Was I right in this situation?

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thenorthern

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A strange question but I had a situation this week and I was wondering if I was right in this situation and what would you have done in this situation.

The story goes I got on the 07:05 train at Uttoxeter traveling to Manchester and I planned to change at Stoke-on-Trent onto the 07:45 train.

Being an unstaffed station I was going to buy a ticket on the train however in the end the conductor didn't come so I ended up at Stoke-on-Trent on the wrong side of the barriers without a ticket. As the train was running 10 min late there was only around 4 min at Stoke-on-Trent to buy a ticket before the Manchester train departed. I spoke to the woman at the gates who told me I had to go to platform 1 and buy a ticket from the person who sells tickets to passengers who don't have them which given the conductor hadn't come on the East Midlands Train there was a queue of around 20 people waiting to purchase tickets.

I then explained this to the gate manager and asked if I could speak to the train manager of the Virgin Train and get a ticket from him and she replied no and that if I missed the Manchester train because of the queue it would have been my fault. She also said that if boarded the train without a ticket I would be liable for a penalty.

In the end I ignored what she said and got the Manchester train and went to the the train manager's booth and explained my situation and he was fine about it and sold me a ticket with appropriate railcard discount.

I was wondering though what is the right thing to do in this situation and what you would have done in this situation.
 
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Agent_c

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I think you're in the right. You've started your journey at an unmanned station, left enough connection time for your connection, and I don't believe there's an obligation stated anywhere on you to have to delay your journey.
 

najaB

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I think you're in the right. You've started your journey at an unmanned station, left enough connection time for your connection, and I don't believe there's an obligation stated anywhere on you to have to delay your journey.
Your boarding station was unstaffed so your obligation is purchase a ticket at the first opportunity.

So the question then "Did the four minutes at Stoke constitute an opportunity to purchase?"

There isn't, to the best of my knowledge, any specific guidance that we can refer to to answer this question. The closest thing we could use would be the station interchange times - while this isn't the purpose for which they are intended, it seems logical that if NRE says X minutes should be budgeted to change trains, it wouldn't be reasonable to expect you to also purchase a ticket in less time than that.

According to BR Times Stoke is a medium interchange station with a connection time of five minutes.

It is my opinion that it would be have been unreasonable to force you to buy your ticket at Stoke.
 

Fare-Cop

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I guess that I would also agree that it would be for the traveller to offer the fare at the first opportunity to pay as instructed by signs at unstaffed stations where there are no pre-purchase facilities, but I wonder what view might have been taken by the TOC if the staff on train from Stoke had not been so understanding, or if the traveller had not approached him immediately

After all, National Railway Byelaw 1.2 (2005) is clear in stating:

(2) Any person directed by a notice to queue, or when asked to queue by an authorised person, shall join the rear of the queue and obey the reasonable instructions of any authorised person regulating the queue

The person at the barrier at Stoke had, by the OP's own admission, directed the OP to join the queue and not to travel without a ticket.

This is a case of playing 'devil's advocate', but assume the OP had been reported for travelling without a ticket, the barrier staff would have been asked and would likely produce a statement confirming that he had been instructed not to do so.

I wonder what view a TOC might take then?
 
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najaB

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This is a case of playing 'devil's advocate', but assume the OP had been reported for travelling without a ticket, the barrier staff would have been asked and would likely produce a statement confirming that he had been instructed not to do so.

I wonder what view a TOC might take then?
That is a good point. I guess it comes down to interpretation of if "You need to go over there and buy a ticket." is 'asking the passenger to join a queue'.
 

Agent_c

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I guess that I would also agree that it would be for the traveller to offer the fare at the first opportunity to pay as instructed by signs at unstaffed stations where there are no pre-purchase facilities, but I wonder what view might have been taken by the TOC if the staff on train from Stoke had not been so understanding, or if the traveller had not approached him immediately

After all, National Railway Byelaw 1.2 (2005) is clear in stating:

(2) Any person directed by a notice to queue, or when asked to queue by an authorised person, shall join the rear of the queue and obey the reasonable instructions of any authorised person regulating the queue

The person at the barrier at Stoke had, by the OP's own admission, directed the OP to join the queue and not to travel without a ticket.

This is a case of playing 'devil's advocate', but assume the OP had been reported for travelling without a ticket, the barrier staff would have been asked and would likely produce a statement confirming that he had been instructed not to do so.

I wonder what view a TOC might take then?
Well then the Railway has chosen to delay the passenger, whom has left enough time between trains schedules to meet the minimum connection time, but has none the less missed his train.

Surely then there'd be an argument for delay repay.
 

thenorthern

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To be honest as I carry a Disabled Railcard I doubt any member of Virgin Trains staff would have given me a penalty for not having a ticket as it would look bad and heavy handed on them. I know that I shouldn't use this as an excuse for not having a ticket though.

Its happened quite a few time to me where I haven't been able to buy a ticket because the conductor hasn't come but in most cases I can get a ticket before the Manchester train arrives at Stoke-on-Trent.

The woman did say though that there is a TVM at Stone but I don't think she realised that when I say that I got on at Uttoxeter and when I get off an East Midlands Train then I probably didn't get on at Stone.

Had I waited in the queue and missed the 0745 train could I have claimed delay repay and if so which company would I have claim it off?
 

yorkie

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In the end I ignored what she said and got the Manchester train and went to the the train manager's booth and explained my situation and he was fine about it and sold me a ticket with appropriate railcard discount.

I was wondering though what is the right thing to do in this situation and what you would have done in this situation.
There was no need to approach any staff. I certainly wouldn't have approached station staff. However I agree that approaching staff on the train, if it is practicable to do so, isn't a bad idea.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Surely then there'd be an argument for delay repay.
If Virgin Trains (who manage Stoke station) actions cause a customer to be 30 minutes late into their destination, then absolutely Delay Repay would apply. I would not give Virgin Trains staff that opportunity.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Your boarding station was unstaffed so your obligation is purchase a ticket at the first opportunity.

So the question then "Did the four minutes at Stoke constitute an opportunity to purchase?"

There isn't, to the best of my knowledge, any specific guidance that we can refer to to answer this question. The closest thing we could use would be the station interchange times - while this isn't the purpose for which they are intended, it seems logical that if NRE says X minutes should be budgeted to change trains, it wouldn't be reasonable to expect you to also purchase a ticket in less time than that.

According to BR Times Stoke is a medium interchange station with a connection time of five minutes.

It is my opinion that it would be have been unreasonable to force you to buy your ticket at Stoke.
Absolutely, of that there can be no doubt whatsoever.
 

gray1404

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A customer is not the expected to delay their onward connection at an interchange station to buy tickets if it is their first opportunity to purchase and there is insufficient time at the interchange.

Virgin Trains staff should not be given out incorrect information at Stoke saying that you are expected to miss your connection if there is a que.
 
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reb0118

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A customer is not expected to delay their onward connection at an interchange station to buy tickets if it is their first opportunity to purchase, and there is insufficient time at the interchange.

Tidied that up a little for you ;). Upon skim reading at first I just noticed "sufficient time".

I don't see a problem with the OP's actions. In any case it is a general principle that disabled persons railcard holders can purchase on board with no penalty even if boarding at a staffed station - usual caveats apply.
 

gray1404

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Tidied that up a little for you ;). Upon skim reading at first I just noticed "sufficient time".

I don't see a problem with the OP's actions. In any case it is a general principle that disabled persons railcard holders can purchase on board with no penalty even if boarding at a staffed station - usual caveats apply.

Thanks - corrected.

So are saying that a Disabled Persons Railcard holder can buy on board without penalty? That's reassuring. What are the usual caveats you make reference to?
 

yorkie

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So are saying that a Disabled Persons Railcard holder can buy on board without penalty? That's reassuring. What are the usual caveats you make reference to?
It depends on the train company.

Virgin Trains East Coast allow disabled railcard holders to buy on board without penalty regardless.

The policy on Virgin Trains (no suffix) is rather more wooly and open to interpretation, but nevertheless potentially provides some additional rights/protection (not that any is needed in this case!)

Maybe one day we'll see a bit more harmonisation of terms between Virgin Trains and Virgin Trains East Coast...
 

reb0118

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Thanks - corrected.

No worries.

What are the usual caveats you make reference to?

Whenever one makes a statement on railway ticketing someone else can usually find an exception to the rule.

I suppose in my above case re. the DSB railcard the relaxation may not apply in a penalty fare area nor if one suspected a deliberate attempt to avoid the fare.
 

6Gman

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Am I right in thinking that EMT state somewhere that ticketless passengers are required to seek out the Conductor/ Train Manager?

Which does seem to be EMT making up rules as they go along?
 

yorkie

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Am I right in thinking that EMT state somewhere that ticketless passengers are required to seek out the Conductor/ Train Manager?
If you've seen that, let us know and we'll challenge it.
Which does seem to be EMT making up rules as they go along?
Perhaps they are, but Stoke station is managed by Virgin Trains, so it would appear in this case to be Virgin Trains who are inventing rules that don't exist.

Virgin Trains staff at gatelines are not adequately trained, but then that's not uncommon at other TOCs too. Good gateline staff tend to be those who have done their own research, often in their own time, and take pride in giving good customer service (I can think of some forum members who come into that category!)
 

LowLevel

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I've not seen any such statement from EMT, I believe that was a Northernism. There are however carefully worded posters along the lines of 'on board we will sell you a ticket if you had no opportunity to purchase one at the station'.

And yes, EMT's disabled persons protection policy which is available to inspect online clearly states that disabled railcard holders may buy their ticket on board or even at the destination if necessary without penalty.
 

sheff1

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If you've seen that, let us know and we'll challenge it.

The 2013 version of the EMT Passenger Charter http://www.eastmidlandstrains.co.uk/Global/Policies and Procedures/EMT-Passengers-Charter.pdf stated, in a very poorly worded section 3:
To ensure that you hold a valid ticket, we do recommend that you It is your responsibility to approach the Train Manager or Senior Conductor at the earliest opportunity to purchase a ticket.

This text does not appear in the lastest (2015) version, so I assume someone did challenge it.
 

DelayRepay

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If you've seen that, let us know and we'll challenge it.

Hi Yorkie,

I saw this statement (you must seek out the Guard) in an EMT Penalty Fares leaflet a couple of years ago. On their website it says (my emphasis):

What should I do if I have a problem buying my ticket before boarding the train?
It is your responsibility to leave enough time to buy your ticket. The most convenient way to guarantee your ticket is to purchase it online in advance at eastmidlandstrains.co.uk. You must buy a ticket before you board the train. If you do not, and you are making a journey that is covered by the Penalty Fare scheme, you may be liable for a Penalty Fare.

If you are unable to purchase your ticket online, the following options are available for purchasing tickets at a station:

Ticket Vending Machines – these will accept cash and most major credit/debit cards
At the station Ticket Office.
If neither of these options are available at the station (this may be because it is not possible to purchase the type of ticket you require i.e. a concession ticket from a Ticket Vending Machine or because it is out of order and the station Ticket Office is closed) and you do not have a pre-booked ticket, it is your responsibility to approach a member of on-board staff to purchase a ticket as soon as possible.

Please note, our Revenue Protection Team have a system in place which allows access to real-time information about the availability of all ticketing facilities at our stations and the types of tickets that can be purchased from our Ticket Vending Machines.

If you are at a station where there are no Ticket Vending Machines and no Ticket Office you should use a Permit to Travel machine. This allows you to pay towards your ticket value with whatever money you have available. It is your responsibility to approach a member of the on-board staff to purchase a ticket as soon as possible and within two hours. The value of your Permit to Travel ticket will be deducted from the ticket purchased on-board.

If the Permit to Travel machine is not in use, you must approach a member of on-board staff at the earliest possible opportunity.
 

yorkie

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LowLevel - thanks for confirming that :)

The 2013 version of the EMT Passenger Charter http://www.eastmidlandstrains.co.uk/Global/Policies and Procedures/EMT-Passengers-Charter.pdf stated, in a very poorly worded section 3:

This text does not appear in the lastest (2015) version, so I assume someone did challenge it.
That's reassuring to know. Well done whoever at EMT spotted this and changed it :)

thenorthern - I hope this thread has reassured you for any future journeys of a similar nature :)
 

robbeech

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I could imagine claiming delay repay being a right royal pain in the rear in this situation. Purchase a ticket at 7:49 4 minutes after a 7:45 train leaves due to a queue and try to complain that you missed the 7:45 train. I appreciate that someone sensible would have to look through it but you could no doubt get a standard decline first.
 

thenorthern

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I have had a reply from Virgin Trains that says I should have more time to buy a ticket but they ignored the fact I said I got on a an unstaffed station with no TVM.

Should I take it further?
 

Clip

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I have had a reply from Virgin Trains that says I should have more time to buy a ticket but they ignored the fact I said I got on a an unstaffed station with no TVM.

Should I take it further?

Write back to them first emphasising that you got on at an unstaffed station with no TVM and that the rules state you can do what you done.

Then if you get no further joy look to take it to Passenger Focus
 

Wolfie

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Write back to them first emphasising that you got on at an unstaffed station with no TVM and that the rules state you can do what you done.

Then if you get no further joy look to take it to Passenger Focus

Absolutely. While I like many things about Virgin Trains some of their badly trained barrier staff are a pain in the rearend.

I guess that I would also agree that it would be for the traveller to offer the fare at the first opportunity to pay as instructed by signs at unstaffed stations where there are no pre-purchase facilities, but I wonder what view might have been taken by the TOC if the staff on train from Stoke had not been so understanding, or if the traveller had not approached him immediately

After all, National Railway Byelaw 1.2 (2005) is clear in stating:

(2) Any person directed by a notice to queue, or when asked to queue by an authorised person, shall join the rear of the queue and obey the reasonable instructions of any authorised person regulating the queue

The person at the barrier at Stoke had, by the OP's own admission, directed the OP to join the queue and not to travel without a ticket.

This is a case of playing 'devil's advocate', but assume the OP had been reported for travelling without a ticket, the barrier staff would have been asked and would likely produce a statement confirming that he had been instructed not to do so.

I wonder what view a TOC might take then?

If the OP had followed that "reasonable" instruction and duly missed their connecting train I assume that delay repay must then be payable. Who would be liable? The employers of the barrier staff person? If not which company given that the connecting service may not be operated by the employer of the barrier staff? Why should any entity other than that which failed to train the errant staff member properly face resultant financial penalties?
 
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thenorthern

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This is what they responded with today:

Dear name removed


Thank you for your further correspondence which we received. I am sorry that you were unhappy with our previous response. Thank you for giving us another opportunity to resolve your concerns.

I fully appreciate the frustrations at not being to collect tickets at your local station and therefore not having enough time at Stoke on Trent to purchase them. The minimum connection time is based on the ssumtion that you are holding a valid ticket for travel ad not purchasing one during that connection period. If you are unable to purchase a ticket onboard, then I as before I would suggest you purchase tickets before the day of travel and have them delivered to your house.

If you remain dissatisfied, I respectfully suggest you contact Transport Focus. Transport Focus (formerly the Rail Passenger's Council) is the consumer body set up under the Railways Act 1993 to protect rail users' interests.

Is passenger focus next then?

The spelling mistakes were made by Virgin Trains not me.
 
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