Terms & Conditions

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stevetay3

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Given my recent experience with ticketing problems surely the whole system needs to be radically reviewed not even all ticket office staff seem to be familiar with all the terms & conditions in the fares system.
This was supposed to have been simplified a year or so ago but now seems more complex than ever.

Here are a few points how is the occasional traveller supposed to know.

What any permitted means or what the routeing guide is

What is the meaning of London Terminals on your Ticket a customer was recently charged a penalty for travelling to Farringdon on a terminals ticket whilst the fare to terminals is the same as the fare to Farringdon makes no sense to me, I recently purchased a ticket from Maidenhead to London had Terminals printed on it so asked if I could travel to Euston on it, told no Paddington only so why put terminals on it if only valid to Paddington

Why are some advance tickets cheaper in first class than standard whilst walk up tickets are extortionate in first compared to standard.

All tickets say subject to National Rail Conditions of Carriage which can be viewed at all staffed stations. If everyone did this the queues would be endless and no one would be able to get tickets.

Why can the terms for your journey being made not be simply printed on the back of your ticket instead of all the pointless adverts, Seems to me that they don’t really want you to know what the rules are so revenue can be maximised through all the penalties
 
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yorkie

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Given my recent experience with ticketing problems surely the whole system needs to be radically reviewed not even all ticket office staff seem to be familiar with all the terms & conditions in the fares system.
Training needs to improve and standards need to be more consistent.
This was supposed to have been simplified a year or so ago but now seems more complex than ever.
It wasn't really simplified. However they could do some basic things that would genuinely simplify but they usually choose the worst condition for the customer, when simplifying, so I only agree to simplification if various conditions were in place to protect passenger rights.
Here are a few points how is the occasional traveller supposed to know.

What any permitted means or what the routeing guide is
The Routeing Guide is online at:
http://www.atoc.org/about-atoc/rail-settlement-plan/routeing-guide

I agree it is difficult to use, however the National Rail Enquiries website does have (it's interpretation of) the Routeing Guide built-in to it, so you can plan a journey there, and if the site will give you an itinerary on one ticket that it is deemed valid on that ticket. Some journeys would require more than one ticket, and it will say so if that's the case.

The National Rail journey planner can be found here:-

http://ojp.nationalrail.co.uk/service/planjourney/search

The guidance page says:
'The ticket that you have selected may require you to travel via a specific route. Our Journey Planner will have already taken this into account with the selection that you have made and will only have shown tickets that are valid for the selected trains. If you wish to travel via a specific route you can use the advanced options on the Journey Planner to select ‘travel via', ‘avoid', ‘include interchange' or ‘exclude interchange' so that the route and the required ticket(s) will be recalculated for you.'
What is the meaning of London Terminals on your Ticket a customer was recently charged a penalty for travelling to Farringdon on a terminals ticket whilst the fare to terminals is the same as the fare to Farringdon makes no sense to me, I recently purchased a ticket from Maidenhead to London had Terminals printed on it so asked if I could travel to Euston on it, told no Paddington only so why put terminals on it if only valid to Paddington
See http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/times_fares/ticket_types/crossing_london.html


Why are some advance tickets cheaper in first class than standard whilst walk up tickets are extortionate in first compared to standard.
It is rare that 1st Advance are cheaper than Std Advance but it happens if a lot of people book the Std Advance tickets causing that level to sell out, the next level then goes on sale and the next person to book may discover that the 1st Advance are at a cheaper price on the lowest 1st level. It's just the way the system works, if 1st is cheaper, go for it!

If we banned that practice then all that would happen is the fares for the cheapest 1st advance would go up in price!
All tickets say subject to National Rail Conditions of Carriage which can be viewed at all staffed stations. If everyone did this the queues would be endless and no one would be able to get tickets.
It's also available online: www.nationalrail.co.uk/system/galleries/download/misc/NRCOC.pdf

Why can the terms for your journey being made not be simply printed on the back of your ticket instead of all the pointless adverts, Seems to me that they don’t really want you to know what the rules are so revenue can be maximised through all the penalties
The terms are too long to be printed on the back of tickets. I agree it would be nice if they were shorter, in some cases there is no justification for long terms but in other cases the terms may benefit us (e.g. easements allowing tickets to be used before a certain time from a list of stations with infrequent trains).
 

LexyBoy

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So many questions!

This was supposed to have been simplified a year or so ago but now seems more complex than ever.
That's been the subject of much discussion here. Whilst there was some genuine simplification where Advance tickets are concerned, in general it was A Bad Matter for passengers.
What any permitted means or what the routeing guide is
Any Permitted means you may use any of the permitted routes. For the casual traveller this means any route that National Rail Enquiries shows as valid on a single ticket. There's no need to know of the Routeing Guide.

What is the meaning of London Terminals on your Ticket
It means the ticket is for travel to the group of stations known as "London Terminals". Once you've reached Paddington you can't travel onwards to any other London Terminal as to do so you would have to leave the group of London Terminal stations - i.e. you've already reached your destination, so the ticket has no further validity. The exception is where London Terminal stations are adjacent, as with London Bridge/Waterloo East/Charing Cross.

Why are some advance tickets cheaper in first class than standard whilst walk up tickets are extortionate in first compared to standard.
There's no point looking for logic in Advance fares, as they are quota controlled and sell out at different rates for different trains and classes within the same train.
 

DaveNewcastle

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Given my recent experience with ticketing problems surely the whole system needs to be radically reviewed . . . . .
You are not the first person to realise this, and not simply as a consequence of a personal experience.

The Government and the passenger rail industry's representative body, ATOC, have been considering radical overhaul and are consulting and taking advice on the subject for some time. There has been a 3-month Department for Transport consultation on a Fares and Ticketing review, initial contracts were awarded to advise on smart-card ticketing and more consultation and advice will be undertaken; the Government is very eager to make progress towards smart ticketing (in which much of the complexity will be managed within the system).

Meanwhile, I wouldn't worry too much about complex or unclear ticket details where these are likely to be changed or replaced during this process, though you are quite at liberty to worry that any future smart-card system brings its own set of anomalies!

As for the "free market" release of quotas of Advance fares at competitive prices, these provide an important market opportunity for Operators to manage demand and capacity, to generate new business, to encourage travel during the off-peak, and to provide opportunities for revenue alongside higher value tickets. These are not likely to be removed and we shouldn't be surprised if we see more opportunities in the future for Operators to entice demand away from the peak periods by products such as Advance tickets.
 

furryfeet

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Why are some advance tickets cheaper in first class than standard whilst walk up tickets are extortionate in first compared to standard.
as stated above, the advance prices vary according to whether the quotas have been sold.

As to extortionate walk-on first class prices, this is due to
a) they are entirely unregulated i.e. unlimited price increases
b) TOC's do not appear to be willing price them at "reasonable" levels and by implication, are happy to see those seat carry naught but fresh air.

Perhaps one day in Never-Never land, the government will do something about it, since this country needs a decent public transport system that passengers can afford. I for one, would quite happily pay extra for my wife to have a 1st class seat, but alas 1st class 3.5 times the 2nd class price ( looking at Tamworth to Burnley walk-on returns here ) the 2nd class wins every time.

I have asked previously on this forum, as to how empty seats pay for themselves, but I have never had a reply.
 

DaveNewcastle

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I have asked previously on this forum, as to how empty seats pay for themselves, but I have never had a reply.
An empty seat is a product available for sale. An empty seat can become a high-value sale quite effectively. A seat occupied by a cheap advance ticket holder cannot.

On my journey home last night, there were only about 5 other passengers in my coach. Two of them bought walk-up fares, one at about £160 and the other with Railcard discount at about £110.

I see the answer to your question as being very similar to a request how expensive products on display in a showroom pay for themselves. They don't, but they generate demand, support the sale of those and other products, and can, ultimately, be sold. The question only refers to one part of the economics of retailling and supply, and can only be answered properly in the context of the full range of factors that apply.
 

bb21

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What is the meaning of London Terminals on your Ticket a customer was recently charged a penalty for travelling to Farringdon on a terminals ticket whilst the fare to terminals is the same as the fare to Farringdon makes no sense to me, I recently purchased a ticket from Maidenhead to London had Terminals printed on it so asked if I could travel to Euston on it, told no Paddington only so why put terminals on it if only valid to Paddington
We have discussed various other mechanisms of including permitted London Terminals explicitly on the ticket, such as grouping them together. To date, no one has suggested an alternative that is better than what we have at the moment.

The problem is that for some stations, there is only one London Terminal on a permitted route, nevertheless for others, there could be quite a lot, especially coming in from Southern region stations. The number of permutations of what is permitted is so big that it is always going to be difficult being clearer without affecting choices for some people.

All tickets say subject to National Rail Conditions of Carriage which can be viewed at all staffed stations. If everyone did this the queues would be endless and no one would be able to get tickets.
Maybe if everyone started queuing up at the ticket office demanding a copy of it then this rule would be changed? ;)

I don't really see the problem with this one. Very few people would be bothered, and many of the remaining group will access it online these days anyway.

Why can the terms for your journey being made not be simply printed on the back of your ticket instead of all the pointless adverts, Seems to me that they don’t really want you to know what the rules are so revenue can be maximised through all the penalties
They are not pointless adverts. The railway industry is a massive conglomarate of private enterprises. The adverts generate revenue for them. If they lose this revenue stream, who is going to make up the shortfall?

In any case there is no room to fit the NRCoC at the back of a ticket anyway.

I have asked previously on this forum, as to how empty seats pay for themselves, but I have never had a reply.
The simple answer would be something along the lines of "a walk-on passenger is worth sometimes more than 10 people on cheap Advances".

First class is not designed to be fully occupied, unless it is during peak commuting hours. Part of the benefit of travelling in first class is not to be wedged in with other people.
 

RJ

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Here are a few points how is the occasional traveller supposed to know.

What any permitted means or what the routeing guide is

What is the meaning of London Terminals on your Ticket
Never mind Any Permitted - try asking a member of railway staff what "Not Via London" or "Not Underground" means and you might struggle to get the correct answer. Most of them haven't even heard of the Routeing Guide!

The system is the way it is and in my opinion, staff should be learning to familiarise themselves with the system, specifically the National Rail Conditions of Carriage in its present form. Unfortunately, there's this bone idle work ethic among many in that generation, whereby it's deemed acceptable to learn as little as possible and to simply "blame the (lack of) training" when they get things wrong enough to unfairly penalise a passenger.

Never mind that the NRCoC is only a set of paragraphs to be taken at face value. Had a ticket office clerk and gateline assistant tell me I wasn't allowed to break my journey at intermediate stations on my season ticket recently - clearly, they haven't bothered to read the NRCoC. Lack of training is a very poor excuse, because every single ticket states that it's subject to the NRCoC, so if not spoonfed, staff should really take the initiative to find out what's actually inside it!

In my opinion, half of the job is knowing what to do. The other half is knowing where to look to find out what needs to be done, in a timely manner. This is something that the person who did my ticketing training said and it stuck with me. Is there no pride in knowing enough to be able to do your job well these days?
 
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jb2012

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I am new here and a total layman but I agree that there is too much complexity. I asked for a copy of the byelaws and conditions of carriage at my local station and was told they didnt have them but would print them off the internet if I was prepared to wait for 10 minutes (sorry had a train to catch) but I am presumed to have entered into a contract on terms I dont know about. to be honest I have just read them online and am still confused so the myriad of tourists here over perennially and over the next few olympic weeks have little chance.
 

RJ

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I am new here and a total layman but I agree that there is too much complexity. I asked for a copy of the byelaws and conditions of carriage at my local station and was told they didnt have them but would print them off the internet if I was prepared to wait for 10 minutes (sorry had a train to catch) but I am presumed to have entered into a contract on terms I dont know about. to be honest I have just read them online and am still confused so the myriad of tourists here over perennially and over the next few olympic weeks have little chance.
What exactly are you confused about - what is it you'd like to know about the ticket you bought?
 

stevetay3

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They are not pointless adverts. The railway industry is a massive conglomarate of private enterprises. The adverts generate revenue for them. If they lose this revenue stream, who is going to make up the shortfall?

In any case there is no room to fit the NRCoC at the back of a ticket anyway


I was just suggesting that the conditions for the journey currently being undertaken be printed on individual tickets on the back.

If we have to have advertising as well lets go back to the large style advance type tickets of not long ago

Steve
 

johnnycache

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A couple of things that are happening that address some of the points above:

ATOC have developed a system that will show which London Terminals can be travelled to from every station on the network
I think this is nearly ready to be released

The routeing guide will soon be available on the nationalrail website so that you will be able to see a diagram of the permitted routes for your journey
An impressive achievement when you think of the number of combinations possible

You have to be careful what you wish for! A very simple set of rules might offer far less flexibility than those we have now.
 

stevetay3

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An empty seat is a product available for sale. An empty seat can become a high-value sale quite effectively. A seat occupied by a cheap advance ticket holder cannot.

On my journey home last night, there were only about 5 other passengers in my coach. Two of them bought walk-up fares, one at about £160 and the other with Railcard discount at about £110.

I see the answer to your question as being very similar to a request how expensive products on display in a showroom pay for themselves. They don't, but they generate demand, support the sale of those and other products, and can, ultimately, be sold. The question only refers to one part of the economics of retailling and supply, and can only be answered properly in the context of the full range of factors that apply
I travelled first class the other day on FGW165 unit,and paid 100% more to do so only to find first class almost full, doubt more than two held 1st class tickets.How can the 100% mark up on standard fare be justified and then they don’t bother to make sure seats are available for 1st class tickets glad I did not pay 300% more.
 
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cjohnson

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I travelled first class the other day on FGW165 unit,and paid 100% more to do so only to find first class almost full, doubt more than two held 1st class tickets.How can the 100% mark up on standard fare be justified and then they don’t bother to make sure seats are available for 1st class tickets glad I did not pay 300% more.
It's probably worth it on a HST. Wouldn't pay 1st class on a 165. It is a bit cheeky though for FGW to claim on their website that 1st class gives you "reclining, spacious leather seats" and a "complimentary newspaper" when that's only applicable to HSTs.
 

Oscar

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Perhaps a summary of the relevant Terms and Conditions and for Off-Peak tickets the restriction codes could be printed out with each ticket sold. I was given a summary of the relevant Terms and Conditions when I bought an Advance at a manned station a few weeks ago - the staff had these ready to give out and not a lot of paper was required. I do think that the government should seriously consider this in any future ticketing review.
 

bb21

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They could print at the back of the ticket where to find those pdfs which contain restriction texts, alternatively any manned ticket office could print out the text for the passenger, just like they do with the NRCoC.

I know some machines already print the restriction code on the ticket itself, so only one piece of the jigsaw is missing really.

ATOC are in the process of redesigning the tickets so I eagerly await the end result.

If we have to have advertising as well lets go back to the large style advance type tickets of not long ago

Steve
I think it is an opportunity missed when they decided not to upgrade to continental standards.
 

island

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Perhaps a summary of the relevant Terms and Conditions and for Off-Peak tickets the restriction codes could be printed out with each ticket sold. I was given a summary of the relevant Terms and Conditions when I bought an Advance at a manned station a few weeks ago - the staff had these ready to give out and not a lot of paper was required. I do think that the government should seriously consider this in any future ticketing review.
How many coupons do you need for the text of restriction code 4B?
 
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