Should I go to the ticket office instead of using a machine?

Discussion in 'Fares Advice & Policy' started by ryan125hst, 28 Apr 2015.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. ryan125hst

    ryan125hst Established Member

    Messages:
    1,051
    Joined:
    2 Jun 2011
    Location:
    Retford
    Yesterday I traveled from Retford to Sheffield and back to attend a revision session at university. Teaching has finished now, so I have decided to stay at home instead of in Sheffield and commute the 40 minutes or so it takes for the few revision sessions that are taking place in the run up to my exams and revising at home on other days.

    Anyway, I was dropped at the station by my Grandparents and proceed to go to the Fast Ticket machine to purchase a ticket. On the machine, I had to touch "Buy" before selecting my destination and then selecting from Anytime Day Single, Anytime Day Return or 7 Day Season. Annoyingly, you then have to click on "Add Railcard" and select your railcard type only to be presented with more or less the same options as you were presented with before (I don't thing a 7 Day Season would be an option though). A combination of the fact that I normally buy single tickets when I go home for the weekend (there's no 30 day Anytime Return sadly), being conscious of the time and the fact that a HST was being dispatched on platform 1 meant that I stupidly selected the Anytime Day Single option the second time around.

    I inserted the money and waited for the ticket to print. It was only then that I realised my mistake. I looked round at my Grandparents, who were still with me at this point as they always like to come to the platform with me and wave me off, and told them of my mistake. I was annoyed with myself for not concentrating and thought I'd have to buy another single at Sheffield and have cost myself double what I needed to pay.

    I decided to go to the ticket office window to see if anything could be done. The man walked from the desk at the back of the office and I told him of my mistake. "Why didn't you come to me in the first place" was the reply I got. :roll: Maybe I should have done, but I thought that was a bit rude of him. The machine is the only way of getting a ticket in the evening if you are travelling late and surely it's my choice how I buy a ticket as long as it's valid? Besides, it was the same guy that printed my railcard wrong (I don't think I've posted about this yet- he forgot to print the number on the photo part of the card so I had to go back and ask for a reissue when I returned to Retford. The woman there at the time refused and instead wrote the number by hand and stamped it with an East Coast stamp. While I have never had a ticket sale refused or had any issues on the train, Sheffield's ticket office has questioned me about it a few times).

    He did exchange the incorrect ticket for an Anytime Day return and charged me the difference in priced (60p) so I can't complain about that, but was it really necessary to be rude like that? A polite "come to the ticket office next time and I'll make sure you get the right ticket" or something would have been fine. Am I in the wrong here?

    Your thoughts please :D
     
  2. Tubeboy

    Tubeboy Member

    Messages:
    384
    Joined:
    9 May 2009
    Location:
    London
    Don't take it personally.
     
  3. DaleCooper

    DaleCooper Established Member

    Messages:
    2,773
    Joined:
    2 Mar 2015
    Location:
    No.664 - Next door to the Beast
    It's just one of those things that happens sometimes, forget about it. Perhaps the man was having a bad day or maybe he thought to himself afterwards "Oh dear, that didn't come out the way I meant it", we all get it wrong sometimes.
     
  4. ryan125hst

    ryan125hst Established Member

    Messages:
    1,051
    Joined:
    2 Jun 2011
    Location:
    Retford
    I won't, and yes that was probably all it was. I just thought it was a bit of a strange comment. I bet the guard was thinking the same thing as he'd get commission on it as I think ticket office staff do (you're supposed to buy before you board, yet the number of people I've seen board at Retford and buy a ticket from the guard without an issue is amazing!)
     
  5. Rail Ranger

    Rail Ranger Member

    Messages:
    185
    Joined:
    20 Feb 2014
    The natural instinct of anyone of a certain age (like myself and perhaps the booking clerk) is to always use the booking office because the staff should sell you the cheapest ticket which the ticket machine won't always necessarily do.
     
  6. maniacmartin

    maniacmartin Established Member Senior Fares Advisor

    Messages:
    4,863
    Joined:
    15 May 2012
    Location:
    Purley
    Unless I want to buy a ticket that the machine will not sell, or the machine is known to have a glitchy touchscreen, I will always use a TVM, as its easier than explaining the details of what I want to a clerk, and I don't have to show the railcards.
     
  7. bb21

    bb21 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    21,447
    Joined:
    4 Feb 2010
    Perhaps it's a London thing. ;)

    We have friendly clerks in Leicester and I never fail to get what I want no matter how complicated the request is. The ticket machines are loathsome.
     
  8. Starmill

    Starmill Established Member

    Messages:
    8,825
    Joined:
    18 May 2012
    Location:
    Manchester
    Why does this bit ^ somehow not surprise me?
     
  9. Merseysider

    Merseysider Established Member Fares Advisor

    Messages:
    3,599
    Joined:
    22 Jan 2014
    Location:
    North West
    Some ticket office staff may feel like machines are doing them out of a job. If everyone is happy to use a machine when there's a human being there capable of doing it - why keep the human being? (not my view)
     
  10. DaleCooper

    DaleCooper Established Member

    Messages:
    2,773
    Joined:
    2 Mar 2015
    Location:
    No.664 - Next door to the Beast
    I use the ticket office 90% of the time for three main reasons:

    - I can't ask a TVM questions about validity, off peak times or anything else I'm not sure about.

    - I want staff to keep their jobs.

    - My fingers and touch screens are incompatible, I must have old style fingers and need to upgrade them.
     
  11. ryan125hst

    ryan125hst Established Member

    Messages:
    1,051
    Joined:
    2 Jun 2011
    Location:
    Retford
    The points that have been raised about the jobs of ticket office staff are valid points, but one advantage the machine does have is that it is available long after the ticket office has closed. I have caught the 17:50 from Retford to Sheffield on a Sunday on several occasions. If I went to the ticket office and bought two singles on a Thursday or Friday afternoon (depending on when I went home for the weekend), I'll have my ticket already. If I went to the machine at Sheffield, I would only be able to buy a single so would need to buy a ticket at Retford. The ticket office is shut at that time on a Sunday, so the machine is the only option.

    This highlights another issue with ticket machines: The fact that you can't buy tickets from any other station from a machine, or tickets for other days (other than the following day in some cases).
     
  12. DelayRepay

    DelayRepay Member

    Messages:
    897
    Joined:
    21 May 2011
    If it's any comfort Ryan125hst, I made the same mistake this evening. I wanted to buy a return for tomorrow but bought a single by mistake. I then spent a couple of minutes fishing through the discarded receipts in the machine tray wondering where the other half of my ticket was, before I realised my error.

    The ticket office clerk wasn't rude though, he just non-issued it and sold me the correct ticket. And told me not to worry because I wasn't the first person to do that.

    I have noticed a tendency to use machines even when people are available, e.g. in Morrisons tonight there was a queue for the self-service tills even though there were manned checkouts available with no customers. And how many people will queue for an ATM even though the cashiers inside the bank have nobody to serve?
     
  13. Alan White

    Alan White Member

    Messages:
    77
    Joined:
    15 Apr 2015
    You can, sort of. If you buy the ticket online and collect it from a machine then the origin of the ticket can be different from the station where the machine is and the date can be later than today.

    This is very convenient because it means I can buy the tickets for my entire journey and avoid having to go to a machine or ticket office on the return.
     
  14. Clip

    Clip Established Member

    Messages:
    8,521
    Joined:
    28 Jun 2010
    When did Sheffield move to London? ;)

    Unless you were replying to manicmartin
     
  15. LexyBoy

    LexyBoy Established Member Fares Advisor

    Messages:
    4,458
    Joined:
    23 Jan 2009
    Location:
    North of the rivers
    I think that many people are being conned by TVMs, coupled with the "knowledge" that they will be fined for having an incorrect ticket. For some journeys, you need to know more about routeing and time restrictions than a TVM can offer, but which a ticket clerk takes into account as a matter of course.

    An example I've used before is someone buying a ticket to Hampton Court from a TVM at Reading. The first thing you see after selecting the destination - and before any fares show up - is a choice of route:
    -Any Permitted
    -Not Via London
    -Via Basingstoke
    -Clapham Junction

    If I'm looking for the cheapest ticket, what I would choose would depend on the time. At 7, it would be Not Via London. At 9, Via Basingstoke. If I wanted to travel via Virginia Water (the usual route for the Not Via London ticket), I should select Any Permitted if it's 10 but Not Via London at 11. Not to mention the option of Travelcards, which aren't offered but are cheaper than some of the tickets offered.

    That said, I've yet to succeed in buying a SWT Super Off Peak Day Return at Didcot. They simply deny their existence.
     
  16. hairyhandedfool

    hairyhandedfool Established Member

    Messages:
    8,838
    Joined:
    14 Apr 2008
    Ticket office staff do not get commission on the sale of rail tickets, it is forbidden by the TSA (we have to be 'impartial' and offer the lowest priced, available, valid, through fare). However, I regularly see queues of people by the TVMs and no-one going to ticket office (with two, or more, open sales points and no-one to serve).

    On a recent trip to Manchester Piccadilly ticket office, the TVMs had around ten-fifteen people waiting, whilst the ticket office (three sales points) didn't have a queue at all, sufficed to say I got my Priv ticket long before some of those queuing up had even got to the TVMs!

    What I do find a little annoying though, is people queuing for the TVM, while I have little else to do but sit there and watch them (beckoning them over rarely achieves anything), and then they come over to me when "the machine issued the wrong ticket" and I have to correct it while they stand there tapping on the counter, or looking at their watch, or repeatedly telling me they have a train to catch and "can I hurry up please" (I should be grateful for the 'please' I suppose). It can get very tiresome (particularly if I've just had two 12 hour turnarounds in as many days), so I can understand a clerk being a little curt at times, even if it's not 'customer friendly'.
     
  17. island

    island Established Member

    Messages:
    9,334
    Joined:
    30 Dec 2010
    Location:
    0036
    Depends on the machine. All Southern TVMs offer the facility to buy from any other station and have the option to buy for today, tomorrow, and the next following working day. I understand some East Coast TVMs offer purchase from other stations, but I have not personally encountered one.
     
  18. blakey1152

    blakey1152 Member

    Messages:
    278
    Joined:
    5 Sep 2011
    I wondered what it was...I too have old style fingers and get so frustrated trying to pick up TOD.....Give me a letter D...jab jab jab...nothing...give me a D ...jab jab jab...nothing...give me a D...god not 5 of the things!...delete... Where do you get an upgrade from :):p:p:p
     
  19. Wallsendmag

    Wallsendmag Member

    Messages:
    569
    Joined:
    11 Dec 2014
    The only VTEC machines that offer journeys from other station are the X/S machines beyond the gate lines
     
  20. DaleCooper

    DaleCooper Established Member

    Messages:
    2,773
    Joined:
    2 Mar 2015
    Location:
    No.664 - Next door to the Beast
    A digital engineer I suppose.
     
  21. Zoidberg

    Zoidberg Established Member

    Messages:
    1,270
    Joined:
    27 Aug 2010
    Location:
    West Midlands
    Very punny :)
     
  22. DaleCooper

    DaleCooper Established Member

    Messages:
    2,773
    Joined:
    2 Mar 2015
    Location:
    No.664 - Next door to the Beast
    How unshellfish of you to say so.
     
  23. tractakid

    tractakid Member

    Messages:
    844
    Joined:
    12 Nov 2012
    Location:
    Milton Keynes
    I only use TVMs when I have to.
    1) when I don't have time to queue at the ticket office
    2) when there is no open ticket office
    3) when I am collecting ToD that I didn't buy far enough in advance to recieve by post

    I much prefer the human interaction, especially when buying tickets in the 'wrong place'
    I also enjoy trying to get rovers issued in the wrong place.
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page