Portable ticket machine.

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JackHemmingway

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Hello all,

I just have a quick query.

I was late for a train because my bus got to the station late and I had to run to get on board the train. I was sat in front of the conductors cabin so when he came out I immediately asked him for a ticket. He took my card as I had no cash on me but his card machine did not read it (having discussed this with the people I know, this happens frequently). He then went on to tell me how I had broken bye laws by not buying at the ticket office in a very insulting manner. I explained my circumstance as to why I did not have a ticket but he did not believe me. He then told me that I had put him in a position to swipe my card, something that he was not allowed to do. The service was Northern Rail, Stoke-on-Trent to Manchester Piccadilly.

I have subsequently discussed this with the manager at Stoke-on-Trent station and he has told me that he is not aware of any law that informs me to buy a ticket at a manned ticket office.

I'm still at a loss as to what th truth of this matter is. Can anyone give me any advice?

Apologies for reposting but I cannot see any post that deals with being able to pay but the train company's machines not working, even when I made it clear that I had no ticket but wanted one.
 
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ANorthernGuard

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Hello all,

I just have a quick query.

I was late for a train because my bus got to the station late and I had to run to get on board the train. I was sat in front of the conductors cabin so when he came out I immediately asked him for a ticket. He took my card as I had no cash on me but his card machine did not read it (having discussed this with the people I know, this happens frequently). He then went on to tell me how I had broken bye laws by not buying at the ticket office in a very insulting manner. I explained my circumstance as to why I did not have a ticket but he did not believe me. He then told me that I had put him in a position to swipe my card, something that he was not allowed to do. The service was Northern Rail, Stoke-on-Trent to Manchester Piccadilly.

I have subsequently discussed this with the manager at Stoke-on-Trent station and he has told me that he is not aware of any law that informs me to buy a ticket at a manned ticket office.

I'm still at a loss as to what th truth of this matter is. Can anyone give me any advice?

Apologies for reposting but I cannot see any post that deals with being able to pay but the train company's machines not working, even when I made it clear that I had no ticket but wanted one.
Sorry op but you need to read the national rail conditions of carriage. If there are purchasing facilities at the station you boarded at then you must purchase your ticket there, we at northern are usually more relaxed due to not many of our stations having ticket offices. For me it would not be a problem however some of my colleagues are more strict than others. Some toc's would charge you the standard fare. If you boarded another train down south they are even more strict. Read up here about FCC then you will see how tough some TOC's are

 

156441

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From the point of view of the card machine not working. What happens is the chip and pin pads work on a 'offline' basis. Your bank allows a set amount of these 'offline' transactions before you have to use a 'online' system such as a cashpoint etc to reset your allowance. Some basic bank accounts and student accounts don't allow 'offline' transactions at all and therefor it will always decline.

I'm a guard for Northern and the guard is right we're not really allowed to swipe as there is no back up from the bank if your card does decline when we dock our machine at the end of the day. However most are of the view that a swipe is better than no fare at all!! The official rule on declined cards is that we issue an unpaid fares notice but these are very time consuming and likely to delay the train which would cost substantially more than a <£10 fare!!

The by laws do state you should buy a ticket before you travel however I'm not 100% on the wording and given your explanation I would have just sold you a ticket.
 

tony_mac

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I have subsequently discussed this with the manager at Stoke-on-Trent station and he has told me that he is not aware of any law that informs me to buy a ticket at a manned ticket office.
That's pretty poor, I would expect a station manager to know this.

Railway Byelaw 18(1)
no person shall enter any train for the purpose of travelling on the railway unless he has with him a valid ticket entitling him to travel.
There are exemptions where there are no facilities at the station, or you have been given permission to travel without a ticket.
 

JackHemmingway

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From the point of view of the card machine not working. What happens is the chip and pin pads work on a 'offline' basis. Your bank allows a set amount of these 'offline' transactions before you have to use a 'online' system such as a cashpoint etc to reset your allowance. Some basic bank accounts and student accounts don't allow 'offline' transactions at all and therefor it will always decline.

I'm a guard for Northern and the guard is right we're not really allowed to swipe as there is no back up from the bank if your card does decline when we dock our machine at the end of the day. However most are of the view that a swipe is better than no fare at all!! The official rule on declined cards is that we issue an unpaid fares notice but these are very time consuming and likely to delay the train which would cost substantially more than a <£10 fare!!

The by laws do state you should buy a ticket before you travel however I'm not 100% on the wording and given your explanation I would have just sold you a ticket.
Thanks for that reply. Very informative.

I will express that I normally buy a ticket every time I get on to a train but in this one case, I could not. It wasn't that I was at fault, I'm okay with accepting that, it's the aggressive and insulting attitude I was shown when I explained my situation. I can only think of complaining about that as it was completely uncalled for.

I'll understand if you cannot comment on that, though and again, thanks for the informative advice.
 

WestCoast

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If you are planning to buy onboard for whatever reason (there are occasions when you have to) it's a good idea to try and obtain some cash before travel, if at all possible. I know from experience that there are some debit cards that do not allow offline transactions that would be made onboard.

Northern are generally quite relaxed about buying onboard, but apparently there are a number of fraudsters who use the "declining card" to their advantage to try and obtain free travel.
 

156441

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Jack,

There are some guards who will be arsey and moody with you as its ultimately our livelihoods and jobs we are trying to protect and as westcoast rightly says we have people who try it on with exactly the story you give day after day.

Lots of people have said this before. The guard is always the last person to leave the platform
before the train leaves. If your in doubt speak to them and clarify the situation. This usually nips the 'attitude' of some guards in the bud before it starts!

As for the suggestion of getting cash out before you travel, that's the best idea on here!!
 

GadgetMan

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Another solution which may or may not be practical depending on your circumstances;

If you travel X days a week then a season ticket may be better value for you.

Alternatively, if you have set days in the week you travel then you can always buy your ticket in advance for the next time you will be traveling. For example, if you travel Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday every week. On the Monday you could purchase a ticket for Tuesday on your way home (when the majority of people have a little more time), then on Tuesday you could buy one for Wednesday etc. That way you will have a ticket ready before travel regardless of how tight timings are. This can be done at a ticket office or on board (Card declining issues aside).

Or you could buy tickets online dated for all three days of the week and pick them up from a TVM so you are in possession of tickets to cover you for the week.
 

yorkie

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Jack, Welcome to the forum.

Sorry to hear the guard was rude, and without offering an excuse, the explanation is that your story, while it is true in your case, is a well-known scam made by some passengers who, in fact, know their card will be rejected.

Therefore, guard will have made the assumption that you are participating in that scam, hence the rudeness.

How guards then react will vary, and some may take your details for investigation, while others may swipe (which they really shouldn't), some merely issue an unpaid fare notice (UFN), etc. Repeat offenders are likely to be pursued by the Train Company.

In order to avoid this, I would suggest either carrying several cards or, even better, bring cash. Though bear in mind that the full Anytime fare is payable (with no Railcard discounts) on board the train. However if you approach the guard before departure (or, if this is not possible, approach the guard shortly after departure) and explain the situation, the guard is more likely to sell the appropriate (and discounted, if applicable) fare.
 
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Flamingo

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Just a general comment, (not in any way related to the incident that the OP has described), in nearly every passenger interaction I have had which has not been resolved in the manner which the passenger wished it to be (i.e. my saying "Yea, that's fine" and walking away from their invalid ticket), when the passenger wrote in they complained about my rudeness. Even when other passengers wrote in to praise my professionalism in dealing with the said passengers. Even when managers (some quite senior, sometimes as senior as they get) had witnessed the incident and had been quite satisfied I had spoken and dealt with it appropriately.

In a lot of cases, when a passenger says a member of staff was rude, what they mean is the member of staff "Didn't give me the reply I wanted to hear" or "Pointed out my actions / behaviour were actually wrong".

Not that I wish to imply in any sense that this was the case with the OP.
 

Darandio

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Therefore, guard will have made the assumption that you are participating in that scam, hence the rudeness.
But in this case, the OP clearly stated that he sat in front of the "conductors cabin" as he put it, and grabbed the conductor the minute he came out, not sat at the front of the train as far away as can possibly be, as the scammers do.
 

Flamingo

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But in this case, the OP clearly stated that he sat in front of the "conductors cabin" as he put it, and grabbed the conductor the minute he came out, not sat at the front of the train as far away as can possibly be, as the scammers do.
Some scammers, knowing their card will be declined, will hunt out the guard to ask to buy - one guy used to claim his bag has just been stolen. I have had it happen a few times. The brazen lie often works best.
 

yorkie

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But in this case, the OP clearly stated that he sat in front of the "conductors cabin" as he put it, and grabbed the conductor the minute he came out, not sat at the front of the train as far away as can possibly be, as the scammers do.
Sorry, I misread it when I saw "front" !

Some scammers, knowing their card will be declined, will hunt out the guard to ask to buy - one guy used to claim his bag has just been stolen. I have had it happen a few times. The brazen lie often works best.
But approaching the guard would only have the effect of increasing chances of obtaining the appropriate (and potentially discounted) fare rather than the full Anytime fare.

If the card is declined, and they have no other cash, then it would need to be followed up by a UFN (which I would then expect to be for the full Anytime fare), which of course is not what they are wanting, they are wanting the card to be swiped, knowing the transaction will not succeed.

I think that the main person to try this trick isn't able to do this at the moment as he appears to be in jail!
 

GadgetMan

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But in this case, the OP clearly stated that he sat in front of the "conductors cabin" as he put it, and grabbed the conductor the minute he came out, not sat at the front of the train as far away as can possibly be, as the scammers do.
As Flamingo mentioned, the guard may not have necessarily been rude. Some passengers feel they are being treated badly when they are given advice/asked questions that they are not used to.

For example;

I always ask passengers why they have not purchased before boarding if they get on at a manned station without a ticket, some take offence to this.

Some will respond with "I just came off another train" (but they asked to purchase a ticket from the station they have just boarded my train at).
So they are then asked to produce a ticket for the previous leg of their journey, again this sometimes upsets people because they feel they are being accused of being dishonest.

When a passenger is refused a discounted ticket onboard as they failed to buy from the station, this often gets a "jobsworth" type response.

It doesn't take much these days for a passenger to think the guard is being rude when they are not.
 

Darandio

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I didn't imply that anyone was rude, simply replying to Yorkie in which he had though that the OP had gone to the front of the train which can be seen as trying to avoid the guard.

What Flamingo and yourself have said is completely true, no arguments from me.
 

Flamingo

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I don't suppose there's much use in phoning the authorization centre for the online-only debit cards?
Yes, but it comes under the heading of time-consuming hassle, I would say the majority of guards won't bother, especially of for a relatively small fare. Plus, all the proviso's of phone signals, stations, other things to do, 300 other people on the train, etc,
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
If the card is declined, and they have no other cash, then it would need to be followed up by a UFN (which I would then expect to be for the full Anytime fare), which of course is not what they are wanting, they are wanting the card to be swiped, knowing the transaction will not succeed.

I think that the main person to try this trick isn't able to do this at the moment as he appears to be in jail!
UFN's are time-consuming to issue (see my last post), there is more chance the guard will walk away. I could probably count on one hand the number of guards I know that would issue a UFN (or phone for authorisation) under any circumstances.
 

snail

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I was late for a train because my bus got to the station late and I had to run to get on board the train.
It wasn't that I was at fault
You can't blame the bus for not allowing you to buy a ticket, only your own actions in running past the ticket office. Your choice - miss the train and blame your eventual late arrival on the late running bus, or risk travelling without a ticket.
 

yorkie

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You can't blame the bus for not allowing you to buy a ticket, only your own actions in running past the ticket office.
I don't think any of this allocation of "fault" is helpful. Ultimately, the Government could be blamed for not having adequately integrated transport. ;) But that's beyond the scope of this thread.

I suppose people could make judgements (not that it would be helpful!) if the frequency of the bus was known, and the extent of delay.
Your choice - miss the train and blame your eventual late arrival on the late running bus, or risk travelling without a ticket.
Or bringing cash, then the risk that the card will not be accepted by the machine is eliminated.
 

JackHemmingway

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How come you had to run for the train? How long until the next service?
One hour.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Just a general comment, (not in any way related to the incident that the OP has described), in nearly every passenger interaction I have had which has not been resolved in the manner which the passenger wished it to be (i.e. my saying "Yea, that's fine" and walking away from their invalid ticket), when the passenger wrote in they complained about my rudeness. Even when other passengers wrote in to praise my professionalism in dealing with the said passengers. Even when managers (some quite senior, sometimes as senior as they get) had witnessed the incident and had been quite satisfied I had spoken and dealt with it appropriately.

In a lot of cases, when a passenger says a member of staff was rude, what they mean is the member of staff "Didn't give me the reply I wanted to hear" or "Pointed out my actions / behaviour were actually wrong".

Not that I wish to imply in any sense that this was the case with the OP.

It certainly wasn't the case with this chap. He was thoroughly rude. There's a TOC on that line called Steve and he is a top notch, really professional person. I cannot fault him.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
As Flamingo mentioned, the guard may not have necessarily been rude. Some passengers feel they are being treated badly when they are given advice/asked questions that they are not used to.

For example;

I always ask passengers why they have not purchased before boarding if they get on at a manned station without a ticket, some take offence to this.

Some will respond with "I just came off another train" (but they asked to purchase a ticket from the station they have just boarded my train at).
So they are then asked to produce a ticket for the previous leg of their journey, again this sometimes upsets people because they feel they are being accused of being dishonest.

When a passenger is refused a discounted ticket onboard as they failed to buy from the station, this often gets a "jobsworth" type response.

It doesn't take much these days for a passenger to think the guard is being rude when they are not.
My line of work is pretty similar to yours as in, it is very customer focused. The amount of times I get called a jobsworth is beyond me. The idea is, even when my customers are telling me that I am the biggest pile of whatever, I'm always professional and without any proof, that person always has the benefit of the doubt. It was a lot of 'guilty until proven innocent' in this case.
I see this same trait from other people in my line of work, too. It just really got my back up being embarrassed like that in front of a carriage full of passengers.
I can't stand for defamation when I've been honest.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Jack, Welcome to the forum.
Thanks for the welcome. :D
 

ian13

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Obviously, it's been established that a ticket should have been bought before travel, and thus an undiscounted Anytime fare could be charged. But by seeking out the guard, I think the OP has evidenced that he wanted to pay the fare.

Northern Rail, and basically every other TOC, advertise that they accept Visa and Mastercard. I don't think I've ever had my Visa Debit card reject (besides, ironically, on a train).

Is it really for a passenger to know the intricacies of if their valid card will be accepted, and make provisions for it? As it's been mentioned, a phone authorisation can be obtained to confirm validity (practically maybe not, but any other outlet would quite happily do so).

He presented a valid form of payment (which he could presumably confirm had sufficient funds for the transaction) - just because the guard was unable to process it doesn't make the passenger responsible.
 

Anvil1984

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Northern Guards have no facility to ring straight away. If the card declines on the chip and pin then the Avantix will not allow us to swipe (unless we take a card payment from another passenger or reset the whole thing). Main thing is we are not supposed to swipe (some will however and take the risk of a rollocking if it declines later).

Also there are certain Visa debit cards which have no offline facility offered and its in the T&Cs of the card not of the train company
 

island

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I think it's not even in the T&Cs of the card, only a secret thing issued to cardholders whom the bank doesn't really trust!
 

170401

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I don't suppose there's much use in phoning the authorization centre for the online-only debit cards?
Up in Scotrail land on train staff are issued with mobile phones and On train handbooks that contain the relevant authorisation numbers/merchant codes. Whilst authorising declined cards has never been officialy endorsed by the company many have started using this as a way of obtaining sales. It can often be very entertaining seeing the look on serial dodgers faces when they are told their payment has been accepted, and even more fun when their bank declines (presumably through lack of funds) and they have to get off at the next stop!

Those of you who are just swiping without getting a proper authorisation code should be aware that if the passenger has no funds in their account at the time the company attempts to collect payment and they do not have a legit authorisation code then the company doesn't get their money and is charged a fee for the bounced transaction. I'd also imagine if the account holder disputed a succesfull transaction with no authorisation code it would be refunded and you'd have a lot of explaining to do.

Its not worth risking your job for.
 

GadgetMan

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Those of you who are just swiping without getting a proper authorisation code should be aware that if the passenger has no funds in their account at the time the company attempts to collect payment and they do not have a legit authorisation code then the company doesn't get their money and is charged a fee for the bounced transaction. I'd also imagine if the account holder disputed a succesfull transaction with no authorisation code it would be refunded and you'd have a lot of explaining to do.

Its not worth risking your job for.
Your first point about insufficient funds being available in the account are valid.

However the second part of your post is not, when the card is swiped and the card holder signs to accept they agree to having £x amount debited from their account. It would then be very difficult for them to dispute the transaction seeing as the card was present at the time unless it was reported as being lost/stolen.
 

island

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Actually, if a chip card is swiped and proper authorization has not been obtained, the bank is under no obligation to pay.
 
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