Ticket validity - passenger liability

Discussion in 'Fares Advice & Policy' started by RJ, 18 Apr 2012.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. bignosemac

    bignosemac Established Member

    Messages:
    4,969
    Joined:
    12 Oct 2009
    Understand that Max, but the accusation of libel, whilst referring to another forum, was made on this forum.
     
    Last edited: 30 Jun 2012
  2. sheff1

    sheff1 Established Member

    Messages:
    4,268
    Joined:
    24 Dec 2009
    Location:
    Sheffield
    In my view, this is the appropriate way for staff to behave. If they don't know 100% that a ticket is invalid and do not have the time, contacts (or inclination) to find out, then they should give the passenger the benefit of any doubt. Unfortunately, some staff, when they do not know, make up their own rules and then abuse their authority by threatening or overcharging people who have 100% valid tickets.

    It is this latter behaviour which needs to be weeded out, but TOCs have no direct financial incentive to do so and this seems to be the only thing that matters to some of them. Of course, gaining a bad image can have a negative financial effect on a company, but in the longer rather than immediate term.
     
  3. hairyhandedfool

    hairyhandedfool Established Member

    Messages:
    8,838
    Joined:
    14 Apr 2008
    If staff genuinely don't know or unsure, I'm sure there is that approach to take, but what if they are (rightly or wrongly) certain that it is not valid? A member of staff who 'knows' something is not valid is less likely to believe the ticket holder who is trying to tell him otherwise, even if they are right. Note that I say less likely to, not never going to.
     
  4. GadgetMan

    GadgetMan Member

    Messages:
    889
    Joined:
    9 Jan 2012
    As long as you mention something along the lines of "I'm not quite sure if those tickets are valid but the staff on the train will be more clued up......" then it's fine.

    Letting them through without saying anything with potentially invalid tickets can and does cause more grief on the train as to a passenger, being allowed through a barrier with a particular ticket in their mind is an endorsement of it being perfectly valid and rightly they will use that as a defence to avoid paying the excess due.
     
  5. Urban Gateline

    Urban Gateline Established Member

    Messages:
    1,526
    Joined:
    8 Mar 2011
    I was referring to dealing with passengers wishing to exit rather than enter the station in my post, apologies for not making this clear! :)

    Anyone who's seen me in action or worked alongside me will confirm that I am no pushover and I do thoroughly check tickets before letting people in and out of the barriers!
     
  6. Solent&Wessex

    Solent&Wessex Established Member

    Messages:
    2,286
    Joined:
    9 Jul 2009
    One of the other problems in all this, already alluded to earlier, is the actual training given to staff - and the advice given to them by other staff or the TOC directly - once the initial training has been given.

    For example, I know full well that the training given to new starters in my job at my TOC is not as comprehensive as it should be, and the complicated stuff they are expected to learn whilst out with a minder. Which is fine provided the minder actually knows stuff in enough detail and can explain it correctly.

    I once had a debate with a colleague about selling full fare tickets on board when a passenger had started his journey at an unstaffed station, but had changed onto another train at a staffed station. My colleagues opinion was that he should be charged the full fare as he had joined his train at a station with a ticket office that was open. I said he had started his journey at an unstaffed station and may not have had time to visit the ticket office and thus should be sold the full range on board. After some debate I asked the question of management and revenue protection, who said that if the passenger joins any train at a staffed station they should only be sold full fare tickets irrespective of whether they have come in on a connecting train - i.e. they should make time to visit the ticket office even if it means missing the first available connection. Now where does it say this in NRCoC? It doesn't.

    I've known the management to issue advice that tickets are valid for a certain journey when they quite clearly aren't, and vice versa.

    When staff who may not be that knowledgeable, or who don't have the time and inclination to do lots of homework like others, get duff advice from the company when they do take the time to ask, what hope is there?
     
  7. sheff1

    sheff1 Established Member

    Messages:
    4,268
    Joined:
    24 Dec 2009
    Location:
    Sheffield
    I understand the point you are making, but if someone 'knows' a ticket is not valid when, in fact, it is 100% valid then there is clearly an underlying problem which needs to be tackled to prevent passengers holding valid tickets from being wrongly challenged.

    As I said, TOCs are not really incentivsed to tackle the problem (sad but true) which is why I believe this is an area Passenger Focus should be investigating rather than pandering;) to people who seem incapable of understanding the simple T&Cs associated with Advance tickets.
     
  8. AndyLandy

    AndyLandy Established Member

    Messages:
    1,323
    Joined:
    30 Oct 2011
    Location:
    Southampton, UK
    I'd have thought the obvious answer to the OPs question is to have sufficient proof that your tickets are valid for the journey you're making.

    It gets a bit trickier if you end up with a guard who genuinely doesn't believe you. If you've explained the terms and they're not buying it, I imagine you'll have to deal with it through the formal system. If that means UPFNs or Anytimes, you'll just have to take that on the chin and appeal it afterwards.

    Whichever way you cut it, it's not reasonable to expect every guard to know every single bizarre permutation of ticketing. On the other hand, if you've got a guard who you've shown the relevant conditions to and they're still having none of it, then there's an issue. (Assuming you've got it right, of course!) But that's the sort of thing that you'll only be able to sort out after the event.

    Don't forget that guards have other passengers to see too. I doubt many guards have copious quantities of time to spend with a single passenger with the most bizarre combination of tickets. If you're right, take the penalty on the chin and appeal it afterwards. If that means 'showing your working' to the TOC (or whomever is the appeals body) then so be it. If that means that the loophole is closed, then so be it also. Make the most of the money you've saved so far.

    That all said, I respect why you wouldn't want to post the combination of tickets online, since the only likely outcome of that is to speed up the process by which the loophole is closed.
     
  9. RJ

    RJ Established Member

    Messages:
    7,378
    Joined:
    25 Jun 2005
    Location:
    Rail replacement bus cab
    *Sigh* seems like we're back to normal again. Travelled again this morning. It was very nice of the guard to "let me off," especially as he said was 200% sure that my ticket wasn't valid :).

    At least he was very polite and although he didn't admit that he was wrong, said that I'd had obviously done my homework and that he would check it out later on. Which is more than what can be said for some of his colleagues. Clearly, it is possible to deal with my situation without being rude, condescending or overly authoritarian :).

    I've been commuting for almost a year now and surprisingly, I hardly ever see the same guard twice. One guard, I've seen on three trips (the one who's very knowledgeable,) two others I've seen twice but otherwise, it's always new faces.
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    I do not expect guards to "know every single bizarre permutation of ticketing." How many times have I directly made this point in this thread alone, let alone several others? For some reason that I can't figure out, this seems to be an impossible concept for people on this forum to accept or even acknowledge - why?

    I've worked in revenue protection (started when I was a teenager,) issuing Penalty Fares and initiating legal proceedings against passengers and can confirm that this "just in case" inconveniencing of the passenger that you feel is acceptable is the premise of the power hungry, idiotic bullies in the job. I'm certainly pro-revenue protection, but not pro-ignorant staff who don't know when to admit that they don't know everything. A procedure exists whereby a member of staff can take the name/address of the passenger and withdraw tickets for further investigation. There's absolutely no reason why any guard who is unsure can't do this or let it go. Some guards choose to spend more than 40 minutes of their time on me alone despite having a busy train full of passengers. Their decision entirely. All they need to do is nip my ticket and move on.

    As for loopholes, well you're stating the obvious really. Some people have a desperation to be seen to know about everything and go shouting from the rooftops. I don't know everything, I conduct fares research specfic for journeys I actually need to make and use the cheapest valid fare I've found. Obviously from the outset, I knew what the pros and cons would be so nothing I have experienced so far has come as a surprise to me, other than perhaps IRCAS showing complete ineptitude in handling some of my appeals which among other things, included a complete failure to verify the validity of the tickets used despite me providing a dummy's guide on how they could check the validity for themselves.
     
    Last edited: 12 Jun 2012
  10. jon0844

    jon0844 Veteran Member

    Messages:
    24,122
    Joined:
    1 Feb 2009
    Location:
    UK
    I so wish you travelled on FCC and encountered the RPI that harassed me!!
     
  11. barrykas

    barrykas Established Member

    Messages:
    1,579
    Joined:
    19 Sep 2006
    I would suggest that Condition 3 would be the appropriate one in this case. Specifically the following clause:

    Whilst "as soon as is reasonably practicable" isn't defined, my interpretation would be the first station you change trains at that's got an open ticket office, providing trains are sufficiently frequent, which I'd define as being at least every 15 minutes in the South East, half hourly elsewhere.

    Cheers,

    Barry
     
  12. talltim

    talltim Established Member

    Messages:
    2,154
    Joined:
    17 Jan 2010
    half an hour extra could easily treble the length of your journey
     
  13. WelshBluebird

    WelshBluebird Established Member

    Messages:
    3,109
    Joined:
    14 Jan 2010
    If you have enough time at the station where you change trains, then yes you should buy a ticket there. But you do not have to delay yourself. So if buying a ticket would mean missing your connection, then you do not have to do it.
     
  14. Ferret

    Ferret Established Member

    Messages:
    3,964
    Joined:
    22 Jan 2009
    Just posing a devil's advocate question here, and to be clear, I wouldn't dream of acting on this in my day job, but how does that statement sit with byelaw 18?
     
  15. WelshBluebird

    WelshBluebird Established Member

    Messages:
    3,109
    Joined:
    14 Jan 2010
    The same byelaw that says a person is not in breach of it if:
    "there were no facilities in working order for the issue or validation of any ticket at the time when, and the station where, he began his journey".
    (not sure if that is the exact wording, it is taken from the south west trains website).

    So from that if someone wasn't able to buy a ticket before starting their journey, then surely byelaw 18 does not matter?
    I am no where near an expert in this, but at least that bit looks perfectly clear to me.

    And to be honest, even ignoring that, I would be totally amazed if any member of staff even thought about forcing a passenger to delay themselves to buy a ticket (assuming they have not had chance to earlier on in their journey).
     
    Last edited: 12 Jun 2012
  16. Ferret

    Ferret Established Member

    Messages:
    3,964
    Joined:
    22 Jan 2009
    Well, I certainly wouldn't, and indeed don't force people to delay themselves. But then, I'm not an RPI....which is more about whom the question is aimed. I do wonder if anyone has managed to get MG11d for not delaying their journey when connecting. I suspect the answer is 'yes'...

    I know what byelaw 18 says - and it doesn't mention anything about facilities at a connecting station. Unintentional grey area and can of worms duly opened!
     
  17. WelshBluebird

    WelshBluebird Established Member

    Messages:
    3,109
    Joined:
    14 Jan 2010
    But surely it doesn't matter that it doesn't say anything about a connecting station? If anything, the fact it doesn't say anything means that staff cannot use that byelaw against someone in that circumstance.

    If it says that you cannot be in breach of it if you were not able to buy a ticket at the start of your journey, then that is it, end of discussion, you cannot be done for it. Now, some RPI's and whatever may think it says something else, but that is a totally separate issue surely?

    Also don't forget we have consumer protection laws which say that any grey areas must be resolved to the benefit of the consumer.
     
  18. Ferret

    Ferret Established Member

    Messages:
    3,964
    Joined:
    22 Jan 2009
    Well, it's all down to interpretation. How you and I interpret something may not be how somebody else interprets it. Now, we know that you can be prosecuted if there were no facilities at the point of origin and you don't pay at the end of your journey, which would kind of suggest that it isn't the end of the discussion at the point which you establish that the ticket office is shut!
     
  19. Brucey

    Brucey Member

    Messages:
    670
    Joined:
    7 Jan 2010
    Not paying at the end of a journey is more likely to be a Section 5 RoRA 1889 offence. This requires intent to avoid payment of a fare.

    Walking past an open ticket office is very likely to be interpreting as intent.
     
  20. hairyhandedfool

    hairyhandedfool Established Member

    Messages:
    8,838
    Joined:
    14 Apr 2008
    I would be careful with that statement, 'as soon as is reasonably practicable' is not the same as 'as soon as is reasonable'.

    Bear in mind that if there are facilities to buy a ticket at the departure station, the imminent arrival of the train and/or 'long queues' are not accepted reasons for boarding without a ticket.

    So is it possible to buy a ticket at the station you change trains? If so, do you have a good reason for not doing so? I would say in places were there is a good service (for example, a 15 minute service frequency), then it is reasonably practicable to buy a ticket.
     
  21. barrykas

    barrykas Established Member

    Messages:
    1,579
    Joined:
    19 Sep 2006
    What would you class as reasonable then? The wording on a Permit to Travel (issued in Penalty Fares areas in declining numbers) is "This permit authorises the holder to travel during one journey from the station named and on the date shown providing that it is exchanged promptly (my emphasis) for a valid travel ticket and any balance of fare due is paid at the first opportunity and in any case within TWO hours of the time stamped hereon."

    If you were travelling from, say, Reading West to Paddington, I'd argue that you should exchange a Permit at Reading due to the high frequency of trains between Reading and Paddington.

    For something like Reading West to Swansea, on the other hand, I'd generally expect to be able to pay on the train, given Reading to Swansea is half hourly.

    Cheers,

    Barry
     
  22. RJ

    RJ Established Member

    Messages:
    7,378
    Joined:
    25 Jun 2005
    Location:
    Rail replacement bus cab
    I'd quite like to meet some of these FCC RPIs too as they seem like really nice people. What do you reckon on buying a London Terminals to Dalston Kingsland ticket and travelling out of King's Cross via Cambridge? I would do it if I had any reason to use the line out of King's Cross but even if I did, the easement that mentions Shelford and Royston puts me off.
     
    Last edited: 12 Jun 2012
  23. LexyBoy

    LexyBoy Established Member Fares Advisor

    Messages:
    4,461
    Joined:
    23 Jan 2009
    Location:
    North of the rivers
    The answer is 'yes and the case was dropped by the prosecution'. No prizes for guessing the TOC concerned...

    Not sure if that's supposed to be valid by some quirk or if I've had a sense of humour failure :lol:
     
  24. RJ

    RJ Established Member

    Messages:
    7,378
    Joined:
    25 Jun 2005
    Location:
    Rail replacement bus cab
    Actually, I'd probably give FCC an easy prosecution for that. Post duly amended!
     
  25. LexyBoy

    LexyBoy Established Member Fares Advisor

    Messages:
    4,461
    Joined:
    23 Jan 2009
    Location:
    North of the rivers
    Ah, that works. I don't think the easement applies as it's from Shelford, not via Shelford - not that I'd try it myself! (That's a stupid easement anyway as it makes journey planners forbid journies from Shelford to ECML destinations except using split tickets).
     
  26. RJ

    RJ Established Member

    Messages:
    7,378
    Joined:
    25 Jun 2005
    Location:
    Rail replacement bus cab
    I would do it if I had a requirement to use that line, just like I paid a nice £50 walkup fare to get me from London to Glasgow on Virgin the other day. Cambridge Heath would have been a more fun ticket to use but that would be invalid. The ECML is just as awash with anomalies as the MML and WCML :p

    Travelled again yesterday out of St Pancras at around 6pm. The guard came around and after checking my ticket said I'd have to pay an excess or get off at the next stop, as my ticket wasn't valid. I told her it was. For the first time ever (in almost a year of commuting,) I was listened to. She checked the restriction on the ticket with her machine and also accepted my explanation of how I was using the ticket. Eventually, after I told her that her colleagues kept issuing me with pointless notices and been ordered to stop doing so, she apologised for causing me any hassle by saying my ticket was invalid and moved on.

    This was the very first time a guard who was in doubt as to what I was doing gave me the time of day, listened to my explanation and made the effort to check for themselves before coming to the correct conclusion. If only every guard was like that, I wouldn't have any reason at all to complain but alas, there are far too many who neither want to admit that they don't have a clue, nor want to listen or give me the benefit of the doubt.

    Speaking of which, earlier this week, I saw the guard who withdrew my Priv a couple of months back - the one who claimed I had the "arrogance of youth." This time, she was all smiles. She was smiling so much that she didn't even realise that she had gripped my season ticket :roll:
     
  27. cjp

    cjp Established Member

    Messages:
    1,060
    Joined:
    28 Jan 2012
    Location:
    In front of a computer
    Reading all this lets me know how little I know and how much there is to know but as a simple user of trains I guess I think life is too short beyond the odd (or should I say "not so odd":)) split.
    The one time I used something a little bit adventurous I kept waiting nervously for a Scotrail guard to get out the thumb screws but once I had been checked out OK I enjoyed the rest of the journeys


    Questions for RJ if reading
    Do all these combinations allow you to travel on a through train and how much do you think you tend to save on a journey or in a year?
     
  28. RJ

    RJ Established Member

    Messages:
    7,378
    Joined:
    25 Jun 2005
    Location:
    Rail replacement bus cab
    I commute once or twice a week for 9 months of the year, saving around £65 per journey or £2500 - £3000 annually through use of creative ticketing. Even factoring in the opportunity costs related to dealing with all the disputes, it's still worth it. Yes, I always travel on the fastest train possible.
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    Ok, pleased to say that my commutes on EMT have finished for the next few months :)

    On the last sb trip, I boarded a service at Leicester which was fast to London. The TM made an announcement, sounding a lot like the guy that attempted to stop me boarding an early train out of London one morning and issued me with a UFN that got cancelled by EMT themselves, so I wasn't looking forward to talking to him again. To my surprise an RPI appeared on the train. I handed over my whole ticket wallet showing ticket used along with the appropriate supporting documentation. He said that he was confused but before I had a chance to say anything, he said "Oh hang on, you're the guy who uses the weird ticket combinations aren't you? Don't worry, I've had my briefing" and he carried on. Just as well as as of last week I moved onto a brand new ticket which needs even more explaining than the previous ones did :p.

    Yesterday morning, I travelled on the 05:45 ex St Pancras. The TM himself was barriering the train. I was the first one up and he inspected my ticket. He said it wasn't valid, but every reason he tried to come up with, I countered with the appropriate explanations. Before long, he gave up, saying that he'd let me travel, but he wasn't sure and would get it checked out.

    It was interesting to see the varied reactions I got to the tickets I used. Most problems wouldn't have arisen if these guards had a basic, up to date knowledge of the National Rail Conditions of Carriage. Granted in the last month or two, I've been using more complicated tickets that fall beyond the scope of a cursory inspection, but while some guards were willing to give me the benefit of the doubt, others were tenacious in their desperation to "punish" me for not buying a new Anytime ticket from them. Whilst they don't know what they're talking about, I'm not handing over a single penny that I don't owe them. Not even to the ones who try to force me to hand over a payment card when I told them I have no money allocated to give them for a new ticket when I already have a valid one they don't want to accept.

    It was interesting to see the phenomenon of closed ticket offices and TVMs that didn't offer the ticket I required. Guards sometimes refused to issue the full range of tickets as they're supposed to. I left my home in London at 4am yesterday morning. My local station is weird, the ticket office is open from virtually the first to the last train of the day, it has TVMs as well as a working PTT machine. Anyway, I walked to the TVM which is on the roadside and was able to purchase my ticket for use on EMT. Southern's TVMs are excellent for allowing the purchase of tickets from anywhere to anywhere, plus they print the restriction code on Off Peak tickets as well, which has proven to be useful in fending off guards who are too lazy to check the restriction for themselves. I would love for all TVMs in the country to do this but as it goes, the Southern ones are something of a luxury to use for someone like me. Had this not been available, with both ticket offices at STP shut at 05:45, I would have had to buy my ticket from the guard which I seriously doubt I'd be able to do without some problems. This is something I have been made to dread. I did explore the option of online purchase and ToD but there's a weakness in that online websites are too restrictive in what they're willing to sell.

    I await the next fares change with interest. Closure of loopholes I have been using will solely be for my (dis)benefit. If anybody else in the country was using tickets the way I do on those services, it would have been flagged by staff already. The reason given of "preventing other people from saving huge amounts doing the same thing" is something of a red herring, given that no one else has been doing it for however many years the loopholes have been open. I'm not Martin Lewis and see no merit in broadcasting details of loopholes. Closing loopholes in the hope that I'll start buying through SORs is never going to work unless the powers that be see fit to lock down the ticketing system so heavily that a significant number of passengers will be majorly inconvenienced with the lack of flexibility. If that ever happens, I'll simply use the coach or buy a car. Despite me "commuting," I actually always arrive at my destination several hours or even a day before I commence whatever business I'm doing, sitting at "home" or chasing 37s at either end in the meantime, so it's a minor for me.

    It was great to have the issue addressed through retail/revenue staff being briefed about me. Guards that don't know what they're doing and don't know when to admit that they don't know waste everybody's time and money. Some have chosen to spend up to an hour on me as they don't want to accept my valid ticket, when they could have been sorting out a whole train full of passengers. This in turn causes more unnecessary work for their accounts/prosecutions departments, IRCAS and the HQ, plus my own time and money is wasted getting their very poorly judged actions reversed. It only makes sense to order them to stop doing this, Is one person's personal pride trip really worth creating all that unnecessary work?

    Anyway, this is all great stuff for me and may well go into my dissertation, tentatively based on the UK railways fares system :p
     
    Last edited: 23 Jun 2012
  29. 142094

    142094 Established Member

    Messages:
    8,789
    Joined:
    7 Nov 2009
    Location:
    Newcastle
    Funnily enough I know someone who has just finished a dissertation about the UK fares structure, although I have no idea what they found out.
     
  30. snail

    snail Established Member

    Messages:
    1,809
    Joined:
    16 Jun 2011
    Location:
    t'North
    Are you referring to the train staff or yourself with that comment?
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page