Ticket pickup problems at Huddersfield

Discussion in 'Disputes & Prosecutions' started by toffeedanish, 9 Mar 2018.

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  1. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    A member of staff at every TOD enabled station from first to last train? I think that would cost much...
    I'll tell you what would stop a lot of hassle: if all staff with a responsibility for checking tickets would ensure that they do not deny passengers any of the rights afforded to them by their employers policies, the relevant conditions, and the relevant consumer and contract laws.

    All I am asking is for them to act in a manner that is lawful and correct, yet sadly I also know there is absolutely zero prospect of this happening anytime soon.
    While we may not get anything quite on that scale, one day the rail industry is going to get a bit of a shock if things continue as they are...
     
  2. MotCO

    MotCO Member

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    How difficut would it be for conductors' ticket machines to be updated to be able to print ToD tickets when the machines were out of action at a station? It wouldn't help the OP if the whole system was down, but where a station's machines were all out of order, would this not save a lot of hassle?

    It might mean that some passengers may default to getting their ToD tickets from the conductor, but is that so bad?
     
  3. robbeech

    robbeech Established Member

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    Not so bad at all in my opinion. The same rules could surely apply. If it your first opportunity to purchase this is ok. If there’s a perfectly working ticket machine at your starting point you get your tickets but could be liable to a penalty fare or similar. Of course, we rely on online connectivity of machines on board so problems could arise here.
     
  4. jon0844

    jon0844 Veteran Member

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    As far as I am aware, advice went out not to penalty fare/prosecute anyone who couldn't collect tickets as there was a national outage. All revenue staff should have been aware and train managers able to look things up if they hadn't been notified.

    I think that common sense says that few if any people would have been aware or had time to come up with fake ToD codes to show and then blag a free ride, especially if it wasn't known if/when the system would be up again and someone might suddenly be invited to collect their ticket.

    Someone collecting a ticket would have to have a code, but that could be scribbled on anything and the original email wouldn't have to be shown. Does everyone have a phone? And do they all have a smartphone? Do they all have sufficient data? Most yes, but not all - and you can't tell who the 'not all' people will be.

    Nobody should be buying new tickets and claiming later. I doubt the company selling the original ticket wants that hassle after fixing the problem either!

    Now if the problem lasted days and the advice was simply to show your code, then yes I am sure people may have begun to take advantage. But that didn't happen here.
     
  5. jcollins

    jcollins Veteran Member

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    Same could be said with printers. It's entirely possible for someone (especially an older person) to have a laptop connected to the Internet but no printer or smart phone. While even if you have a printer you might not realise it's faulty, out of ink or that you've run out of paper until after you've made the purchase. I recently had an issue where I had filled out an ISA request form, got to a stage where I needed to print it out and sign it but found my printer wouldn't work.
     
  6. jon0844

    jon0844 Veteran Member

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    Many a time my printer has decided to throw a wobbly when I need to print an e-ticket or boarding pass. It's like it knows!

    I am sure many people have paid Ryanair huge sums of money because they checked in the night before and couldn't print their boarding card. No worries; do it at the airport for ... HOW MUCH?!
     
  7. Solent&Wessex

    Solent&Wessex Established Member

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    I do not know what Northern's policy is, but the Guard may not have been simply making up their own rules.

    A policy at another TOC, briefed to staff says:

    Of note is that this form and policy only applies to the TOC in question, and not other TOCs that may call at stations managed by that TOC or for connecting trains with different TOCs."

    So, if Northern staff have been told something similar then it may not be that the Guard is just making things up, but simply doing as he has been told.

    Whether management have issued the correct instructions in the first place is, of course, an entirely different matter.

    And of course, don't forget that the NRCoT does say in respect of boarding without a valid ticket "...Where you are specifically permitted to board a train service by an authorised member of staff or notice of the Train Company whose service you intend to board..."

    There has also been differing advice to staff over the years in relation to reference numbers and walk-up ticket types, so again, whilst I am not saying that the Guard was correct in this instance (indeed it sounds like he wasn't), it will entirely depend on what instructions and information he has (or has not been) given by his employer - both in advance in respect of company policy, and on the day in respect of a message advising of a national or local problem.
     
    Last edited: 13 Mar 2018
  8. johntea

    johntea Established Member

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    "After a lengthy and stressful conversation he came up with a 'work-around'. As it happened, I remembered I did have a device with me which would have the emailed proof of purchase on it, were I able to connect to wifi. The conductor gave me a code to access wifi and I was able to show him the email. I do not know what the outcome would have been if I did not have my device with me (I don't normally travel with it). At Sheffield I was able to collect my tickets without further issue."

    I was just curious about this more than anything! Where did a WiFi connection appear from on a Northern service? (I thought only particular routes featured it, and even on those it would just be a matter of entering your email address rather than a code). Did the conductor create a WiFi hotspot from their phone or something?

    Sadly I think a lot of Northern staff are under quite a bit of pressure from 'up above' since Arriva took over with regards ticketing, they obviously need to clamp down on genuine fare dodging but at the same time shouldn't be punishing cases like this.
     
  9. Signal Head

    Signal Head Member

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    I don't see how this is enforceable, unless the NRCoT contains (or is going to be updated to contain) a requirement that all passengers attempting to use ToD must either have access to a printer, or carry a smartphone at all times, to cover the railway's inability to keep its ticket issuing systems in working order.

    The only time I have normally to deal with ToD is when my (rail industry) employer purchases tickets for me, in which case I would normally have access to the original email, however I have also had to pass on collection references to colleagues, and the only way to do so is by text message, so they would have problems with this policy.

    If I found ever found myself in this position I'd argue it's the railway's problem, not mine, and I'd certainly not be buying a new ticket to cover their failings.
     
  10. 35B

    35B Member

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    The policy reflects the TOD requirement I’m used to whereby the passenger has to provide both a booking reference and the card with which the booking was paid.
     
  11. talldave

    talldave Established Member

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    Then ask for the reference and the card then! TOCs really don't get it do they? We already need two things for TOD collection. Now, just in case the system's broken, we need a third item. If I'm going to have to print out an email to take with me, I may as well be printing the bl***y ticket, at least that's worth wasting paper on!!
     
  12. Mojo

    Mojo Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    On the day in question, the entire nationwide system was down, so I doubt this would have helped the situation.

    Advice as published on the internet, news outlets, and on railways internal information systems, stated that customers may travel with their reference number.
     
  13. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    A printout is neither the exclusive form of "the booking reference" nor "the card with which the booking was paid".

    The passenger therefore does not require a printout of anything in order to travel per the T&Cs of the ticket. The railway may not legally impose other T&Cs not presented nor referred to at the time of booking.
     
  14. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Agreed, if they are going to require it to be printed, they might as well save me the hassle and make it a P@H ticket.
     
  15. 35B

    35B Member

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    This was an emergency measure, because of an IT outage. The payment card was therefore unlikely to be of any use as a means of verification.

    However, I agree completely about the burden of proof. The emphasis should be on customer service, not fraud prevention.

    I also find it interesting that the railway requires all this. When I recently flew to India, all I needed to check in was my passport; the rest was all in the computer. Perhaps “the railway” might like to look at how easy that is for customers, and consider how poor it seems by comparison. And, before anyone replies, I am fully aware that the parallel cannot be exact.
     
  16. Signal Head

    Signal Head Member

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    I regularly collect tickets without the card used, because the booking was made by an agency on behalf of my employer. I am required to insert a (any) card but this is simply to record who collected the tickets.

    So, it cannot be a ToD 'requirement'.
     
  17. MotCO

    MotCO Member

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    I think I made that proviso ;)
     
  18. island

    island Established Member

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    I'm guessing the guard might have activated the personal hotspot feature on his phone.
     
  19. toffeedanish

    toffeedanish Member

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    That's exactly what he did. No Northern WiFi on that service as you will probably know, so I didn't know that I could access my emailed confirmation. The thought occurred to the conductor that he could use his personal phone in this way after we had been speaking for some time.
     
  20. BurtonM

    BurtonM Member

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    Northern seem to have an issue with acting on authority of railway staff, in that they completely disregard it as a concept. After previous issues I now ask for anything like that to be in writing.
     
  21. 35B

    35B Member

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    It is the requirement when I book on my own account. I accept that other approaches may exist.
     
  22. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    It's up to the retailer.
     
  23. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    You can avoid it by paying PayPal.
     
  24. Signal Head

    Signal Head Member

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    The fact that it isn't mandatory still means the railway cannot rely on/require possession of the card used for the booking as additional proof of identity. For that matter, how would a guard know the card number used to book, unless the booking email is available and includes the information, which is then of course immediately redundant.

    I agree with the comment up thread that 'the railway' (in the guise of an individual TOC) cannot force additional conditions on the fly to suit themselves, and I think they'd look particularly bad in court when it emerged that they were doing it merely to cover for an industry failing.
     
  25. Haywain

    Haywain Established Member

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    It does nothing of the sort.
     
  26. toffeedanish

    toffeedanish Member

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    Update. Received a placatory email from Northern in response to my asking for clarification of policy, inclusive of the following:

    "While I am sorry to hear of the experience that you have had, under the Railway byelaws it is a requirement to display a valid ticket when asked by a member of the railway. As you were unable to do so at the time the conductor was correct to request payment of another ticket. The onus is on the customer to ensure that they have everything required for travel when making a journey on the railway."

    The upshot seems to be that unlike other TOCs, if travelling with Northern I have to buy another ticket in the event of ticket system failure (this being cheaper than a smartphone or printer, neither of which I own, to otherwise prove purchase). Further, it apparently doesn't matter what station staff advise.

    I think buying in advance of travel if my journey is with Northern is not worth the hassle, and I will seek alternatives where possible.
     
  27. Starmill

    Starmill Established Member

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    It sounds like they are talking rubbish to me! Verbal permission from an authorised person (such as a member of station staff) to board the train is adequate so "The onus is on the customer to ensure that they have everything required for travel" has been appropriately fulfilled.
     
  28. ForTheLoveOf

    ForTheLoveOf Established Member

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    Perhaps they wouldn't mind complying with their side of the legal position, in terms of the NRCoT, Byelaws etc. It's all well and good clamping down on those passengers who breach any part of it, but if the TOCs breach any part of it then it's no good them trying to get out of the consequences. How about a new offence in RoRA S5, for which only bodies corporate can be prosecuted - rejecting a valid ticket, with intent to cause financial loss to the passenger, or financial gain for the company - and a new addition to the Byelaws - rejecting a valid ticket (no intent of loss/gain needed!).
     
  29. jcollins

    jcollins Veteran Member

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    I'd suggest contacting Passenger Focus or your MP, Northern seem to think they can do whatever they want and get away with it. It's the train company's responsibility to ensure TOD is available as advertised not the passenger's. Next they'll be saying it's the passenger's responsibility to ensure the train runs!

    As an aside yesterday on their Twitter feed they were telling passengers they had to buy Anytime tickets if they were unsure what time they would be travelling, nothing about being able to pay an excess if you bought one ticket and your travel plans changed.
     
  30. jcollins

    jcollins Veteran Member

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    With an automatic £80 award to the passenger? ;)
     
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