Ticket office at Victoria refuses to sell me a ticket

Discussion in 'Fares Advice & Policy' started by ianBR, 17 May 2019.

  1. ianBR

    ianBR Member

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    Similar to the thread below but last night I needed to travel home from Victoria to Brighton on a Gatwick Express service and I hold a monthly Brighton -> London Thameslink pass.

    The Gatwick express ticket windows were closed so I went to the main Southern ticket office and asked what ticket I would need to buy in conjunction with my existing one. I was expecting to be sold a ticket to East Croydon in the best case (as per previous discussions) or Gatwick at the worst.

    The response was even more unbelievable - the ticket office clerk said that my existing pass wasn't valid and the only ticket he would sell me was a new single ticket to Brighton.

    When I said my existing pass was clearly valid from Gatwick to Brighton he said it wasn't as it's not valid on Gatwick Express at all, and he then refused to even sell me a ticket to Gatwick!!

    I ended up just walking away and using PAYG to Gatwick instead.

    How do I best complain about this? I dread to think how many people might be getting ripped off in this manner when most services from Victoria to Brighton are Gatwick Express.
     
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  3. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    It's GTR, the complaint will go in one ear and out of the other.

    Just buy a ticket from a TVM next time. What you would need is a single to wherever the Thameslink route meets the route out of Victoria, I think you're right in saying that's East Croydon.

    (I say this assuming you have this or its monthly equivalent, not a ticket routed Thameslink Only: http://www.brfares.com/#faredetail?orig=BTN&dest=4452&rte=208&tkt=7DS)
     
  4. ianBR

    ianBR Member

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    Yes that's right - my ticket has no restriction other than "not underground".

    I've just tweeted Gatwick Express today and they have said you have to buy a ticket to Gatwick. I imagine even if I buy a valid ticket to East Croydon from the TVM I'd then have problems getting through the gateline given Gatwick Express themselves give out incorrect advice!
     
  5. ForTheLoveOf

    ForTheLoveOf Established Member

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    Send a complaint to the details given on their website, asking for a refund of the difference between cost of the fare you paid and the fare you should have been sold, and an assurance that they will train staff on the validity of tickets on Gatwick Express. Also ask them to train their Twitter team to ensure they don't give out information that's misleading to the benefit of the company (something that people might even call fraud in other circumstances!).

    If they do not respond adequately, you can take it to the Rail Ombudsman after 40 working days, or when they issue a "Letter of Deadlock" - whichever happens first.
     
  6. Samuel88

    Samuel88 On Moderation

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    I'm going to be honest, why do people waste their money on Gatwick Express? Southern runs at least as many trains per hour, GE is more expensive and at most it's five minutes faster!
     
  7. furlong

    furlong Established Member

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    Sounds pretty serious to me - maybe report it straight to the top and copy in the ORR, reminding them of their duty to police this sort of thing. Point out the similarities with what's happening with some different TOCs at https://boundaryfares.com/ (*) and how, if they don't get this sort of thing sorted out quickly, they might find themselves sucked into something similar.

    (*) Someone already holding a ticket valid for part of a journey is induced into not using it and paying unnecessarily a second time over. You might even tell the boundaryfares people in case they are already gathering data for future challenges.
     
  8. twpsaesneg

    twpsaesneg Member

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    Aren't tickets to London Thameslink only valid to stations between London Bridge and St Pancras in the Thameslink core? As opposed to London Terminals?
     
  9. Ianno87

    Ianno87 Established Member

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    But in this case, no premium is required to access the Gatwick Express service above what is required to access any other service from Victoria.
     
  10. Surreytraveller

    Surreytraveller Established Member

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    Yep. Which is why the OP wanted to buy a ticket to where their ticket was valid.
    But doesn't Victoria count as London Thameslink? On Sunday mornings Thameslink trains go to Victoria
     
  11. alistairlees

    alistairlees Established Member

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    No, it doesn't. London Thameslink is St Pancras, Farringdon, City Thameslink, Blackfriars, London Bridge and Elephant & Castle. With an allowance to go to Euston via Bletchley if your origin is Bedford.
     
  12. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Yes, which is why the OP wanted to purchase a ticket to bridge the gap. As one ticket is a season ticket and the other is not, such a ticket is valid for a non-stopping split per condition 14.
     
  13. Surreytraveller

    Surreytraveller Established Member

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    Wouldn't a ticket to Streatham Common suffice, as some Thameslinks turn right there to reach the core
     
  14. JB_B

    JB_B Member

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    Streatham Common was one of the suggestions when this was discussed earlier...

    opinions ranged from

    1. No extra ticket required [Technically correct but potentially hard work]
    2. Clapham Junction
    3. Streatham Common
    4. East Croydon
    5. Gatwick Airport [Least hassle option but unnecessarily expensive]


    I don't think anyone would have anticipated staff insisting on a Brighton ticket.


    That's true but the OP isn't restricted to travel on Thameslink services - the routeing is just "Not Underground".
     
  15. ForTheLoveOf

    ForTheLoveOf Established Member

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    In fact you theoretically only need a ticket from Balham, since it's possible to trace a route to Elephant & Castle (a London Thameslink station) on map LB, without doubling back, via East Croydon, Norwood Junction, Crystal Palace, West Norwood, Streatham Hill, Balham, Mitcham Eastfields, Streatham, Tulse Hill and Loughborough Junction.

    But since a ticket to Balham is the same price (from Victoria) as a ticket to Streatham Common, there's not much reason to risk having even more arguments than you'd probably already have with a ticket to Streatham Common!
     
  16. Surreytraveller

    Surreytraveller Established Member

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    Or maybe Clapham Junction, as you can trace a route from there to Denmark Hill. The same could be said of Battersea Park with the Parliamentaries!
     
  17. ianBR

    ianBR Member

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    For trains to Brighton from Victoria you can't really avoid using Gatwick Express these days. Every single Brighton train running in the peak period from 16.43 to 19.14 is a Gatwick Express service for example.
     
    Last edited: 19 May 2019
  18. island

    island Established Member

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    I would have said a ticket to East Croydon would certainly have covered you.

    Unfortunately this is yet another example of GTR thinking the rules don’t apply to them. No wonder the red 387s carry around so much fresh air!
     

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