Stratford Regional National Rail Ticket Office Location

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ashworth

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Is it just me that was not really thinking straight when visiting Stratford station last week, or is the National Rail Ticket Office badly located and difficult to find for those not familiar with the station?

I was spending a week staying in North London, near Hampstead Heath Overground Station and had planned a couple of days out in Essex. The cheapest way to do this seemd to be to use my Oyster Card to get to Stratford and then purchase a Super Off Peak Day Return from there. It was perhaps my own fault for not realising my error but it didn't turn out as originally expected.

I arrived at Stratford on the Overground and made my way to the barriers to touch out on the Oyster card reader. I then looked for the ticket office where I was intending getting a Super Off Peak Day Return to Southend. The intention was to travel out to Southend Victoria and then back from Southend Central stopping off at Leigh on Sea. The only ticket office I could see was a large one by the main entrance which appeared to be operated by London Transport. I looked all around the inside of the station and couldn't find another and so decided that the station must be operated by London Transport and so that was the only place to get a ticket.

I asked for a Super Off Peak Return to Southend Stations that would allow me to use both routes and the very unhelpful man said it didn't exist and I had to decide whether I wanted to go to Victoria or Central as he couldn't sell me a ticket valid to both. I argued with him and told him the I'd looked it up with National Rail and that it cost £11.70. He never told me that they didn't sell National Rail Priced Tickets and that there was actually a National Rail Ticket Office hidden round a corner outside the station entrance. Eventually I foolishly gave up arguing and settled for a Day Return to Southend Central via Barking which cost me £15.50.

I was still very puzzled by this and on the return journey went back to the ticket office and spoke to a much more friendly man enquiring whether I had been overcharged. He explained that this was London Transport Ticket Office and the £15.50 fare I had been charged was correct and that if I wanted a cheaper more flexible ticket I should have gone to the National Rail Ticket Office outside.

I went on a search for the National Rail Ticket Office and couldn't believe how, at such a major interchange station, it was a scruffy two windowed office, hidden away round a corner in an alcove to the right of the station main entrance. Anyone arriving as I did by overground, tube, DLR would not pass by it and even if entering by the main entrance it is not very adequately signed and most members of the public would not see it and go straight to the very prominent London Transport Ticket Office in the main station entrance.

I learnt my lesson the hard way by being overcharged and 3 days later when travelling to Burnham on Crouch I did go to the correct Ticket Office despite its cold draughty, hidden away location to buy my £12.30 Super Off Peak Day Return.

Sorry for my long post but I just wonder how many other people, perhaps less used to travelling than me, make this mistake, and go straight to the very prominent London Transport Office and are sold an overpriced ticket without anyone advising them that it would be cheaper from National Rail or even that a National rail Ticket office exists if you really search for it.
 
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causton

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Just to mention that from the outside I recall a large banner/sign originally erected by NXEA by the looks of things, directing people towards it for tickets and I believe they cheekily advertise they sell Travelcards as well! I do agree the location is poor but I'm unsure as to where is better for it... perhaps some new signage (I know they have put up new signage next to the extended main gateline and these don't mention it - perhaps they should) I believe new signage would be adequate... and I suppose it could be rebuilt but it would have to be in the same place, either that or right over the other end near Westfield as I don't see any room that's not within the gateline!
 

Brucey

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There are several Greater Anglia TVMs by the gateline which could have sold this ticket.

Out of interest, was it issued on Orange National Rail ticket stock or a London Underground pink ticket.
 

transportphoto

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You can buy your national rail tickets from Hamstead Heath overground station. They retail all NR tickets.

TP
 

ashworth

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There are several Greater Anglia TVMs by the gateline which could have sold this ticket.

Out of interest, was it issued on Orange National Rail ticket stock or a London Underground pink ticket.
It was issued on a London Underground pink ticket.

I think I've learnt the hard way and won't be caught out again.
I did explain to the man at the London Transport Ticket office that I had checked the price with National Rail and that it does exist. I'm sure that he must have known that I had queued up at the wrong ticket office by mistake and he could have explained the situation.

I didn't know that Hampstead Heath Overground station could have sold me the ticket. I never thought of that.
 

IslandDweller

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But your general point is correct.
For what is now a very important station, the GA ticket office is a bit of a joke. The manned GA office is outside the main station building (and usually woefuly understaffed - I always suffer a queue when I need to use it) yet the rail ticket machines are inside the station building adjacent to the tfl ticket office.
Meanwhile, on the Westfield side entrance, as far as I recall there is only a tfl ticket office (or if there is a GA office there I've never spotted it....).

Not sure how the unfamiliar visitor is supposed to navigate to the appropriate ticket office without getting confused....?
 

ashworth

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But your general point is correct.
For what is now a very important station, the GA ticket office is a bit of a joke. The manned GA office is outside the main station building (and usually woefuly understaffed - I always suffer a queue when I need to use it) yet the rail ticket machines are inside the station building adjacent to the tfl ticket office.
Meanwhile, on the Westfield side entrance, as far as I recall there is only a tfl ticket office (or if there is a GA office there I've never spotted it....).

Not sure how the unfamiliar visitor is supposed to navigate to the appropriate ticket office without getting confused....?
So if the unfamilair visitor, like myself, goes to the London Transport ticket office by mistake to buy what should obviously be a National Rail ticket shouldn't they redirect you to the GA ticket office? Are tfl actually making a lot of money in commission from unsuspecting casual travellers at Stratford and will this be even more so the case during the Olympics?
I'm usually fairly in the know concerning rail travel and ticketing but even I fell for this one and was charged nearly £4 more than I should be and refused the actual ticket for a route I needed.
Anyone less familar with the railway ticketing system would certainly go straight to the queue for the tfl ticket office as that is the only one prominently visible within the station building. To most members of the general public it looks like the main and only ticket office for the station.
 
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Clip

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Not sure how the unfamiliar visitor is supposed to navigate to the appropriate ticket office without getting confused....?
If we're honest though most visitors to Stratford - even during the Olympics - will already have their ticket on them as they will be coming in via tube/NR/DLR/LO and will have no need to purchase a ticket as they will already have one.

Though I hope they see sense and open up a few more stands around the entrance and bus station just in case.
 
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