Staff nonchalance

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158801

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I've had a couple of instances where a self service ticket machine has failed to print all of the passengers tickets in the last couple of weeks.

The first time it happened the passenger got on my train and said "I was told to just get on the train and you would sort it out" <(

Being the cynical person that I am I thought they were trying to pull a fast one.

However, this morning the same thing happened. The passenger went to the ticket office who said "there's nothing we can do" and radioed to the station staff who then had a word with me. The result was the passenger travelled without a valid ticket and 60 minutes later than he was supposed to (with his Advance)

Surely there is something that ticket office staff can do in these situations rather than passing the buck and making the passenger state the highly unbelievable "but I got told to....."
 
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stut

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I know the staff at my local station are pretty proactive in sorting out ticketing problems, including when one machine breaks down and the queues are out the door. They'll usually inform someone (no idea who) and announce on the Tannoy that you can buy tickets at your destination. And, fair play to them, they normally have enough staff waiting at the busiest destination to handle this, too!

The only time I've had an Advance fail to print was at Guildford, during a comms failure that wiped out all ticket machines. I was genuinely told by a man on the platform (in SWT uniform) just to board, show my confirmation email, and he'd have a word with the guard. Sadly, he didn't, and the guard had no idea what I was talking about, but was eventually happy to let me travel. I managed to pick up the tickets en route.
 

BestWestern

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Sadly, TVM's or self-service machines, whatever you want to call them, are generally hopeless, and the bain of both passengers and staff. They are however cheap to employ, don't require pensions, lunch breaks, uniforms or name badges, and will happily stand outside in the pouring rain all day long without complaining. If only they could get the damned things to sell tickets...
 

Flamingo

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I once had someone early on an advance ticket:

- "The man on the platform said I could travel"
- "No he didn't"
- "Are you calling me a liar?"
- "Yes I am, it was me you asked and I said NO".

(that was one of the few times I charged a new ticket rather than an excess)
 

Clip

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Sadly, TVM's or self-service machines, whatever you want to call them, are generally hopeless, and the bain of both passengers and staff.

Thats a rather grand statement to make. Funnily enough our TVMS very rarely have problems and the same could be said for my neighbouring TOC too... And our passengers like the ease of use and the speed they can get thier daily tickets and TOD. I know. They tell me.

Must just be everywhere else that has TVMs that dont work then.


And if im ever 'the man on the platform' then ill always ring ahead or get a message out that there is someone travelling from A to B without a ticket.
 

Failed Unit

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I once had someone early on an advance ticket:

- "The man on the platform said I could travel"
- "No he didn't"
- "Are you calling me a liar?"
- "Yes I am, it was me you asked and I said NO".

(that was one of the few times I charged a new ticket rather than an excess)

Just for interest, what is the guideance from the TOCs about the following situation, the situation is genunie but the times are not.

AP ticket from Reading - Aberdeen via London

0900 Reading - London
1000 London - Aberdeen

Would the company prefer staff to let someone travel on the 0745 to give them a better chance of making the long distance service or make the wait until the booked train.

I was once told by a dispatcher to get on the train, but always had at the back of my mind, what happens if the gaurd doesn't agree an expensive listen to the dispatcher who just wants rid of me ;)

I know the rules are clear - booked trains only, but it does avoid the risk of having to pay compensation. I was glad I did break the rules, the bakerloo line was shut so the queue to get onto the circle would have meant I would have missed the connection if I was on my correct train!
 

Flamingo

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Personally, in that situation I'd warn the passenger not to get on an earlier Aberdeen train. I've no idea what an RPI would do.

The bit about avoiding compensation is a red herring, it could apply to every Advanced ticket sold.
 

jon0844

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Given how some RPIs take no prisoners, is it ever going to be safe to be advised by someone to travel anyway if something like this goes wrong? I'd want to take a photo of the person, get them to sign a statement (and video it) and then get signed statements from as many witnesses as possible to be on the safe side.

And I'd still be terrified!

Maybe TOCs can have a 'password of the day' or something else that allows you to prove you were given permission to do something by an authorised member of staff!
 

yorkie

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Surely there is something that ticket office staff can do in these situations rather than passing the buck and making the passenger state the highly unbelievable "but I got told to....."
They should put something in writing, and stamp it with the station stamp if possible.

The last time I asked at a station for assistance, an extremely helpful person at Manchester Piccadilly wrote and stamped a request to let us travel on a TPE train, which I was then able to hand to the conductor, who was more than happy with that. Both Virgin and TPE excelled on that occasion.

It's not fair on passengers or on-board staff to merely give a verbal instruction with no evidence of that.

I would encourage anyone in this position to politely request something in writing if at all possible, and if this is initially declined, assertively and politely insist on it.
 

Failed Unit

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Very true flamingo,

Years ago I had an AP between Edinburgh and Lincoln, I should have changed at Doncaster for Lincoln. On arrival at Doncaster the incoming service from Lincoln was 30 minutes late, so the outbound would suffer the same fate. I used plan B travel via Newark and got on the next train to Newark. Got charged the a single fare for the privalidge between Doncaster and Newark. The connection beyond Newark was fine with the 1st ticket. Arrived at Lincoln 40 minutes ahead of my "suggested service". The joys

2 vital lessons learned, if you have an option for a booked seat take it, if I had selected via Newark everyone would be happy and find the gaurd before boarding!

Luckily I got the single from Doncaster refunded when writing to East Coast, much cheaper than the delay repay for them!
 

yorkie

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AP ticket from Reading - Aberdeen via London

0900 Reading - London
1000 London - Aberdeen
If it was Stevenage - London - Penzance, we know EC sensibly allow a customer to take any appropriate train Stevenage - London.

I would hope that FGW would employ a similar approach to EC in this regard.

Indeed, the Advance tickets for this route used to be absolutely clear before "Simplification":

NFM95 (2007) said:
Valid on date, GNER train and
seats shown on the ticket,
plus connecting trains as
required.

That leaves us in no doubt it was the GNER (now EC) train that you had to stick to, but the connecting train(s) had no such requirement.

Now, in order to make things are "simple" it's a bit less clear:
NFM11 (2012) said:
If the 'Route' also states
'and Connections' travel is
allowed on appropriate
connecting trains where shown
on the ticket(s) or other
valid travel itinerary.

But common sense should prevail.
 

island

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Happened this morning at Northampton oddly enough, comms were down so no card payment or ToD either at the booking office or the TVMs. Passengers were being directed to the ATM if relevant or otherwise being told to buy on board.
 

AlterEgo

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Happened this morning at Northampton oddly enough, comms were down so no card payment or ToD either at the booking office or the TVMs. Passengers were being directed to the ATM if relevant or otherwise being told to buy on board.

Thankfully the failure was communicated via Control pager messages to all affected TOCs - which is how the system should work.
 

WelshBluebird

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Ah, the old "man on the platform" excuse... we all know he doesn't really exist!

Except that he does exist, and in many circumstances people with that "excuse" are actually telling the truth.
Sadly, because many people also use it to get away with not paying, staff have a very hard job deciding who is genuine and who isn't.
 

142094

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Quick recent example: was travelling from the south with EC and the train developed a fault on the approach to Darlington. Stuck in platform 4, I knew they'd start sending things wrong direction into 1, so got off the train to ask platform staff if I could get on a XC service with my EC advance ticket. Train guard was away with the driver to try and find the fault. Platform staff member number one said yes (twice), and platform staff number two also said yes.

There wasn't a ticket check on the XC service, but if I'd shown the advance EC ticket I wonder if they'd have accepted it, or told me to buy a new ticket.
 

island

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Except that he does exist, and in many circumstances people with that "excuse" are actually telling the truth.

Indeed. I have had it happen with the woman at the crossing house at Stone Crossing; I had arrived on the down side after the crossing locked for two arriving trains, wanting to go towards London. She told me to board the down train and change and get a ticket at Greenhithe before boarding a fast train back, and in fairness to the RPI at Greenhithe there were no issues and I was sold a discounted ticket.
 

4SRKT

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I never, ever collect tickets the day I'm travelling, just in case something like this happens. I did at Leeds once (luckily it was several hours before) and one of the coupons didn't print from the East Coast TVM. I then went into the East Coast booking office and was told to ring East Coast (!) because the ticket had been bought online on the East Coast website for an East Coast advance from Saltaire to the Cross and was therefore 'nothing to do with them' (!!) Customer service for you! Lots of wrangling and refusing to be fobbed off later I got it sorted (the 'helpful' lady in the EC office then printed out the replacement for me). That was the day of the dreaded 'Kettlegate' when irresponsible kettle veg used one of their obsolete machines to set fire to half of Eastern England and screw up the railways, so I got all the money back anyway :)

Now that Northern's TVMs do TOD it's much simpler to collect days or even weeks in advance. If the machine at Saltaire ever worked it'd be better still, but Shipley's easy enough. I have an envelope full of bundles of tickets for future journeys which is very satisfying to get out and look at from time to time :)
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Quick recent example: was travelling from the south with EC and the train developed a fault on the approach to Darlington. Stuck in platform 4, I knew they'd start sending things wrong direction into 1, so got off the train to ask platform staff if I could get on a XC service with my EC advance ticket. Train guard was away with the driver to try and find the fault. Platform staff member number one said yes (twice), and platform staff number two also said yes.

There wasn't a ticket check on the XC service, but if I'd shown the advance EC ticket I wonder if they'd have accepted it, or told me to buy a new ticket.

They might have been so shocked that someone would want to ride on a Vomiter when he had a ticket for a proper train that they would have just left you alone rather than tackle a potentially dangerous maniac.
 
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Failed Unit

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I have had the same arguement myself, east coast blame scotrail who own the TVM, Scotrail say the TVM is working fine. Stalemate until passenger focus get involved then east coast refund me the money I was out of pocket as a result.

Legally east coast are liable and you should not care who owns the TVM as your purchase and contract is with east coast (as the ticket vendor)

Even if Scotrail were at fault I shouldn't be expected to chase them as my contract was with east coast.
 

Solent&Wessex

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Back to the OP's scenario, this is now becoming a particular problem in Northern land. Since Northern enabled TOD collection from their SSTMs the number of folk travelling from Northern stations without tickets but just with reference numbers who claim to have been told to "show the reference number on the train" has rocketed. A bit of investigation and I have found out why. Whilst most other TOCs have linked the Ticket Office machines to the TOD database, Northern have not. So when at a TPE or Virgin station and the SSTM is out of action, the booking office staff can recall and print the booking quickly and easily. At Northern stations this is not possible. I am reliably informed by colleagues in Northern ticket offices that to issue a TOD from there they have to make at least 2 separate phone calls and fill out a lengthy form for each one, as well as incur complications when cashing up. The whole process can take around 5 minutes, if not longer depending on how quick the phone calls are. At a single manned or busy office this is a nightmare, so most of the time they don't bother as they haven't got time, so tell folk just to get on the train.
 

142094

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They might have been so shocked that someone would want to ride on a Vomiter when he had a ticket for a proper train that they would have just left you alone rather than tackle a potentially dangerous maniac.

TBH I wish I'd stayed on the EC train, as the Voyager stank (no suprise there then).
 
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