Reasons for railcard restrictions & few other things in railways

Discussion in 'UK Railway Discussion' started by smoky_bacon, 16 Nov 2011.

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  1. smoky_bacon

    smoky_bacon Member

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    I often ask myself questions about few things in railways that can be really annoying for customers and usually staff as well. So far I haven't found reasons for these so maybe some forum users can help:

    1) Time restrictions and minimum fares for railcards.
    I can understand minimum fare for 16-25 Railcard allows to get more money from young people who commute (therefore encouraging to use it later for leisure travel). But why is it not the same for other railcards, especially Senior? And more importantly why are there these silly variations of time restrictions for different railcards? Would it not be easier to set simple rules, ie. discount for all railcards valid after 10.00, otherwise minimum fare let's say £12 (and also make it the same for travelcard from outside Zones 1-6)?

    2) Photocards.
    I wonder why there are still two different photocard types - yellow for 16-25 Railcard and pink one for season tickets? Is there any sensible reason or is this just because it was for years? I think one photocard for everything would make life easier for passengers and staff. I feel like an idiot when someone wants one weekly ticket instead of few daily discounted tickets (which in total cost more than weekly) and I tell them they need separate photocard. Practically it would just be enough to scrap 16-25 photocards and issue holders with a pink one instead.

    3) Network Railcard commission.
    Why do clerks get commission for them and not for other railcards issued? I'm not saying there should be commission for all or actually any of them, it's just silly for me and I'm curious of the reason.

    4) Staff/Spouse/Dependant Travel Passes.
    Why employees' family members are not allowed to use it for work/school? I know simple answer is to increase revenue but I'm trying to look from different side and in my opinion getting rid of this restriction could only give benefit to staff families budget with no or not much harm to TOC business. Let's be honest - with current rail fares I guess these people choose to commute by car (I know petrol went up but still it's cheaper than train if you don't work in London). Would it not be a nice gesture towards rail staff, especially in these difficult times nowadays?

    What do you think?
     
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  3. Badger

    Badger Member

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    This is the British rail system, simple and understandable rules don't belong here. :)

    To be honest I didn't realise a lot of these rules existed; i.e. the minimum fare on student travel. That's a bit annoying although to be honest there is hardly anywhere I can travel which is that cheap.
     
  4. swt_passenger

    swt_passenger Veteran Member

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    I'd suggest that none of the railcard products (or dependent passes) were ever designed to aid travel to/from work.

    Most of the railcard advertising you see, such as the 16-25 railcard, (which was originally aimed only at students) is intended to encourage leisure travel, and travel to/from stuff like weekends at home.

    Increasing the minimum fare during the peaks is not intended primarily to make more money - it's to keep the busiest trains free for passengers paying the full fare - the original assumption is that during the working week potential railcard holders are travelling on short local journeys that they need to make for work/college/whatever - so no encouragement was or is needed.

    Needless to say Virgin are the exception to this.
     
  5. district

    district Member

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    Regarding the photocard, there are 3 that I know of:

    Yellow 16-25
    Yellow season ticket
    Pink adult season ticket

    I think it is a good idea: at a glance you can see whether the person matches to the season ticket (assuming you aren't colour blind)
    Example: Child Season and Pink photocard = fraudulent ticket.

    If the photocard colour matches to the season type = happy days!
     
  6. MidnightFlyer

    MidnightFlyer Veteran Member

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    AFAIK you can but you must get clearance to do so from ATOC. It is annoying though :|
     
  7. Matt Taylor

    Matt Taylor Established Member

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    You can get Priv seasons for dependents but it requires a lot of paperwork.
     
  8. smoky_bacon

    smoky_bacon Member

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    I asked ATOC's RST department once and they said Priv Season can be used by spouse/partner if they are in full time education but 'certainly not for travelling to/from work'. Are you saying there are some exceptions or easements, even for using for work travel?
    I never asked about dependant priv season as I don't have kids ;)

    By the way I've heard Arriva buses staff families can use their bus pass for work and also each employee can nominate one person to hold the same or similar bus pass. Anyone can confirm?
     
  9. MidnightFlyer

    MidnightFlyer Veteran Member

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    Sorry, should have added for full-time education only. Sorry.
     
  10. jon0844

    jon0844 Veteran Member

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    I wish they'd get rid of the £13 minimum on a Network Railcard. I'd buy one in January (giving up my annual season) but for a simple return to London Terminals, it's useless as it increases the price!

    If people can change their working hours and travel off-peak, what's the harm exactly? It means less people filling trains in the peak - and more people using otherwise pretty empty off-peak trains.

    I am not sure someone could spot a fraudulent ticket by a photo card - as you can surely mix and match them as long as that ID number is on the ticket? I use a London Underground photo ID with my rail season and have never had a problem.
     
  11. driver9000

    driver9000 Established Member

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    Both myself and my wife can use our travel passes for commuting to/from work as can dependants. I regularly do too. I know staff at other TOCs who do too.
     
  12. 142094

    142094 Established Member

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    I have a fares book from the former Regional Railways sector that was introduced before privatisation. There is a short section in it on railcards, and one of the main reasons that the is a YP/16-25 is to encourage future rail travel - so the concept of get them while they're young. The F+F railcard is to give discounts to larger groups where if there wasn't a discount then it might have been cheaper to go by car. As for Senior - they have a lot of free time and like to visit their grandchildren, and prefer not to use cars when they get older.

    As has been said the time restrictions are in place to stop people from travelling with discounted tickets when commutters are filling up the services in the morning. Even so anyone who is of a valid age to buy a YP railcard can get a Season which is still heavily discounted. One of the other anomalies is that, with the increasing retirement age, many older people work for longer and now can do business trips using a Senior railcard - which probably wasn't a problem when that railcard was first introduced.
     
  13. Greenback

    Greenback Emeritus Moderator

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    On some flows it is cheaper to buy a season than to get daily discounted tickets with a railcard. My commute is £13.80 for a weekly, yet if I had a Senior Railcard (I'm not that old yet though!) daily tickets would cost me over £15, if my calculations are correct!

    It is true that most railcards were introduced to encourage leisure travel rather than commuting, but I am sure that some holders do enjoy good discounts at peak times nonetheless!
     
  14. neilmc

    neilmc Member

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    Indeed, there was a young woman in my team who was quite a high-flyer, earning £50k+ and considered a (fairly) senior manager at the ripe age of 25, which meant she could use her YP railcard for business journeys to London. I'm afraid I compounded it by encouraging her to renew a few days before her 26th birthday.
     
  15. Mojo

    Mojo Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    Similarly there are journeys (particularly in the South East) where it is reasonable to commute, but the fare is still higher than the minimum fare. Example Aylesbury to London a 7 Day Season is still cheaper than 5 x SDR with 1625 Railcard discount.

    Also don't forget that Senior Railcards cannot be used in the morning peak in the NSE area.
     
  16. RPM

    RPM Established Member

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    That was the bane of my life when I was a relief clerk. Senior Railcard holders had got into the habit of asking for a single to Underground zone 1 and a Railcard-discounted single back. Using APTIS this meant you had to manually enter the fare for the return portion. APTIS wasn't very sophisticated by modern standards and couldn't cope with the fact that the Railcard discount (then) applied to the NR part of the fare only, so correct procedure was to to take the fare from London Terminals, apply the discount and then add the Underground fare on top. Inevitably this would be met by protests from the passenger that [insert name of regular clerk] normally charges less for this ticket. That is because [lazy/ignorant un-named regular clerk] does it wrong and applies the discount to the whole fare!
    I'm reliably informed by Mrs RPM who is still a real life ticket clerk (but not for much longer if LM have their evil way) that this is no longer the case and the Railcard discount can be applied to the entire fare.
     
  17. smoky_bacon

    smoky_bacon Member

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    There are few possibilities then:
    - you misuse your free travel facilities (not very likely I think, otherwise you wouldn't say that here :lol:)
    - you have different rules on your staff travel pass or different pass itself (mine says I have unlimited use but 'Spouses/Dependants may only use this pass for leisure travel purposes in the class blah blah...')
    - a man from RSTL who I spoke to was wrong and so is 'The Manual' and ATOC website
    - someone who told you you can use it was wrong
    - there was a recent change I haven't heard about

    anyone knows where is the truth? ;)
     
  18. driver9000

    driver9000 Established Member

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    My pass useage is all perfectly legitimate and above board.
     
    Last edited: 17 Nov 2011
  19. mappman1000

    mappman1000 Member

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    May have been mentioned but why can I not buy a 1st Class ALR with a YP? :lol:

    With regards to dependant staff passes, I know someone who lives in Grays that goes to college in Southend every day, using his priv, ad his two brothers travel to Stanford-le-Hope every day for school on their privs!
     
  20. Mike395

    Mike395 Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    Because ATOC don't think students/young people should be able to travel in First except on Advance tickets. Stupid, I know!

    (Actually, to be fair, I understand their reasoning to an extent regarding First Off-Peak/Anytime tickets, but for an ALR, which is strictly a leisure ticket....c'mon!)
     
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