Ticket Checks

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superted81

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Over the past 2 weeks, I have made several long distance trips, and some short distance ones by rail and not once had my ticket been looked at, no wonder people think they can get away with it,
I was wondering is this normal... to be fair, most of the trips were early morning or late at night.

The trips I have done are as follows:

Deansgate - Berwick upon Tweed (Northern to MAN - TPE to York - VTEC to Berwick)

Berwick - Glasgow Central - (XC direct)

Glasgow Central - Manchester (VTWC to Preston / TPE to Manchester Picc - late night service so no barrier staff)

Manchester Picc - Weston Super Mare (XC First Class)

Weston Super Mare - Glasgow Central (XC to Birmingham - VTWC - Glasgow)

Partick - Berwick (Scotrail to Edinburgh - VTEC to Berwick)

Berwick - Manchester (VTEC to York - TPE to Man)
 
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RailUK Forums

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Manchester to Cambridge, via Euston and Kings Cross, in first class on a weekday morning. No barriers in operation at any station and no on-board ticket checks.
 

b127222

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It appears so, as I have been on quite a few trips where tickets are never checked (Virgin out of or back to Euston or MK is particularly prevalent).

Even if ticket checks are carried out it is pretty perfunctory, and if you don't actually offer up a ticket, they just walk past.
 
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Well, in the hope of raising the spirits a bit, everyone gets checked on my trains. Excluding the odd dodgy late night service the only people that don't get checked are the ones I haven't had time to get to.

Anglia land of the ~2% fare evasion rate!
 

Antman

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It appears so, as I have been on quite a few trips where tickets are never checked (Virgin out of or back to Euston or MK is particularly prevalent).

Even if ticket checks are carried out it is pretty perfunctory, and if you don't actually offer up a ticket, they just walk past.

That seems to happen on a lot of long distance trains, guard will ask for "any unchecked tickets".
 

gimmea50anyday

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There is an element of "reliance on honesty" when it comes to ticket checks. When you have 200 faces to remember on a service that turns over a high volume of passengers, ypu expect people to genuinely offer their tickets to you when you go through. Otherwise you would habe to carry a full ticket check after every station, and that would just become annoying to the people who have been on for 5-6 stops.

Unfortunately this reliance on honesty is how people are getting away with travelling on anytime returns and repeatedly using them as seasons. Revenue Protection can only cover a certain number of trains at a time and the half hearted ticket barriers we currently employ are ineffective. In my case I'll deliberately not ticket check for a couple of stations then go all-out on a full check. As I tend to work the same trains, Ill vary this up so I target different legs of the same train on different days. I find personally I get the best results this way. There is, however, only so much both myself or a revenue protection team can do. Only longer trains and effective barriers along with a vast improvement on the endorsement of tickets will help improve matters.
 

mbreckers

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My experience with ScotRail is that it is rare to not have your ticket checked.
 

superted81

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Scotrail are generally quite good and visible during most services. I travel on the Ayrline a lot as well, and full ticket checks are done leaving Ayr, even though its barriered
 

scotsman

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Scotrail are generally qite good and visible during most services. I travel on the Ayrline a lot as well, and full ticket checks are done leaving Ayr, even though its barriered

Because they're ticket examiners, and more or less have to stay in the saloon. Even the conductors are being forced to despatch from the saloon, rather than the cab on the non-DOO services.
 

Agent_c

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My experience with ScotRail is that it is rare to not have your ticket checked.

Although I know its a reflection of the reality that a fares prosecution is infinitely more difficult in Scotland, it does actually make me feel better about Scotrail than thinking of taking a journey down south, Selling you a ticket seems "friendly" hitting you with a "fine" (yes, I know its not a fine) and/or a prosecution seems "unfriendly" and daunting.
 

mr williams

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It's an issue around Bristol on the Severn Beach Line in the evenings - all the stations are unmanned, there are no ticket machines or barriers (except at Temple Meads of course) and on-train staff are often conspicuous by their absence.

Passengers frequently travel free but to be fair to them many clearly feel guilty and are often seen to be looking around for somebody to take their money when they get off!
 

b127222

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There is an element of "reliance on honesty" when it comes to ticket checks.

But the honest people will volunteer their tickets, and the dishonest don't!

Surely all that happens is the honest people who have made a mistake (wrong train, time, etc) get penalised, and the dishonest who kept their heads down get away with it.
 

40129

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In my experience there are vast differences between TOC and type of service both within and between TOCs.

Virgin West Coast appear particularly lax on Inter-City routes - went from New Street to Edinburgh without having my ticket checked - whereas Cross Country Inter-City are better - ticket checked twice between Edinburgh and New Street. Indeed I can't remember a Cross Country IC train where I've not been checked.

On ATW, I'm checked almost every time on their route out of New Street whereas Cross Country regional services are a bit more hit and miss though this may in part be due to the lack of corridor connections on the latter’s 4-car trains. London Midland regional trains are similar to Cross Country regional though on local trains in the West Midlands county ticket checks seem to be a lot rarer.

As regards Northern, on recent journeys on local trains in the North West (including a cl-319) my tickets were never checked.

One thing I will mention is that the frequency of checks on regional and local trains in my experience is often influenced by the design of the rolling stock, i.e. the provision of guard’s door controls in the saloons. In this respect it should be noted that ATWs cl-158s have controls at every door as do LMs cl-350s. Also, both XC and LM cl-170s have one set of controls in each saloon (as do ATW cl-150s) though in the middle car the guard has to guess which door they’re at and on 4-car trains has to unit swap on a regular basis if he/she has any hope of doing a thorough check. Unfortunately, cl-323s only have one set of saloon guard controls per 3-car set which makes carrying out revenue duties interesting at best and almost impossible on short stop routes
 

D6975

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On recent occasions coming back home from New St on a Voyager there has been an announcement along the lines of 'Due to a change of train crew at Birmingham there will be a full ticket check after departure please have all tickets, passes and railcards at the ready'. And there is usually a full check between N St and Cheltenham. After Cheltenham it's either 'all unchecked tickets please' as (s)he walks though or nothing at all.

The Severn Beach line (post#11) is a problem at peak hours, the stations are just too close together to do full checks and operate the doors without significantly slowing the train down. A second person just doing tickets is needed if you're going to catch the dodgers travelling short hops between unmanned stations.

Coming back to Bristol from Paddington on a Sat evening is often unchecked, because it's nigh on impossible to fight your way down the train, there are so many people crammed in. If the service is running significantly late, the chances of seeing the senior conductor can drop quite dramatically too.

ps the furthest I've ever got from Bristol without a check was on a trip to Glasgow via Padd, KGX and Edinburgh. First check was on leaving Berwick on Tweed.
 
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Mag_seven

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On long distance Intercity type services, ticket checking should be written into the contracts of train guards, train mangers or whatever they are called. Its quite simple - a full check at the start, invitations in between, and a full check before arrival. Where trains are busy, put on more checking staff. They seem to manage it in Switzerland, so why not here?
 

Requeststop

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Over the past 2 weeks, I have made several long distance trips, and some short distance ones by rail and not once had my ticket been looked at, no wonder people think they can get away with it,
I was wondering is this normal... to be fair, most of the trips were early morning or late at night.

The trips I have done are as follows:

Deansgate - Berwick upon Tweed (Northern to MAN - TPE to York - VTEC to Berwick)

Berwick - Glasgow Central - (XC direct)

Glasgow Central - Manchester (VTWC to Preston / TPE to Manchester Picc - late night service so no barrier staff)

Manchester Picc - Weston Super Mare (XC First Class)

Weston Super Mare - Glasgow Central (XC to Birmingham - VTWC - Glasgow)

Partick - Berwick (Scotrail to Edinburgh - VTEC to Berwick)

Berwick - Manchester (VTEC to York - TPE to Man)

Having done a lot more travelling around the nation (see trip reports etc forum) I can totally concur about the almost total lack of ticket inspection many times, in all areas of the system. I travelled on a BritRailpass for 22 days bought out here in Thailand and was allowed through barriers with just a cursory glance of the ticket and the same on board trains when my ticket was inspected. I'd say only 5% of the time was the ticket properly looked at.

The same was glaringly clear, with on board ticket inspection and fare collection not only on long distance trains but also of local services, where many times no fares were collected at all. I'm fairly certain that many, if not the overwhelming majority of the customers were honest and would wish to pay, but there will be many I'm sure who get used to the fact that they will get away with not paying on services. I recall the person who got away with thousands of pounds of fare evasion not so long ago. I'd be quite believing if that fare evasion on the network was in the hundreds of millions of pounds a year. I will add that after my 22 day Pass was over I bought a return Paddington - Truro return and I boarded Paddington at Platform 8 (no barriers) and arrived Truro to be waved through the barriers and my ticket was not inspected once, and I travelled 1st and ate in the Pullman. (I paid). Leaving on the return, I put my ticket through the barrier, my ticket was inspected after Plymouth and my ticket went through the barrier at Paddington. I could have defrauded GWR of over 200 Pounds on my journey westwards!

One thing I'd certainly recommend, is that on commuter routes especially during rush hours, there would be one inspector/conductor per carriage on a regular basis. I'm sure revenues would increase. The OP asked if this is normal. In my short but extensive experience - it is!
 

crehld

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I must have been on over 100 trains since the start of the year... I can count on one hand the number of times my ticket has been checked on board, and still have a couple of fingers remaining. If I recall correctly I've only ever been checked by ATW guards this year.
 

b127222

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On the GN locals, I only encountered a ticket inspector three times in the past year (and almost 2 months).
And the last one I saw it was hilarious.

The RPI declared that the ticket held by the customer was invalid, as it was an off peak ticket on an early evening train heading to Peterborough.

The customer disagreed and refused to pay for a new ticket.

Meanwhile several other nearby customers who were unrelated to the first customer were chipping in to the discussion asking why off peak tickets were not valid if the ticket allowed them access through the barrier.

The RPI was at the point of demanding the first customers details when they suddenly spotted that the customer's ticket was from Guildford (or some other point south of London) and thus was in fact valid.

The RPI scuttled away to the next carriage without saying anything, and ignoring all the other customers who actually did have invalid off peak tickets.
 

6Gman

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On long distance Intercity type services, ticket checking should be written into the contracts of train guards, train mangers or whatever they are called. Its quite simple - a full check at the start, invitations in between, and a full check before arrival. Where trains are busy, put on more checking staff. They seem to manage it in Switzerland, so why not here?

Nice idea - but how long does a full check on a well-filled 11car Pendolino take? Bearing in mind the questions, the complaints, the fares to issue and any operational issues that arise.

Not easy. But would agree things are patchy - round here LM are pretty good, as are Northern. Virgin can be very lacklustre.
 

exile

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Nice idea - but how long does a full check on a well-filled 11car Pendolino take? Bearing in mind the questions, the complaints, the fares to issue and any operational issues that arise.

Not easy. But would agree things are patchy - round here LM are pretty good, as are Northern. Virgin can be very lacklustre.

I find I'm less likely to be checked on a 2 car train than on a Pendolino - this is because the 2 car train has stops every 3-4 minutes so it's impossible for the guard to check the whole train in between operating the doors.
 

HowardGWR

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I find I'm less likely to be checked on a 2 car train than on a Pendolino - this is because the 2 car train has stops every 3-4 minutes so it's impossible for the guard to check the whole train in between operating the doors.

Careful, you'll have the DCO DOO debate raging if you don't watch it.:D
 

Chrisgr31

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On my daily commute (well probably on average 4 days a week) from Crowborough to London Bridge my ticket is often checked in the morning between Crowborough and Edenbridge, it is never checked at any other point, and I cannot remember the last time it was checked on a return peak hour train.

The London bound journey is very dependent on the guard, some you know will always check, others never will.
 

gimmea50anyday

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But the honest people will volunteer their tickets, and the dishonest don't!

Surely all that happens is the honest people who have made a mistake (wrong train, time, etc) get penalised, and the dishonest who kept their heads down get away with it.


Exactly!!!

Hardly seems fair does it?....
 

DelayRepay

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I commute into London on Thameslink four times a week. I've not had my ticket checked this year and have probably had only a handful of checks in the four years I've been making this journey.

I find ticket checks are much more likely at weekends or later in the evening, than during the peak. But I guess it's difficult for RPIs to even board the trains during the peak let alone pass through checking tickets.

Of course my tickets are checked at the start and end of every journey by the barriers which Thameslink obviously conclude is sufficient.
 

daccer

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In the age of computers and automation it must be a fairly simple process for comparisons to be made on ticket sales for different conductors/guards operating the same shifts on different days. Surely it is easy for a driver manager or revenue manager to analyse these patterns and to highlight those that dont walk the train and do revenue protection. Is a guard liable to disciplinary procedures if he doesnt do revenue protection?
 

Sprinter153

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On long distance Intercity type services, ticket checking should be written into the contracts of train guards, train mangers or whatever they are called. Its quite simple - a full check at the start, invitations in between, and a full check before arrival. Where trains are busy, put on more checking staff. They seem to manage it in Switzerland, so why not here?

It is (in mine anyway). On my train, most of my passengers get checked. I actually enjoy doing tickets and interacting with passengers so if I have any spare time between operational duties it gets used. The majority of my colleagues are the same.

However, one of my routes is intensive, with stops every 7 minutes or so with only part of the train released at most stations, so much of the time between stops is spent making announcements for the benefit of passengers in the wrong part of the train, helping people who need to move along and then scuttling along to the correct position in the train to release the doors for the next stop. With the best will in the world, you can't check eight coaches of passengers between each stop AND operate the train as safely and professionally as it should be.

It's not really a big deal if I don't check Granny Goggins' ticket in coach X when I need to be at coach Y to release doors. It is a big deal if I'm so busy concentrating on tickets that I end up releasing the wrong set of doors, or dispatch against a danger signal.

We aren't all as lazy as some would make out. Perish the thought, some of us actually do care about our jobs...
 

Antman

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In the age of computers and automation it must be a fairly simple process for comparisons to be made on ticket sales for different conductors/guards operating the same shifts on different days. Surely it is easy for a driver manager or revenue manager to analyse these patterns and to highlight those that dont walk the train and do revenue protection. Is a guard liable to disciplinary procedures if he doesnt do revenue protection?

I've often wondered that, I've sometimes done the same journey several days in a row on Southeastern, some guards walk through the train checking tickets whilst others just stay in the back cab.
 

Bellbell

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In the age of computers and automation it must be a fairly simple process for comparisons to be made on ticket sales for different conductors/guards operating the same shifts on different days. Surely it is easy for a driver manager or revenue manager to analyse these patterns and to highlight those that dont walk the train and do revenue protection. Is a guard liable to disciplinary procedures if he doesnt do revenue protection?

It is fairly simple and yes it's monitored although not by driver managers! People have been pulled in over their revenue but it has to be consistently poor - there are legitimate reasons for occasional vast discrepancies in takings (short formed/machine failure/disruption/festivals and events/school holidays/Christmas).
 
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