Travel in declassified first class when timetable shows standard only

Discussion in 'Fares Advice & Policy' started by mawallace, 18 May 2019.

  1. mawallace

    mawallace Member

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    From tomorrow none of Greater Anglia trains show 1st class symbol on their timetable. Some apps show the first class fare as no longer being available on some routes

    Despite this a conductor has told me that if someone travels in the first class apartment, on a service with no first class designation, they will be penalised.

    Is that true. Seems daft if you cant buy first class ticket in first place, and service is not shown as first class on timetable.

    There will be lot of empty seats as a result.
     
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  3. TFN

    TFN Member

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    If the timetable shows no first class accomodation for that train, first class is available to all regardless.

    Perhaps the guard didn't get the memo yet?
     
  4. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    If a train is shown unambiguously as standard only, I'd pay for the upgrade (under duress), get a refund and they'll get into trouble.

    What train(s) are you looking at?
     
  5. superalbs

    superalbs Established Member

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    A lot of them seem to still show first class though?
     
  6. hexagon789

    hexagon789 Established Member

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    I'm sure Greater Anglia said they were abolishing all First Class except London-Norwich from December was it not?

    Until then I assumed it was the status quo.
     
  7. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    I guess in this case it would be a PF? But yes, if offered a PF it is sensible to pay it, then the appeal will succeed and the member of staff be caught out.

    That said, I don't believe "if it says Standard only in the timetable First is declassified if it's not wholly closed", which has long been convention, is actually written anywhere any more?
     
  8. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    If it was a weekday and you were unfortunate enough to encounter an authorised collector who didn't apply the rules correctly, then yes
    Not this again :|

    If a train is advertised as conveying standard class only, then it conveys standard class only. End of.
     
  9. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    This is certainly convention and how the vast majority of staff see it still, but is it still written anywhere? That would be needed to defend a prosecution in Court.
     
  10. Mag_seven

    Mag_seven Established Member

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    Not correct - a quick download of Greater Anglia Time Table 4, "Norwich and Stowmarket to Ipswich and London" shows, as expected, 1st Class available on most London-Norwich services for example.
     
  11. superjohn

    superjohn Member

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    I understand the change is being made in January 2020, as per this page:
    https://www.greateranglia.co.uk/first-class
    Quote - “First class accommodation will be “declassified” on existing trains from 2 January 2020, on all trains except for Intercity services.”

    The pdf timetables on the GA site still show first class where you would expect from 19th May.
     
  12. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    I refer you to my posts above.

    For example:
    lwt to ips.jpg
    This means the train only conveys standard class accommodation.

    If a member of staff asked me to pay an upgrade to sit in first class accommodation on a train that only conveyed standard classs, I would state the train conveyed standard class only and therefore I didn't think any upgrade was due. If they insisted that I pay, I would pay it and immediately submit a refund request and complaint.

    I would take the matter to the Rail Ombudsman and my MP if necessary.

    I am in regular contact with solicitors/barristers so I would discuss it with them but I'd be confident the matter would not need to go to a court.

    I would be refunded and I'd expect to be further compensated, and I'd expect the member of staff who made the incorrect charge to be invited to a meeting with their manager.
     
    Last edited: 18 May 2019
  13. mawallace

    mawallace Member

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    Compare this:-

    From the current timetable:-
    upload_2019-5-18_17-42-48.png

    To this from tomorrow:-

    upload_2019-5-18_17-45-10.png

    It's the same for all of their rural services. And it's the same for many of their other rural routes.

    but then I find this in the National Rail conditions of Carriage:-

    10.2. Train Companies are required to ensure that warning notices are clearly displayed
    on trains and stations where such schemes operate. Within the areas where such
    schemes operate, you may be charged a Penalty Fare if:
    10.2.1. You travel on a train service without a Ticket or Permit to Travel; or
    10.2.2. You travel in first class accommodation with a standard class Ticket

    So I think the logic is that, unless the first class has been declassified, you can't travel in first class! It's not how it's advertised, it's what's on the train compartment!
     
  14. superjohn

    superjohn Member

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    I must admit I only looked at the GE and WA mainline timetables where first class remains in place.

    On the rural side I would suspect it is down to the fleet issues causing constant unit substitutions which have led to very random provision of first class. It probably made more sense to declassify across the board. It will also ease the introduction of the new units.
     
  15. hexagon789

    hexagon789 Established Member

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    That's what I remember reading.

    Seems they've brought it forward a bit.
     
  16. mawallace

    mawallace Member

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    Had a chat with GA customer services.

    Their line is:-

    1. Rural lines will be getting the new units 'sometime' during the May - Dec timetable;
    2. The new trains do not have first class accommodation;
    3. They did not want to advertise the services as first class due to 2. above;
    4. In their view, if a train is supplied with first class, then the existing rules apply.
     
  17. hexagon789

    hexagon789 Established Member

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    The existing rules in their case being?
     
  18. mawallace

    mawallace Member

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    If it's first class part of the train, then you need a first class ticket!
     
  19. hexagon789

    hexagon789 Established Member

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    Considering GA is Abellio as with ScotRail, I'm surprised they enforce this.

    On ScotRail when a First Class equipped train operated any Standard only service guard's never gave your ticket a second glance if you sat in First Class and I'm always surprised other TOCs often seem to take issue with this.
     
  20. etr221

    etr221 Member

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    But these are standard class only trains, so there is no first class part, only sections labelled as first class, which would be the first class part if that existed, but it doesn't.
     
  21. jon0844

    jon0844 Veteran Member

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    I'm not sure how they can remove first class operation on services and then say if a train has first class it counts. It's one or the other, so I'd say first class no longer operates on the advertised services in the timetable.
     
  22. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    It's a cultural thing. They've been doing it since before Abellio took over. Some of the Guards on those rural lines are of the "this is my train; my rules apply" type.

    See this from 2011:
    It was a mistake to trudge off; it is better to pay the supplement/excess and then you have undeniable evidence that a breach of the conditions has occurred, and you have incurred a loss for which you must be at least fully refunded (if not further compensated for the inconvenience/embarrassment).

    I once had this on GWR; I spoke with customer services by phone and then put the phone to the Guard. The Guard was rude and defiant to Customer Services. If I'd behaved as he did at work I'd expect to be sacked. Presumably the call was recorded and replayed to his manager but I doubt much happened other than maybe a verbal warning at best. The rail industry doesn't appear to take this sort of thing seriously as it should.

    Looking back I should have paid the fare under duress so I could demonstrate a loss and escalate the matter to the highest level necessary to get a good response.
     
  23. mawallace

    mawallace Member

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    But.. what is a 'declassified train' - I can't find anything anywhere as to what is meant.

    i.e is declassified taken as what is in the timetable - which is what we seem to be arguing or

    what is shown on the train itself!
     
  24. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    If a train service conveys standard class only but has an area of the train that is available for passengers to use, that is labelled as first class, then that area is considered to be "declassified".

    Also some train services do convey first and standard class but have more than one first class coach/compartment/area of the train labelled as first class, and some of those sections are also "declassified" e.g. Thameslink route trains operated by GTR (the front part is 1st class, the rear part is declassified).
     
  25. mawallace

    mawallace Member

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    Thanks - but is there anything which we can point to to confirm this!
     
  26. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    What they absolutely do (and always did) have the option to do is to say that First Class areas are closed entirely on these trains, i.e. they are not available to anyone, even people with a First Class ticket.

    Presumably they've done what they have to avoid annoying people by selling First Class tickets online for trains that might not have First Class, which is a fairly sensible thing to do.
     
  27. island

    island Established Member

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    The difficulty in these situations is that you could still get yourself prosecuted under byelaw 19 (no person shall remain in any seat, berth, or part of the train where a notice indicates that it is reserved for a specific ticket holder or holders of a ticket of a specified class, except the holder of a valid ticket entitling him to be in that place). Byelaw 19 doesn’t say “...unless the timetable does not have a 1 symbol next to the train he is travelling on” or similar, and I don’t have yorkie’s level of confidence that one could successfully defend such a prosecution. Even if one did, it would be a lot more stress and faff than many members would be willing to incur.

    Escalating to the Rail Ombudsman and/or Transport Focus is a good way of wasting time, but not a good way of getting the desired outcome.
     
  28. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    If booking an individual ticket, I'd screenshot the information stating the train conveys standard class only (and do this on their own website if possible). If it's a Season/Day Ranger/Rover etc, then screenshot the relevant information on NRE.

    If required to pay the upgrade, I'd do so under duress using a credit card, and use relevant means to obtain a refund (initially contacting the train company but you could escalate this by going to the Ombudsman and even arranging a chargeback through your credit card company)
     
  29. Mutant Lemming

    Mutant Lemming Established Member

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    I have been wondering why Thameslink have such a complicated system for First Class with 'local' services totally declassified and fast/semi-fast services having the leading First Class section as First and the rear First Class section as declassified. This is sometimes further complicated by incorrect on board displays stating 'This Area is for Use by Customers holding First Class Tickets Only' or 'This Area can be used by Customers Holding Standard class tickets' being displayed in the wrong section. You know you can sit in that first class section but try arguing with the RPIs when an illuminated display above your head says otherwise. I just don't get why they won't either make the first class 'live' or declassify the lot - the current system is confusing and absurd
     
  30. ForTheLoveOf

    ForTheLoveOf Established Member

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    GTR have tweeted multiple times about this in response to questions asking whether First Class is still declassified, confirming that the rear FC is always declassified on Thameslink branded Class 700 services.
     
  31. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Yes, I think the Thameslink situation is utterly and totally bizarre.

    They could have had less First, but still at both ends.

    They could reduce the fare differential to make it more attractive, particularly off-peak.

    They could have put it in the middle of the train, keeping it as one area, as that is the most convenient place for it as most stations have access mostly in the middle. OK, that means Standard passengers walking through it, but that happens on all the South East commuter operations and does not cause great issues given that the purpose of commuter First Class is effectively a guarantee of a seat.
     

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