Travelling on Crosscountry?

father_jack

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At least 50% capacity should be possible even with "social distancing" measures. And, since XC still haven't deigned to bother operating anything remotely resembling a normal service, most trains are either 5 car or doubled up. So capacity is a lot higher than 51 seats.

I don't think anyone is demanding that they sell Advance tickets. In fact in this situation that is the opposite of what's happening: they're claiming that flexible walk-up tickets are "sold out" (which is a contradiction in terms) and yet in some cases Advance tickets are still available.
On point 1, you'll only base your plans on a 4 car voyager turning up on the day just on case.

On point 2, in my opinion as a ticket monkey "normal" passengers will most likely go for advances or get the coach.
 
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Skymonster

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Just to note that XC have next to no autonomy here; the decisions about what they can do and how they can operate are apparently being micromanaged by government.
So are you saying the DfT / government is telling Cross Country how many seats it can offer on each train?

It seems like some other operators are able to accommodate higher passenger densities than Cross Country, so why is Cross Country so restricted?
 

ForTheLoveOf

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Just to note that XC have next to no autonomy here; the decisions about what they can do and how they can operate are apparently being micromanaged by government.
They are under even tighter control than they already were prior to the EMAs, but the DfT is not taking over day-to-day management of decisions like whether reservations will be made "compulsory" in the data feed. That is entirely on CrossCountry.
 

ForTheLoveOf

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On point 1, you'll only base your plans on a 4 car voyager turning up on the day just on case.

On point 2, in my opinion as a ticket monkey "normal" passengers will most likely go for advances or get the coach.
On point 1, that is simply not how it works. If you diagram a train as having, say, 8 coaches, then you base all assumptions off that. Given that XC are barely operating half their usual services (and far less than half their usual train-km per day) the diagrams are plenty slack enough for that to be a reliable assumption.

Suggesting otherwise would be like suggesting that you don't offer seat reservations or Advances at all on a service booked for a single unit, in case the single unit is unavailable. It's not an excuse for the pathetic nonsense XC are up to.

As for point 2, it's indeed true that lots more passengers use Advance tickets, even for short journeys, than did so 5 or even 10 years ago. But that is not an excuse for lying to passengers by claiming that trains are totally "sold out", or that they must pay a First Class fare to board a given service.

Things like this were entirely predictable consequences of XC's approach, that became clear as soon as they started doing this. Now that passenger numbers have increased beyond 5 or 10% of normal it's causing no end of problems. Neither do I foresee that the problems will stop anytime soon. Passengers and taxpayers just don't matter; the DfT and TOCs are running a 1:1 scale model railway.
 

35B

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They are under even tighter control than they already were prior to the EMAs, but the DfT is not taking over day-to-day management of decisions like whether reservations will be made "compulsory" in the data feed. That is entirely on CrossCountry.
The suggestions I'm hearing are that DfT are dictating how TOCs operate under the EMAs to a very low level. Whether that extends to the specific point of detail I don't know, but within a general policy of reservations being essential, I don't find it surprising.
 

ForTheLoveOf

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The suggestions I'm hearing are that DfT are dictating how TOCs operate under the EMAs to a very low level. Whether that extends to the specific point of detail I don't know, but within a general policy of reservations being essential, I don't find it surprising.
We will probably never know for sure, but it's rather telling that Northern revealed under FoI that the DfT never instructed them to give out the "do not travel" message. Regardless of whether it's the DfT or XC, at the end of the day they are just playing toy trains at the moment, to the cost of passengers and taxpayers.

There is no reason whatsoever that capacity should be being artificially limited as much as it is right now. Mask mandation was to allow for 1m social distancing so as to enable 50% capacity. Now we are in the worst of all worlds, just as was so utterly foreseeable. I don't even know why I humour myself by playing along with the rail industry's antics any more.
 

Starmill

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We will probably never know for
You confidently claimed just now that DfT aren't involved in day to day management decisions.

I would suggest that the evidence is all there that in fact DfT and the civil service absolutely are involved in daily management activities, from purchasing authority to staff numbers (and soon, pay) and even what ticket and product availability exists. DfT staff conducted an audit of their TOC websites to ensure that they all had messages giving advice not to travel.

I think it’s entirely likely that XC laid out a series of social distancing proposals with all of their advantages and disadvantages, and DfT have chosen this one for XC to implement.
 

plugwash

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So, in other words, about 90% of TVMs.
I don't know what the ratios are but I know Northern switched their machines to being "planner based" a while back. Virgin/Avanti (can't remeber i the franchise had switched over when I last tried one) machines were still conventional last time I tried one. Not sure about other operators.
 

ForTheLoveOf

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I don't know what the ratios are but I know Northern switched their machines to being "planner based" a while back. Virgin/Avanti (can't remeber i the franchise had switched over when I last tried one) machines were still conventional last time I tried one. Not sure about other operators.
It's only those Parkeon machines, plus LNER's lot, that are planner based. I'll revise my figure to 85%.
 

Roast Veg

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Split ticketing saves the day, couldn't purchase a through return on a journey planner for Wakefield to Cheltenham because there were no spaces, so I reserved two spaces on the same train - before and after Derby. Saved a few pounds as well.
 

Starmill

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As well as a guard or RPI, booking office, or most ticket machines, tickets.hulltrains.co.uk is quite happy to allow the sale of non quota-controlled tickets unrestricted by reservation policies.
 

py_megapixel

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I don't know what the ratios are but I know Northern switched their machines to being "planner based" a while back. Virgin/Avanti (can't remeber i the franchise had switched over when I last tried one) machines were still conventional last time I tried one. Not sure about other operators.
I can't stand those "Planner Based" machines, I just want to punch is a CRS code, select ticket type, tap my card and be done. I understand they're helpful to some people but I'd prefer if there was an "I know what I want" button
 

185143

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I can't stand those "Planner Based" machines, I just want to punch is a CRS code, select ticket type, tap my card and be done. I understand they're helpful to some people but I'd prefer if there was an "I know what I want" button
Some, if not all, Northern TVMs do indeed have a "quick select" (or similar) button that lists the most popular tickets from that station. I've never really played with one to see if that's all it shows, but it's still better than nothing.
 

yorkie

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Split ticketing saves the day, couldn't purchase a through return on a journey planner for Wakefield to Cheltenham because there were no spaces, so I reserved two spaces on the same train - before and after Derby. Saved a few pounds as well.
I'd be surprised if a decent split ticketing site came up with only one "split"; it would almost always be cheaper to split twice. The only exception I could thin of, for this journey, might be if splitting at Burton-on-Trent.

I have done a lot of research on this ;)

(If anyone comes up with a cheaper price than any of the split ticketing sites come up with, please do tell me!)
 

py_megapixel

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Some, if not all, Northern TVMs do indeed have a "quick select" (or similar) button that lists the most popular tickets from that station. I've never really played with one to see if that's all it shows, but it's still better than nothing.
That's completely useless if you want anything nonstandard. Even if you want anything other than a single adult ticket you have to go round the long way.

Often I know the exact name of the ticket I want, but to find it I still must use their obtuse interface.
 

ForTheLoveOf

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That's completely useless if you want anything nonstandard. Even if you want anything other than a single adult ticket you have to go round the long way.

Often I know the exact name of the ticket I want, but to find it I still must use their obtuse interface.
Just how difficult would it be to have two modes: a "journey search" option and a "ticket search" option. The software exists for both; why is it seemingly beyond the technological ability of modern computing to combine the two?!
 

py_megapixel

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Just how difficult would it be to have two modes: a "journey search" option and a "ticket search" option. The software exists for both; why is it seemingly beyond the technological ability of modern computing to combine the two?!
It would require very little. After all, the staff in ticket offices can already both sell specific ticket types and query journeys, so all they'd presumably need to do is adapt that software.

However I'm all too aware that in the real world it's not that simple...
 
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Has the TSA been suspended as well as the franchise agreements? On what basis can a TOC restrict the sale of Off Peak Single/Return tickets eg. on Derby/Burton given that they have never been quota based fares? Or is it really the reservation system (ie. NRS) doing this by saying that the quota of reservable places is used up? Presuming the conditions of Off Peak Single/Return fares have not been legally changed, can't one simply buy the relevant ticket by altering the requested time to a train that does have availability (and then not using the place), eg. if a train at 1915 has availability book that but use the ticket at 1000 or whenever the SVS/SVR fare first becomes available?
 

yorkie

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DfT has stated
The Department permitted certain operators to implement mandatory reservation
requirements during the COVID-19 outbreak as a way of managing social distancing on
board their trains. There are particular benefits to this over alternative approaches for long
distance operators, because it can help to prevent queues from forming at stations, it
protects the ability to travel for passengers at intermediate stations, and it can enable
passengers to plan ahead effectively by being certain of which trains they will be able to
use. It is a temporary measure which will be subject to review every two months.
Arguably, now that masks are mandated (and are only recommended by WHO where social distancing of 1m cannot be maintained), and given that social distancing is only "where possible" and not mandatory, I'd argue that reservations should not be compulsory any longer.

It may be worth discussing the matter with your MP and perhaps asking the DfT for further information.

Note that they refer to "long distance operators" but many journeys on XC are short in distance, so it's questionable if this approach is appropriate.
 

ForTheLoveOf

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Has the TSA been suspended as well as the franchise agreements? On what basis can a TOC restrict the sale of Off Peak Single/Return tickets eg. on Derby/Burton given that they have never been quota based fares? Or is it really the reservation system (ie. NRS) doing this by saying that the quota of reservable places is used up? Presuming the conditions of Off Peak Single/Return fares have not been legally changed, can't one simply buy the relevant ticket by altering the requested time to a train that does have availability (and then not using the place), eg. if a train at 1915 has availability book that but use the ticket at 1000 or whenever the SVS/SVR fare first becomes available?
It's not a question of fundamentally restricting the sale of the ticket (in the same way that Advances are discretionary and can effectively be "turned off").

It's a question of the long-standing rule that itinerary based ticket selling outlets (be those online or on a TVM) cannot sell tickets where the accompanying itinerary includes a train which is shown as reservation compulsory in the data, but for which no reservation can be obtained.

Your suggestion of selecting a later than intended train is exactly what I would do if I had to buy my ticket through an itinerary based outlet and had problems with the "compulsory" reservations.

It is an entirely artificial problem, because the number of released reservations is far below the number of available socially distanced seats (even allowing for walk-up passengers). And - isn't this a coincidence - there always seem to be more reservations left for Advance tickets than for walk-up tickets.
 
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Thanks, but once again surely this is very questionable practice from a consumer protection perspective, ie websites that say that certain ticket types can't be used on certain trains when in reality they can? It is common ground that there is no particular enforcement route that anyone ever wishes to apply to ticket retailing issues of this kind, even the Chairman of the Competition and Markets Authority resigned recently apparently because he found the powers available to it were too weak to deal with C-19 pricing issues...! Sounds like a campaign focussed on a number of MPs on the XC routes might be the best way forward here.
 

221129

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surely this is very questionable practice from a consumer protection perspective, ie websites that say that certain ticket types can't be used on certain trains when in reality they can?
Not at all. In theory you MUST have a reservation. Just because it is largely not being enforced doesn't change that. Although that is changing.
 

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