Southeastern knowingly selling invalid tickets

Discussion in 'Fares Advice & Policy' started by Barn, 11 Jul 2019 at 18:19.

  1. Barn

    Barn Established Member

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    At London Bridge I bought a ticket for St Albans from the machine. It doesn't ask you about route: only for your destination and whether you would like a single or return.

    The machine issues a ticket from London Terminals to St Albans. This is not valid through the Thameslink core.

    Southeastern have admitted that they know this happens and they can't fix the machines. They have admitted that the ticket would be invalid. And yet there are no notices on the machines to warn people of this and the tickets are still being sold.

    Thameslink have confirmed that these tickets would not be valid if used.

    Am I alone in thinking this is really not on? To sell tickets knowing that they may cause people to receive penalty fares if used from the station at which they are sold? Southeastern don't seem to appreciate that there is anything wrong with that, and the ticket office actually suggested that I might "just try my chances if I'm not getting off at Farringdon".
     
    Last edited: 11 Jul 2019 at 18:31
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  3. smsm1

    smsm1 Member

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    BR Fares is also suggesting the London Terminals to St Albans tickets: http://www.brfares.com/#!fares?orig=LBG&dest=SAC as is the National Rail site. I wonder how many more of these cross London services, especially on the Thameslink core have the same issue?
     
  4. paddington

    paddington Member

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    What is the correct ticket to get and can you buy it at the machines if you are aware of the issue? Does the incorrect ticket work the barriers? Would RPIs ever check tickets between London Bridge and St Pancras given the frequent stops?

    If at St Albans wanting to go to London Bridge, do ticket machines mislead passengers into buying the wrong ticket too?
     
  5. 74A

    74A Member

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    Been doing that at Paddington for years. If you buy a ticket to Clapham Junction it will sell you a London Terminals to Clapham Junction which again would not be valid on the underground.
     
  6. Barn

    Barn Established Member

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    The correct ticket has an origin of "London Thameslink". The rule is that you cannot pass through Farringdon with a "London Terminals" ticket, unless it is "Plus High Speed 1".

    I am not sure if RPIs would check, but as a regulated person I don't want to even risk it.

    I think a St Albans -> London Bridge ticket would probably be issued properly. The problem is that ticket machines can only issue from one origin, and the origin at London Bridge is set as "London Terminals".
     
  7. Barn

    Barn Established Member

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    The St Albans example is worse still, IMHO, because London Bridge has a direct service to St Albans and the ticket is invalid on it.
     
  8. furlong

    furlong Established Member

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    It might well be valid - in both directions - in the circumstances described if that is what contract someone using the machine reasonably believed had been formed by the transaction. (It would be a commercial decision of the railway to write off some potential revenue rather than spending money to enhance the machines to sell the right tickets.)
     
  9. 30907

    30907 Established Member

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    I would agree with furlong that the ticket is de facto valid
    The fare LONDON TERMINALS to SAC is the same as the correct one, so in this case there is no real issue. It would be slightly more interesting if the ticket were available from (say) Vauxhall NR.
     
  10. Barn

    Barn Established Member

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    I would say the opposite: it is de facto invalid in that, in the real world, a Thameslink RPI (or a TFL barrier operator at Farringdon) could refuse to recognise it.

    Arguing about the contract you thought you were forming with Southeastern whilst on a Thameslink train would be interesting and unpredictable!

    And what if you tried to break your return journey at Farringdon?
     
  11. PeterC

    PeterC Established Member

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    The response to any attempt to issue a penalty of any sort is:
    1. contact Southwark trading standards. The problem is known so there would be a case for prosecution.
    2. make a lot of noise with the media starting with the Evening Standard
     
  12. RJ

    RJ Established Member

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    This has been the case for years. When I worked at a London Terminal nearly 10 years ago, we had to keep issuing refunds to people who bought these tickets for travel to beyond the other side of London from the machine and were rejected by the Underground downstairs. The supervisors also disallowed the sale of tickets with a U zone origin, even if the destination was to a railway station so customers had to make other arrangements.

    If this cross London thing was seen as a real problem, something would have been done about it by now. I think the expectation is that people buy a ticket to somewhere starting with a cross London transfer once and when they get bounced from the Underground, that is meant to serve as the impetus not to buy it again - that's them told.
     
    Last edited: 12 Jul 2019 at 02:34
  13. maxbarnish

    maxbarnish Member

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    This is one that needs reporting but unsure to whom - probably to customer services first to try to get a written solution as to what would happen in practice. I wonder if buying online or from ticket office would resolve the issue. I had something like that happen to me when I was 18 or so, but I was too young to complain in those days, and knew nothing about railways - but then most people aren't knowledgeable. Mine was in the days before email and web forms were normal. I went to ticket office in Cambridge back in 2004 or so and asked for a ticket to Woolwich Arsenal. I got sold one to London zone 4, but on arrival in Woolwich was told this ticket was for London zone 4 underground connection only and got an excess fare from London Terminals to Woolwich but no penalty fare. If that happened now, I'd complain against both companies involved - the one that sold it and the one that showed no sense and didn't honour what the railways had done.
     
  14. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    The trouble is that that won't happen for Thameslink - the barriers will be opened because they need to open for the other direction and they'll get away with it. Then one day the RPIs will be along and they will be PFed or worse prosecuted.
     
  15. John Webb

    John Webb Established Member

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    As a former user of London Bridge (over 40 years ago, I have to say) bearing in mind the larger part of the station is a terminus - even if the lines used by Thameslink don't use it - could one argue it was a 'London Terminus'?
     
  16. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    It is, it just isn't a London Terminal (not Terminus) if going north.
     
  17. John Webb

    John Webb Established Member

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    Thanks - I suspected that was the case. This business about 'London Terminals' on Thameslink seems to be one where any common-sense approach to the matter has been completely missed regarding ticket validity and the use of ATMs.
     
  18. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Isn't it down to something relating to the agreement with LU that the Thameslink centre section is basically ticketed as if it was LU?
     
  19. RJ

    RJ Established Member

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    In practice, I doubt this will happen.

    Staff on the frontline and management know that TVMs are ropey and discretion is most likely to be shown in these circumstances.
     
  20. swt_passenger

    swt_passenger Veteran Member

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    It isn’t just Thameslink has this issue though, there’s a couple of threads most years where people unexpectedly get sold tickets from invalid London Terminals, eg from Euston to somewhere on SWR.

    IIRC not that long ago the opposite (but related) issue occurred when someone found Bournemouth wasn’t available from Paddington, where it is definitely valid. Station staff apparently claimed it had been removed because people expected to be able to use the fare via LU and Waterloo...
     
  21. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Of course this is all typical railway. If people want to buy these fares (i.e. tickets originating in U1), why not create and sell them, rather than the usual "ner ner ny ner ner, we know better than you what you want to do, you will go the way WE want and not otherwise" lark?

    Crikey, people are coming to you and offering you money to do something. I've never known an organisation like the railway for saying "no, get lost" to them.
     
  22. RJ

    RJ Established Member

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    Of course, the problem happens in reverse where people at say, Ashford International select London Paddington as a destination on the TVM and are sold a ticket that doesn't get them there.
     
  23. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    That's just poor implementation, because there are U1 fares from there:
    http://www.brfares.com/#!fares?orig=AFK&dest=0785
     
  24. Gerald Fiennes

    Gerald Fiennes Member

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    To further confuse matters, I see that that the Sat/Sun single (CBB), Anytime (SDS) and CDR fares to SAC are actually all the same whether the ticket is issued from LBG, London Terminals or London Thameslink, ie. £9, £12.50 and £13.10 respectively. So any PF would solely be about inappropriate routing, not that the passenger owed any money! It really is time that this sort of nonsense ended, it just gives the railway system in the UK a bad name! Where is Mr Haddock when you need him?!!
     
  25. RJ

    RJ Established Member

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    Is there any evidence that anyone has actually been Penalty Fared because of this? It's a known shortcoming of TVMs and I'm pretty sure revenue staff would show their discretion.

    It does remind me of an instance where I asked for a ticket to St Pancras at Denmark Hill and was given a ticket to London Terminals. I immediately raised this with the clerk and she asked why I was being awkward, even though the ticket didn't cover the journey I specified. She spent a couple of minutes trying to persuade me the ticket was valid to St Pancras, before eventually reissuing the ticket to St Pancras. But not before I missed the train!

    If staff don't understand the rules and TVMs are misleading I don't see how Penalty Fares can, or are issued for irregularities on that part of the network.
     
    Last edited: 12 Jul 2019 at 13:39
  26. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    This is your opinion but it's incorrect, as it ignores contract and consumer laws.
    I agree that some people in the rail industry lack adequate understanding of consumer and contract laws and it's not possible to accurately predict whether or not the passenger will experience a breach (or attempted breach) of contract by a train company.
     
  27. Wallsendmag

    Wallsendmag Established Member

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    I'm pleased to say that LNER TVMs handle this correctly.
     
  28. Barn

    Barn Established Member

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    With great respect, that's not what de facto means. The true legal position is called de jure.

    De facto
    refers to the situation you might experience practically, not what you could achieve if you launched a consumer law or contract claim.
     
    Last edited: 12 Jul 2019 at 21:30
  29. island

    island Established Member

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    You can be assured that no such prosecution would happen. Trading Standards are stretched beyond belief and have no interest in taking on what they will perceive as esoteric train ticketing matters that concern only a tiny handful of people.
     
  30. maniacmartin

    maniacmartin Established Member Senior Fares Advisor

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    This problem has effected most TVMs operated by most TOCs for a considerable amount of time. It's ridiculous that they still haven't implemented a fix.

    The NRCoT section 1 says:
    so you enter into a direct contract with GTR (Thameslink).
     
  31. Barn

    Barn Established Member

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    Those last few words of the NRCoT are interesting though!
     

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