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Discussion in 'Disputes & Prosecutions' started by CrossAtCountry, 19 Mar 2019.
This is something I definitely support.
It'll never happen, as then TOCs can't blame the passenger!
I’m going to use your logic if my flight in a couple of weeks to Paris with Air France is cancelled by demanding they give me a seat on the next British Airways flight there for free.
The aviation industry is different though. The two airlines you listed don't purport to "work together" as one as part of the equivalent of National Rail. Whereas it is perfectly normal to be put on the next flight of an airline within the same alliance as the originally booked airline, subject to availability. When a flight I had was cancelled a few months ago, with a similar sort of frequency route, I was even put on a different alliance airline, for free.
The OP didn't demand anything, he was advised to catch the next train.
And the airline analogy doesn't necessarily follow. A colleague was let down a few weeks back by a Brussels Airlines cancellation, they did indeed arrange for him to be carried by BA instead, even though they are not part of the same airline group. Presumably they calculated that rebooking him would be economically more advantageous to them. Surely TOCs find it similarly advantageous to assist each other when there are cancelations - next time EMT might reciprocate by carrying XC passengers.
You would think so. Forcing someone to wait for the next EMT could well result in liability for Delay Repay compensation. Similarly, if a passenger booked on a cancelled XC were forced to wait for the next XC. A reciprocal carrying arrangement would almost always prevent Delay Repay liability for one off cancellations. More importantly, passengers would see that 'the railway' was doing its best to minimise their delay rather than treating them as a criminal by calling the police.
A TOC staff member calling the BTP because a passenger doesn't appear to have a valid ticket or is on the wrong train? Then the BTP showing little interest in dealing with the matter as they have more important things to do? Quelle surprise!
Sadly, many TOC staff take the view that because TOCs partly fund the BTP they effectively work for the TOC in matters such as suspected fare evasion. Unfortunately, they couldn't be more wrong. The BTP are there to protect the public and keep them safe on and around the railways. It's frustrating to hear of yet another episode where a member of railway staff appears to have needlessly threatened to call the police and very unfortunate that this TOC staff member has effectively wasted police time from the BTP officer said.
I concur. Let's not make a mountain out of a molehill.
I see the whole "you should be on a Northern/TPE service" all the time. Very, very rarely it is enforced other than a "just be aware next time that you are travelling on the wrong train and your ticket is only valid on Northern/TPE service".
This would be a lot easier if we just scrapped the TOC franchise pricing system to flat journey rates so that all tickets were not franchise dependent. There is so little competition on the railways that any price changes would be negligible and the government is apparently looking at ways to increase competition anyway.
I have previously posted about being given verbal authorisation at a Northern run station to use a Virgin service for a connecting train into Manchester Piccadilly during a Northern strike day, but said ticket office refusing to physically endorse my TOC-specific ticket (Northern + TPE) or otherwise put the authority in writing, so I purchased another anytime ticket for that leg of my journey just to be on the safe side. Whilst I know I could count on the good folk of this forum for support in the event of difficulties, it wasn't very expensive, my travel costs were reimbursed by my employer (ultimately the taxpayer), and I didn't want the potential hassle.
I don't think it's that. What is happening is more this - railway management is implementing ever-stricter and ever-more-by-the-letter enforcement, but front-line staff are applying discretion as if this hadn't changed, and management are scared of doing anything about this for fear of strikes.
The loser, stuck in the middle, is the passenger.
Yes quite apart from it not being in the public interest to involve the police, why would the XC inspector suspect fare dodging when i had shown him my EMT ticket? Surely the likely explanation is that someone had made an honest mistake, not deliberatley doding his fare? The fact that the EMT train had been cancelled (easily checked) would further support that explanation. And the fact I was told to catch the XC train even more so.
Anyway, whatveer the rights or wrongs I will be doubly careful next time. Not catching XC again, I would prefer to wait til the next EMT train than have that ordeal again. My concern is someone lese might be upset by that bully of a guard.
He might not have thought you were fare dodging in the stereotypical manner, but that simply the police attendance, or threat thereof, would get you to comply. Good on you for taking it on the chin!
...which is precisely what EU261 says should happen.
What was your point, caller?
Regulation EC261/2004 doesn't say that.
Most airlines operate on a reserved-seating-only basis, as opposed to trains on Great Britain.
This is nothing new, I still have a TATT Pad, the last one I was issued was back in about 1985 - fellow old BR inspectors will recall them
This situation is often 'six of one and half a dozen of the other'. The traveller will be understandably annoyed by the cancellation and wants to get the next available train, the rule is clear as others have pointed out, unless specific instruction to the contrary is given, then the ticket will be valid on the next train of the same company. ( I don't particularly like that any more than others, but we don't have a national rail company so we have to live with it.)
If a member of staff is asked, the traveller should always show their ticket to get confirmation that it will be valid for what they want to do. Being pro-active in this will benefit the traveller in pretty well every case.
If the traveller does not show a ticket then the staff member must ask to see it so that they can give accurate information and I've always instructed staff that it is better not to give any information that might be inaccurate, so that's why they must check the ticket. I have also always advised that the staff member should write their staff number and location on the back of any ticket to show that they have authorised travel
That said, if it is clearly shown that a staff member has given wrong information when asked and said 'yes, it's ok' when it was not, it is still an authorisation and the ticket should be accepted as valid..
On the subject of the guard calling Police, there may be legitimate reasons for this action.
If the traveller did not have a valid ticket and a fare was due, but the traveller refused to pay that fare, then as long as the staff member had explained that alleged offence, under National Railway Byelaw 23, the traveller is obliged to give their name and address.
That was all the guard needed to do. So long as correct details were given then the guard should put a note into the company who would write to the traveller about the fare if no authorisation was in place, but given the circumstances would more likely take no action.
If a traveller has no valid ticket, refuses to pay and either refuses their details or gives false details, that's a whole different ball game and can result in prosecution although a Police presence is not always necessary in such a case. Clearly, if staff had given wrong information and if a traveller held an invalid, but authorised ticket, this would not ensue and if everyone adopts a commonsense approach, the risk is avoided.
Thanks for comprehensive reply. XC guard did not ask for my name and address he just said pay up of I call the police. Also my ticket was on my mobile phone so the EMT people couldn't have signed their authorisation on my ticket . Anyway the police were sensible sadly the Xc guard was not.
I'm not going to expand any discussion about how the ticket could have been authorised, although it definitely could have been if acceptance was in place. Moblie tickets are not simple images and a BTP officer is very unlikely to have had the training to examine them correctly. There are easy ways of assisting travellers at times of serious disruption.
I'm not suggesting that in this case the guard was not wrong, but it is worth pointing out that BTP officers do not get ticket training and could not rule definitively on that point, the rail staff are ticket trained.
The BTP role is to ensure no public order issue arises, or to deal with any individual conflict in these cases only, nonetheless it seems nothing further will come of this and it is good that the matter seems to be closed.
It is EMT policy to endorse tickets to allow passengers to travel on other services. Gate line staff and platform staff are empowered to do this if appropriate and it's encouraged to do so.
What often happens is someone will run up and say 'is this the train to xyz destination?' and I will say 'yes'. They will then get on and on inspecting their ticket it will be a super dooper 1 pound advance for 7 hours time on a train that calls at every station in the known universe en route and then you will be told 'I asked and you said it was my train'.
Extrapolate this to 'I asked someone else and they said I could use this train' and you see where many of these problems arise. I absolutely do not have time to stop and wait every time someone asks about a train to a destination for them to unbury their ticket/mess about with their phone and confirm their validity for a specific train. If they have it out when they ask then that is all good, they are asking me a more detailed question.
This leads me on to XC who are notoriously picky about ticket acceptance (probably comes with running toy trains over long distances) as opposed to EMT who are by corporate culture fairly easy going about it for cancelled trains. EMT, TPE and Northern services on their shared routes are frequently up the spout and it's rare for a day to go by without ticket acceptance being in place for cancelled trains. XC send out messages to their crews with specific trains and ONLY in capital letters.
Thus I'm not particularly surprised the OP fell foul of an XC guard.
Good post that.
I have no doubt that often happens, but is a very different scenario to that where the OP went to the station supervisors office in direct response to the cancellation of a train. Staff there should have time to make further enquiries regarding the ticket, if that were necessary.
Good to hear that is EMT policy. However, as regular users of the station will know, Sheffield has its own set of policies which often differ considerably from other EMT locations.
One thing I have noticed at Sheffield is that, when a Southbound train is cancelled, there will sometimes (not always) be an automated announcement "The next service for Chesterfield and Derby is the XXXX". Usually that next train is with a different TOC, but there is no mention of ticket availability - the obvious interpretation is that anyone travelling to Chesterfield or Derby should board the XXXX, regardless of what ticket they hold.
I've read most of the posts in this thread with interest. Many are fairly well balanced in opinion.
I think the key problem arising is consistency. Naturally, with so many parties involved, it becomes a nightmare.
The rules should ideally be simplified going forward. Certainly, in the case of delays, there should be a clear policy that applies across all TOCs.
Easy to say that I know. Much harder to implement.
I think it would be easy to implement a standard policy for cancellations. When a train is cancelled, NRE normally offers an "alternative service". I believe an "alternative service" should always be offered following a cancellation and that anyone with a ticket valid for use on the cancelled train should be entitled to use it on the offered alternative, regardless of operator or ticket type.
A standard policy for delays would, as you say, be harder to define. Take the Sheffield to Derby route. If a delayed XC train will depart 2 mins after the next EMT departure should passengers with Advances be allowed on the EMT ? ..... almost certainly not. What about 10 mins after ... 20 mins after ... etc?
As others have explained, this is a worthless analogy, as this sort of thing happens regularly.
The airline industry has a different mindset, as do most of the staff that work there.
I think you meant "different regulatory and competitive environment".
Wow, isn't rail travel complicated! Come back, British Rail - all is forgiven.
Would that be the same BR that had penalty fare schemes in place well before privatisation?
At least you didn't have to worry about whose train you were on. I don't mind penalty fares for people trying to dodge paying their fare, but I do object to hassling people who have bought a ticket in good faith and just want to go from A to B.
I'd have thought that a minimally competent member of staff might say something like "15:07, and you'll need a ticket that's valid on EMT". Simply answering "15:07" may be technically true, but it doesn't really fulfil the role of serving the passenger. As far as I can recall, members of staff have generally been very helpful in pointing out restrictions that I might not have noticed.
Generally they are. The problem is that when you're in a rush it's easy for either the staff member not to notice/point out the restriction or for the passenger not to hear/understand what is said.