paying excess fare on e-tickets isn't supported properly

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allotments

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copy of my email to Rail Delivery Group today:

Booking offices managed by different train operating companies have inconsistent willingness to allow a passenger to pay an excess fare for example convert off peak to anytime ticket.

I bought an off peak return mobile ticket on TFWRail app Cambridge to Attleborough then my return journey plan changed requiring travel at peak time.

LNER Kings Cross refused to issue an excess fare "because it wasn't a paper ticket".

TFWRail who sold me the mobile ticket haven't yet responded to my email 2 days ago asking what to do.

Ditto Greater Anglia whose train I am travelling on ~ no email reply.

On arrival at Cambridge station stopped at ticket barriers due to off peak ticket at peak time. Directed to booking office ~ who were ABLE to issue an excess fare before travel.

I enquired at Avanti Euston booking office today who said they can only issue excess fares for their own tickets... I.e. not the one I had.

So it seems mobile tickets and different policies applied by different train operating companies are both problematic.

As a passenger I expect consistency but I'm not getting it.

The lack of joined up ticketing is outrageous. Passengers are legally required to purchase valid tickets before travel so for this to happen railway companies need to be willing to take payment for valid tickets... and I've demonstrated that they may not be.

Please put this on your agenda to be resolved.
 
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yorkie

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It makes no difference what medium the ticket is on.

If passengers are regularly denied excess fares, due to filings of the rail industry, then the rail industry must not charge anything if the only alternative is to overcharge customers.

The rail industry must respect consumer, contract and competition law.
 

RHolmes

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The issue with mobile tickets is they don’t come with a ticket number to excess that will be where the issue lies. To complete a fare excess, the person selling you an excess fare MUST enter the five digit ticket number

The problem comes with completing an excess for a mobile ticket, it will state something on the lines of “only valid with ticket number XXXXX”

This is usually when you see excesses mobile tickets with “only valid with 00000” or “12345” for example. No impossible but this will be why you’ve encountered issues.
 
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Hadders

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I agree with @Bletchleyite and I'm sure a knowledgeable member has posted on here to that effect.

Lack of ticket numbers etc is no reason why excess fares should not be issued. That is for the rail industry to resolve, and is not the passengers concern.
 

trentside

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Enter “00000” then endorse with the reference number from the e-ticket, surely? I’ve issued countless paper excesses for M and E tickets onboard.
 

yorkie

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The issue with mobile tickets is they don’t come with a ticket number to excess that will be where the issue lies. To complete a fare excess, the person selling you an excess fare MUST enter the five didgit ticket number

The problem comes with completing an excess for a mobile ticket, it will state something on the lines of “only valid with ticket number XXXXX”

This is usually when you see excesses mobile tickets with “only valid with 00000” or “12345” for example.

This will be why you’ve encountered issues
The issues are due to insufficient safeguards being in place to comply with relevant rules, conditions and contract/consumer law.

As you say, the issuer can type 00000 or 12345 to satisfy the ticket number requirement.

If the issuer cannot issue an excess fare for any reason, they must allow the customer to travel without any additional charge.

What they must not do is deny travel or charge the customer more than they should be, e.g. the cost of a whole new ticket.
 
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island

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The problem is a lack of will and/or training; the systems in existence support the issuance of excess fares to any ticket you like.
 

skyhigh

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Enter “00000” then endorse with the reference number from the e-ticket, surely? I’ve issued countless paper excesses for M and E tickets onboard.
That's what I've done, whenever I've needed to excess an eticket.
 

RPI

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An E ticket is, as others have said, exactly the same as any other ticket for the purpose of excessing, as long as the ticket type is able to be excessed. I simply scan the E Ticket and tap "accept with excess fare" with the Avocet machine and put a note "valid with excess ticket xxxxx" then simply issue the excess as normal and put in "00000" as the ticket number, but some other staff seem to struggle with this despite more than one briefing in the retail circulars!
 

allotments

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I got a reply to my complaint to LNER:

"In regards to LNER's policy on excess fares for e-tickets, we are unable to offer excess on these types of tickets due to the engine we used to develop said tickets not being able to retrospectively change tickets.

We can however do a refund rebook through the LNER website, this is of course not the same as an excess fare as customers are required to buy a new separately, then requesting a refund on the original.

LNER can excess paper tickets as we can amend them using a printer or scanner. At this point there are no plans to change the systems we use. Finally it appears that the team who run Cambridge ticket office use a different system to ourselves that is able to amend a ticket and issue an excess fare."

What a mess!!!

So LNER want me to refund my half used open return and buy a single?!!! That costs double the excess fare. No way!

Greater Anglia Cambridge booking office just did what others on this thread noted: issued an excess ticket valid with ticket number 12345.
 

Bletchleyite

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Until their very last day Virgin West Coast had on their website that refund and rebook was the only way to change route. What utter rubbish, and any £10 fees obtained in that way are arguably fraud.

I reported it to them more than once and nothing was ever done about it.
 

Hadders

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What a nonsense reply. How does refund and re-book work for a change of route excess?

Perhaps some knowledgeable members can advise....
 

py_megapixel

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"In regards to LNER's policy on excess fares for e-tickets, we are unable to offer excess on these types of tickets due to the engine we used to develop said tickets not being able to retrospectively change tickets.
We can however do a refund rebook through the LNER website, this is of course not the same as an excess fare as customers are required to buy a new separately, then requesting a refund on the original.
LNER can excess paper tickets as we can amend them using a printer or scanner. At this point there are no plans to change the systems we use. Finally it appears that the team who run Cambridge ticket office use a different system to ourselves that is able to amend a ticket and issue an excess fare."
That doesn't make any sense. It's been a while since I've needed an excess, and I'm nowhere near as knowledgeable as some other members, but I thought excesses were issued as a separate piece of paper (or rather credit-card stock), so you don't need to retrospectively modify the original one?
 

Wallsendmag

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Interesting reply, the problem with x/s and eTickets is that you can have several copies of the original ticket changed to be valid on a range of trains. Unless of course the original is invalidated .
 
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alistairlees

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That doesn't make any sense. It's been a while since I've needed an excess, and I'm nowhere near as knowledgeable as some other members, but I thought excesses were issued as a separate piece of paper (or rather credit-card stock), so you don't need to retrospectively modify the original one?
An excess does not change the original. It just adds to it. The response is not correct.
 

RPI

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Interesting reply, the problem with x/s and eTickets is that you can have several copies of the original ticket changed to be valid on a range of trains. Unless of course the original is invalidated .
If I excess one I scan the original ticket and "accept with excess fare", simples
 

alistairlees

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It might be true that their TIS won't issue an excess with an invalid ticket number (e.g. 00000/12345) entered?

If so, it's not fit for purpose.
All five digit ticket numbers are valid, and a TIS has no concept of one being valid or not (though I can't remember if 00000 is used or it's skipped between 99999 and 00001).
 

Paul Kelly

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Interesting reply, the problem with x/s and eTickets is that you can have several copies of the original ticket changed to be valid on a range of trains.
But surely you can still only use it on one of them, since you need both the original and excess? And once the original is clipped/scanned it can't be used again? Or am I missing something? I can envisage how you could turn an e-ticket into a semi-flexible advance, by "changing" it to multiple alternative trains and paying a £10 change fee for each one. It could work out cheaper than a walk-up fare if you limited the number of different trains you "changed" it to. So there's some scope for working around the rules but the railway would still profit from the £10 change fees. Maybe the issue is that the carrying TOC would not receive the change fees if they were not done at one of its own ticket offices?
 

allotments

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my response to LNER:

“That's not acceptable.

I understand that a mobile ticket has the same validity as an equivalent paper ticket. Booking offices including yours can create a standard orange paper excess ticket using a dummy “only valid with ticket number 12345“ to resolve the impasse that the mobile ticket doesn't have a number you can put in the system.

Your booking office gets stuck at the impasse.

Other booking offices work around it using the same method you use for paper tickets.

It's shocking that you recommend refund rebook which doubles the cost when the original fare can be excessed.

This falls below the quality of service customers expect.

I note that the LNER app is happy to sell mobile tickets but nowhere at the point of sale is the customer made aware of the potential difficulty excessing the fare. This doesn't comply with

“A Code of Practice on retail information
for rail tickets and services”

which describes the principle that customers will be told what they need to know to make an informed decision before purchase.

Please let me know when you're able to cope normally with excessing mobile tickets.

As you're aware I've already written to Rail Delivery Group to highlight this.”
 

Haywain

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my response to LNER:

“That's not acceptable.

I understand that a mobile ticket has the same validity as an equivalent paper ticket. Booking offices including yours can create a standard orange paper excess ticket using a dummy “only valid with ticket number 12345“ to resolve the impasse that the mobile ticket doesn't have a number you can put in the system.

Your booking office gets stuck at the impasse.

Other booking offices work around it using the same method you use for paper tickets.

It's shocking that you recommend refund rebook which doubles the cost when the original fare can be excessed.

This falls below the quality of service customers expect.

I note that the LNER app is happy to sell mobile tickets but nowhere at the point of sale is the customer made aware of the potential difficulty excessing the fare. This doesn't comply with

“A Code of Practice on retail information
for rail tickets and services”

which describes the principle that customers will be told what they need to know to make an informed decision before purchase.

Please let me know when you're able to cope normally with excessing mobile tickets.

As you're aware I've already written to Rail Delivery Group to highlight this.”
E-tickets, not mobile tickets. LNER does not sell mobile tickets. If you are writing back it is important to get the details right if you want a sensible reply rather than one that simply says that you are wrong. I understand that you may see this as being picky but I think in a matter like this accuracy is important.
 

allotments

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point taken

do you think excessing e-tickets and mobile tickets would have same troubles?

from the customer's perspective both ticket types end up on a smartphone therefore I think of them as mobile!

passengers shouldn't have to worry about these complexities
 

py_megapixel

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from the customer's perspective both ticket types end up on a smartphone therefore I think of them as mobile!
passengers shouldn't have to worry about these complexities
No, you are quite correct, and a lot of people, myself included, would argue that M-tickets shouldn't even exist!

For those not aware, the principal difference is that M-tickets are locked into the app that you bought them in while E-tickets aren't (they can be printed, screenshotted, whatever). I believe it essentially originates from TOCs being concerned that not locking them down could lead to reuse of tickets - of course now, with everything connected to the internet, bar codes on every ticket can be checked in a central database to ensure they aren't being used more than once.
 

plymothian

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An E ticket is, as others have said, exactly the same as any other ticket for the purpose of excessing, as long as the ticket type is able to be excessed. I simply scan the E Ticket and tap "accept with excess fare" with the Avocet machine and put a note "valid with excess ticket xxxxx" then simply issue the excess as normal and put in "00000" as the ticket number, but some other staff seem to struggle with this despite more than one briefing in the retail circulars!

If I excess one I scan the original ticket and "accept with excess fare", simples

Excessing with Avocet is the easiest thing in the world and can be done with any original medium.
Avocet accepts Alphanumeric characters for the original ticket number too, so you don't need to use 00000 or any permutation of only numbers, but the last 5 characters of the e-ticket, or even at a push "mob"/"etix"/"smart" if short of time.

Excessing non-paper tickets on STAR TOM is do-able too with TOC company guidelines of replacing a letter with a 0, however, so many ticket office staff point blank refuse to do so and it drives me mad. Same as AS refunding tickets sold on board or from a TVM. It's like they don't want their job to exist sometimes.
 

Dren Ahmeti

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All five digit ticket numbers are valid, and a TIS has no concept of one being valid or not (though I can't remember if 00000 is used or it's skipped between 99999 and 00001).
I’ve had to explain to a TE before to use 00001 - a nice little trick I learnt from Bristol Parkway Ticket Office!
 
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