Valid ticket consistently being rejected - thoughts?

Lifelong

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Good evening

I’ve just had one of the weirdest experiences, and I’m interested in getting to the bottom of this to avoid a repeat...

After the advice of forum members I’m taking the least controversial route from Effingham Junction to Clapham Junction (ie via Surbiton and Wimbledon or via Epsom) on a season. All good.
My ticket is being consistently rejected if I leave and/or join at Wimbledon. It’s fine at Surbiton, Epsom and Ashtead but weirdly not at Wimbledon.

I have sought assistance as indicated and until tonight, fine come through. Tonight on the gateline sadly two members of staff told me my ticket wasn’t valid because the trains from Effingham Junction to Clapham Junction don’t come through Wimbledon’. Yes I was incredulous and after a couple of minutes one member of staff told me he’d prove this by us both looking at the large destination board and he came through to do this. I was let through shortly after...

Leaving aside this particular staffing issue - is there any logical reason why a bog standard season from a machine should act this way? To avoid almost missing my train again I’d be happy to exchange my ticket if it helped.

thank you.
 
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alistairlees

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I assume that the barriers at Wimbledon aren’t programmed for these tickets, that’s all. It doesn’t mean anything about validity and staff who tell you it does are uninformed.
 

yorkie

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I'd be tempted to ask the staff what routes they think the ticket is valid on!

Most gateline staff are not particularly knowledgeable when it comes to tickets; that's fine providing they let people through when in doubt.

What is unacceptable is telling people who hold valid tickets (and in this case it's the shortest route and has direct trains!) that their tickets are not valid. I'd write to the company as it's abysmal behaviour.

(It reminds me of the time I was told a Sheffield to Tonbridge Off Peak Return wasn't valid at Lewisham; apparently I should have travelled via Tamworth/Watford Jn/Kensington Olympia/Redhill :rolleyes:)
 

Lifelong

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I'd be tempted to ask the staff what routes they think the ticket is valid on!

Most gateline staff are not particularly knowledgeable when it comes to tickets; that's fine providing they let people through when in doubt.

What is unacceptable is telling people who hold valid tickets (and in this case it's the shortest route and has direct trains!) that their tickets are not valid. I'd write to the company as it's abysmal behaviour.

(It reminds me of the time I was told a Sheffield to Tonbridge Off Peak Return wasn't valid at Lewisham; apparently I should have travelled via Tamworth/Watford Jn/Kensington Olympia/Redhill :rolleyes:)
Many thanks - it was really bad customer service (the guy was looking at his map stuck on the gateline, telling me there were no trains via Wimbledon. What I really resented I guess was the assumption that I was wrong - you carry that forward to someone arriving etc and you are quickly into wrongly issued penalties etc).
In any case, does anyone have any ideas why this happens at one station, and if there is anything I can do to change things? TBH until tonight I was ok to just check in with the staff member and be let through but I know there will be a day when, unlike tonight, the time taken discussing will result in me missing the train...
 

yorkie

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Although it's a minority of staff who behave this way, it is a sizeable minority. I've come across such staff on many occasions. We can never eradicate it because the industry has insufficient safeguards in place and good customer service is not sufficiently prioritised.

Anyway let us know what SWR say in response to your request.

If delayed, submit a delay compensation claim.
 

alistairlees

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In any case, does anyone have any ideas why this happens at one station, and if there is anything I can do to change things? TBH until tonight I was ok to just check in with the staff member and be let through but I know there will be a day when, unlike tonight, the time taken discussing will result in me missing the train...
As per post #2; because the gates are not programmed for it.

As to why that is, it could be deliberate or an oversight. Gates are programmed individually per station (yes, really). Anyway, as others have suggested, you could write to SWR (both to suggest that the gates are reprogrammed and that the staff are taught that this is valid).
 

yorkie

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Sadly I see many examples of customer service being anything but good; the experience described in this thread is of no surprise to me whatsoever.
 

Haywain

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Sadly I see many examples of customer service being anything but good; the experience described in this thread is of no surprise to me whatsoever.
I’m not saying that customer service is good enough in cases like this but that appropriate knowledge would make the quality of customer service much less important.
 

Lifelong

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As per post #2; because the gates are not programmed for it.

As to why that is, it could be deliberate or an oversight. Gates are programmed individually per station (yes, really). Anyway, as others have suggested, you could write to SWR (both to suggest that the gates are reprogrammed and that the staff are taught that this is valid).
Thank you. I didn’t realise each station was programmed individually - now I do, I will include a request to change this in my note to SWR.
 

Hadders

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At least the member of staff looked it up on the map. There are many who wouldn't even do that.
 

Lifelong

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At least the member of staff looked it up on the map. There are many who wouldn't even do that.
Sadly this appeared to be for show I.e. I’m looking at the map and I’m proving I’m right and you’re wrong. Sorry, but the map part didn’t lead to the resolution (not least because the design of the gateline means the passenger can’t do the obvious - illustrate on the map the solution). You would imagine that coming to the main concourse to prove the point to the ignorant passenger, only for the evidence to the contrary to be there very clearly, would lead to some reflection on the staff member’s behalf; maybe it will I guess.
 

yorkie

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Sadly this appeared to be for show I.e. I’m looking at the map and I’m proving I’m right and you’re wrong. Sorry, but the map part didn’t lead to the resolution (not least because the design of the gateline means the passenger can’t do the obvious - illustrate on the map the solution). You would imagine that coming to the main concourse to prove the point to the ignorant passenger, only for the evidence to the contrary to be there very clearly, would lead to some reflection on the staff member’s behalf; maybe it will I guess.
I had a very similar experience at Lewisham, being taken to a map and being shown that I should have taken the West Coast Mainline and travelled via Redhill. I wish I'd recorded the conversation!
 

Lifelong

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Hi All,
I thought I'd post an update on this as a number of you have spent time posting/helping on this.

I sent in an email to SWR. I received a very quick response - a human one, not a bot - credit there. Unfortunately, though, when I read the response, apologetic though it was, it was simply 'we will bring this to the attention of the station manager' etc.

That's all good, but what it didn't do was answer my one substantive request in my note to SWR - to reprogramme the gateline. It wasn't mentioned at all, and couldn't have as it was sent so quickly there would not have been time to. So I have responded asking that this one question be answered properly.

I think what I experienced is a new overall customer relations strategy - respond as quickly as possible (good) and very politely (also good) and hope that the customer goes away (not so good when there's a issue over and above simple customer service in the original note)

I'll update when I have a substantive response - which logically will take longer.
Thanks
 

Haywain

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That's all good, but what it didn't do was answer my one substantive request in my note to SWR - to reprogramme the gateline.
Don't hold your breath on this - programming break of journey on gatelines is far from easy, and the effort required to keep a small number of customers happy is something that I think they would struggle to justify. However, you have every right to expect that the gateline staff will know better than they demonstrated at the time that prompted you to post.
 

DavidB

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Many TOCs simply don't seem to care.

Northern customer service have told me three or four times that they will deal with the issue of Settle-York Anytime return tickets being rejected by the barriers at Skipton (which is on the only valid route for the Settle-Leeds part, so the ticket should be accepted) - but nothing ever seems to change despite the assurances that it will be dealt with.
 

route101

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Ive had the same with using a Edinburgh to Glasgow ticket via Grahamston. Which I knew was valid but guard thought otherwise.
 

infobleep

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I believe Cubic may have a break of journey software update in November.
I would love to put that to the test but alas I don't have a season ticket any more...

I could test it out with a regular ticket I guess.

Lifelong did the members of staff sound surprised and/or apologetic when they let you through? I mean something like oh I didn't release.

I remember someone once questioning a ticket at Haywards Heath, which is perfectly reasonable route. Very quickly we went to a map though and they let me through so it wasn't a long delay.

If in doubt look it up.
 

Lifelong

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I would love to put that to the test but alas I don't have a season ticket any more...

I could test it out with a regular ticket I guess.

Lifelong did the members of staff sound surprised and/or apologetic when they let you through? I mean something like oh I didn't release.

I remember someone once questioning a ticket at Haywards Heath, which is perfectly reasonable route. Very quickly we went to a map though and they let me through so it wasn't a long delay.

If in doubt look it up.
I'm afraid there was no sense of apologetic or anything similar (until I asked for the assistant's name, then he became extremely defensive, eg 'I wasn't rude to you' (I didn't suggest he had been) and finally there was a 'sorry'. But it was a world away in attitude and approach from what you describe at HH...
 

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