Procedure when Reservations cannot be placed

Discussion in 'UK Railway Discussion' started by Dai Corner, 23 Sep 2016.

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  1. Dai Corner

    Dai Corner Established Member

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    I've started a new thread as I'd like to discuss the general case rather than the particular one of the lady travelling from Kings Cross to Skipton reported in the press.

    If the reservation cards cannot be placed for any reason the usual procedure seems to be to suspend reservations and have a free for all

    Would an announcement along the following lines work instead? A and B are the unreserved coaches, The reserved seats are in C and D.

    "We are sorry that reserved seats are not marked on this train. If you have a reservation please sit in the coach and seat shown on your ticket. If you do not have a reservation please sit in coaches A or B. Passengers without reservations may sit in coaches C or D but must be prepared to move if the person who has reserved the seat shows them their ticket. The Train Manager will be checking all tickets and reservations shortly."
     
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  3. JaJaWa

    JaJaWa Established Member

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    So if your reservation was for coach C or D then it will still be honoured, but not if your reservation was for coach A or B?
     
  4. Dai Corner

    Dai Corner Established Member

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    A and B are the unreserved coaches.
     
  5. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    That's the sensible way forward, as implemented by most train companies.
    Doesn't sound good to me! It places the Train Manager in a difficult position and penalises walk-up passengers (who have probably paid the highest fares) as they have no idea which seats may be unreserved in those coaches.

    It needs to be very clear that there are no reservations; anyone who can't find an alternative seat should either seek staff assistance, or, if they have a particular need, they can politely state their predicament to passengers occupying 'Priority Seats' and politely ask if they can occupy them.

    You do get some bullies who rudely demand people give up unreserved seats (see this thread), and such people should not be given any encouragement, in my opinion!
     
  6. BestWestern

    BestWestern Established Member

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    If seat reservations cannot be indicated, there really is no sensible way of enforcing them. The Guard has greater priorities than spending the entire journey repeatedly ejecting baffled people from seemingly unreserved seats, and suffering the same angry reaction time and again. If there are no reservations, this fact should be advertised and then everybody is aware of the situation prior to boarding, and can just get on with it and persue their complaint later. If one wishes to experience the thrill of being unexpectedly booted out of a perfectly cumfy seat with no notice whatsoever, they merely need to sample Crosscountry (assuming, of course, they manage to initially find a seat to temporarily occupy in the first place).
     
    Last edited: 23 Sep 2016
  7. Starmill

    Starmill Events Co-ordinator

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    I don't think so...
     
  8. bb21

    bb21 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Why not?

    It's for illustration purposes.
     
  9. JaJaWa

    JaJaWa Established Member

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    Exactly, your system doesn't make any sense. If the person's reservation was for coach A, B, C or D then you have to sit in coaches C and D. But customers sitting in coaches C and D with reservations for A or B will be asked to move for those with reservations for C or D. It's an unnecessary addition to your system.
     
  10. Dai Corner

    Dai Corner Established Member

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    There aren't any passengers with reservations in coaches A and B. They are the unreserved coaches.
     
  11. JaJaWa

    JaJaWa Established Member

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    Ok now understood - this is based on a fictionally small number of reservations, rather than the guard announcing that passengers without reservations should go to those coaches. In reality around only 1/5 (rather than 1/2) coaches are left unreserved meaning there's much less room for people to go.
     
  12. robbeech

    robbeech Established Member

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    I think it is somewhat unfair on the staff to have to deal with this extra stuff, especially given that people will be disgruntled already due to whatever has caused this to happen, be that a cancelled train, a short formed train, a different train, whatever it may be. However i think seat reservation can improve on the whole.

    The Cross country method can work quite well although it isn't without its flaws. Why you can't book a specific seat i don't know. It can't be that hard to program, that way if you board a service at Derby and find that B26 is empty, but reservable you can reserve it by text message instead of reserving a random seat before hand which may be less suitable, and may indeed end up booting someone else out of it un-necessarily. I'm sure there are reasons why this isn't (at least currently) possible.

    The act of not being able to book specific seats on most services is also disappointing and i see no reason for it not to be possible.

    If i colleague of mine has a ticket from A to C with a reserved seat and the seat next to him is unreserved, if i then choose to go with him or her why can i not book a ticket (over 2 hours in advance) and say can i reserve seat E12 or whatever, providing it isn't already booked of course. This could be from A to C or A to B or B to C where we may not be together until on the train.

    Rob
     
  13. Dai Corner

    Dai Corner Established Member

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    I suppose I was assuming people would act sensibly and courteously, which unfortunately is not always the case :-x
     
  14. Sheepy1209

    Sheepy1209 Member

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    Better to make reservations a paid-for service. That way we don't have trains full of reserved seats that nobody uses, those who really want a reservation can pay for one, those who need one for various qualifying criteria get a free one, and if there are no reservations it's a free-for-all and you get the reservation fee refunded.

    Or use the fully-reserved model, which wouldn't go down well with Barry Doe!

    Reservations are a big source of stress for many passengers and, no doubt, staff - there has to be a better way.
     
  15. bb21

    bb21 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I am inclined to agree with the charged for model for reservations. £2/£2.50 per seat per leg, across board, with all ticket types, and the number of seats reserved on a train will drop sufficiently to restore the balance between reserved and freely available seats.
     
  16. causton

    causton Established Member

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    I agree as well. Has anyone done any research on how many reservations are actually left unused?

    Advance fares should just get you a counted place reservation, and then you can pay a quid or two if you actually want to book a seat...
     
  17. bb21

    bb21 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I have seen a few reports with numbers ranging from 30% to 70%.

    Take your pick. :lol:
     
  18. JaJaWa

    JaJaWa Established Member

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    National Express charged £2.50 on East Coast and East Anglia when they were on the verge of going bust.

    Exclusions were "advance purchase tickets, first class tickets, season tickets, customers with a disabled railcard or assisted passengers."

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/8045270.stm
     
  19. najaB

    najaB Veteran Member

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    I agree with the principle, but not necessarily the price. Many of the journeys I make require two changes - that would be £12 to £15 extra on a return journey.
     
  20. bb21

    bb21 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Poorly thought through, poorly implemented, inconsistently implemented, and far too confusing with the various exclusions, plus a highly dodgy motive.

    It also isn't going to work if only one TOC does it. It needs to be implemented across board if it were to be successful, and the message needs to be simple and clear. No ifs, no buts, no fare exclusions.

    It should be accompanied by a small decrease in some fares, but there will be winners and losers. A journey with lots of reservable legs can lose out a bit while those with no reservable legs potentially saving a little.
     
  21. theironroad

    theironroad Established Member

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    Some may disagree, but one of the better decisions south west trains made was to get rid of all seat reservations on all their trains a few years back.

    First come first served .......

    Unfortunately seat reservations were one of the issues that caused most confrontation between passengers and then ultimately between passengers and staff.
     
  22. BestWestern

    BestWestern Established Member

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    This is helped though by their entire operation being 'commuter style'. I'm not sure it would be seen as acceptable for an intercity TOC to try it.
     
  23. theironroad

    theironroad Established Member

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    Well Waterloo to Weymouth is a minimum of 2.75hrs and Waterloo to Exeter a minimum of 3.25 hrs, both of which are a fair bit longer than some people make reservations for on ic tocs for which they don't occupy their resered seat for.
     
  24. BestWestern

    BestWestern Established Member

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    Yup. But as I said, even those long journeys are operated as a commuter railway, with high density seated multiple units, bare minimum trolley catering and a wide variation of fast/semi fast/slow stopping patterns. It isn't an intercity operation, where a lack of seat reservation capabilities would be seen as surprising.
     
  25. father_jack

    father_jack Member

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    FGW were charging £5 unless booked at the time of purchase (AP or flexible). Soon dropped..............

    However how about when reservations can't be put out/displayed that all non reserved pax are told by announcement to go to the unreserved carriage/s (if there is one). The guard goes there also- and only when that's full the remainder are unleashed on the other carriages ???
     
  26. JaJaWa

    JaJaWa Established Member

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    I feel like 5 carriages worth of people trying to fit into 1 is more trouble than it's worth.
     
  27. sheff1

    sheff1 Established Member

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    Interesting to see that in operation at Leeds when 100 people are boarding a train which started at Glasgow and is going to Penzance. I rather expect the 2 minute station dwell time would be somewhat exceeded.
     
  28. 83G/84D

    83G/84D Established Member

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    I get rather annoyed by Cross Country where you can reserve a seat on a train during the journey. For example if I am travelling in an unreserved seat from Cheltenham Spa and the seat does not indicate it is reserved later in the journey and I am travelling to Preston.Someone can then reserve a seat to travel from Wolverhampton to say Crewe and I have to vacate a previously unreserved seat. I then struggle to find another vacant seat whilst someone who joins mid-journey occupies the previously "free" seat that I occupied!

    I know there is an unreserved coach but if the train has come from Plymouth all seats in the unreserved coach may be taken.

    It is unfair on walk on passengers without reservations, once the train has started it's journey or a set time before it starts off no further reservations should be allowed.
     
    Last edited: 24 Sep 2016
  29. sheff1

    sheff1 Established Member

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    Why not just reserve a seat 10 minutes before you join at Cheltenham with your walk up ticket ?
     
  30. BestWestern

    BestWestern Established Member

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    I completely agree. It's a silly gimic and does nothing to mask the grim reality that Crosscountry services are horrendously crowded.
     
  31. broadgage

    broadgage Member

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    As always south west trains led the way !
    Now GWR are downgrading inter city routes to a "commuter railway, with high density seated multiple units, bare minimum trolley catering" and so on.
     
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