Travel Dalston to Gatwick airport - ticketing issues....

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Wolfie

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My other half, who has a Freedom Pass, had problems when making the above journey last week. She was on an early flight so needed to start travelling at about 0700. NRE suggested travelling Dalston Junction (0710) to New Cross Gate (0731) on London Overground then Southern from New Cross Gate (0738) arriving Gatwick Airport (0803).

The London Overground ticket office sold her a BZ6 to Gatwick Airport Anytime return ticket, having been clearly advised of the time she would be travelling (as I was twitched about the validity of her Freedom Pass on Southern at that time). On the Southern train she was advised by the "guard" (unclear if it was a guard, RPI or what) that she had no valid ticket between New Cross Gate and BZ6 but that he would take no action on this occassion (I suspect the fact that he could see the issue time on the ticket may have played a part in this). I guess all is well that ends well but would like to be clear for future journeys.

Two questions:
a Who was correct, the on-train staff or the ticket office staff?
b What redress does a passenger have in such a situation?
 
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Mike395

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Sadly, the guard was correct - the ticket office should have advised you of the restriction before selling you the ticket (especially if you specifically asked!), as shown here.

If you're unsure about advice being given by a particular ticket office clerk, I would try and get their name in case of any issues later, as this can then be verified in the case of an appeal being needed :)
 

Brucey

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Assuming this was a weekday, the Freedom Pass is not valid until 9:30am. The ticket office staff were incorrect and a ticket for the whole journey should have been issued.
 

Wolfie

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Sadly, the guard was correct - the ticket office should have advised you of the restriction before selling you the ticket (especially if you specifically asked!), as shown here.

If you're unsure about advice being given by a particular ticket office clerk, I would try and get their name in case of any issues later, as this can then be verified in the case of an appeal being needed :)
Not only did he not advise her (or me - I paid for the ticket!) about the restrictions, he actively insisted that the ticket combination was valid for the trains to be taken when I asked! I guess the "man on the platform" has a friend "in the ticket office"!!!

I fear that he assumed that because Freedom Pass was valid at all times on the London Overground that was also true on trains operated by other TOCs - poor training???
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Assuming this was a weekday, the Freedom Pass is not valid until 9:30am. The ticket office staff were incorrect and a ticket for the whole journey should have been issued.
It was a Monday morning! I knew enough to be twitched but my other half's view was "if the man in the ticket office says it is valid it must be valid". As such she was MOST put out on the train.....I guess that much vaunted discretion cut in with the "guard"? Seriously most passengers would take the same stance she did and the whole situation seems most unfair and biased in one direction ie against the passenger.
 

Mike395

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Yes, I would say that this is likely to be a training issue - although I am surprised the LO ticket offices aren't trained in Freedom Pass regulations, considering they must deal with such ticket enquiries relatively often.
 

Wolfie

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Yes, I would say that this is likely to be a training issue - although I am surprised the LO ticket offices aren't trained in Freedom Pass regulations, considering they must deal with such ticket enquiries relatively often.
The wording in the link you attached is poor and lacks clarity wrt Southern though: "From 09:30 plus valid on services between Clapham Junction and Harrow & Wealdstone at any time for Disabled Persons Freedom Pass holders and from 09:00 for Older Persons Freedom Pass holders."

What I think it is saying is (after quite a bit of thought):

Valid on all Southern services with the TfL zones after 0930.
Also valid on services between Clapham Junction and Harrow & Wealdstone:
a At any time for Disabled Persons Freedom Pass holders;
b From 09:00 for Older Persons Freedom Pass holders.

There are however other interpretations possible due to the complete absence of punctuation!

I wonder whether the bit in the middle which I have quoted as a) in my reformulation above confused him? - my other half holds a Disabled Persons Freedom Pass.
 

IanXC

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After a similar performance with a Northern ticket office, where I went in with the intention of buying 2 Advances but left with a Super Off Peak Return I complained and then appealed to Passenger Focus.

Didn't get me anywhere, Northern defended their clerk to the hilt even though I had brought my intended itinery written down, and had a specific meeting to go to at my destination.

The guy from Passenger Focus was nearly as annoyed with the whole performance as I was, seemed that if I had asked for a printed itinery for my journey it would have made the difference.

I vowed to do that going forward, although since we caught up and got ToD facilities I've not purchased from a ticket office.

 

MikeWh

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Assuming this was a weekday, the Freedom Pass is not valid until 9:30am. The ticket office staff were incorrect and a ticket for the whole journey should have been issued.
Well not quite. Given the specific itinerary, a ticket from New Cross Gate was required. It should have been pointed out that if interchange was made between LO and Southern at Norwood Junction, then that would be where the ticket was required from. Personally I think Southern should match the LO restrictions between New Cross Gate and Crystal Palace/West Croydon because I'm sure many people don't understand the difference between LO and Southern services.
 

swt_passenger

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The additional benefits (beyond that of the ENCTS 'bus pass') that accrue to Freedom Pass holders on TfL services are paid for by the London Boroughs though, so it shouldn't really be a case of SN coming into line with TfL, it needs the London Boroughs to decide to to buy the additional facility from SN.
 

Wolfie

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I fully understand what you both are saying BUT most passengers will rely on what they are told by ticket office staff. It is grossly unfair for those passengers to be penalised if people who's job it is to get ticketing right do not do so. Even if any penalty is ultimately quashed the ordinary passenger has a shedload of hoops to jump through to achieve this and frankly many have better things to do with their lives and will fold and pay even if they were not at fault. The archaic legislation the railways operate under allow such consumer-unfriendly practices to operate in a way which just would not be legal in other service supplying industries.

I can guess, and even sympathise to an extent with, the likely response which will doubtless relate to the need for such draconian measures due to the degree of evasion that goes on. It is just a shame that all too often it seems that it is the one-off mistake rather than the systematic abuse that gets penalised.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Sorry for the rant, but I am extremely miffed that my registered disabled other half could potentially have ended at best having to buy another ticket and at worst penalty fared despite my jumping through all of the rail industry's hoops and asking all of the right questions. All of this because the customer facing part of that industry made a mistake. I appreciate and fully understand that to make a mistake is human. Unfortunately all too often such acceptance is only one way when it comes to the railways.

Conversely the sensible application of discretion by a member of rail staff redeemed the situation.
 

bb21

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I fully understand what you both are saying BUT most passengers will rely on what they are told by ticket office staff. It is grossly unfair for those passengers to be penalised if people who's job it is to get ticketing right do not do so. Even if any penalty is ultimately quashed the ordinary passenger has a shedload of hoops to jump through to achieve this and frankly many have better things to do with their lives and will fold and pay even if they were not at fault. The archaic legislation the railways operate under allow such consumer-unfriendly practices to operate in a way which just would not be legal in other service supplying industries.

I can guess, and even sympathise to an extent with, the likely response which will doubtless relate to the need for such draconian measures due to the degree of evasion that goes on. It is just a shame that all too often it seems that it is the one-off mistake rather than the systematic abuse that gets penalised.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Sorry for the rant, but I am extremely miffed that my registered disabled other half could potentially have ended at best having to buy another ticket and at worst penalty fared despite my jumping through all of the rail industry's hoops and asking all of the right questions. All of this because the customer facing part of that industry made a mistake. I appreciate and fully understand that to make a mistake is human. Unfortunately all too often such acceptance is only one way when it comes to the railways.

Conversely the sensible application of discretion by a member of rail staff redeemed the situation.
I think your frustration is understandable. I cannot think of much else to suggest other than to bring it to the attention of LO, emphasising the severity of the potential consequences, and requesting that adequate training be provided at ticket offices so that such mistakes do not occur again.
 

tsr

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I fully understand what you both are saying BUT most passengers will rely on what they are told by ticket office staff. It is grossly unfair for those passengers to be penalised if people who's job it is to get ticketing right do not do so. Even if any penalty is ultimately quashed the ordinary passenger has a shedload of hoops to jump through to achieve this and frankly many have better things to do with their lives and will fold and pay even if they were not at fault. The archaic legislation the railways operate under allow such consumer-unfriendly practices to operate in a way which just would not be legal in other service supplying industries.

I can guess, and even sympathise to an extent with, the likely response which will doubtless relate to the need for such draconian measures due to the degree of evasion that goes on. It is just a shame that all too often it seems that it is the one-off mistake rather than the systematic abuse that gets penalised.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Sorry for the rant, but I am extremely miffed that my registered disabled other half could potentially have ended at best having to buy another ticket and at worst penalty fared despite my jumping through all of the rail industry's hoops and asking all of the right questions. All of this because the customer facing part of that industry made a mistake. I appreciate and fully understand that to make a mistake is human. Unfortunately all too often such acceptance is only one way when it comes to the railways.

Conversely the sensible application of discretion by a member of rail staff redeemed the situation.
Southern's guards are generally very polite and sensible, in my experience, and on more than one occasion I have seen that they will overlook genuine mistakes and do all manner of things that are beyond what is required of them to ensure the right ticket or permission to travel is obtained.

I suppose you might tentatively be able to apply Condition 3 of the NRCoC, since you made clear to the ticket office staff your intended journey and thus the tickets needed, but you could not reasonably obtain the tickets required from this source. Due to the incompetence or mistakes of staff, at the point when you needed a ticket, the full range of tickets you needed was not available.

Since a member of Southern staff had the potential to be involved in issuing a Penalty Fare, I am assuming the following may not apply, but it might be worth considering. I think it depends on whether or not a continuous Compulsory Ticket Area was in force.

Section 7.4.d of the Penalty Fare Rules 2002:
[A] person acting, or appearing to act, on behalf of the operator of the relevant train or of that station indicated that the person was, or people generally were, allowed to board that train or enter the compulsory ticket area without a ticket or other authority to do so.
 

34D

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I fully understand what you both are saying BUT most passengers will rely on what they are told by ticket office staff. It is grossly unfair for those passengers to be penalised if people who's job it is to get ticketing right do not do so. Even if any penalty is ultimately quashed the ordinary passenger has a shedload of hoops to jump through to achieve this and frankly many have better things to do with their lives and will fold and pay even if they were not at fault. The archaic legislation the railways operate under allow such consumer-unfriendly practices to operate in a way which just would not be legal in other service supplying industries.

I can guess, and even sympathise to an extent with, the likely response which will doubtless relate to the need for such draconian measures due to the degree of evasion that goes on. It is just a shame that all too often it seems that it is the one-off mistake rather than the systematic abuse that gets penalised.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Sorry for the rant, but I am extremely miffed that my registered disabled other half could potentially have ended at best having to buy another ticket and at worst penalty fared despite my jumping through all of the rail industry's hoops and asking all of the right questions. All of this because the customer facing part of that industry made a mistake. I appreciate and fully understand that to make a mistake is human. Unfortunately all too often such acceptance is only one way when it comes to the railways.

Conversely the sensible application of discretion by a member of rail staff redeemed the situation.
No offence, but you have a pass valid from 09:30 weekdays (all days at weekends) and it was used well before that time. Whether the ticket office guy led you on I do not know.

It is your responsibility to understand the restrictions for your particular ticket. A simple google brought me to the page http://www.londoncouncils.gov.uk/services/freedompass/whenwhere/

Sorry if I sound harsh, but I simply do not understand how anyone would think that such a ticket is valid before 09:30 - I realise there is an exception for the tube and for LO but that is hardly the point.
 

ert47

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No offence, but you have a pass valid from 09:30 weekdays (all days at weekends) and it was used well before that time. Whether the ticket office guy led you on I do not know.

It is your responsibility to understand the restrictions for your particular ticket. A simple google brought me to the page http://www.londoncouncils.gov.uk/services/freedompass/whenwhere/

Sorry if I sound harsh, but I simply do not understand how anyone would think that such a ticket is valid before 09:30 - I realise there is an exception for the tube and for LO but that is hardly the point.
The thing is, sometimes there are details that you forget and need to get clarification about. If you ask a member of staff about something regarding tickets, you'd expect them to be correct!

As mentioned before, there is a bit of confusion that comes up with trains between New Cross Gate and Crystal Palace/West Croydon. Although both Southern and London Overground serve both places and also have services that stop at every station in between, there are tickets that work on LO but not on SN - and when you put Oyster on top of that, Oyster doesnt know any difference.
In a way its like the whole Gatwick Airport issue with how you can get 2 different type of tickets for one journey - the train could be stopping at the same places, but it all just depends on the "colour" of your train (plus it doesn't help that there is still a 319 in Southern colours),

I've had someone who works for TfL tell me that the afternoon peak restrictions on the Oystercard is only for people travelling in one direction - into London z1. When I decided to ask someone from a Southeastern gateline, they had no idea. In the end I had to find out myself when I got charged peak rate expecting to be charged off peak.
 

MikeWh

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I've had someone who works for TfL tell me that the afternoon peak restrictions on the Oystercard is only for people travelling in one direction - into London z1. When I decided to ask someone from a Southeastern gateline, they had no idea. In the end I had to find out myself when I got charged peak rate expecting to be charged off peak.
On TfL priced routes Oyster charges off-peak between 1600 and 1900 if the journey starts outside zone 1 and finishes in zone 1. In all other scenarios the peak rate applies.
 

Wolfie

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Well, this just gets better and better....

Over the weekend (Fri to this morning) I asked at three further London Overground stations about what ticket my other half would need.

At every one of those stations I was told that a BZ6 to Gatwick ticket would be valid on the services quoted by NRE for a Monday. At all bar one of them I was told that the best ticket would be an Anytime return. At the exception I was asked what day/time my other half would be returning and when I answered Saturday late afternoon/early evening was advised to by a BZ6 to Gatwick Airport Anytime Single and a Gatwick Airport to BZ6 Offpeak Single as this would be cheaper.

No offence, but you have a pass valid from 09:30 weekdays (all days at weekends) and it was used well before that time. Whether the ticket office guy led you on I do not know.

It is your responsibility to understand the restrictions for your particular ticket. A simple google brought me to the page http://www.londoncouncils.gov.uk/services/freedompass/whenwhere/

Sorry if I sound harsh, but I simply do not understand how anyone would think that such a ticket is valid before 09:30 - I realise there is an exception for the tube and for LO but that is hardly the point.
I sincerely hope that with this attitude you are not, nor never are, employed in a customer facing role. My other half has a degenerative neurological disorder hence the Freedom pass. I do not hold such a ticket and am unaware of the full restrictions on it. What I did try and do was get it right - I asked people who's job it is to know such a thing and they got it wrong. That according to you is the customer's fault. Frankly that will just result in two things:
a If staff are useless (ie they do not know their job) how can they expect any public support for their retention?
b Massive public pressure for changes to the current railway legislation.

Many years ago I saw someone in a customer facing role (not the railways) take a stance similar to you in a number of cases where it was unwarranted. A while later that same individual took the same stance with the wrong person and was physically assaulted. Did the individual deserve that despite being a clown? No. Did anyone assist him in the slightest - hell no!!!
 
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tsr

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Well, this just gets better and better....

Over the weekend (Fri to this morning) I asked at three further London Overground stations about what ticket my other half would need.

At every one of those stations I was told that a BZ6 to Gatwick ticket would be valid on the services quoted by NRE for a Monday. At all bar one of them I was told that the best ticket would be an Anytime return. At the exception I was asked what day/time by other half would be returning and when I answered Saturday late afternoon/early evening was advised to by a BZ6 to Gatwick Airport Anytime Single and a Gatwick Airport to BZ6 Offpeak Single as this would be cheaper.



I sincerely hope that with this attitude you are not, nor never are, employed in a customer facing role. My other half has a degenerative neurological disorder hence the Freedom pass. I do not hold such a ticket and am unaware of the full restrictions on it. Whjat I did try and do was get it right - I asked people who's job it is to know such a thing and they got it wrong. That according to you is the customer's fault. Frankly that will just result in two things:
a If staff are useless (ie they do not know their job) how can they expect any public support for their retention?
b Massive public pressure for changes to the current railway legislation.

Many years ago I saw someone in a customer facing role (not the railways) take a stance similar to you in a number of cases where it was unwarranted. A while later that same individual took the same stance with the wrong person and was physically assaulted. Did the individual deserve that despite being a clown? No. Did anyone assist him in the slightest - hell no!!!
I would be very much inclined to write (perhaps not email) London Overground and demand an explanation and an apology for consistent errors.

It is frankly unacceptable that it appears very few of their staff can be bothered to learn which tickets to sell! If your other half, as you said, unfortunately suffers from a neurological disorder, it is even more worrying that they will sell the wrong ticket. They should be making life much easier for them!
 
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