Southeastern station ticket offices can't sell Southeastern advance tickets !

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extendedpaul

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I've just returned from my local station where my attempt to purchase three advance tickets revealed a somewhat bizarre anomaly.

I usually book my advance journeys on line but having a £35 Rail Travel Voucher from Virgin West Coast I went to the station instead, choosing a quiet time of day. No problem with the first two journeys, one of which was via an unusual routing from Yorkshire to Wales to avoid Cross Country pricing - both booked quickly and efficiently. However the third journey - from Victoria to my local station - could not be booked because "we can't sell Southeastern advance tickets". The booking clerk was very apologetic and somewhat embarrassed but explained that they can only be booked via Southeastern's own website which she was not permitted to use. That left part of my voucher unused and forfeited as they cannot give change either.

I am minded to complain to Southeastern Trains about this as it does seem a bit crazy - what do others think ?
 
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Paul Kelly

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You should definitely complain. Southeastern are trying to prevent other TOCs (and 3rd party retailers) from selling their own advances and they are on very dodgy ground indeed. It has been mentioned on the forum before but nothing has come of it yet.
 

extendedpaul

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I am not disputing that the ticket office clerk was correct in saying she could not book the ticket I wanted and the website seems to confirm they are only available online. My point is that it is illogical and out of line AFAIK with all other advance tickets.

I have now established that Southeastern advance tickets can in fact be purchased online from Virgin Trains West Coast and through the Trainline as well as from Southeastern's own website so the ticket office clerk was wrong in that regard. However they are not offered via National Rail Enquiries Journey Planner nor by GWR nor Virgin Trains East Coast. Why would that be ?
 

Paul Kelly

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I have now established that Southeastern advance tickets can in fact be purchased online from Virgin Trains West Coast and through the Trainline as well as from Southeastern's own website so the ticket office clerk was wrong in that regard. However they are not offered via National Rail Enquiries Journey Planner nor by GWR nor Virgin Trains East Coast. Why would that be ?
Southeastern have put rules in the electronic fares data feeds that booking engines use, to say that only they are allowed to sell these fares. They are not allowed to do this for permanent fares such as these advances. Some booking engines have chosen to ignore these rules, but others are still honouring them. Somebody who is affected by this really needs to complain!
 

extendedpaul

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I am going to complain. I would have bought an advance ticket for a journey tomorrow for £4.90 using £2 from a RTV towards it but I will now be purchasing the ticket on the day and paying more than £10 for it plus I have lost that £2.

Also I don't think they can hide behind "only available online" for their advance tickets. I will argue that what the ticket office clerk does is use their own online booking service for people who do not have access to a PC. I watched the ticket office clerk book my other journeys and the process looked very similar to how I normally do it myself.
 

yorkie

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The clerk was correct in what they said, but the company is in the wrong to be doing this. Take it as far as you need to.
 

MikeWh

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You can also buy them from Southern, Great Northern & Thameslink and London Midland. But then they do all share the same parent company as Southeastern.:lol:
 

extendedpaul

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My complaint will stress how helpful the booking clerk was. She has even written on the receipt against the £33 for the tickets she booked that £2 was being lost from my RTV because she could not book my third ticket as it was a southeastern advance.
 
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furlong

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I am minded to complain to Southeastern Trains about this as it does seem a bit crazy - what do others think ?

You should check the documentation trail carefully, and if this does appear to be a breach of the franchise agreement, report the incident directly to the DfT in those terms. (Word if carefully so they can't pass it on to Transport Focus.)

- Was it the Lead Operator at a Regulated Station during its opening hours?

- Is the fare that the company refused to sell a Permanent Fare which is a Basic Product?

- Has any exception been recorded in the schedules?

Paragraph 6-14 of the Ticketing and Settlement Agreement, a franchise obligation, states:

6-14 LEAD RETAILERS' OBLIGATIONS IN RESPECT OF BASIC PRODUCTS
(1) Basic Products available at the date of this Agreement
Subject to sub-Clause (2) and Clauses 6-17 to 6-19 below, the Lead Retailer at each Regulated Station must offer for Sale at that Station during its opening hours:-
(a) all Permanent Fares which are Basic Products and which relate to the Flows that are listed in those Fares Manuals in existence at the date of this Agreement that are specified in Schedule 17 against the name of that Station (and any new Flows listed in any Fares Manuals that replace them, to the extent that they cover the same or substantially the same geographical areas);
...
(c) Reservations for trains which run on any of the Flows referred to in paragraph (a) above.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Additionally:

(4) Direct train services
The Lead Retailer at any Station which has a Ticket Office must offer for Sale at that Station during its opening hours all Fares that are available for journeys that can be made from that Station to any other Station in the Network in Great Britain without changing train.
 

ann

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I've just returned from my local station where my attempt to purchase three advance tickets revealed a somewhat bizarre anomaly.

I usually book my advance journeys on line but having a £35 Rail Travel Voucher from Virgin West Coast I went to the station instead, choosing a quiet time of day. No problem with the first two journeys, one of which was via an unusual routing from Yorkshire to Wales to avoid Cross Country pricing - both booked quickly and efficiently. However the third journey - from Victoria to my local station - could not be booked because "we can't sell Southeastern advance tickets". The booking clerk was very apologetic and somewhat embarrassed but explained that they can only be booked via Southeastern's own website which she was not permitted to use. That left part of my voucher unused and forfeited as they cannot give change either.

I am minded to complain to Southeastern Trains about this as it does seem a bit crazy - what do others think ?

I agree this is a disgrace. I tried to buy 2 advance tickets to Deal from St Pancras International ticket office yesterday where the Deal train starts from - but was told SE trains only sell advance tickets on their website and ticket offices only sell full price tickets. This is a ploy to make people buy more expensive tickets and no other train company is so disciminatory. What about people with no or limited internet access or service and people with poor eyesight. Are they all forced to but expensive tickets only? SE needs to reverse this policy.
 

yorkie

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Try contacting Which? about this, you should also refer the matter to Passenger Focus (you'll need to log it with Southeastern if you haven't already).
 

extendedpaul

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I agree this is a disgrace. I tried to buy 2 advance tickets to Deal from St Pancras International ticket office yesterday where the Deal train starts from - but was told SE trains only sell advance tickets on their website and ticket offices only sell full price tickets. This is a ploy to make people buy more expensive tickets and no other train company is so disciminatory. What about people with no or limited internet access or service and people with poor eyesight. Are they all forced to but expensive tickets only? SE needs to reverse this policy.

I must shamefacedly admit that I never pursued this. I didn't want anyone to look at one of the advance tickets I purchased at the time as it utilised a loophole that might have been closed.
 

Joe Paxton

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Well here you go, your person with poor eyesight who would be a willing user of SE advances accept I find their site v tough to use.

They are available from other Trainline-powered sites such as Virgin Trains West Coast, Greater Anglia, Arriva Trains Wales and ScotRail.
 

island

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I agree this is a disgrace. I tried to buy 2 advance tickets to Deal from St Pancras International ticket office yesterday where the Deal train starts from - but was told SE trains only sell advance tickets on their website and ticket offices only sell full price tickets. This is a ploy to make people buy more expensive tickets and no other train company is so disciminatory. What about people with no or limited internet access or service and people with poor eyesight. Are they all forced to but expensive tickets only? SE needs to reverse this policy.

Which St. Pancras ticket office was this?
 

NathanPrior

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I agree this is a disgrace. I tried to buy 2 advance tickets to Deal from St Pancras International ticket office yesterday where the Deal train starts from - but was told SE trains only sell advance tickets on their website and ticket offices only sell full price tickets. This is a ploy to make people buy more expensive tickets and no other train company is so disciminatory. What about people with no or limited internet access or service and people with poor eyesight. Are they all forced to but expensive tickets only? SE needs to reverse this policy.

Last time I checked, SE don't do any advance tickets at all on their routes.
 

Joe Paxton

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That must have been 2+ years ago then. They've been selling them for quite a while.

Not quite two years - introduced in May 2015 I think.

Only offered for journeys to or from their London terminals and also Stratford 'International' for their High Speed service.
 

MikeWh

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Not quite two years - introduced in May 2015 I think.

Only offered for journeys to or from their London terminals and also Stratford 'International' for their High Speed service.

OK, nearly two years then, to be precise. It doesn't really change the response to someone who still believes they don't do advances.
 

paul1609

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Doesn't matter really, as neither are run by SouthEastern.
I understand thats the crux of the problem. The tickets are primarily aimed at new to rail passengers that originate in London.
Due to restrictions with the extension of the franchise they are a temporary web only product that will expire at the end of the franchise.
 
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