• Our booking engine at tickets.railforums.co.uk (powered by TrainSplit) helps support the running of the forum with every ticket purchase! Find out more and ask any questions/give us feedback in this thread!

Permitted Route Problem

Status
Not open for further replies.

rscott

Member
Joined
3 Sep 2016
Messages
5
Hi, I have been using an annual season ticket between 'Shoreham by sea & Leatherhead routed not via Clapham Junction' but noticed that according to the National Routing Guide that a Season Ticket between Leatherhead & Croydon routed any permitted also covered the same route as the other ticket but at a cheaper price. So I asked the person in the ticket office in Burgess hill if he could alter the stations on my ticket which he did and gave me a £620.59 refund.

Yesterday I was then asked to pay an additional fare of £10.30 by a ticket inspector when I was past Three Bridges station on the 16:51 East Croydon to Brighton as he said I was off the permitted route which only goes as far as Redhill.

I did point out the details listed in the National routing guide and that I was travelling on a permitted route but he said that was not right.

I paid this fare and have now asked the person in the ticket office to alter my stations back to how they were originally but the cost was £775.32 which is £154.73 more expensive than the refund I received.

Now I feel very mislead and confused about what is a permitted route as it describes in great detail in the routing guide on what is valid and what is not.

Please could someone confirm whether I have followed the National Routing Guide correctly or was the ticket inspector correct and is there any way to balance the difference between the refunded ticket and my second alteration as this is quite a big difference?
 
Last edited:
Sponsor Post - registered members do not see these adverts; click here to register, or click here to log in
R

RailUK Forums

SickyNicky

Verified Rep - FastJP
Joined
8 Sep 2010
Messages
2,775
Location
Ledbury
Edit: rewritten answer as I used the wrong ticket initially.

Although the route is rather "unreasonable", Leatherhead to Croydon is valid via Shoreham By Sea using maps HR+LB. And because you have a season, you can start, break or stop at any intermediate station. I believe that you're entitled to a refund on the extra fare paid, but you may have trouble convincing Southern of that.

Whilst it is technically valid, in reality I suspect you will have a lot of trouble from guards if you continue to use this ticket.

Here's an example itinerary:

Code:
Leg 1   TRAIN
SN	Southern
SN1734–2E22
Train from London Victoria to Horsham	
Leatherhead	----	d. 1016
Boxhill & Westhumble	a. 1021	d. 1021
Dorking	a. 1024	d. 1024
Holmwood	a. 1032	d. 1032
Ockley	a. 1036	d. 1036
Warnham	a. 1041	d. 1041
Horsham	a. 1046	----

Leg 2   TRAIN
SN	Southern
SN4305–2B10
Train from London Victoria to Bognor Regis	Reservations Available 1st Class Accommodation
Horsham	----	d. 1102
Billingshurst	a. 1110	d. 1110
Pulborough	a. 1117	d. 1117
Arundel	a. 1126	d. 1126
Ford	a. 1132	----

Leg 3   TRAIN
SN	Southern
SN1032–1N12
Train from Southampton Central to Brighton	1st Class Accommodation
Ford	----	d. 1136
Angmering	a. 1143	----

Leg 4   TRAIN
SN	Southern
SN3211–1H27
Train from Littlehampton to London Victoria	Reservations Available 1st Class Accommodation
Angmering	----	d. 1200
Goring-By-Sea	a. 1204	d. 1204
Durrington-On-Sea	a. 1206	d. 1206
West Worthing	a. 1208	d. 1208
Worthing	a. 1211	d. 1211
Shoreham-By-Sea	a. 1217	d. 1217
Hove	a. 1223	d. 1224
Burgess Hill	a. 1234	d. 1234
Haywards Heath	a. 1239	d. 1244
Gatwick Airport	a. 1255	d. 1256
East Croydon	a. 1311	----

And here's the diagnostics showing the route is valid:
Code:
LEATHERHEAD	CROYDON STATIONS	SDS ANYTIME DAY S	  	ANY PERMITTED
Travel is allowed via any permitted route.
1 adult@ £5.10	0 child@ £2.55	£5.10
OUTWARD JOURNEY Leatherhead to East Croydon
Mileage 99.12 (Shortest possible 14.67)
Origin Routeing Point – Leatherhead
Terminus is a routeing point
Destination Routeing Point – CROYDON GROUP
Terminus is a routeing point
Through Mapped Route
Checking LHD-G10-HRH-G61-G04-WVF-HHE-TBD-GTW-G60-G08
Traceable on maps HR+LB
Permitted: Mapped route.
 
Last edited:

furlong

Established Member
Joined
28 Mar 2013
Messages
3,735
Location
Reading
If a valid ticket was refused, you might consider that to be a breach of contract and seek compensation from the company for your extra costs by writing to them.

You can also report the incident to the DfT to investigate as a breach of the terms of the franchise. The Ticketing and Settlement Agreement states that:

10-1 THE OBLIGATION OF THE OPERATORS TO CARRY PASSENGERS
(1) Fares in respect of which the Operators are bound
An Operator is bound to carry on its trains each Purchaser of a Fare, in accordance with its terms, for the whole or any part of the journey for which the Fare entitles him to use those trains.

and this previous East Midlands Trains franchise breach notice confirms that:

Failure by the Franchisee to abide by the obligations of the TSA is a breach of the Franchise Agreement.

Further, if you were incorrectly asked to buy a new ticket, you can also ask the ORR to investigate under the consumer regulations
 

AlterEgo

Veteran Member
Joined
30 Dec 2008
Messages
20,946
Location
No longer here
There is also now a risk that the route will be removed at the next update, of course. Unfortunately.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Further, if you were incorrectly asked to buy a new ticket, you can also ask the ORR to investigate under the consumer regulations

The ORR won't investigate individual complaints, but it may use passenger correspondence to inform its activities and overall intelligence gathering.
 

yorkie

Forum Staff
Staff Member
Administrator
Joined
6 Jun 2005
Messages
68,752
Location
Yorkshire
Yesterday I was then asked to pay an additional fare of £10.30 by a ticket inspector when I was past Three Bridges station on the 16:51 East Croydon to Brighton as he said I was off the permitted route which only goes as far as Redhill.
The company is breaching the contract by charging this fare, so you are well within your rights to bring the incorrect actions of the ticket inspector to the company and insist on compensation. You could also inform the DfT/ORR of the breach. The company may request ATOC change the routeing guide. ATOC may or may not follow the correct procedures to get the permitted route removed, but even if they do, the DfT probably agree to its removal.
 

suzanneparis

Member
Joined
21 Feb 2015
Messages
588
A more general question but in these matters what information could a customer carry with them to convince the guard that you are indeed on a valid ticket for that particular journey?
 

AlterEgo

Veteran Member
Joined
30 Dec 2008
Messages
20,946
Location
No longer here
A more general question but in these matters what information could a customer carry with them to convince the guard that you are indeed on a valid ticket for that particular journey?

The itinerary the ticket was sold with would settle matters definitively. But there are still some guards who would insist their word was the law, I'm afraid.
 

tony6499

Member
Joined
27 Sep 2012
Messages
889
The itinerary the ticket was sold with would settle matters definitively. But there are still some guards who would insist their word was the law, I'm afraid.

Is there any difference between the route validity of a season ticket and a SDS as the OP said he had a season ticket but the print out says a SDS ?
 

RJ

Established Member
Joined
25 Jun 2005
Messages
8,463
Location
Back office
A more general question but in these matters what information could a customer carry with them to convince the guard that you are indeed on a valid ticket for that particular journey?

There's no definitive answer as the way ticket inspection staff handle this type of situation varies. Some will take notice of such a printout or an explanation. Others won't - if they don't, it becomes a case of using persuasive skills to avoid being committed to unnecessary debts or worse.
 

319321

Member
Joined
9 Jun 2015
Messages
318
There's no definitive answer as the way ticket inspection staff handle this type of situation varies. Some will take notice of such a printout or an explanation. Others won't - if they don't, it becomes a case of using persuasive skills to avoid being committed to unnecessary debts or worse.

It's telling that c2c have seen the need to issue me with a 'to whom it may concern' letter stating that Rochford to London Zones 1-6 via Southend is a permitted route, but they still don't guarantee that their staff will accept that the route is valid.
 

maniacmartin

Established Member
Fares Advisor
Joined
15 May 2012
Messages
5,402
Location
Croydon
First off, congratulations on finding a cheaper season! However, let me impart some advice, having experience commuting on a much less audatious loophole season myself in the past with a different TOC.

If you want to use a loophole ticket like this, you need to be prepared for confrontations and be able to be persistant and stand your ground and deal with the hassle. I wouldn't contemplate attempting your route unless I was armed with paper copies of the relavent pages of the instructions and maps of the Routeing Guide, as well as the part of the National Rail Conditions of Carriage that reference it.

I haven't checked the Routeing Guide myself, but trust that SickyNicky hasn't made any slipups, and that this was a valid mapped route as per the NRG. In that case, you should definately contact GTR and request the extra ticket they sold be refunded. I think they will pay up, but you won't get a penny more for the hassle you've received, and Transport Focus won't be that interested in helping you, as you are trying to game the system.

I also strongly suspect that the clerk didn't perform the calculations correctly on one of the season ticket changeovers - it becomes complex when you do a changeover on a season that's already been changed over previously, but clearly if you temporarily switch to a cheaper season, then overall you should be due a slight refund, (there might be 2x £10 admin fees I haven't accounted for - I can't recall if changeovers attract them).

I think that you have made things difficult to follow through with using the loophole ticket by rushing to get the second season ticket changeover. By the time you manage to persuade GTR to put in writing that your intended routeng is valid, and you can break your journey where you want, which is what you need to prevent protracted confrontations with staff, GTR will have had time to appeal to ATOC to have the route withdrawn ('corrected') in the Routeing Guide*. The calculations of a third changeover will be even more complex, and the clerk doing them will probably think you are messing them around, if you can find actually anyone to actually agree to do another changeover.

*It is my opinion that the NRCoC and NRG that were current at the time of purchase apply for the whole life of the ticket, even after a changeover has been done as changeover is a right under the original contract. However, other people who are knowledgeable in this area do not share the same view.
 
Last edited:

bb21

Emeritus Moderator
Joined
4 Feb 2010
Messages
24,151
I would say maniacmartin has it spot on.

Bonkers route. Great if you are happy with potential confrontations every day, and have the time for it (and subsequent complaints), a nightmare not necessarily worth the saving otherwise.

It is a completely different ball game using a ridiculous ticket for a one-off journey, and using it for daily commute.
 

rscott

Member
Joined
3 Sep 2016
Messages
5
I am so pleased to have found out that the route I spotted was really valid according to ATOC. I did expect a certain amount of hassle from guards but thought if I printed out the ATOC permitted mapped routes and carried them with me showing the valid routes this would satisfy them. The two inspectors looked at the sheets I had but said it I was misreading the rules. It was difficult to continually disagree with the two inspectors when they were backing each other up on a busy train, especially as I was not totally sure I was right, so the £10 excess fee seemed like the easiest fix.
I wonder why they thought that Redhill was the limit of the correct permitted routes.
I have approached Southern about this and they agreed with the ticket inspectors, saying it was not valid and could not help me.
Anyway the trouble I would get from this ticket is not worth the hassle so I will probably just cut my losses. I wonder if a more realistic cheaper ticket exists that does not attract so much attention from inspectors.
Thanks again for your comments.
 

PermitToTravel

Established Member
Joined
21 Dec 2011
Messages
3,044
Location
Groningen
The "printout" looks to be from a computer system that calculates the permitted routes for a ticket, and has been told to do so for the SDS.

The OP has said that they carry the relevant parts of the Routeing Guide, not SickyNicky's "printout". These won't make any reference to any type of ticket.

As you will know from your past career checking tickets, the type of ticket doesn't have any relevance in this situation.
 

yorkie

Forum Staff
Staff Member
Administrator
Joined
6 Jun 2005
Messages
68,752
Location
Yorkshire
...I did expect a certain amount of hassle from guards but thought if I printed out the ATOC permitted mapped routes and carried them with me showing the valid routes this would satisfy them....
You'd be right for the majority of rail staff are reasonable people, follow the rules, and wouldn't attempt to duck out of complying with contract law.

However there is a small but significant minority who will not give a damn what the rules say and will make up their own and give you hassle. I've seen it all, right down to accusations that a passenger had a gun. Nothing surprises me any more.

The two inspectors looked at the sheets I had but said it I was misreading the rules. It was difficult to continually disagree with the two inspectors when they were backing each other up on a busy train, especially as I was not totally sure I was right, so the £10 excess fee seemed like the easiest fix.
This does not surprise me.
.
I wonder why they thought that Redhill was the limit of the correct permitted routes.
I have approached Southern about this and they agreed with the ticket inspectors, saying it was not valid and could not help me.
I wouldn't trust GTR customer services to open a can of sardines that was already open ;)
.
Anyway the trouble I would get from this ticket is not worth the hassle so I will probably just cut my losses. I wonder if a more realistic cheaper ticket exists that does not attract so much attention from inspectors.
Thanks again for your comments.
There are a small number of inspectors who will give hassle for almost anything, even tickets that are absolutely obviously valid (such as taking the shortest route).

You may benefit from attending one of our fares workshops. Would that interest you?
 

RJ

Established Member
Joined
25 Jun 2005
Messages
8,463
Location
Back office
I am so pleased to have found out that the route I spotted was really valid according to ATOC. I did expect a certain amount of hassle from guards but thought if I printed out the ATOC permitted mapped routes and carried them with me showing the valid routes this would satisfy them. The two inspectors looked at the sheets I had but said it I was misreading the rules. It was difficult to continually disagree with the two inspectors when they were backing each other up on a busy train, especially as I was not totally sure I was right, so the £10 excess fee seemed like the easiest fix.
I wonder why they thought that Redhill was the limit of the correct permitted routes.
I have approached Southern about this and they agreed with the ticket inspectors, saying it was not valid and could not help me.
Anyway the trouble I would get from this ticket is not worth the hassle so I will probably just cut my losses. I wonder if a more realistic cheaper ticket exists that does not attract so much attention from inspectors.
Thanks again for your comments.

Many ticket inspection staff don't know what the Routeing Guide is, so your printouts may as well be in Double Dutch. The reality is, information on permitted routes that you can access as a customer (and staff can freely access) is not something many staff are trained to read and understand. It's not perfect and respect goes to the staff who know they don't know and follow the correct procedure to have questionable routeing followed up, without penalising the customer. Unfortunately, there are the entrenched staff who believe the customer is always wrong and will insist on payment or else, which is not the correct procedure. It is possible to stave them off, but handle with care.

The purpose of using loophole tickets is to save money on the going rate whilst being protected against prosecution. There are a tiny number of people in the industry that do have the necessary knowledge and can advise the TOCs, to save them from wasting time in court or getting sued, which does occasionally happen. Using a valid loophole ticket doesn't guarantee that you will have an easy ride.

All that said, I'd also like to congratulate you on finding a value ticket that covers your journey. From a customer's perspective, why pay more than you need to? It probably shouldn't be a permitted route, but that's down to the railways to fix before people buy the ticket, not heap aggro onto the customer who has played by the rules. It's best the TOCs let any existing loophole tickets stand and take the correct steps to invalidate it in future - at which point, you move onto the next one and repeat the process ad nauseum :D
 
Last edited:

jopsuk

Veteran Member
Joined
13 May 2008
Messages
12,773
that's quite the anomaly- I follow the explanation of it's validity, but I'm not surprised that various enforcement staff will be rather confused what a ticket between two station in the London suburbs is doing at a station by the seaside! When there's a negative easement issued to stop this being valid, is the season ticket's validty based on:
A: the routing guide on the day of travel
B: the routing guide on the first day of validity?

A would seem rather punitive.
 

rscott

Member
Joined
3 Sep 2016
Messages
5
I did spend some time looking for an online site which could list all the fares together in a list for my route but after failing to find such a site I decided to search quite deep into the ATOC routing guide fares data files to find such a fare. I think these files are intended to be accessed by ticketing software programs but the fares are in a list along with station codes, route codes, ticket type and fares in pence. Over 500000 of them which I pasted into excel and deleted everything north and west of London and only kept 7DS tickets which were cheaper than my normal ticket. I think 7DS is used to calculate the 12 month ticket. It does show this on BRFARES.com results. This left 40000 fares which when sorted into ascending cost showed all the possible options.
It's a shame there is not a more user friendly way of looking at multiple fares for different routes. It's as if it's deliberately kept well hidden
I've never heard of a fares workshop would need to find out more info on that.
My current ticket needs to be renewed at the end of September so I'm considering a Pevencey Bay to leatherhead ticket routed not via Clapham junction which although is no cheaper than my current ticket I think it allows me to go via Tonbridge also.
 

thedbdiboy

Member
Joined
10 Sep 2011
Messages
973
I know that this gaming of the system is all considered rather wonderful, but it is plainly obvious that Croydon to Leatherhead via Shoreham is not a reasonable or intended route and that it is only in error that the routeing guide permits it.
All the noble talk about rights and TSA ignores the fact that outside a handful of people hardly anyone understands exactly what the TSA and the routeing guide allow (including the DfT). However, when such a plainly ludicrous loophole is discovered, don't be surprised to see it closed - it's a mistake being corrected, not the denial of some basic human right...
 

najaB

Veteran Member
Joined
28 Aug 2011
Messages
31,216
Location
Scotland
The contract is set when the ticket is purchased. End of!
And how, exactly, would a change to the routeing guide that closes a loophole be a material change to a the contract when it is still possible to travel between the two points named on the ticket? The customer would be within their rights to refund the unused portion of the season ticket if it no longer suits their needs, but I can't see how the TOC could be forced to continue to allow travel by the now not-valid route.
 

sheff1

Established Member
Joined
24 Dec 2009
Messages
5,505
Location
Sheffield
I know that this gaming of the system is all considered rather wonderful, but it is plainly obvious that Croydon to Leatherhead via Shoreham is not a reasonable or intended route and that it is only in error that the routeing guide permits it.
All the noble talk about rights and TSA ignores the fact that outside a handful of people hardly anyone understands exactly what the TSA and the routeing guide allow (including the DfT). However, when such a plainly ludicrous loophole is discovered, don't be surprised to see it closed - it's a mistake being corrected, not the denial of some basic human right...

Of course, once an error has been discovered it is reasonable to correct it. What is NOT acceptable is for ticket inspectors to demand money which is not due when someone is travelling via a valid route (under the current rules) before the correction has been made.

If ticket inspectors do not understand the Routeing Guide (which you seem to be saying is the case) it is debatable whether they should be checking tickets at all, as a passenger's entitlement to use a route shown in the Routeing Guide is clearly stated in the NRCoC. If it is deemed appropriate that people who do not understand the Routeing Guide can check tickets, then it should be made clear to them that the correct procedure when they encounter a ticket they do not understand is to get it investigated internally, not demand money on the grounds of some 'rule' they have just made up.


And how, exactly, would a change to the routeing guide that closes a loophole be a material change to a the contract when it is still possible to travel between the two points named on the ticket? The customer would be within their rights to refund the unused portion of the season ticket if it no longer suits their needs, but I can't see how the TOC could be forced to continue to allow travel by the now not-valid route.

I know little about contract law but, as a lay man, refunding the unused portion sounds reasonable as long as the TOC gives the customer adequate notice of the change - in the same was as, for example, when a bank is changing T&Cs on a particular type of account they send out a communication that things will change on day xx and if the customer is not happy to accept the changes they can close the account concerned without penalty.
 
Last edited:

najaB

Veteran Member
Joined
28 Aug 2011
Messages
31,216
Location
Scotland
I know little about contract law but, as a lay man, refunding the unused portion sounds reasonable as long as the TOC gives the customer adequate notice of the change - in the same was as, for example, when a bank is changing T&Cs on a particular type of account they send out a communication that things will change on day xx and if the customer is not happy to accept the changes they can close the account concerned without penalty.
The difference is that a season ticket holder is free to refund the unused portion of their ticket at any time without penalty. So the TOC doesn't really need to provide much in the way of notice.
 

rscott

Member
Joined
3 Sep 2016
Messages
5
I take exception to that remark.
This may appear to be wonderful game playing to some but I started out just buying a regular 12 monthly ticket point to point between Hassocks to Norwood junction for my daily commute for about 12 years, only to find out that I could have saved hundreds of pounds a year if I had chosen a longer journey by extending the journey start and end. Compare £2940 to £2216 for 2016. It's quite a difference. 12 years of that makes me feel like a mug. Why do they charge less for more product? It's crazy!. They create the system and I just exist in it.
I'd be interested in knowing who is going to willingly pay £724 per year more than is required? I personally would find this very difficult.
If it was a fair pricing system then who could argue with it.
I also notice that if I was to start my journey at a later station the price does not reduce until Balcombe which is 4 stations later and 12 miles away.
They need to sort this out.
 

Paul Kelly

Verified Rep - BR Fares
Joined
16 Apr 2010
Messages
4,140
Location
Reading
And how, exactly, would a change to the routeing guide that closes a loophole be a material change to a the contract when it is still possible to travel between the two points named on the ticket?
My view: purchase of a fare does not simply give the passenger the right to travel between the two points named on the ticket. Rather, it gives the right (to quote from the definition of fare in the TSA) to make one or more journeys on the Network. If the right to make some of these journeys (e.g. Shoreham to Leatherhead) was removed, then that is the material change. (And for anyone wondering: no, the TSA doesn't define journey!)

As an aside, I'm particularly miffed to see this useful route being exposed in public and (presumably now) removed, as I've been aware of it for many years and have used it to travel between Gatwick Airport and East Croydon. It's been there for so long, through so many updates and changes to the Routeing Guide, that I find it hard to think of it as just an "error in the routeing guide", as thedbdiboy puts it - to me it was a permitted route and nothing less.
 

sheff1

Established Member
Joined
24 Dec 2009
Messages
5,505
Location
Sheffield
The difference is that a season ticket holder is free to refund the unused portion of their ticket at any time without penalty. So the TOC doesn't really need to provide much in the way of notice.

Some notice needs to be given. How much is debatable.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

Top