The implications of false destinations for ticket validity

Discussion in 'Fares Advice & Policy' started by yorkie, 12 Aug 2019.

  1. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    I do not think it is right that some train companies use 'false destinations' on departure board screens, unless there are no ticketing implications.

    For example, I have no issue with GWR advertising their stopping trains as terminating at places like Cholsey or Twyford out of Paddington, and to Ealing Broadway in the opposite direction; all the trains on this route are operated by GWR.

    But I have big concerns with York <> Leeds trains operated by Northern only going to the penultimate destination (e.g. Cross Gates if heading to Leeds). Passengers may have Advance tickets that are only valid on these trains, and their reservation may say something like 1718 York to Leeds, yet there is no such train shown on the boards.

    The issue also affects walk-up passengers; the cheapest fares from York to Leeds are all routed "Northern Only" and yet at certain times of day there are no Northern trains shown on departure screens as going to Leeds.

    crossgates.jpg

    I asked several family members what they would do if they were booked on the 1718 York to Leeds and the departure board showed the only train to Leeds as the 1724, with the 1718 only going as far as Cross Gates, and all said they would be confused.

    I've attached a summary departure board; the screen on the platform shows all stopping points and appears to show Cross Gates as a final destination, while anyone looking for Leeds on the main departure boards would only see other operators services.

    https://twitter.com/TheLadySolar/status/1160618369529331714?s=19
    Is this official authorisation by LNER for customers to take the faster TPE services? It could be interpreted that way!

    Note this occurs at certain times only e.g. at evenings or weekends, when there can be only one train per hour that calls at (nearly) all stations; for much of the day there are two non-overtaken Northern trains per hour, so you may not see this phenomenon when you travel.

    I understand Northern and LNER are both aware of it, so hopefully it will be fixed soon :)
     
    Last edited: 12 Aug 2019
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  3. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    I'm against false destinations generally. The newer practice of showing arrival times so you can tell which is fast and which is slow is much better.
     
  4. Merseysider

    Merseysider Established Member Fares Advisor

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    I agree; I don't believe it helps.

    Those who make the commute will most likely know already which are fast and slow trains.

    I can imagine plenty of those who are infrequent travellers, or from abroad, would be nonplussed.

    DB do it sometimes but at least have the decency to add 'Zug fährt weiter nach...' (train carries on to...).
     
  5. IceAgeComing

    IceAgeComing Member

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    Sometimes they're helpful to avoid confusion - for example when it comes to loop services it makes sense to list a midpoint station for both bits of the loop to avoid people accidentally going the wrong way. To use an example I know well: you have trains that, say, start in Cannon Street; go through London Bridge via Greenwich and Woolwich to Slade Green and then back around via Sidcup back through London Bridge to Cannon Street. Listing that as a Cannon Street train at London Bridge or any station before Slade Green really would confuse people more than it would help and the current solution of changing its stated destination (Slade Green at the terminals, then Sidcup until it leaves Slade Green when it becomes a Cannon Street train) is the best way of making sure that people get the train that they need.

    However this situation seems very silly and in this case its not one of those special cases.
     
  6. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    That probably makes some sense though I think I'd prefer to be more transparent and show it as "Circular Service via X" or somesuch (I'm thinking of things like the erstwhile Oldham Loop and the Fife Circle). People understand that on the buses.

    That said, there are exceptions to every rule. Merseyrail's Chester-Chester via Liverpool services don't gain anything by being shown as anything other than "Liverpool Central" northbound as far as James St as there is no benefit to running the loop as it calls at all the same stations both ways.
     
  7. Starmill

    Starmill Events Co-ordinator

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    The train could easily by shown as 'Leeds via Micklefield'. This is accurate, designates the route as distinct from via Harrogate, and implies that there's something different about this train which might tip people off to check if there's a better way to get to Leeds.

    Alternatively the trains could have a comment that says 'Stopping Service' or similar, which would be even more clear. At York and most other stations, arrival times are shown now on the platform screens, which helps make this clearer.

    Use of a so-called 'false destination' on a train where someone is likely to reserve their Advance ticket for that journey is unbelievably foolish, and I'm surprised Northern or LNER (it's quite unclear who is responsible for the information provided at York about these trains - does anyone know?) have actually managed this! By definition it will lead to some people missing their trains.
     
  8. district

    district Established Member

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    A train from Ashford to St Pancras departs at XX:16 taking 38mins.
    A train from Ashford to St Pancras via Dover & Faversham departs at XX:15 from the adjacent platform taking 2hrs 55 mins.
    They’ll both be on the adjacent (island) platform at the same time. If they were both advertised as St Pancras there would be mass confusion. In fact, I’d hazard a guess that a lot of people other than commuters would be confused if it was described as “Rounder service to St Pancras via Faversham”, as people will see their destination and get on that. Some people unused to the route or local geography may assume Faversham is on the quick way.
     
  9. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Oh for having the IC / Express / RR designation back. I see that both ScotRail and EMT are allowing it to return...
     
  10. Kite159

    Kite159 Veteran Member

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    It helps at York showing Burley Park for those services which go via Harrogate and takes longer, but realistically the stoppers via Cross Gates could only be overtaken once at Church Fenton. And any holders of York - Leeds tickets will be sensible in taking the Northern which starts at York as they will be pretty sure they will get a seat, rather than a crush-loaded 185 rolling in.
     
  11. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Every rule, of course, requires an exception to prove it :D
     
  12. Mag_seven

    Mag_seven Established Member

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    Except there are some "off peak" tickets that are valid on stopping services from Paddington to Reading which will show a destination of "Twyford" if they are terminating at Reading:

    http://www.brfares.com/#faredetail?orig=PAD&dest=RDG&grpo=1072&grpd=0403&tkt=CDS
     
  13. ThisIsSurbiton

    ThisIsSurbiton Member

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    Yes... I think it's understandable for a circular service, but not for a stopper where the text "Stopping Service" could simply be used. I think the main problem is that the false destinations are provided through the real-time system so can only be seen on the day, at booking time there is no way to know that one of these trains at Ashford will say... Ramsgate? (I think, maybe Whitstable).
     
  14. Starmill

    Starmill Events Co-ordinator

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    The other frustration about this is that Northern don't use false destinations, via points or comments at lots of locations, where at least something clearly is neccasary.

    For example, at Blackburn, there are trains on the screens to 'Rochdale'. If you actually want to to go to Rochdale, though, you would almost certainly want to use the much faster service via Todmorden (advertised as 'Southport' with no qualification...). On the Rochdale service, nearly everyone will have left the train at or before Manchester Victoria, as there and Bolton are the main destinations, not Rochdale. It is very unhelpful for people who want to go to Rochdale to be well-advised to catch the Southport service, and people who want to go to Southport to be well advised to catch the Rochdale service.

    Why can't these be advertised as 'Rochdale via Manchester Victoria' and 'Southport via Rochdale'? Is it difficult to use the software to display this sort of thing? Or has it simply not been considered when the timetable has been implemented?
     
  15. DanTrain

    DanTrain Member

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    Northern's Leeds - Sheffield slows are advertised with the warning 'this is a SLOW train' or something of the like - seems like a reasonable way of warning people without putting them off if they need that train for whatever reason.
     
  16. Class 466

    Class 466 Member

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    We should just start giving our trains different classifications as per Germany etc. Works out there and you instantly know which one is the faster one.

    S,RB,RE,IC,ICE ;)
     
  17. maxbarnish

    maxbarnish Member

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    I agree about the rounders - best to update destination as it goes to avoid people taking long way round. I also once at East Croydon accidentally got on a stopping service to London Bridge taking 45 minutes via Crystal Palace rather than the direct 15 minute service - would have preferred that not to be advertised through to London Bridge. But I accept the points made about Northern vs TPE and the ticketing
     
  18. Quakkerillo

    Quakkerillo Member

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    One thing I don't quite understand is why it's not possible to add this information in the screens. They manage to say: "via Manchester Picc" or "1st class in the rear Coach", and "Crossgates" here. However, at Manchester Piccadilly that via train becomes *just* Manchester Airport, and the "Crossgates" train surely doesn't just show Crossgates at any stations after having left York.

    If they really want to make people - with flexible tickets - use the faster trains, can't they just add a line at the stations where this is / might be an issue to tell this? Something along the lines of: "17.24 arrives in Leeds before this service".
    But if you were to do this, you inevitably get into trouble when the specified train is running late. Although, it's as bad as with current disruption; say there is a very recent disruption just north of York, and the services towards Leeds can't get into York, and only the Stoppers are running. Then you end up with passengers thinking there aren't *any* trains to Leeds, because what the hell is a Crossgates?!

    Either give the final destination, or give it with a programmed line that recognises if the overtaking service is on time. Yes? Mention that'll be faster. No? Then just show it as the stopper to Leeds. The idea they're doing now to help passengers is just unhelpful.
     
  19. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    The ATOS PIS absolutely can do it and WMT do it quite a lot with e.g. via Birmingham New St.
     
  20. Indigo2

    Indigo2 Established Member

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    I think the main problem is that it's not consistent and there isn't a standard for it, e.g. a way in which the false destination could be automatically derived from the train's schedule. If that existed and was publicised, e.g. as part of an open data feed, then it could be incorporated in other systems that give information to passengers (e.g. journey planners and booking engines).
     
  21. Starmill

    Starmill Events Co-ordinator

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    They used that wording for a while, yes, but it seems now to have disappeared.
     
  22. Starmill

    Starmill Events Co-ordinator

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    At the moment they sometimes apply a 'false destination' to a Northern train from Leeds to York when it is not overtaken, e.g. 2026 on Sunday. If they cannot even get that right...

    In cases of marginal late-running, it is often not possible for staff to advise of what to do to minimise on delay at the destination station. In cases of more than about 10 minutes late running of the fast train, taking the Northern train is near certain to minimise delay. I wonder if their software is capable of spotting that and changing the destination? Or if there is someone whose job it is to consider these things at LNER? Given the current results in this area perhaps it would be foolish to hope for this, though. Not that I wish to criticise anybody personally.
     
    Last edited: 12 Aug 2019
  23. AlbertBeale

    AlbertBeale Member

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    In the Circle Line on the London Underground (and most of it is still a circle, despite the aberration in one corner), it's always been normal, as they go round, to alter the destination - or at least the "via". So at Baker Street, a clockwise might be indicated as "circle via Kings Cross"; once you get to KX it's a "Circle via Liverpool St", and then it's "via Tower Hill" (not such a major station, but important to most easily place the route "round the corner" on the tube map. And so on.
     
  24. ooo

    ooo Member

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    One way to solve it would be to show train numbers and put them on advance tickets. Then you can just compare the number on your ticket to the one on the screen
     
  25. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    I agree. I do find it odd that Retail Service IDs were introduced, and yet the only trains I know of that display them are Voyagers.
     
  26. ashkeba

    ashkeba Member

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    I agree. Does York not have a "Next Fastest Train To" departures list board like Kings Cross, Manchester Piccadilly and some others? If not, it sounds like it needs one!

    During the Kings Cross rebuild, the next fastest board was missing and I ended up on a stopper instead of a fast once. There's an hour I'd like back! Let's have train numbers or headcodes everywhere, please!
     
  27. py_megapixel

    py_megapixel Member

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    That's a very good idea, and something I've wanted for a while.

    I would call the English categories LC(local), RS (regional stopping), RX (regional express), LX (long-distance express) and HS (high speed, for HS1 or HS2 and any others if they are built).

    Then take the TOC code and make a service number with the type code. For example, the 17:18 service you described could be RSNT111, a TPE service could be RXTP222.Then passengers only have to look at the number and realise that RS is slower than RX and so they should choose the TPE service if they have a valid ticket.
     
  28. DanTrain

    DanTrain Member

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    And Meridians but are they even printed on tickets?

    I agree with the idea of train numbers, it's a tad confusing looking at the boards as with an advance you have to find your train by time and not destination often, particuarly in an area you're unfamiliar with. And don't get me started on the prospect of TPE soon running two 08:11 Edinburgh to Manchester Airport services...talk about a recipe for getting the wrong train!

    http://www.realtimetrains.co.uk/sea...20/01/09/0000-2359?stp=WVS&show=all&order=wtt

    I know this is pretty provisional and may be changed but still, my point stands!
     
  29. 30907

    30907 Established Member

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    ...until you get two trains in the same class taking different routes. Frankfurt Hbf probably has the most examples of ICEs, but I suspect there are REs and S-bahns in the Rhein-Ruhr area which do the same.

    Back to the original topic, some examples of part-way destinations work well and benefit passengers, but others evidently don't.
     
  30. tony_mac

    tony_mac Established Member

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    Somebody I know recently took a LNR train from Liverpool South Parkway to Euston; because it said 'Euston' on the train he assumed that it would be a reasonable route (it added ~2 hours to the journey).
    Obviously, he won't be doing it again.

    Some consistent method of indicating these abnormally 'slow' trains would be useful; false destinations can be helpful, but also introduce their own problems as mentioned.
    If the problem is primarily with Advance tickets, I wonder if a seat reservation which said to 'Cross Gates' rather than 'Leeds' would help. It might leave the passenger initially confused about what happens after Cross Gates, but that would at least become clear after the train was en-route.
     
  31. cactustwirly

    cactustwirly Established Member

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    But those services are so slow, you're better off getting the 17/18:06 Frome services, or the 17/18/19:18/48 services towards Didcot
     

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