restriction code 8A(?) which disallow break of journey on the outbound journey. Unless the two legs can be excessed independently, I'd be falling foul of that restriction. How does that work given that I didn't want to travel further on the outbound ticket (and I couldn't have done so because of the luggage I was conveying)?
The over distance excess fare is designed for those who travel beyond their destination not for those who start before the origin but has the side effect that both portions must be excessed. The downside is that the restrictions for the new ticket would apply, so as you say, no break of journey.

Are these rules documented anywhere?
The Manual > Excess Fares > Over distance excess.
 

Jonfun

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Just to borrow this thread rather than starting a new one...

Did Ashton under Lyne to Sheffield today; so did Ashton to Victoria on Northern then Piccadilly to Sheffield with TPE. At Sheffield, I realised I'd forgotten to book from Stalybridge, which is where I was going to return to later on - doing that then also gives me the choice of either the Vic - Huddersfield service via Ashton or the TPE from Picc via Guide Bridge.

Went to Sheffield booking office to get an excess (a zero one, no less) and they did it without quibble or moan, so I've now got the return portion of an AHN-SHF CDR, plus the X/S coupon showing SHF - SYB.

You say that the overdistance excess is purely that, for people who want to travel beyond the destination on the ticket, suggesting I'd have to be on a service which passed through Ashton, and then continue to Stalybridge. But elsewhere it's been said that when you excess a ticket, it essentially 'becomes' the new ticket - which would mean I could use the TPE service from Picc.

Which is the correct interpretation in this situation?
 

ian13

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Just to borrow this thread rather than starting a new one...

Did Ashton under Lyne to Sheffield today; so did Ashton to Victoria on Northern then Piccadilly to Sheffield with TPE. At Sheffield, I realised I'd forgotten to book from Stalybridge, which is where I was going to return to later on - doing that then also gives me the choice of either the Vic - Huddersfield service via Ashton or the TPE from Picc via Guide Bridge.

Went to Sheffield booking office to get an excess (a zero one, no less) and they did it without quibble or moan, so I've now got the return portion of an AHN-SHF CDR, plus the X/S coupon showing SHF - SYB.

You say that the overdistance excess is purely that, for people who want to travel beyond the destination on the ticket, suggesting I'd have to be on a service which passed through Ashton, and then continue to Stalybridge. But elsewhere it's been said that when you excess a ticket, it essentially 'becomes' the new ticket - which would mean I could use the TPE service from Picc.

Which is the correct interpretation in this situation?
In my experience, the X/S shows the initial origin and the altered destination. Once excessed, it carries the terms of the 'new' ticket, including any time and route restrictions.
 

yorkie

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Went to Sheffield booking office to get an excess (a zero one, no less) and they did it without quibble or moan, so I've now got the return portion of an AHN-SHF CDR, plus the X/S coupon showing SHF - SYB.
Excess fares are a bit of a lottery, which is why I don't think it's a good idea to be in a situation where you need one (apart from certain types of excess such as change of route, for which there is no 'penalty' for buying on board) as many ticket office staff will not issue them due to lack of knowledge or enforcing a particular interpretation of the rules.
You say that the overdistance excess is purely that, for people who want to travel beyond the destination on the ticket, suggesting I'd have to be on a service which passed through Ashton, and then continue to Stalybridge.
That's your interpretation of what HHF was saying, but I don't think HHF was saying that.

A lot of it is down to interpretation and it can get incredibly confusing.

Also, you did not buy the best value fare for your journey. There is a better value ticket; I'll send you a PM.
But elsewhere it's been said that when you excess a ticket, it essentially 'becomes' the new ticket - which would mean I could use the TPE service from Picc.
Yes, that is correct.
 

Jonfun

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I'm sure I probably have misinterpreted it chief - it's just a case of getting the interpretation that the staff on the trains etc are going to use! I assumed that the latter would apply but thought I'd see if others thought it that way - clearly that's the case :)

Cheers, will keep a lookout on PM.

Jon
 

hairyhandedfool

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....You say that the overdistance excess is purely that, for people who want to travel beyond the destination on the ticket, suggesting I'd have to be on a service which passed through Ashton, and then continue to Stalybridge. But elsewhere it's been said that when you excess a ticket, it essentially 'becomes' the new ticket - which would mean I could use the TPE service from Picc.

Which is the correct interpretation in this situation?
The rules were designed for certain situations, but what they are designed for and what they allow aren't always the same thing. You should then account for staff knowledge (bearing in mind when the excess fares rules change ticket office staff get precisely zero briefings about it) and how strict they are with it.

The example you give is slightly parculiar in that, by the rules, there are two ways to deal with it depending which route you are taking, but whichever excess is done, the ticket is valid for both.
 

s3an

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I am currently having difficulty getting a return ticket zero excessed. I have a super off peak return to Newport(Gwent), but I would like to go to Abergavenny. Ticket office staff at Paddington and Newport have refused to excess the ticket and another said thr RSP(???) system wouldn't let him.

For those who like more detail, I got a lift to Newport and got a ticket at 5.21AM. The machine doesn't let me buy an Abergavenny to Paddington ticket and the ticket office was closed. Asked the guard on the train, who said talk to the ticket office at Paddington.

Is there any solution other than buying a single from Newport to Abergavenny?
 

yorkie

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Paddington? There's loads of places nearby to 'shop around' that have staff that are, generally, much more co-operative. Just shop around, and you'll get it eventually!
 

s3an

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It's a Paddington to Newport, but I want to go to Abergavenny.

Done now. I had over 10 minutes wait at Newport and a helpful person at Newport did it for me. He also said any of the staff I'd seen before could have done it, but chose not to.

I had a month of validity to get my ticket zero excessed and had to make 4 attempts. The average person will just give up and pay when they don't have to.
 
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