TOCs charging fees for paper tickets purchased online

Discussion in 'Fares Advice & Policy' started by Belperpete, 4 Dec 2018.

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  1. Belperpete

    Belperpete Member

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    I have learnt that Cross Country are now charging for you to collect from a ticket vending machine (TVM), paper tickets bought on-line. I also understand that some TOCs are now charging for paper tickets to be posted to you. Is there a list anywhere of which TOCs are applying these charges?

    I also understand that it is possible to "print your own" tickets, but I don't recall ever seeing this option on any TOC's web-site that I have used. Again, is there a list anywhere of which TOCs and other sellers provide this option?

    The stations that I most regularly use have no booking offices, and I find this development of charging for paper tickets very worrying. Agreed that it is possible to pay on the day from the guard, or (if there is one) from a TVM at the station, but if I want a reservation or an advance fare then I have no alternative but to book on line (or by phone). I am currently loathe to purchase electronic tickets due to the problems well-documented on other threads if anything goes wrong (such as claiming compensation for a missed connection), or if you do anything out of the ordinary (like break journey, which I frequently do).

    The TfW web-site, for example, is completely silent about what you should do at stations that have no ticket office, despite them having rather a lot of such stations. It says that they want all passengers to "buy before boarding", but doesn't then explain what you should do after you have bought if there is no facility to collect the ticket. Normally, a printout of your ticket purchase confirmation doesn't count: you are required to be in possession of a valid ticket before boarding, so you must have actually collected the ticket before you board. TfW's Revenue Protection Policy states that this requirement does not apply at stations with no ticket purchasing facilities. However, it does NOT state what DOES apply at such stations!

    Fortunately, the last time that I travelled, I showed the guard a printed copy of my ticket collection email, and he printed the ticket out for me. Is this standard - can all guards on "pay train" services do this? Could another guard in such a situation demand that, because I don't actually have a ticket, that I have to buy another ticket from him?

    Likewise, what should happen if your station does have a TVM, but when you go there to collect your ticket when starting your journey, the TVM is out of order? I can find nothing public that explains what official policy is in such situations. Usually, on Matlock-line services, the guard looks at my confirmation email, and agrees that I can collect my ticket at Derby. But what if there is no time to do so before my booked connection departs? Or what if the station where I am getting off also has no available TVM.

    To take a final example, suppose I want to buy a ticket on the day of travel that includes an onward journey by say XC or Virgin, including an "on-the-day" seat reservation on that service. I presume that I would have to buy my ticket using the XC or VT web-site. Would a pay-train guard on my originating EMT or TfW service be able to print this ticket out? Will I have to pay XC's extra TVM collection charge for a ticket that is going to be printed by the guard?

    Sorry to go on, but as I started typing this query, it has opened a whole can of worms.
     
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  3. swt_passenger

    swt_passenger Veteran Member

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    XC started this quite a few years ago, I’m sure someone will remember the date, but it isn’t new at all.
     
  4. sheff1

    sheff1 Established Member

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    No, it is not standard. If it was, it would prevent a lot of the problems we hear about.

    Can anyone who is in the know clarify (i) why it is not standard and (ii) whether it is going to be rolled out further ?
     
  5. gray1404

    gray1404 Established Member

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    I believe XC only charge if you could have used a mobile ticket or print at home ticket. This depends on the specific booking being made as this option is not always offered. I booked some tickets with them recently and there were 3 collection options: collect from the station, standard delivery or special delivery. The only free option was to collect from the station TVM.
     
  6. Wallsendmag

    Wallsendmag Established Member

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    We've always charged for paper tickets, which TOC is giving away free journeys?
     
  7. Deafdoggie

    Deafdoggie Member

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    The email could be copied, forwarded, used multiple times. Tickets can only be printed once however!
     
  8. Belperpete

    Belperpete Member

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    Exactly. So surely it is in the train companies' own interests that pay-train guards should be able to print the tickets out, rather than people having to use the email as evidence of ticket purchase in order to get to a station where the ticket can be printed?
     
  9. Belperpete

    Belperpete Member

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    Why might a print at home ticket be available for some bookings, but not others?
    And if the print at home option is not available for a particular booking, and you are starting from a station that does not have a TVM, and it is too late for the tickets to be delivered, what are you supposed to do?
     
  10. gray1404

    gray1404 Established Member

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    No, tickets need to be printed before travel commences. There is no entitlement for a customer to have their ticket printed on the train or to be allowed to travel to a station on route to get it printed and show their email confirmation in the mean time. Of course, if the station from which you start your journey should offer ticket collection but their is a problem with such then that is different. In such a case I would ask staff for advise (or the guard upon boarding if it was an unmanned station).
     
  11. gray1404

    gray1404 Established Member

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    In such a case, tough luck. Get your ticket by another means.
     
  12. swt_passenger

    swt_passenger Veteran Member

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    You might be using the XC website to book a ticket that involves a TOC that doesn’t accept print at home tickets yet.
     
  13. Deafdoggie

    Deafdoggie Member

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    Not all TOCS accept print at home tickets, so if it a cross-TOC journey then it is not available.
     
  14. Deafdoggie

    Deafdoggie Member

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    But it leaves people open to try to abuse the system. Much simpler to have a fixed “get ticket before you board” rule. Otherwise a guard may not come down & people ask for a refund as ticket not collected. Or they only buy it when they see the guard coming down. Or lots of other scenarios.
     
  15. Belperpete

    Belperpete Member

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    What other means? What are you supposed to do if you need to book on-line because the ticket you want isn't available from the guard, you are travelling from a station that has no TVM, it is too late to have the ticket delivered, and you are not offered a print at home option?

    How do you even know if a print at home option is going to be available? Note that nobody has yet answered my queries about which TOCs offer print at home, and what types of ticket are and aren't available with print at home. I (and I suspect most members of joe public) don't have a clue. Are we supposed to work our way through all the TOC web-sites until we find one that does?
     
  16. Killingworth

    Killingworth Member

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    CrossCountry seem to be trying to charge for collection at some TVMs for some journeys, but not all. We travel from Sheffield to Newcastle quite often and pick up our tickets at Dore & Totley. I've just tried to order tickets from there (change at Sheffield or Doncaster) or just from Sheffield direct and it's not asking for a charge for paper tickets.

    However, I'm sure I tried to buy on the same site recently and was asked to pay £1. I went to another TOCs site, probably TPE where I get Nectar points. That may have been to Leeds.

    We used to be able to print our tickets at home, but don't seem to be offered that option now.
     
  17. Deafdoggie

    Deafdoggie Member

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    Print at home tickets are offered by XC on journeys wholly on XC.
    If there is no other option other than TVM collection, there is no charge. But as XC do not have their own machines it is a cost to them if you collect from another TOC, which you must do!
    I don’t know what tickets are unavailable from guards I am afraid. I was of the impression that all were, if no purchasing facilities at boarding station.
     
  18. gray1404

    gray1404 Established Member

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    If there is not enough time to buy online, no ticket office at the station or a TVM that will sell you the ticket and you are unable to go to another station where you can either buy or collect your tickets (i.e. if you where buying an advance but of course you cannot get on board or something else that can never be issued on board) then I would say your only option would be to ask the guard on boarding. I wonder if you are looking for a problem that doesn't really exist on the level you are making out. Many people buy tickets from guards everyday as their first opportunity to pay and it doesn't raise an issue. In the very rare case that the guard is unable to sell the ticket they would, in my experience, ask you to buy it when you change trains or at your destination. I do think you have been provided with enough information on here to be able to work out the system now. No, it is not perfect but it works for most situations.
     
  19. Wallsendmag

    Wallsendmag Established Member

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    e-Tickets will be almost everywhere except Scotland and cross London journeys by the end of the year
     
  20. Belperpete

    Belperpete Member

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    I have to say that I find this response very condescending. Just because most people don't have a problem doesn't mean that I don't. Clearly I have NOT been provided with the information I need.

    I am no nearer knowing now than when I first asked when it is possible to buy a print at home ticket and when it is not.
    I am no nearer knowing now than when I first asked what the official position is on someone who has purchased an advance ticket on-line but has been afforded no opportunity to print it before boarding a "pay-train".

    As I said earlier, almost all of my journeys start from stations with no ticket offices. I have very often had to rely on the guard accepting my printed confirmation of purchase, so far without any problem. But I remain very concerned that the legality of that seems very questionable, the distinct possibility that a guard could legitimately refuse it, and what my rights would be in such a situation.

    I think if a guard did refuse to accept my confirmation of purchase, and demanded that I buy another ticket, I would refuse on the grounds that I had paid the fare, and the requirement to obtain a ticket before boarding does not apply at stations where there is no facility to purchase a ticket. If there is no requirement for me to have a ticket when boarding, but I am required to obtain a ticket once on the train, then it clearly follows that it is up to the TOC to provide the means on the train for me to obtain the ticket that I have paid for. It is not my fault if the guard is unable to provide it.

    Thanks for that. Unfortunately a lot of my journeys are either cross-London, or to a London Zone (do these count as cross-London tickets in this respect?). As stated earlier, I am loath to buy electronic tickets because of all the potential problems with them, but it looks like I might be forced into doing so, for some journeys at least.
     
  21. swt_passenger

    swt_passenger Veteran Member

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    I don’t believe anyone is ever “forced” to buy an electronic ticket.
     
  22. Wallsendmag

    Wallsendmag Established Member

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    e-Tickets aren't electronic tickets as such you can print them if you so wish.
     
  23. sheff1

    sheff1 Established Member

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    I have never been charged a fee to collect a ToD paper ticket and have probably used a dozen different TOC sites ... fortunately I have never used yours and have no intention of doing so !
     
  24. Deerfold

    Deerfold Established Member

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    I think @Wallsendmag was being pedantic and was not talking about fees.
     
  25. sheff1

    sheff1 Established Member

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    The thread title clearly states "fees".
     
  26. Deerfold

    Deerfold Established Member

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    Indeed, but as he refers to TOCs giving free journeys, I don't think he's talking about fees.
     
  27. Wallsendmag

    Wallsendmag Established Member

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    Expect more of this as e and m tickets will by the end of the year be more or less universally available unless you want to travel via London or in Scotland.
     
  28. Deerfold

    Deerfold Established Member

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    Is there an echo in here?

     
  29. Deafdoggie

    Deafdoggie Member

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    As i said before, if your journey is wholly on an operator who offers print-at-home, you can purchase one. If your journey involves more than one operator, or the sole operator doesn't offer print-at-home, you will not be offered it. As less and less people have printers now, the move is away from this and into "M-Tickets"

    It is your responsibility to print tickets before travel. If you are starting a journey at a station with no collection facilities you are warned of this when making the purchase. The email booking confirmation clearly says it is not a ticket and that you need to collect tickets before travel.
     
  30. Deerfold

    Deerfold Established Member

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    That's not entirely true. I'm offered print at home for my regular journey involving Northern and LNER - but only for Advances.
     
  31. Belperpete

    Belperpete Member

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    Thanks for that, but it isn't much help without knowing which operators offer print-at-home.

    Who says? I can't find any such condition in the TfW RPP Guide:
    http://tfwalesstg.prod.acquia-sites...-10/Revenue Protection Policy (website)_0.pdf
    It only says that you have to BUY a ticket before travel. There is no requirement to print it out.

    The link in the TfW RPP guide on how to purchase a ticket takes you the National Rail Enquiries web-site, that clearly says I am allowed to buy tickets on-line. There is no caveat about only being allowed to buy tickets on-line if I print them out.

    But by the time you get the email confirmation, you have already bought the ticket that you have no means of collecting! This condition is therefore clearly unreasonable and unenforceable.
     
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