Parents got grief at Tottenham Hale (LUL) - but let off 'this time'

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jon0844

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My parents were in Dublin over the weekend and returned yesterday to London Euston (via Virgin).

My mum booked the train tickets with Virgin direct and, as mums do, didn't seem to listen to my advice to book straight through from the start station - Broxbourne in their case.

So when they went, they bought single tickets to Euston and didn't realise they could get return tickets usable on a different day!

Anyway, their route to Euston was Broxbourne - Tottenham Hale and tube to London Euston. I don't know how much they paid for their ticket or the exact ticket they got, but they had no problems.

Coming back, they arrived at Euston in the afternoon and asked for a ticket to Broxbourne via Tottenham Hale, to go back the exact same way, and were sold a ticket (attached) for £12.50 each. Yet again, my mum didn't think she could use her senior railcard as it was in the evening peak.

EUS-BXB.JPG

Upon arriving at Tottenham Hale (I bet you can see where this is going!) they were stopped by the gate. Tottenham Hale is in zone 3, their ticket is for zones 1&2.

It was here that they were told that they could be given a penalty fare as they had an invalid ticket. My dad asked how it could be invalid when he'd asked for a ticket to Broxbourne going via Tottenham Hale and didn't know anything about the zones.

He was told that the correct route was to go via Liverpool Street, and that they needed to have gone there. A rather long winded route, especially for my mum who is not able bodied and had a lot of convincing in the first place to take the tube route; she usually favours going to Liverpool Street and taking a taxi. She struggles on stairs and doesn't really like escalators either - and now I suspect she won't be taking the tube ever again.

When my dad continued to say that they had done nothing wrong and had even checked previously on the National Rail website for times and been given routes via the tube, he was told that they were going to be let off 'this time' which actually angered him even more! But, ultimately, they got through and got a train home without any penalty, or missing their train.

Upon getting home, he called me to say what had happened and I think it's sad that they're now likely to be put off travelling over something that I can't believe is their fault as they did ask to go via Tottenham Hale, and in any case, that would always seem the most logical route so if the ticket seller wasn't sure - should have asked for clarification.

The ticket sold confuses me. Why is it zones 1 and 2? Is there not a Z1 only ticket? Does the route from Euston to Liverpool Street ever leave zone 1? But, regardless, why sell that if someone has asked to go via Tottenham Hale, which is outside the zones?

And who would even think of going from Euston around to Liverpool Street when you can take the Victoria Line to Tottenham Hale, saving time on both the tube and the ability to get an earlier train than you'd get at LST?

Even for someone able bodied, it seems a rather longwinded route even if you opted to walk up to Euston Square (and she can't walk long distances comfortably).
 
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greatkingrat

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The ticket sold confuses me. Why is it zones 1 and 2? Is there not a Z1 only ticket? Does the route from Euston to Liverpool Street ever leave zone 1? But, regardless, why sell that if someone has asked to go via Tottenham Hale, which is outside the zones?

There is a Zone U1 - Broxbourne ticket, but it is the same price as the Zone U12 ticket.

I believe the ticket clerk sold the correct ticket, and it is the barrier staff who were in the wrong. The Manual says

National Rail tickets which include validity between Seven Sisters / Tottenham Hale/ Walthamstow Central and Zone U1 or beyond are also valid on LU / DLR services via the Victoria Line from Seven Sisters / Tottenham Hale/ Walthamstow Central to any station in Zones 1 to 3.

As you had a ticket to Zone U1, it was valid both via Liverpool Street or the Victoria line to Tottenham Hale.
 

soil

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NRE offers a Zone U123 for this journey, priced at £12.70. I think they calculate this on the basis of the zones passed through on the tube.

In other words, to travel from say Hornchurch you would need a Zone U1256 - Broxbourne single, which you would use to travel from Hornchurch (Z6) to Liverpool Street (Z1) on District + Central Line, and then from Z1 to Broxbourne.

OTOH, Becontree - Basildon via District Line to Upminster requires a Z56-Basildon single, because you start in Z5 and finish in Z6.

The pricing is based on the tube travel and rail travel, together. Z1-3 tube is slightly more expensive than z1-2 tube.

But as greatkingrat says, there is interavailability, so the z1-2 ticket is valid anyway, but probably it would have been better for the staff at Euston to sell the u123 ticket.

Is it not possible for them to use Oyster in future? It should be cheaper.
 

jon0844

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Yes, I've told them to do this (by which I mean, I'll probably go and get two Oyster cards for them later in the week). Can they add a senior railcard to it to get a discount, as you can with some other railcards?

However, I am also trying to educate them into realising that you can book a train ticket that covers more than one operator, thus you don't have to book Virgin trains separately, then buy a single (or open return) from Broxbourne to get to Euston.

It's easy to forget how many people are totally unsure and at the mercy of the railway when trying to travel and not knowing what we might see as totally basic.

PS. @greatkingrat the gate at Tottenham Hale rejected their tickets which ultimately caused this problem because it was encoded as Z1/2 only - and that then means you're at the mercy of staff who might not know the rules (and my parents sure as hell won't!).
 

MikeWh

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Yes, I've told them to do this (by which I mean, I'll probably go and get two Oyster cards for them later in the week). Can they add a senior railcard to it to get a discount, as you can with some other railcards?

Yes they can.
 

jon0844

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Great. I just wish FCC had been able to extend Oyster to WGC, as it's so much better that Oyster has been extended out to Broxbourne.

It's also a shame that Cheshunt doesn't have lifts (instead you must cross the track - and that can mean needing to arrive far earlier in case the barriers are down for a train the other way) as this means my mum has to travel from Broxbourne instead, paying more as a result, but that's another story.
 

Be3G

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I don't know if this has any bearing on your parents' experience, but I have found in the past that zone U fares on the Lee Valley lines are somewhat confusing. For example, let's say you wish to undertake a journey from Enfield Lock to Walthamstow Central using the tube from Tottenham Hale. For some reason there are no fares from ENL to U3 (or U34/U345), so you have to buy a ticket to U3456. But begin the journey one stop up at Waltham Cross, and the full range of zone U destinations is available, so you can buy WLC to zone U3.

This dates back at least as far as when NXEA were operating the trains – maybe they weren't sure themselves (!) how zone U tickets work?
 

jon0844

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All sounds like a mess. Last time my parents travelled they bought a 'London Terminals' ticket from the TVM, incorrectly (but understandably?) expecting that Euston was a London Terminal and so the ticket allowed you to travel to any one of them - not just the terminal on your own line!
 

barrykas

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I don't know if this has any bearing on your parents' experience, but I have found in the past that zone U fares on the Lee Valley lines are somewhat confusing. For example, let's say you wish to undertake a journey from Enfield Lock to Walthamstow Central using the tube from Tottenham Hale. For some reason there are no fares from ENL to U3 (or U34/U345), so you have to buy a ticket to U3456. But begin the journey one stop up at Waltham Cross, and the full range of zone U destinations is available, so you can buy WLC to zone U3.

For "in-boundary" Train-Tube tickets (such as Enfield Lock to Walthamstow Central via Tottenham Hale) the ticket has to be issued for all the zones passed through, but that doesn't apply for "out-boundary" ones (except on Southern IIRC).

So Enfield Lock - Walthamstow Central via Tottenham Hale is issued as Enfield Lock - Zone U3456, Stoke Newington (Zone 2) - Heathrow Terminal 4 (Zone 6) is issued as Stoke Newington - Zone U1256, etc.
 

Be3G

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Thanks barrykas. Any particular reason for that difference between how zone U fares work with London and non-London stations?
 

barrykas

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Thanks barrykas. Any particular reason for that difference between how zone U fares work with London and non-London stations?

I suspect it's related to the move to zonal pricing for point-to-point tickets in the Travelcard Area in the run up to Oyster PAYG rollout on NR, but I stand for correction.
 

RJ

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The fares policies with regards to the availability of the U Zones are inconsistent and not even worth trying to grasp IMO!
 

bb21

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National Rail tickets which include validity between Seven Sisters / Tottenham Hale/ Walthamstow Central and Zone U1 or beyond are also valid on LU / DLR services via the Victoria Line from Seven Sisters / Tottenham Hale/ Walthamstow Central to any station in Zones 1 to 3.

As you had a ticket to Zone U1, it was valid both via Liverpool Street or the Victoria line to Tottenham Hale.

greatkingrat is absolutely spot-on.

Were your parents stopped at the LU gateline? If so, it might be worth complaining to TfL about this. They are normally reasonably good at complaints handling. It is pretty incredible that staff are not trained about the only interavailable routes applicable to their station.

Makes me wonder how many more people have been wrongly charged Penalty Fares.
 

jon0844

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Yes, they said they got stopped exiting from the tube. Are there now separate gates for national rail? I have to assume the tickets worked those if there are.

I remember hassle getting ticket extensions from there once many moons ago.
 

Be3G

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There aren't separate gates for rail services – just a couple of Oyster validators.
 

Daniel

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Makes me wonder how many more people have been wrongly charged Penalty Fares.


I would only step into this thread to highlight that LU Gateline staff cannot issue penalty fares. They are also not trained in ticketing, unless they happen to work in the ticket office, (in which case they are a different grade to CSA).

I would hope that if they had been stopped by a Revenue Control Inspector, the only grade on LU who can currently issue penalty fares, that this issue would not have arisen as RCI's are trained in ticketing, irregularities, etc.
 

jon0844

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I suspect that's why they were 'let off'. Perhaps a member of staff trying to claim more powers than actually given. But as you say, if it had been a revenue officer, they'd have presumably known and there wouldn't have been an issue!

Naturally, my parents wouldn't have known any of this... nor would most people.

My parents are going to write to TfL, and giving the exact timings and a copy of their tickets, I am sure it would be possible to establish who was working on the gates at that time. They've also ordered two Oyster tickets online for future travel!
 

Be3G

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What's this about boundary zone 2 tickets not being accepted except if to/from (boundary?) zone 3? What do we think they're referring to there? I'm wondering if they're under the illusion that boundary zone tickets are available from the ‘inner’ boundaries (e.g. boundary zone 4 to central London).
 

island

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What's this about boundary zone 2 tickets not being accepted except if to/from (boundary?) zone 3? What do we think they're referring to there? I'm wondering if they're under the illusion that boundary zone tickets are available from the ‘inner’ boundaries (e.g. boundary zone 4 to central London).

Boundary zone tickets are available from the inner boundaries, but are almost never good value as compared to tickets from named stations, Oyster, or a Travelcard.

As mentioned elsewhere, that sign is probably made locally. For one thing, a proper TfL sign would not write Oyster card as one word.
 

yorkie

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Anyone fancy writing to LU politely pointing out the sign is incorrect and asking for an explanation? You could also ask if people who are not trained in ticketing should be producing such posters, and is this a breach of policy, etc? I am happy to proof read. LU do take complaints seriously.

If it's still there on 29th May, let me know I'll pay a visit and ask some questions.

jonmorris0844 - I am happy to proof read a letter of complaint.

Unless people complain to head office, they'll keep getting away with this and more people will be given inaccurate/misleading information.
 

Daniel

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I shall be writing in myself. Others are welcome to do so also...

EDIT: Obviously my specialism is not fares, and as such I will only question what I understand fully.

I will question boundary zone 2 tickets not being valid.

However I won't question the U1 / U2 tickets, as I don't fully understand them, but also because of this:

The Manual said:
Special Arrangements
Greater Anglia

Tickets for journeys to London Underground Zone 1 stations from Greater Anglia, Kings Lynn – Angel Road / Silver Street (inclusive); also from Hertford East branch, Enfield Town, Bush Hill Park, Chingford, Highams Park and Wood Street.

Tickets for journeys to destinations in London Underground Zone 1 from any of these stations should be issued with a destination of ZONE U123 LONDON. Interchange with LU services is permitted at Liverpool Street OR Walthamstow Central, Tottenham Hale, Seven Sisters as dictated by the pattern of train service.


---


EDIT Again - the appropriate section in the LU rule books has been pointed out to me, and I now agree (in a personal capacity, of course) despite the manual entry that U1 tickets should be valid via Tottenham Hale LU.
 
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Be3G

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Boundary zone tickets are available from the inner boundaries, but are almost never good value as compared to tickets from named stations, Oyster, or a Travelcard.

Hmm. There's no fare though for boundary zone 5 to London Terminals, or Hackney Downs, or Finsbury Park, or… or… So are they only available with U-zone destinations then? If so, that might explain why I've never encountered them.
 

bb21

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Hmm. There's no fare though for boundary zone 5 to London Terminals, or Hackney Downs, or Finsbury Park, or… or… So are they only available with U-zone destinations then? If so, that might explain why I've never encountered them.

Inward boundary zone extensions are only mentioned in The Manual if the destination is an LU/DLR station. It is mentioned as being permitted for NR destinations, but instructions are missing. As Travelcards excluding Zone 1 are only available as Travelcard seasons, I imagine issuing from the last named station on the line of route has more or less the same effect (not always but in the majority of cases).
 

yorkie

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EDIT Again - the appropriate section in the LU rule books has been pointed out to me, and I now agree (in a personal capacity, of course) despite the manual entry that U1 tickets should be valid via Tottenham Hale LU.
These U tickets, the numerous easements etc, are so confusing for us, let alone the 'average' passenger, or booking clerk!

You couldn't make this stuff up if you tried.. Maybe someone should do a comedy sketch involving "My easement trumps your negative easement" or something.

Anyway the offer to proof read letters is still there :)
 

Be3G

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Inward boundary zone extensions are only mentioned in The Manual if the destination is an LU/DLR station. It is mentioned as being permitted for NR destinations, but instructions are missing. As Travelcards excluding Zone 1 are only available as Travelcard seasons, I imagine issuing from the last named station on the line of route has more or less the same effect (not always but in the majority of cases).

I take your point! Though as you're probably alluding to, inner boundary zone tickets would still be useful for where there're multiple route options.

Interestingly, I just asked brfares.com for the YNG-discounted price on the ticket island linked to above, and it says no fare is available… is that just brfares.com making a mistake, or is it suggesting that, despite the manual, such a ticket has no NR validity at all? I'm wondering if perhaps it's the latter, and that those inner boundary zone tickets are actually just a NR way of issuing tube paper extension tickets for the inner zones (if buying a tube extension from a TfL ticket office they don't faff with specific destinations, it's just a zonal ticket valid for one journey).
 
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