Travel on earlier train than booked

Discussion in 'Fares Advice & Policy' started by gooses, 27 Aug 2011.

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  1. b0b

    b0b Established Member

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    I'm going to disagree with you there, I don't see the harm in asking at all! I would have thought yield management practices would mean that the company is very happy to use an otherwise empty seat on an immediate departure they have no chance of selling in the hope that they can sell the seat you vacated to someone else paying the last minute walk up fare later.

    The last time I held an airline ticket in similar circumstances they couldn't wait to grab the peak evening ticket out of my hands and give me an off-peak afternoon ticket and get me on my way two hours early, though I suspect they had already oversold the peak flight.

    Its an "everyone wins" situation in my book (well other than the airport that lost out on selling a few beers to me!)
     
  2. mumrar

    mumrar Established Member

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    I'm going to recount a story to the forum, as this thread appears to be heading in a spiral.

    So, on the day in question I was travelling to work, booked duty the 15:22 New Street to Stansted and return (same unit throughout). I travelled on the 13:57 train from Redditch to New Street and became aware of two females having a rather indiscreet conversation about advance tickets. The key bits went like so:

    Pass1 - "So we get into New Street about half two, and you're booked on the 17:22 to Cambridge?"
    Pass2 - "yeah, that's right"
    Pass1 - "What are you gonna do with all that time in Brum? Hit the shops?"
    Pass2 - "No way, I'm getting on the first train out of there, I'll just give some sob story about my dog being taken to the vets"

    The conversation continued like this, with the ticket holder stating that there were no Advance tickets available for the train she wanted, so she just booked them for that one with the intention to travel on the 15:22. I kept myself to myself (not yet in uniform) and went about my business before working the train. Obviously I'd took a look to ID the passenger I may be looking out for lately.

    On my first ticket check, sure enough, there sat this young lady - I asked for her reservation for the ticket and there it is for the 17:22. I asked her why she was travelling early, let her draw breath, and butted in "don't tell me, your dog's extremely ill and had to be taken to the vets and you're rushing back because you're so upset?" Her face said more than any attempted stuttered explanation could do. I explained that I had listened to her entire conversation throughout on the train from Redditch, that she was committing a blatant act of deliberate fraudulant travel, and got her details and withdrew the tickets for a TIR. She's ended up at court I believe, but I don't know the total outcome of the case but suffice to say, it will exceed the cost of a brand new ticket!

    And this folks, is where the guards ability to show discretion falls down. Dishonesty, lying and downright cheek from people who know very well what they're up to. It is nigh on impossible for somebody to travel out of validity on an Advance with me for these reasons - if where they are going is such a serious case, the last thing on their mind should be the cost of travelling anyway. When they kick up a stink over money it's because 90 percent of the time the story was tissue paper thin and they've been rumbled.
     
  3. b0b

    b0b Established Member

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    Another reason why I think its fine to ask - is that you don't know the policy!

    How did I find out about excesses? well I held a Bedford to Hamilton Central Not London ticket - I was booked via Leicester and Nuneaton. I hated it - its a really slow way north - so on the return I went into the ticket office and asked what would I have to do to allow travel via London. They issued me this magical "change of route excess ticket" for a sum far less than I was expecting!

    The key is to be honest, upfront, and ask prior to departure. If you get on the train and just expect discretion you deserve some harsh treatment.
     
  4. Flamingo

    Flamingo Established Member

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    There are lots of "what if" scenario's. but part of the job I am paid to do is sort out the genuine from the fake. I actually have a good nose for this, backed by previous experience at dealing with people in life & death situations. As I said, somebody standing on a platform or sitting in a seat reading a magazine, chewing gum, relaxed stance, big suitcase with airline labels, saying "I have to travel early, I have a sick granny" does not fit the profile of someone on a desperate trip across the country for a possible last glimpse of a much-loved dying relative. I have had people in that situation as well. and I have done my best to accommodate them. They are usually pretty obvious, and I have been known to make a call to confirm if it is genuine.

    I had two young gentlemen (regular known fare evaders) in South Wales on a morning train a few months ago, when asked for tickets, one said "We have to travel mate, my auntie has just been killed in the tsunami in Japan". They were turfed off, but were at their home station and just pushed past the barrier staff. A few days later same guy turned up at the ticket barrier with mum, with the same ticket guy on barrier, who said to mum "Sorry to hear about your loss". "What are you talking about?" "The relative your son said was killed in Japan". Mum promptly gives son a clip around the ear! :lol::lol:
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    I love it when a plan comes together! :D
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    Airline seats and train seats are an entirely different kettle of fish. Train tickets are not sold for a specific train (except for advance tickets). Somebody walking up to buy a Standard Open Return may be planning on catching any train or combination to that destination for up to five days, and returning on any train or combination for up to a month .
     
  5. snail

    snail Established Member

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    But the person with the open return may appreciate the vacant seat that the AP customer on the earlier train has now provided. :lol:

    @ALR: I see no harm in asking if there is a substantial time difference. I wouldn't though give any reason other than 'I'm early for my booked train'. I would also have no objections if refused travel and told to wait or pay extra. Waiting simply because you perceive that as 'the rule' is unnecessarily legalistic to me.
     
  6. mumrar

    mumrar Established Member

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    What, like sitting at a red on deserted crossroads in the middle of the night? :-P
     
  7. All Line Rover

    All Line Rover Established Member

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    If I don't have a valid ticket to travel on a specific train, I'm not going to ask to travel on it! Particularly at stations such as London Euston, I see it as a complete waste of Train Manager or ticket office staff time. The whole point of Advance tickets is that they tie you to a specific train and have no flexibility (within reason, yes), but to ask to travel on an earlier train "just because" defeats the purpose! It is particularly unreasonable if the train you are asking to travel on is more expensive than the train you are booked on.
     
  8. Flamingo

    Flamingo Established Member

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    I never mind people asking - it's when they then become abusive when told the conditions under which they can travel that I get annoyed. They bought a restrictive ticket, not me. How is it my fault or responsibility?

    I do love "the man on the platform..." especially as when, once or twice, I was the man on the platform and I told them "no". "Are you calling me a liar?" is not a good line to use on at me those occasions <(

    However, it depends on the circumstances. I had a lady with a young baby a few days ago, and I said she could travel, but explained that if it wasn't for the baby I would have said no. Equally, in the winter anybody travelling with children, or elderly, I will be more inclined to stretch a point rather than leaving them on a cold platform for an hour.

    But "The firm bought the ticket, the meeting finished early / late, the ticket for this train was the same price when I bought it, the train is quiet" excuses go straight in the bin. If I don't have to spend a lot of time, it's an excess and £10, after that it goes up to a walk-up fare, and a full open becomes very likely if they really mess me about, become abusive/threatening or make me listen to tree-hugging rambles about "but we're being encouraged to travel by rail man, global warming"etc.
     
  9. MikeWh

    MikeWh Established Member Senior Fares Advisor

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    No, that is a completely different kettle of fish. You are NEVER allowed past a working red light unless instructed by a police officer.
     
  10. All Line Rover

    All Line Rover Established Member

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    You still shouldn't cross it - and not just because "there might be cameras." ;)
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    I have to admit, I'm quite shocked about how flexible some TOC staff appear to be regarding Advance tickets (contrary to the "image" that ATOC and TOC's like to give.) That's not a bad thing, I suppose - in actual fact it's a rather good thing! :lol: I'm still not going to ask myself, though. ;)
     
  11. b0b

    b0b Established Member

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    I'm going to ask - hey I know I'm on the 17:30 but I'm here and could take an earlier train - is that possible?

    But I wouldn't think to ask a guard at a staffed station. I'd go to the booking office. And I'm going to find out what happens, the same way I now know about excesses because I asked if there was a way to change my route.

    At the end of the day, whats the difference between asking if I can change my route, and if I can change my time?
     
  12. mumrar

    mumrar Established Member

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    Admin fees and ticket time restrictions. You don't ever have routes which are only valid after 09:30 or such like you do with changing ticket times or types.
     
  13. DaveNewcastle

    DaveNewcastle Established Member Fares Advisor

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    But isn't the OP's situation fundamentally different?
    Crossing against a red light is one matter.
    Asking a person on duty and in authority of the crossing if, under some particualr circumstances, they may be permitted to cross, is radically different.
    Isn't it?

    That's the question we're putting forward. The passenger hasn't failed in getting themselves to the station in time - they are faultless. They ask the relevant person if they can travel early or should wait. What's the problem? The answer can be 'Yes' and it can be 'No'. I fail to find anything contentious here.

    Sometimes I wonder why we get so bothered by the detail of Terms, Conditions and Regulation when the truth is, the biggest threat to the UK's Rail network revenue is that "man on the platform". We've already established that he travels a lot and can appear at anytime at any station with his dodgy 'advice'. We also know that he can be in several stations simultaneously, and works for more than 12 hours a day, seven days a week. He seems to be very clever at conceling his identity.
    It beggars belief that the chap hasn't yet been identified!
     
    Last edited: 12 Sep 2011
  14. Flamingo

    Flamingo Established Member

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    If I ever find him, he's in for a bloody good kicking!

    I once had someone saying "the bloke on the platform" and I was able to say "Can I stop you there, there were two ladies on duty at that platform"!
     
  15. Tomonthetrain

    Tomonthetrain Established Member

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    Gotcha *pound signs in eyes*!

    "But the male warden told me to park there but then she booked me"
     
  16. b0b

    b0b Established Member

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    So when I had a Not London ticket, are you saying I was wrong to ask to travel on a different train "just because" it was quicker? Remember, I had no idea change of route excesses existed and I originally had the "Not London" ticket because it was cheaper and I bought the "restricted" ticket knowing this.
     
  17. Scooby

    Scooby Member

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    Travelling later on an Advance - related to the thread..

    A couple of months ago I went from Cumbria to London on a with my son for a Saturday out, on Advance tickets.
    Unfortuntely, due to a death on the line, our arrival was delayed by 3 hours.
    We did some touristy things and then returned to Euston.
    Unfortunately, I misjudged the time to get back to Euston and we arrived at the platform head to see the train departing.

    Fortunately, I quickly found a 'Person In Charge'.
    Scooby " I wonder if you could help me, I've got an advance ticket for the 15.30, and I feel that the train has just departed"
    Person In Charge "Indeed it has"
    Scooby "Oh dear, that leaves me in a bit of a predicament. We're holding Advance Tickets, what is the best thing that I can do now ?"
    Person In Charge "that depends on your reason for missing your booked train"
    Scooby "We are down for the day and got delayed 3 hours by the death on the line, we've struggled to do our touristy things that we were looking forward to doing - you can't do a lot in 3 and half hours and I misjudged the time it would take to get bak to Euston on the Tube"
    Person In Charge "Thats understandable, please pass me your tickets and I'll ****** them (not sure of the word, but it could have been validate !). Have a safe trip back and next time allow a bit longer for the Tube.

    I (we) were very happy, relieved, contented and satisfied passengers -- and chuffed that the Person In Charge had the discretion to do what they did for us.
     
  18. exile

    exile Established Member

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    OK. Scenario I have come across twice in recent weeks.

    Roadworks - traffic lights either side. Queue of traffic either side too. Queues continue to grow. Gradually it dawns on everyone that the lights are showing red in both directions. There is no-one around to ask for permission to proceed.

    Options

    1. Wait until doomsday
    2. Perform dangerous u-turns and go on a big detour - and this will involve dozens of cars
    3. Phone police - (probably to be told you are wasting police time)
    4. Advance with caution, perhaps with someone giving hand signals to wave x number of cars through in each direction at a time

    I suspect (3) is the legally correct thing to do - but in both cases (4) is what actually happened.....
     
  19. MikeWh

    MikeWh Established Member Senior Fares Advisor

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    I don't want to sidetrack this thread any further, but that is exactly what I meant when I included the word working. If all directions are red then the lights clearly aren't working.
     
  20. jetice

    jetice Member

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    The scenario there is obviously an exceptional one and something that happened on the railway messed up your day out. What I would suggest you had done though would be to go to the booking office or person in charge of the station as soon as you arrived and asked if there was any way due to what had happened, that you could get a later train and get the tickets endorsed or replaced because the people on duty at that time would have been aware of the delay wheras staff on duty later may not have been. This would have given you peace of mind and not left you hurrying around stressing in order to get back in time. Obviously there is no obligation to do this but if it was me I would have let you travel later on a non rush hour train. One that was leaving no later after the train you were booked on than the time that you had been delayed on your original train in order to give you the same time in London that you had planned for. In other words if you had been booked to travel back at say 6pm I would have been happy for you to travel on any train up until 9pm...that would have made up for the 3 hours you missed out on....if you turned up at 11pm that would have been taking the mick! As it happens you got a member of staff who was OK and helped you but you cannot rely on that so always try to sort something like this out asap for your peace of mind.
     
  21. Asian Demon

    Asian Demon Member

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    My stance on this is this. If the Advance is for a later train, then tough. You catch the later train and that's all there is to it. It's not for me to state what other members of staff would do in that situation or for me to report it or otherwise because I would not necessarily know the circumstances of what has happened for them to show whatever discretion they have decided to show.

    I do agree with ALR that it is a cheek to ask to travel on an earlier train when in possession of an Advance ticket for a later train and I have known people who have had to wait anything between four to five hours because they don't want to pay the excess costs to travel there and then. It is the restriction (specific train time) to which a person has agreed to be held to when purchasing the ticket and the excuse of 'my meeting finished early' does not remove that.

    If people have emergency situations then genuine people will pay the extra required to get home early. I've known people who have willingly taken ufn's just so they can get home because they didn't have the money at that moment and could not arrange something via a silk arrangement.

    All comments above are my general stance on the issue. However if people want to ask then go ahead. You might be very lucky and have a nice guard/member of staff. Just don't be offended or feel you have been hard done by if the answer is a polite and firm no. The rules are rules and when you buy a ticket you agree to be held to them. The amount of times I've seen people kick off because they don't like the answer given to them is unreal. Don't purchase the ticket if you don't agree to be bound by the t&c's of them. Simple really.
     
  22. Flamingo

    Flamingo Established Member

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    +1 :):):)
     
  23. sheff1

    sheff1 Established Member

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    Although I agree with much of what you say, it is not always as simple as you think.

    You say don't purchase a ticket if you don'y want to be bound by the T&Cs. Fair enough if you purchase the ticket yourself, but what if someone gets it for you ?

    One employer I worked for a few years back had the brainwave of changing to always purchasing advance tickets (even if they were more expensive than flexible ones, but that's another story :(). Anyway, after many meetings overan and people had to buy new tickets they decided to book the return ticket for later trains. Say my meeting was scheduled to finish at 1500, instead of booking me on the 1600 train they would book the 1800 !!

    If my meeting finished on time, or early, I could have just waited (the employer would pay me :D) but normally I would prefer to get home so I would ask if I could use my ticket on an earlier train. I do not think this was cheek as I had not purchased the ticket, and if allowed to travel, I would actually save my employer 2+ hours salary. The twist was that if I was refused, which is what happened more often than not, I would ask how much the excess / new ticket was and pay it with a view to claiming it back after convincing the employer they were saving money by not paying me to hang around at a station.

    Fortunately, for all concerned, after a few months the employer realised they were spending more on travel/wages than before and went back to the old system - I assume they had been originally seduced by one of the Trainline adverts :roll:
     
  24. WelshBluebird

    WelshBluebird Established Member

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    I don't see how you can assume that.
    Many advance fares are hugely cheaper than the walk up fares, so much so that many people can only afford to use the trains because of advance fares. They could not afford walk up fares, no matter what the situation is.
     
  25. Asian Demon

    Asian Demon Member

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    I have to be honest when I say that is more of a failure on the part of your company not having the common sense to plan for such scenario's. If so many meetings seem to finish earlier than they are supposed to, then companies should make plans to take this into account. It shocks me that so many companies seem to plan so poorly in terms of arranging travel for staff. Again however the rules are clear on it and however much I can sympathise with the situation the individual is put under (believe it or not I do sympathise having been in a similar situation) the rules are rules.
     
  26. AlterEgo

    AlterEgo Veteran Member

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    See, you paid for an amendment to the ticket...! ;)
     
  27. Asian Demon

    Asian Demon Member

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    I find it interesting to note that you failed to quote the rest of that paragraph but whatever. People buy Advance fares because of the cheap cost. This is accepted has a fact. As a result it is also accepted that restrictions are placed upon the individual to have that cheaper ticket. TOC's and the railways in general are not a charity. It may sound harsh and cruel but this is a fact. If this was any other form of public transport, this discussion would be the same.

    You either pay the fare for the journey you intend to make, or you don't travel. I do believe that the railways try and offer as many different means for people to pay to get to where they want to be in such cases. I've seen people pay via silk arrangements, have others come to the station and pay for them and even some guards allow people to take ufn's and pay within the allotted time frame. This is a lot more than any other public transport would allow.

    The fact is a person's home situation is not the concern of the railways. The railways concern is profit and running a service. The harsh reality of our privatised industry. There is no social aspect involved. If you can't pay you can't travel. The railway is not the NHS.
     
  28. Flamingo

    Flamingo Established Member

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    Simple, they are acting as your agent. It is their responsibility to inform you of the T&C they have accepted on your behalf.
    Or, to put it another way, why should my company subsidise yours?
    How many people on this forum have gone up to a taxi rank and said "I need to get home, I have no money"? How many got free travel? How many got told to **** off (less politely than would happen on a train)?
     
  29. WelshBluebird

    WelshBluebird Established Member

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    I was not making a judgement about how the railway deals with it.
    I was simply disagreeing with your suggesting that if the situation is genuine then the person will pay. Of course the reality is that many people cannot afford to pay the high walk up prices of many routes in the UK.

    So again, I understand all the issues the railway has with it. But I was not commenting on that. I was just disagreeing with that particular part of the paragraph (which is why I cut out the rest of it when I quoted you).
     
  30. Flamingo

    Flamingo Established Member

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    I frequently come across passengers, some have obviously been drinking to excess or are standing at the bar continuing to do so, coming from football, rugby, cricket, concerts, holidays, on advance tickets on the wrong train.

    They may not be able to pay the "high walk-up prices", but they seem able to afford everything else!
     
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