SWT admit to a 'fare trap'

Discussion in 'Fares Advice & Policy' started by Nick W, 19 Jun 2007.

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  1. Tom B

    Tom B Established Member

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    I had some trouble with a GNER ticket today. Bought a Saver return on Thursday and plainly asked the salesdroid "Are there any restrictions on when I can travel?" "Only that you can't travel between 3pm and 7pm, otherwise you're fine".

    So when I come back today on the 0835, the gripper says "this isn't valid". Upon asking why he claims that these tickets aren't valid on trains before 9am. I pointed out that the staff at Doncaster had said that they would be valid at this time, he said he couldn't be arsed doing a penalty fare but "You ought to watch out in future". :roll:
     
  2. Jim

    Jim Established Member

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    Make a complaint, that you were challenged about a ticket that was in your eyes valid
     
  3. Nick W

    Nick W Established Member

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    Right let's challenge the theory that the problem can be solved by people arriving at the station earlier.

    Using a highly simplified model of a situation at a railway station ticket office:

    People can only get on the train with a ticket.

    Everyone has to buy a ticket (those with season tickets or AP get on the train anyway and are irerrevent to the model).

    Every ticket sold takes 1 minute (in real life ticket staff can take forever dealing with problems).

    Trains start at 0 minutes into the model, and run every 5 minutes (all directions included) for 2 hours.

    People always arrive in time to buy tickets.

    Let's say 12 people buy tickets and get on each train.


    Situation one - 3 staff selling tickets

    With 3 staff selling tickets, we sell 3 tickets a minute. To sell everyone a ticket takes just 4 minutes. Therefore as long as the first person arrives 4 minutes before each train, and the staff at a ticket office are always selling a ticket except for a 1 minute gap, no one misses his/her train.

    This is acceptable, everyone is sold a ticket within 5 minutes, and there are no problems.

    Situation two - 2 staff selling tickets ie 1 is missing

    With 2 staff selling tickets, we sell 2 tickets a minute. To sell everyone a ticket takes 6 minutes. People are being sold tickets at a rate of 2 per minute, but are pouring in at 2.4 per minute. We have a problem!

    288 people need tickets over the 2 hours. It will take 2 hours 40 minutes to sell all the tickets.

    Therefore to avoid everyone missing his/her train, the first person must arrive 40 minutes before the train.

    Obviously this does not happen, and with everyone arriving 5 minutes in advance, 2 people miss the first train, 4 people the second, 6 people the third and so on. All this just because of a missing staff member.

    Clearly then there will always be some people missing his/her train, if the ticket office can't serve enough people. In situation 2 unless the first person arrives 40 minutes early, people will miss their train.

    Clearly then the problem of a ticket office not serving enough people cannot be solved by arriving early!
     
  4. Tom

    Tom Guest

    Nick - it's just luck. I can't speak for any of the other systems, but certainly STAR has a frequently sold ticket list for that particular station which works well and I was able to issue tickets very rapidly (about 40 seconds per ticket normally).
     
  5. David

    David Established Member

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    That's both true and false....

    There is quite a lot of stations in the former Southern Region that have either plenty of staff in th tickets offices, or plenty of ticket machines and/or PTT machines.

    Try that elsewhere....

    During the day, Scunthorpe has 2 windows open, plus 1 ticket machine. That's between about 0700 (or when they can be bothered to open), and 1930. After that, nothing is available, as the ticket machine is locked up inside the ticket office....

    Doncaster isn't much better as they only have a couple of fast ticket machines (only get AP tickets or pay by debit/credit card) available after 2030 or so....

    So tell me, how is a load of people going for a night out in York/Newcastle (getting the first train back on a Saturday morning) supposed to obtain a ticket when everything is closed?
     
  6. Jordy

    Jordy Established Member

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    What about that new Northern ticket machine near the set of doors nearest to the ticket office?
     
  7. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    On the train, as advertised in NCoC.

    As for Nick's daft post - I can't be bothered to reply, except to say I think the method is flawed and the conclusion just plain wrong.
     
  8. Daniel

    Daniel Established Member

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    Tribute has the same - programmable screens which show certain tickets - (most operators have a screen for morning peak, off-peak and evening) - to allow a quick selection, or a blank fields screen - (similar to Avantix) - where the operator enters details.
     
  9. Tom B

    Tom B Established Member

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    Which doesn't allow tickets with Railcards.
     
  10. Nick W

    Nick W Established Member

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    Then if you ever get on a train without a ticket when 'facilities' existed, no matter how the long queue or what important thing you had to reach, I hope you get forced to pay £20, the full undiscounted SOS to the next station and ejected off the railway.

    There's no luck about it. If a station ticket office doesnt have enough staff to deal with arriving passengers then people will either miss trains or board ticketless.
     
  11. paul1609

    paul1609 Established Member

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    Not "the North is hard done by" saga again;
    according to the ORR Scunthorpe attracts around 300,000 passenger entries/ exits per year (2006) by Southern Region Standards that would make it a very small country station somewhere. By comparison even modest Littlehampton attracts over 750,000 (over twice as many) we have a ticket office with one window and a Fast Ticket machine both of which have similar opening hours to Scunthorpe.
     
  12. Max

    Max Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    The situation at Hull is terrible David. There are often only at the most 3 people on during rush hour, resulting in huge queues. The situation is awful - maybe it will improve when the new transport interchange opens...
     
  13. Oracle

    Oracle Established Member

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    I popped on to the platform at Ashurst (New Forest) aka Lyndhurst Road, and found that lo and behold the permit to travel machine was back again but covered in a plastic bag and tape, so still u/s! There is thus no way to get a permit, still!
     
  14. thefab444

    thefab444 Established Member

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    I noticed that the other day, really hoping we get our ticket machine soon. Will make things a hell of a lot easier, unless its one of those ones that doesn't sell child tickets... or accepts cards only. :x
     
  15. 5872

    5872 Established Member

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    Wrong :grin: Swt are fine for after 9.am , Ive traveled with them loads of times after 9.am and come back about 8pm travelling around all day:D


    Fred
     
  16. Tom B

    Tom B Established Member

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    They have some pretty incompetent people selling tickets at Retford, and I shall shamelessly borrow my account of one sale from where I posted it elsewhere.

    As I have a 39 minute connection at Retford, I've taken to buying tomorrow's ticket then, which saves messing around the next morning. Machine won't sell it, so queue up. There's only one window, can sometimes be quite a queue, I always let people who're buying a ticket for today in front though - seems fair enough if their ticket is needed for 10 minutes and mine is needed in 23 hours that they should get theirs first! There's a rather dozy clerk who's sometimes on. The other day, something like this happened.

    Me : "Hello, I'd like a standard day single from Doncaster to Gainsborough Lea Road with a Young Person's Railcard, traveling tomorrow please".

    >click< >clatter< >clatter<

    Her : "Eight twenty please"

    Me : "No, I'd like it with a Young Person's Railcard please"

    Her : "Oh ok, what time are you travelling?"

    Me : "Tomorrow, at 0719"

    Her : "You can't have a Young Person's ticket then, they're not valid until 9am"

    Me : "Not normally, but this is July and August when they are valid"

    Her : >looks it up in a booklet< "Oh yes you're right" >clatter< "£2.20 then please"

    Me : "But that's the fare from Retford"

    Her : "Oh yeah >clatter< >brrrr< Five fourty, please"

    So I hand over £5.40 and get the ticket back. Dated for today.

    Me : "Excuse me, this ticket is for today, I asked for it tomorrow"

    Her : "Oh, sorry" >clatter< >brrrr< "That's Doncaster to Gainsborough Lea Road for tomorrow with a Young Person's Railcard".

    Only took her the five attempts :o.
     
  17. djw1981

    djw1981 Established Member

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    I personally like the flexi-pass idea that SR have - you buy 10 tickets for use on a specific route in one go.. (ie a weeks worth if you are a commuter). I think they are valid for a month, so people could buy them any day of the week, thus reducing the Monday morning queues.
     
  18. Nick W

    Nick W Established Member

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    You're lucky. Around here if you want a ticket from a different station you have to show all the tickets you will use to get to that station, state all bus numbers and give the number plates of any cars. You also have to declare any journeys on bike or foot and how long it takes.
     
  19. David

    David Established Member

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    Who ever is doing that is pulling your plonker then. You ask for a ticket, they have to sell it. It doesn't matter how your getting there.
     
  20. Oracle

    Oracle Established Member

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    Seems like we have some good news at Ashurst (NF) on the machine front. Thanks mate! A gentleman as always.
     
  21. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    This is so wrong, wrong, wrong!

    Next time a numpty says that, tell them that it's a minimum fare (£8 or £16 depending on ticket type) before 10am during September to June.

    Sadly some people do not know about the July/August excemption and they also think that Y-Ps are "not valid" when it's actually just a minimum fare. :neutral:

    Oh, and if the ticket you want is a SDR it can be cheaper to pay to go further to get a SVR in some mid-distance cases ;)
     
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