Very Miffed LM customer

Discussion in 'Fares Advice & Policy' started by kevincoy, 25 Oct 2011.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. kevincoy

    kevincoy Member

    Messages:
    14
    Joined:
    7 Jan 2009
    Location:
    Birmingham
    So,

    I was booked on the 19:34 off Liverpool Lime Street, having rebooked three times having originally been booked on the 17:04.

    According to the station manager (who said "are you lm by any chance"), confirmed that the 20:18 service (should have been the 18:04) would run, or if it didn't he'd personally authorise a taxi home.

    In the middle of this, Virgin refused all first class LM passengers, even though their trains left mostly empty, and that was the position when I left on the above service, which left lime street at 20:32.

    Is this right? I want to complain but who to? both tocs?
     
  2. Registered users do not see these banners - join or log in today!

    Rail Forums

     
  3. hairyhandedfool

    hairyhandedfool Established Member

    Messages:
    8,838
    Joined:
    14 Apr 2008
    If you have a 'rte LM Only' ticket it is upto London Midland (LM) to sort it out, they can ask Virgin to accept tickets, Virgin don't have to do anything (unless LM are unable to get you to your destination).

    You can complain to LM for any disruption and delay that was caused, but Virgin would just pass your complaint on to LM.
     
  4. theblackwatch

    theblackwatch Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    9,593
    Joined:
    15 Feb 2006
    Location:
    Yorkshire
    As hairyhandedfool says, you should complain to LM - given the length of delay, you may well be entitled to something back under the company's Delay Repay scheme.
     
  5. AlterEgo

    AlterEgo Veteran Member

    Messages:
    11,249
    Joined:
    30 Dec 2008
    Location:
    Milton Keynes
    You hadn't paid any money to Virgin, so they are under no obligation to take you. It's for LM to organise ticket acceptance - it seems as if they may have decided not to do so in this case.

    You should complain to LM, who have caused your delay. They have a comprehensive Delay Repay scheme:

    http://www.londonmidland.com/your-journey/delay-repay/
     
  6. LexyBoy

    LexyBoy Established Member Fares Advisor

    Messages:
    4,460
    Joined:
    23 Jan 2009
    Location:
    North of the rivers
    Could you clarify what this means please? Do you mean you changed your reservation three times prior to arriving at the station, or were you planning to get the 1704 and repeatedly had to postpone travel due to cancellations?

    If you arrived planning to get the 1704 you should certainly get a full refund; if you were booked on the 1934 then it might not be the full amount (depending on arrival at your destination).

    As others have said, Virgin are under no obligation to carry LM's passengers unless LM are unable to convey them (which could be by taxi or bus). If LM didn't run any scheduled services between 1704 and 1934 though I'd be disappointed that they didn't make arrangements with Virgin.
     
  7. 87015

    87015 Established Member

    Messages:
    4,106
    Joined:
    3 Mar 2006
    Location:
    GEML/WCML/SR
    They had a rather large gap in trains, actual departues at 1634, 1708, 1827, 1838 and 2026. Quite why VT and LM do not have a reciprocal agreement or this was not acted on is anyones guess. Making people wait around for two hours because the train is the wrong colour - quality railway as usual...
     
  8. AlterEgo

    AlterEgo Veteran Member

    Messages:
    11,249
    Joined:
    30 Dec 2008
    Location:
    Milton Keynes
    The onus is on LM to organise ticket acceptance...

    So Virgin should transport a customer who has actively chosen not to give them business by opting for a LM Only fare?

    Virgin received £0.00 from the OP.
     
  9. LexyBoy

    LexyBoy Established Member Fares Advisor

    Messages:
    4,460
    Joined:
    23 Jan 2009
    Location:
    North of the rivers
    No-one said that Virgin should carry them out of the goodness of their hearts, but that either LM may wish to cough up for Virgin to take people who would otherwise be waiting for hours, or that LM/VT might have a reciprocal arrangement for these situations (it could equally be Virgin asking LM to take their customers).

    Many people don't care or even know which company operates the train - it's just "a train". It's in the interest of the railway as an industry to work together when possible (which does happen a lot of the time of course).
     
  10. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

    Messages:
    39,274
    Joined:
    6 Jun 2005
    Location:
    Yorkshire
    Revenue does not, and should not, determine validity (I believe EC get £0.00 out of a Peterborough-Huntingdon Season + a Huntingdon-Stevenage Anytime Single, yet EC are compelled to convey a customer holding such a combination. Surely the argument that if a TOC gets £0.00 is null and void!) and validity is determined by the NRCoC and ticket conditions.

    The NRCoC makes it clear that Virgin must convey the customer if they are "stranded", but where is there a definition of "stranded"? How long should a customer wait for before they are considered "stranded"? There has to be a limit, but unless it's defined, it will remain subjective.

    If I was the OP, I'd be far less inclined to use Virgin again. Delays can occur to any company (unless they are constantly happening to one particular company on a particular route) but allowing trains to run almost empty while passengers of National Rail (who they are a member of) to wait hours, is a choice they made and customers can clearly see that choice being made and make their own minds up. Interestingly the slogan of National Rail is "Britain's train companies working together" - when this does not occur, passengers may think the Railway breaks promises, and choose to travel by an alternative method. I would not blame them.

    I choose not to travel by bus (unless absolutely necessary) because I know that many bus companies are unreliable, will not accept each others tickets, and are not open and honest about their fare structure. The actions of a significant number of bus companies mean I am going to avoid that entire mode of transport wherever possible (I will use buses when there is no other practical option, of course!), and if Virgin and LM wish to give people the same negative view of rail and ensure people avoid rail wherever possible, then they can just carry on doing what they are doing and they will achieve that. The impact of their actions will be felt more on the routes they serve, but they could impact on other TOCs too. People will just see the rail industry as failing to "work together" and aren't interested in the complexities and justifications for one company not assisting another!
     
  11. AlterEgo

    AlterEgo Veteran Member

    Messages:
    11,249
    Joined:
    30 Dec 2008
    Location:
    Milton Keynes
    "Stranded" to my mind usually means that the customer has no means of getting to their destination on that day.

    However, you do raise a valid point, in that the definiton is subjective (indeed, would you expect a customer to wait 12 hours for a train? Nope!). It does certainly need defining. Virgin do seem to have been willing to authorise a taxi though.

    I would go back to my original point that LM ought to have organised ticket acceptance.
     
  12. hairyhandedfool

    hairyhandedfool Established Member

    Messages:
    8,838
    Joined:
    14 Apr 2008
    Indeed, the value of the ticket that the TOC receives should not determine validity, however, the route printed on the ticket does.

    Might sound a bit heartless but to me "stranded" means no way to get home, and a couple of hours delay, whilst not particularly nice, is not unreasonable particularly as the ticket holder would be entitled to compensation.

    Odd thing to say given that it is London Midland who failed to provide the service they agreed to and them that should have made other arrangements. Virgin had no responsibility for the passenger on that ticket.

    When GC have problems, aren't 'rte GC Only' ticket holders given 'rte any permitted' fares by GC staff, perhaps passengers should boycott EC because they didn't help out for nothing?

    The op said "the station manager", I'm not sure who that is, but there are a number of staff for different TOCs at Lime Street and the station is managed by Network Rail.

    Absolutely.
     
  13. AlterEgo

    AlterEgo Veteran Member

    Messages:
    11,249
    Joined:
    30 Dec 2008
    Location:
    Milton Keynes
    Virgin do have a named "Station Manager" at Liverpool.
     
  14. hairyhandedfool

    hairyhandedfool Established Member

    Messages:
    8,838
    Joined:
    14 Apr 2008
    Maybe so, and I'm sure Northern have a few there too, but only the Op and the person they spoke to would know if it was that staff member that the Op spoke to, so until the Op can confirm it, it is not a safe assumption to my mind.
     
  15. The Engineer

    The Engineer Member

    Messages:
    83
    Joined:
    27 Apr 2009
    Location:
    Preston, Lancashire
    Sorry to hear about your bad experience with LM.. About a year ago I booked a first class return to London with LM rather than Virgin. LM cancelled the train (it was turned round short) and on contacting their staff they immediately arranged to put me on a Virgin train south albeit in standard class. It does show they can work together (at Crewe at least!!)
     
  16. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

    Messages:
    39,274
    Joined:
    6 Jun 2005
    Location:
    Yorkshire
    You're entitled to my opinion, but I stick by mine, that all companies experience delays from time to time, but if a company is seen to be unhelpful toward customers, that's a clear choice they make, and customers will remember that. Not all customers will think in the way you do, and they may see the slogan "Britain’s rail companies working together" to look like, quite frankly, a lie.

    You can go on about the rights and wrongs all day but it won't stop passengers feeling disgruntled about the industry as a whole, in particular a company that has plenty of space to accommodate them but has chosen not to.

    Also, it is clear to me that one of the many reasons why the bill for the privatised railway is so high, and the railway is so wasteful, is that near empty trains are allowed to leave, and then a taxi is paid for by the rail industry. The industry is imploding on itself. "Boiling frogs" are clearly very much the norm in the rail industry and I don't see that changing without a radical shake-up - by which time it may be too late.

    The only winners are are other forms of transport (taxi firms in the short term, and coach firms, and the car industry in the longer term - as people are put off by rail).
     
  17. Mr Spock

    Mr Spock Member

    Messages:
    608
    Joined:
    14 Jan 2008
    Before going on about Virgin perhaps the full facts of what actually happened should be posted first as the OP does not explain what went on i.e. what were the reasons for rebooking and also why were Virgin running trains but LM were not, if that was the case.

    When precise facts about the whole episode are explained then perhaps is the time for you to go off on one of your rants again if it is deserved.
     
  18. hairyhandedfool

    hairyhandedfool Established Member

    Messages:
    8,838
    Joined:
    14 Apr 2008
    Unfortunately people rarely acknowledge their own choices in the situation.

    Passengers will feel disgruntled as it's not their fault the trains are cancelled, fair enough, but it's not the TOC's fault the passenger bought a TOC specific ticket. That choice has left them in that situation as much as the cancelling of the trains has. It would appear as though people are good at cutting their nose off.
     
  19. martinsh

    martinsh Established Member

    Messages:
    1,491
    Joined:
    27 Jan 2011
    Location:
    Mother Jones Siding
    Signalling problems at Wolverhampton. What would have been the 1804 ex Lime St was 20 late inbound at Crewe - so I guess that is the one that left at 1820 ? Not sure what happened to the 1734 ex Lime St - probably cancelled, as LM seem to cancel Birmingham - Liverpools at the slightest excuse.
     
  20. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

    Messages:
    39,274
    Joined:
    6 Jun 2005
    Location:
    Yorkshire
    If "precise facts" were needed before anyone could comment, then a lot of threads would never see replies! I think your claims that my post was a "rant" are completely unwarranted, I wouldn't have replied but for the fact that there were claims that revenue determined validity, and suggestions that passengers could be kept waiting perhaps indefinitely (there has to be some limit, though as I said earlier this is undefined). Whatever the rights and wrongs, many passengers will see the rail industry as failing them.

    Do you believe it's sensible for the rail industry to prevent customers boarding a train with plenty of spare capacity and then pay for a taxi? Unless we get to grips with costs, and the rail industry starts practicing what it preaches about "working together", there is going to be big trouble head. This is not in the interests of any of the TOCs, nor customers.
    If someone chooses a cheaper ticket, it will be on the assumption that a service will be provided on the cheaper route/company. It is hardly the customers' fault if this turns out not to be the case.

    What I believe is unacceptable is that someone with a "LM only" ticket cannot excess to an "Any Permitted. Now, before the revenue argument gets rolled out, this is again null & void because a "High Wycombe" ticket for certain flows would give Virgin £0.00 in revenue, yet this can be excessed by paying half the difference between the fare paid and the appropriate fare.

    No-one has yet come up with a sensible argument for why this discrepancy should be allowed to exist.
     
  21. WelshBluebird

    WelshBluebird Established Member

    Messages:
    2,953
    Joined:
    14 Jan 2010
    While I understand there are a lot of issue around Virgin accepting LM only tickets (and similar cases), I do think it is a bit stupid. As has already been said, if Virgins trains are fairly empty, then it what world does it make sense to have to pay for taxis for people! Its just waste of time, money and effort! There is no wonder why the railways have so many costs when you look at how they work in cases like this. And as Yorkie said, it makes a total mockery of the advertising about "working together".
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    As Yorkie said, that choice is based on the assumption the service will run and there will be no disruption.
    While you could say making such an assumption is the wrong thing to do (certainly I try to plan my journeys taking into account the high likelihood of being held up in a delay or cancelation), I do not think it should be upto the passenger to anticipate the TOC not holding up their side of the agreement (in my view cancelling a train and not providing alternative transport is exactly that).
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    What has that got to do with the train being cancelled and alternative transport not being provided?

    Could be one of many reasons. And it is likely the normal passenger would not be in the know to these.
     
    Last edited: 25 Oct 2011
  22. nedchester

    nedchester Established Member

    Messages:
    1,018
    Joined:
    28 May 2008
    Don't you just love the privatised railways in this country. When we had a proper unified system there would have been no problem with someone transferring to the Euston service. Madness!
     
  23. SS4

    SS4 Established Member

    Messages:
    8,391
    Joined:
    30 Jan 2011
    Location:
    Birmingham
    Virgin were in the wrong place and the wrong time, this is a problem between the OP and LM. Even if LM had to pay all their passengers to get taxis it would still not have impacted upon Virgin's balance sheet. It is not just the passenger that expects the LM service to run as expected!

    In addition the OP only mentioned that Virgin's 1st class was empty, standard class is not mentioned so for all we know it is full. If VT did let LM 1st passengers on exactly how could they have vetted them? I seriously doubt there were enough staff to properly check.
     
  24. hairyhandedfool

    hairyhandedfool Established Member

    Messages:
    8,838
    Joined:
    14 Apr 2008
    Forgive me if I missed something, but a service was provided, granted it wasn't at the time it was supposed to be (for which it may be possible claim compensation), but it was provided.

    But they can hand their ticket in for a refund (not travelling due to disruption), provided they were not made aware of the disruption before buying the ticket, and then buy a new one for the other company. Granted that doesn't help those who turn up at the station early/late and want to use another operator when everything is on time, but then that is no concern of the TOC.

    I rather suspect there is a revenue issue here, just not the one you are thinking of.

    If that is the assumption that is used, it is flawed and the TOCs have no control over that. The railway gets such a bashing for being late or cancelled that I'm surprised people don't consider it (even if they then choose to go with the cheaper option).
     
  25. HSTEd

    HSTEd Established Member

    Messages:
    9,419
    Joined:
    14 Jul 2011
    This is what happens when you attempt to run a railway with minimum "wasted" stock sitting idle in sidings, this is simply "sweating" the assets. No provision can be made for extra "holiday" period trains.
     
  26. hairyhandedfool

    hairyhandedfool Established Member

    Messages:
    8,838
    Joined:
    14 Apr 2008
    If they had a 'rte any permitted' ticket, they would have no problem transfering to the Virgin Trains service.;)
     
  27. LexyBoy

    LexyBoy Established Member Fares Advisor

    Messages:
    4,460
    Joined:
    23 Jan 2009
    Location:
    North of the rivers
    Agreed. They are also quite entitled to complain to LM about how the situation was handled.

    Personally I'd not hold a grudge against Virgin, I'd expect them to step in under more catastrophic circumstances, but here.

    Regarding TOC specific tickets though, there is on justification for not being able to excess them IMO. They can't just be refunded and a new ticket issued if, for example, it was only the return portion of a SVR. And there would be a £10 fee unless just bought.

     
  28. ray

    ray New Member

    Messages:
    2
    Joined:
    25 May 2010
    Does that mean that they were allowing you on but only in standard carriages? I suppose that means they haven't left you stranded. In the same way that if they put a bus on then it would all be standard (or first class!) and they wouldn't put on a separate one for first class holders. Or am I wrong?
     
    Last edited: 25 Oct 2011
  29. Greenback

    Greenback Emeritus Moderator

    Messages:
    15,363
    Joined:
    9 Aug 2009
    Location:
    Llanelli
    I quite agree. This is what happens when you have a compromise between total competition and retaining the benefits of a unified network.

    As Yorkie has correctly pointe dout, it may not impact on an individual TOC's balance sheet, but it most certainly will impact on the costs of the industry as a whole when taxi's are paid for while passengers could be conveyed on alternative trai services that just happen to be run by another company.
     
  30. Solent&Wessex

    Solent&Wessex Established Member

    Messages:
    2,220
    Joined:
    9 Jul 2009
    I generally work on the basis of a wait being unreasonable if it will be more than 1 hour. I take this view because of the bit in the "Advance" ticket conditions which says that you will be allowed to take another train if your service is delayed by more than 60 minutes. I take this as a sort of guidance from the TOCs as to what is considered reasonable.

    Generally I find that this is generally well stuck to when alternative transport arrangements are considered when connections are missed, or when disruption is affecting services.

    It does vary considerably though. We regularly get messages from control along the lines of "Please accept EC tickets between X & Y until xxxxhrs", "Please accept XC tickets between X & Y until further notice due to disruption at Z", however on the other side other TOCs (and stations) are very very poor and just seem to bundle people onto another train just to get rid of them and without getting permission from the other TOC concerned (as I sometimes check and control say they haven't been asked, and if they had they would have said no as there is another train along that route within an hour).
     
  31. clagmonster

    clagmonster Established Member

    Messages:
    1,969
    Joined:
    8 Jun 2005
    Condition 26 does not allow an administration fee to be charged if the refund is requested due to a train being cancelled or delayed. I agree though, if it were a return portion only the difference between the fare paid and the equivalent single fare could be refunded.
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page