Ticket 'deactivated': what happened?

Discussion in 'Fares Advice & Policy' started by Bensonby, 10 Sep 2019.

  1. Bensonby

    Bensonby Member

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    Today I caught a Virgin Trains service from Penrith to London. Sitting behind me there was a teenage girl who got on at the same stop.

    When the guard came along and did a ticket check she presented her phone with a ticket on an app. However, the ticket had apparently been “deactivated”. The guard identified that it has been “deactivated” about 5 minutes after boarding the train. The girl had said she had no idea about what hat happened and the guard said maybe the payment hadn’t gone through properly. The conversation was perfectly civil and the girl bought a new ticket with no real complaint.

    I’m just curious as to how these things work and what actually happened?

    Is it really that easy to think you have a valid ticket on these apps but mistakenly not have one. I must say, I’m quite old-fashioned and take comfort from a piece of orange card that can’t go wrong! I really don’t see much benefit from tickets in mobile apps.
     
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  3. LowLevel

    LowLevel Established Member

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    If you refund an e-ticket it will tell any ticket inspectors that (very specifically) if it's scanned.

    I suspect the guard was being polite and the girl knew she had done wrong.
     
  4. crosscity

    crosscity Member

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    Is that the time of the deactivation, or when the guard came round?
    I presume the passenger was not travelling to London so that the fare would be modest rather than £100 or more.

    There are a lot of unknowns here - for instance the type of ticket (advance or walk-on, peak or off-peak, with railcard or not). Still it's an interesting question. I'm interested in what kind of ticket could be refunded whilst your actually on the train. I thought Advances could not be refunded, but could be changed for another train but only if the original journey hadn't started.
     
  5. alistairlees

    alistairlees Established Member

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    I would have thought that she more likely presented a ticket on her phone; for most flows eTickets don’t need an app to be purchased. That said, the term ‘deactivated’, which is a bit unusual, suggests an app might have been involved (you are supposed to activate mobile tickets that are ‘in app’ before they are used).
     
  6. Bensonby

    Bensonby Member

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    The guard specifically said “deactivated” when she scanned it. She said a specific time that it had been “deactivated” which was about 5 mins after we boarded. (The check was about 10 mins after that).

    It was a child cheap-day return that she needed at a cost of about £10 which she was allowed to buy.

    She may have been “trying it on” but my gut instinct was that it was a genuine mistake/error/glitch.
     
  7. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    It must have been an m-ticket (which is a failed experiment that really ought to be consigned to the dustbin), as e-tickets (which are the way forward) do not have to be activated. It seems odd if they can be 'deactivated'.
     
  8. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    If you activate a period return it shows as deactivated the next day even though it remains valid. Could it be this?

    I thought VTWC were doing e-tickets, not m-tickets, now though.
     
  9. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    They don't, but many of the apps do allow them to be shown inside the app, Trainline and GWR to name two. I used e-tickets inside the Trainline app (no fees for now and the app is quite good) for my travel today, I just archived the emails when they arrived.
     
  10. Joe Paxton

    Joe Paxton Established Member

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    It seems perfectly reasonable to me that an e-ticket could be marked as deactivated in the central database, for all manner of reasons - not least a refund or change of ticket (e.g. change of date).
     
  11. Joe Paxton

    Joe Paxton Established Member

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    I thought it had been established that GWR's so called e-tickets were actually m-tickets that only work in the GWR mobile app?
     
  12. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    They are e-tickets (do not require activation) but you don't get them sent by e-mail.

    LNR sell e-tickets but then also let you "convert" them to m-tickets for use in the app (require activation, but this does not invalidate the underlying e-ticket in the confirmation e-mail which also still works).
     
  13. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    They can be cancelled yes. They do not require activation.

    If a ticket can only be used in an app it's not an e-ticket!
     
  14. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    It uses the e-ticket technology (shows in the same format, no animation, no activation required) but you just don't get a copy of it in the confirmation e-mail. I can't see why it wouldn't, unlike an M-ticket, be valid to screenshot it and email it to yourself. It is a bit odd and I really don't quite get why it's like that when sending it by e-mail as well like everyone else does would be dead easy.
     
  15. Clip

    Clip On Moderation

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    Virgin do both - thier e-ticket can be stored in an app or apple wallet or even printed off - the m-ticket is only in the app.

    As we dont know which app she was using nor if she just presented the guard with the QR code off an email we will never actually know whats gone on really. But if she was happy enough to pay for a new ticket then my spidey sense tell me that she may well know what she was doing.
     
  16. robbeech

    robbeech Established Member

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    It could well be something like this. It’s still happening and ‘the railway’ is still profiting from it. Thankfully M Tickets are becoming less common so this issue should be eradicated eventually but it’s clear that TOCs are not prepared to do anything to train their staff properly in the meantime.
     
  17. Wallsendmag

    Wallsendmag Established Member

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    An e-Ticket can be blacklisted if it has been refunded or even have a marker added if it has been changed in conjunction with an excess.
     
  18. WesternLancer

    WesternLancer Member

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    For those following this thread the case raised here by a forum member being prosecuted (after getting ticket refunded AFTER commencement of journey) may perhaps be of note.

    https://www.railforums.co.uk/threads/transport-investigations-prosecuting-me.191853/
     
  19. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    That's interesting, as that would make it different from a paper ticket, where the original ticket could still be used as it stood, or as the changed ticket with the excess. This is one issue with excesses as a thing - refund-and-replace is much easier if we move to single-leg pricing as per the trial discussed in another thread.
     
  20. Indigo2

    Indigo2 Established Member

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    Is that really true though? If the original fare and excessed fare would both be valid for the journey made it would be a moot point, but my understanding is that the excess converts the original fare into a different fare, and that it would be arguably fraudulent to use the original ticket (without the excess coupon) to make a journey for which the excessed fare would not be valid.
     
  21. Wallsendmag

    Wallsendmag Established Member

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    How could you tell though ?
     
  22. bigfoote

    bigfoote Member

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    I had a similar situation with an Advance single m-ticket from Waterloo to Havant. Scanned at the gateline, didn't work, waved through and thought no more of it. Conductor scanned it, showed as deactivated and cancelled, but given the time of night, and my genuine disbelief, he endorsed me for travel with a written note should anyone question me en route. After getting home, and checking, I had had an email from Trainline (I know, I know) the previous day reminding me of my advance ticket date. So Trainline had no record of a cancellation or refund issued, but the ticket had been marked as such. Another reason, IMO, this system should be withdrawn until such time either the RDG or DFT agree and implement an industry wide standard.
     
  23. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    It might not technically be allowed, but practically it is (a bit like the small-scale transfer of tickets). They used to staple the two together to sort-of prevent this, but in these days of barriers this is no longer workable.
     
  24. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    As a slight digression, I noted on Twitter this morning that the GWR app had a "bad update" last night that resulted in the loss of unused "pseudo-E-tickets" for people who had them in their app.

    Perhaps now GWR will see fit to include the attachment in the confirmation e-mails as well like they are supposed to, then this wouldn't have been an issue.
     
  25. Indigo2

    Indigo2 Established Member

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    Certainly, there would need to be some suspicion on the part of the ticket inspector. This could be raised e.g. by holes in the ticket making it appear as if it had been stapled, or some behaviour of the passenger that raised suspicion. Technically, it can be checked: the data is there as the original 5-digit ticket number will have been recorded in the LENNON database when the excess was issued.

    Combined with details of origin/destination etc. this should be enough to search LENNON and say with a reasonable degree of accuracy, whether or not the ticket had been excessed. I don't think it could ever be a routine procedure done on the spot but as far as I can think it should be theoretically possible, with some work, to prove beyond reasonable doubt whether a passenger is lying when they say the fare was not excessed.

    A lot of other things that aren't technically allowed are in practice undetectable, though. If the ticket is not stapled to the excess and the passenger presents it for checking with no signs of awkwardness or nervousness to raise an inspector's suspicions, then I agree it's extremely unlikely to be detected, but I still would not be very confident of doing it because there will exist an electronic record of the excess having been issued that can theoretically be checked in the event of suspicion.
     

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