Telegraph - Train rip-off: don't mention cheapest tickets, station staff told

Discussion in 'Fares Advice & Policy' started by Metrailway, 1 Jun 2015.

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  1. Metrailway

    Metrailway Member

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    The article is referring to the combination of an SDS Anytime Day Single Any Permitted (£22.70) and CDS Off Peak Day single Any Permitted (£18.00) vs a SDR Anytime Day Return Any Permitted (£44.30).

    It has been a while since I read the TSA, but I don't think FGW are breaking any rules by not volunteering such information.
     
  2. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Interesting. This, of course, has been solved elsewhere with evening peak restrictions. I remain surprised these *still* do not exist on the chronically overcrowded Turbos out of Paddington.
     
  3. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    I agree. As far as I can tell they are not obliged to offer 2 x singles where this is cheaper than a return, although most websites would display this information. There is also nothing to stop a passenger asking for the cost of 2 x singles and/or requesting these be sold.
     
  4. bb21

    bb21 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    AIUI the ticket seller is supposed to establish the journey requirements of the passenger, and if it turned out that the passenger is returning at a time when the CDS is valid, two singles is what should be offered.

    That said, if the passenger explicitly asked for a return ticket, then there is no requirement to offer two single tickets once it has been established that outward travel is in the peak.
     
  5. 30907

    30907 Established Member

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    Having just watched the programme, the trainer corrected himself later in the same session.
    But that doesn't sell papers or attract viewers.

    NOT that the situation is satisfactory - obviously FGW should abolish CDS forthwith :)
     
  6. Starmill

    Starmill Established Member

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    This is a very edge case where it all hinges on how the customer asks. I don't think First Great Western are doing anything wrong here. If people want cheaper tickets they do need to do their own research...
     
  7. NSEFAN

    NSEFAN Established Member

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    There's an easy way to fix this for FGW. Just raise the cost of the offending tickets in the next fares release. I can envisage such a thing happening now in light of this article. :|
     
  8. Kite159

    Kite159 Established Member

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    I can see the CDS ticket being removed (if FGW are allowed to do so) leaving the SDS in place being half the price of a SDR.

    Although 2 singles will still beat the SDR if the passenger has a railcard which doesn't allow to be used before a certain time [network railcard]
     
  9. bb21

    bb21 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    The CDS will not be removed, as long as the CDR remains at a price below the SDS.
     
  10. Jonfun

    Jonfun Member

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    It might be that it wasn't worded well overall, but the editing of the footage meant that the ticketing trainers comments lacked context so I can't judge.

    Broadly though, I agree that ticket sellers should not sell two singles unless this is specifically asked for. Ticket sellers selling me tickets different from the ones I asked for was one of my biggest gripes when I travelled around a lot whilst studenting ("Sorry mate, I wanted an anytime return." "That is an anytime return!" "You've done an Off Peak Return by mistake." "Yeah, an anytime return!" fml).

    If a passenger wants to be clever with their tickets to save money, then good on them. But good customer service isn't wrapping travellers up in cotton wool and bubble wrap. If you want to try and do combinations of tickets etc then it needs to be worked out in your own time. I found one to get me back home from uni which saved about a third, gave me two or three extra different route options - but it would be unfair on the clerk to expect him to be trying repeatedly, like, "Hamilton Square"? No, more expensive. "Birkenhead Central"? No, same. "Green Lane"? No. Etc etc.
     
  11. furlong

    furlong Established Member

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    The CDS under discussion does appear to have some evening peak restrictions from Paddington, so I'm not really sure what all this fuss is about. I'd think anyone selling tickets abiding by the legally-mandated "requirements of professional diligence" would indeed ask questions to ascertain whether or not the SDS+CDS combination is "most appropriate".

    Personally, I'd find an attempt to argue that the company is in breach of the law because the "average consumer" planning to return during the evening peak would choose to save 8% by vastly reducing their choice of return services very unconvincing. I think the self-service ticket machines at Reading station do need to show the potential saving though, just as the company's website does, to avoid a potential (very minor) breach of the regulations.
     
  12. Flamingo

    Flamingo Established Member

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    Crap. I'll now spend the next six months dealing with even more people on CDS on HST's to Reading in the evening peak (and conversely, the turbos will be that much busier as well with dischuffed passengers sent into the slow trains)...

    Mind you, to look on the bright side, if this is the biggest non-story that an "undercover reporter" can come up with, that's pretty good! :)
     
    Last edited: 2 Jun 2015
  13. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Or they'll slap restrictions onto the Turbos, which in my view they should. The inconsistency is confusing and makes no sense.
     
  14. Flamingo

    Flamingo Established Member

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    I can't see any change in anything involving Reading before Crossrail comes in. There's no point, really.
     
  15. maniacmartin

    maniacmartin Established Member Senior Fares Advisor

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    I have watched the Dispatches episode. Some of the points it made are good (e.g. inconsistant TVMs not offering the full range)

    However on other points they seemed to be clutching at straws (including the split ticketting thing). The DfT seem to have forgotten the whole 1996 Enterprise Rail fiasco when they said to the programme that franchises would not be penalised for selling split tickets.

    FGW seemed to have been unfairly singled out for practices that are done by all TOCs
     
    Last edited: 2 Jun 2015
  16. Greenback

    Greenback Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    There is nothing wrong in selling a return ticket if that is what is asked for. Similarly, two singles should be sold if that is what is explicitly requested. If someone asked what is the cheapest way to go into London and back out again before the peak, then I'd probably sell them the two singles.

    Form what has been said here, when the trainer referred to causing problems, it was to do with the restrictions back out of Paddington. Many of the passengers when I worked at Reading wanted the unrestricted return if they were travelling up at peak time anyway. I agree that there would be all sorts of problems if two singles were offered. It would all add time toe ach transaction, few people would want it anyway, and those that do decide it's a good idea would need the restrictions explained to them, presuming they would take any notice of such things anyway.
     
  17. LexyBoy

    LexyBoy Established Member Fares Advisor

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    That's correct.

    And I think it correct that staff issue the SDR in most cases, unless specifically asked "I am going to London at time X and returning at time Y, how can I do this the cheapest?". The vast majority of passengers who need to be in London before 1000 will be returning in the evening peak: those who wish to avoid Anytime fares will wait until after the morning peak.

    Interesting that there's not been mentioned that ticket office staff don't routinely suggest the Via Staines fare, which is a much bigger saving on the SDR of around £12.

    I don't think that's entirely fair. FGW has failed to provide adequate training to some staff at Paddington on ticket restrictions - that's not quite the same as "trying not to permit" certain tickets to be used.
     
  18. LNW-GW Joint

    LNW-GW Joint Established Member

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    The 387s should improve things on the Oxford/Newbury services though, come electrification.
    Capacity should rocket, and overcrowding reduce accordingly.
    The difference between Turbo and HST capacity will reduce too, so hopefully more current HST passengers will be happy to take 387s to get a seat.
     
  19. island

    island Established Member

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    The majority of them should get filtered out by the gates on platforms 2-5 (leaving 1, 8, and 9).
     
  20. Haywain

    Haywain Established Member

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    They shouldn't need to be filtered out if the tickets are valid for travel.
     
  21. Flamingo

    Flamingo Established Member

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    Read the thread, we're talking about Rdg Pad Cheap Day Singles, not anybody's latest loophole fiddle.
     
  22. Haywain

    Haywain Established Member

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    Ah, sorry, missed that bit about "those shown below" when I glanced at the restrictions!
     
  23. Flamingo

    Flamingo Established Member

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    :D :p
     
  24. Haywain

    Haywain Established Member

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    I have programmed restrictions for gatelines, and I wouldn't like to be trying to programme those. For a gateline, it's close to impossible, given that you can't just allow the tickets through for a minute here and two minutes there.
     
  25. LexyBoy

    LexyBoy Established Member Fares Advisor

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    Assuming you're talking about the Off Peak restrictions only applying to the fast trains (for most ticket types), this shouldn’t be a problem as the fasts and stoppers use different platforms with separate barriers. The complication of certain restrictions having a blanket time ban would be best dealt with by using the same format for all – practically, you will be allowed on a Turbo with any Off Peak whether actually valid or not, as “the rule” is that they are valid.
     
  26. Ediswan

    Ediswan Member

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    They did a bit better than that, but not a lot. A FGW manager claimed that they would be in trouble with a regulator (I forget which) if they did offer the two singles. A Northern ticket machine was only offering an anytime 1st class ticket when another company's machine nearby also offered off peak, for £100 less.

    That was about it for bad behaviour. Overcrowding at peak times is not exactly a revelation.
     
  27. Haywain

    Haywain Established Member

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    I would guess that FGW use one set of gating logic for all the barriers at Paddington. That being the case, the question they have is simply whether to allow or not allow these tickets through the barriers. I don't know the operations of the station well enough to comment on whether the arrangement can be broken into two as you suggest.
     
  28. Flamingo

    Flamingo Established Member

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    I hasten to add I didn't see it, but it sounds like in time-honoured journalistic tradition the conclusion was written first, then a desperate search was made for something to back it up...
     
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