Wrong Break of Journey info at Clapham Junction?

Discussion in 'Fares Advice & Policy' started by Jona26, 4 Nov 2014.

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  1. Jona26

    Jona26 Member

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    Last week I was travelling on the return portion of a Chester to Fleet Off Peak Return and wished to break my journey at Clapham Junction, resuming a couple of days later (still well before the expiry date on the ticket). I had previously checked the Fares & Ticketing Guide to make sure this was allowed.

    Knowing that my ticket wouldn't activate the barriers I approached the SWT gateline assistant to be let through. The assistant at first claimed BOJ wasn't allowed at all on the ticket then conceded that it was but had to be resumed on the same day.

    I asked if he was sure about this, he said he was and so I asked to speak to a ticket office supervisor. The supervisor maintained that this was the case. I argued quite calmly that I understood that I could break and resume an unlimited number of times at unlimited locations within the permitted routes and the ticket expiry date.

    As this conversation was held in front of the ticket office queue (the supervisor came out onto the concourse) other passengers could hear the conversation and I was made to feel as if I was trying my luck to evade the proper fare. The ticket ended up being marked with the location, date and 'RA'. I decided it wasn't worth trying to discuss further and left the station.

    On my way out I passed the SWT Station Duty Manager. I asked him if he had knowledge of ticketing issues and he snapped at me "If it's about BOJ you've already been given the answer!"

    When I resumed my journey at Euston a few days later the ticket was passed by the Virgin staff prior to boarding without question even though the markings were quite visble and noticed by the member of staff.

    While I can perhaps understand the gateline assistant not having extensive ticketing knowledge, this seems to be quite a basic issue and the fact that the ticket office supervisor was giving me incorrect info seems inexcusable, along with the rude attitude of the Duty Station Manager.

    I didn't have to purchase any additional tickets so I'm not looking for reimbursement or compensation but do people think I should complain to SWT about the lack of knowledge and attitude of their staff or am I getting worked up unnecessarily?

    Thanks
     
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  3. hounddog

    hounddog Member

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    Definitely. You knew the rules but someone who wasn't so sure of their position might have felt it necessary to buy a new ticket.
     
  4. Merseysider

    Merseysider Established Member Fares Advisor

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    If it's a training issue, or a case of staff making up their own rules, it's something that needs to be corrected. If you don't bring it to their attention you'll have exactly the same experience next time round!
     
  5. RJ

    RJ Established Member

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    I had the same problem with East Midlands Trains and Virgin Trains - barrier staff and guards who had this bizarre misconception that it was not permitted to break your journey on the return portion of a SVR for more than one night. I had a ticket withdrawn once for breaking my journey for longer than that and refused entry onto a train on another occasion for the same reason. With team leaders and "control" backing them up. You really couldn't make it up.

    Break of journey is explained quite clearly in the NRCoC, Condition 16. The concept of having until the end date shown on the ticket to complete the journey is not something that staff should be struggling with. It's a very, very basic concept - but anything that requires reading of literature on tickets is deemed as too complex, which is a sad indictment on the railways. Customers know when they are being BS'd, but are expected to respect what they're told by people that don't know what they're talking about.

    To err is human, but to have several people making the same error is a problem. I suggest contact is made with their Customer Services and you get confirmation that a.) they understand you were given wrong information and b.) staff have been briefed with the correct information.
     
    Last edited: 4 Nov 2014
  6. Jona26

    Jona26 Member

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    Thanks everyone for your comments. I have emailed SWT and will update the thread with any replies I receive.
     
  7. embers25

    embers25 Established Member

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    Clapham Junction is becoming a nightmare as the barrier staff on all exits seem to have no clue about ticket validities or break of journey. The ones on the barriers by Plat 1 are the worst for refusing almost everything. I was initially prevented on the subway exit (Sainsbury's side) from breaking journey on an anytime day single on Sunday before being allowed to escape after a protest. A friend of mine was also refused entry on Monday morning with a 100% valid ticket that the barrier guy decided wasn't permitted via Clapham. Unfortunately he didn't have a printout from National Rail to prove it on him but he really shouldn't need that. Why oh why can't they be given proper training or at least go away and check as it is a real pain. I understand tickets often are really complex at Clapham and so some routeings are likely to be challenged but they refuse to check and also the station supervisors always back them up without any further investigation, even on basic things such as break of journey. It's getting beyond a joke.
     
  8. talldave

    talldave Established Member

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    Why does nobody sue the TOCs for wasting their time? If they treated me like this I'd invoice them for my wasted time and take them to court when they didn't pay.
     
  9. Jona26

    Jona26 Member

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    Now there's a thought.. approx 30 mins delayed at CLJ + time on forum confirming info + time dealing with email correspondence with SWT = £££
     
  10. Kite159

    Kite159 Veteran Member

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    Most likely you will receive a template email back which ignores most of the points raised by your original email, probably in 30 days.
     
  11. Jona26

    Jona26 Member

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    Don't worry - I have learnt to live with low expectations so I can never be unexpectedly disappointed :roll:
     
  12. FenMan

    FenMan Member

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    I've broken my journey at CLJ on numerous occasions - to meet friends in The Falcon before travelling on to a football match - and have never had an issue on the gateline. I just wave my ticket and state I'm breaking my journey - normally they don't even check the ticket.

    Is this a recent issue?
     
  13. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Not bizarre. The original published T&Cs included wording which very strongly implied this. However, I tried to locate them and it seems they have now been corrected - presumably this happened when Anytime ticket outward portions gained the 5 day validity, and BoJ became universally permitted on the return half of Off Peaks (it wasn't initially, but was per restrictions for each ticket). So that's out of date staff training.

    The reason they did was that they lumped together in one paragraph the details about return-half BoJ (where you can basically take the entire period of validity to make the return journey one station at a time, if you really want) and outward-half BoJ (where because the ticket is valid for one day you can only break overnight if you've got stuck[1] due to running out of trains, AIUI, and then have to complete your journey without further break).

    So it's understandable that some think this, but it needs correcting in the mind of those staff.

    [1] This right seems to have been moved to the NCoC as a "this isn't break of journey" definition, i.e.:-

    For the purposes of this Condition and Condition 11, you will be treated as breaking your
    journey if you leave a Train Company’s or Rail Service Company’s stations after you start
    your journey other than to:
    ...
    (ii) stay in overnight accommodation when you cannot reasonably complete your
    journey within one day, or
    ...

    Neil
     
    Last edited: 5 Nov 2014
  14. talldave

    talldave Established Member

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    Exactly - probably an hour or two in total; say £60 an hour? Invoice them. They, of course, won't pay. Take them to small claims court - adding on court fee to your claim, plus additional time for filing with court etc etc. There might be a chance of a positive outcome in your favour. Then when they still don't pay, send the bailiffs in!!!

    Then perhaps the TOC would think about training its staff correctly. After all, ticket barrier staff only have to understand & apply ticket rules. And if the knowledgeable contributors on this forum can read them, then presumably so can TOC employees??
     
  15. bb21

    bb21 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    When the outward portion of Anytime Returns changed to five days' validity, this was cut from one month (Open Returns) and not increased from one day (which was the case with Savers and SuperSavers), and the return portion of tickets always permitted BoJs. It is only the outward portion that depended on the ticket type.
     
  16. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    No, there was an interim state of affairs, lasting a few months and with continuous complaint particularly from Anytime ticket users who often break their outward journey. In this, the Anytime outward was one day only, and the Off Peak/Super Off Peak BoJ was restrictions based in both directions.

    I think the latter *may* have lasted slightly longer than the former, as it definitely caused me problems (=caused me to drive a particular journey where I intended an overnight break).

    FWIW it seems Off Peak Day can still bar BoJ in both directions, though in practice same-day BoJ is pretty much unenforced so I doubt many do.

    Neil
     
  17. Merseysider

    Merseysider Established Member Fares Advisor

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    I was under the impression ticket regulation meant BoJ on a CDR was always permitted?
     
  18. maniacmartin

    maniacmartin Established Member Senior Fares Advisor

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    Check out NRCOC section 50
     
  19. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    On brfares.com for a random CDR (MKC-EUS):-

    5. Break of journey is
    permitted on both outward and
    return portions of Off-Peak
    Day and GroupSave Day tickets
    unless otherwise indicated by
    a restriction shown against
    the ticket's_restriction code.

    However, it is indeed unusual to see one that doesn't allow it. On rare occasions they might exist if a deliberate fare anomaly is created - for instance, MKC-EUS LM Only used to be cheaper than from BLY and LBZ, and at that stage such a restriction did exist though was basically unenforced. (This has since been fixed by reducing the Any Permitted fare from those two stations).

    I've never been denied same-day BoJ on any ticket, officially permitted or not - it's unlikely that "just going to the shops, mate" is going to be refused. Though I suppose a longer BoJ might be if not permitted, e.g. leave station 8am, return 5pm.

    Neil
     
    Last edited: 5 Nov 2014
  20. bb21

    bb21 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    My memory must be failing me as I remember this only being in the proposals but never actually implemented, due to objections.

    I don't think break of journey restrictions on the return portions would ever be enforceable, due to the clause on National Rail Enquiries proclaiming that the return portions always permit BoJs. LM at one stage tried to put this restriction in their OPRs and soon removed them after it was pointed out to them.
     
  21. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    I have a different memory of this, and it was that LM put the restriction in when it was allowed (being a commuter operator they are and were paranoid about ticket re-use), but later it was removed because the rules changed due to complaints.

    The current wording on NRE is not what was originally on there.

    VT are for some reason a mixed bag - some allow BoJ in both directions, some only on return, probably for historical reasons.

    Neil
     
  22. Mark_re

    Mark_re Member

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    Clapham Junction is awful. I was once refused exit from the station because my "ticket is to Balham, not to Clapham". I pointed out that it was a West Hampstead - Balham ticket, so valid via Clapham Junction. They wouldn't have it - "you can't get off here". Eventually he gave up. Incidentally, the Grant Road exit again.
     
  23. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    FWIW it's not unlike TOCs to implement restrictions they are not allowed to implement. The best one was VT implementing evening peak restrictions northbound from MKC (and they were actually stricter than from EUS, catching at least one train that was off-peak from EUS itself).

    It was pointed out that this was a breach of their franchise agreement, and as a result they went away again (and remain a nice little loophole for anyone with more time than money wishing to make an evening peak journey).

    Neil
     
  24. Jona26

    Jona26 Member

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    Received my acknowledgement email today. Will post more when I receive my full response.
     
  25. infobleep

    infobleep Established Member

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    I use to regularly break my journeys from Haywards Heath to Hove or Brighton at Hove or Brighton. Sometimes I'd travel back via Lewes and break my journey there too. Never had an issue with it from staff.

    If only tickets could open barriers at intermediate stations, it would make it easier for people, especially staff.
     
  26. 455driver

    455driver Veteran Member

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    Being one to normally stick up for staff (have you noticed ;)) I would just like to say that the knowledge of some gateline staff at Clapham jn is awful!
     
    Last edited: 7 Nov 2014
  27. Jona26

    Jona26 Member

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    Respnse received - no more tha I expected but if the message gets through...

    South West Trains
    Customer Service Centre
    Overline House, Blechynden Terrace
    Southampton. SO15 1GW
    Email:*customerrelations@swtrains.co.uk
    Phone:*0345 6000 650

    08 Nov 2014

    Our Reference: xxxx

    Dear Mr. X

    Thank you for your correspondence dated the*04 November 2014*addressed to our Managing Director Mr Tim Shoveller. Your comments have been noted and passed to me for a response.

    *

    From the outset, please accept my apologies for the delay in replying to you

    *

    I am sorry to hear the problems you experienced when travelling through Clapham Junction Station on the*xx October 2014. I fully understand your frustrations.

    *

    Thank you for your feedback regarding our Customer Service and for your opinions of our local team members. We take pride in putting Customer Service at the heart of everything we do. All of our front line customer service team members receive regular customer service training both locally and at our dedicated customer service training centre. The situation as you describe it does not reflect the professional, polite or helpful standards of behaviour we expect our staff to work to. It is very disappointing that the individuals have overlooked these standards.*

    *

    I would like to take this opportunity to assure you that a copy of your correspondence has been sent to the Station Manager for the individuals concerned and that your complaint is being investigated in full. The manager concerned will decide the best course of action to take with regard to the matter. They will interview the members of staff and a number of options are then open to them that include retraining the staff member, verbal or formal warnings.*

    *

    Due to the current employment law that exists to protect employees we are unable to share with you any information about action taken against a staff member. I do appreciate that this is frustrating for you but I assure you that your complaint is being investigated using a set process and the most appropriate action will be taken.*

    With regards to the validity of your ticket and the break of journey, I have passed you concerns on to the South West Trains Fares and Pricing Manager. He advises that the break of journey is permitted on Anytime, Off Peak and Super Off Peak tickets unless the restriction code explicitly states that is not permitted.

    Chester to Fleet Off Peak Return has restriction code 2C which does not restrict break of journey, therefore break of journey is permitted.

    Please accept my renewed apologies and I am sorry for any inconvenience caused.

    Thank you for taking the time to contact us.

    Kind Regards



    Customer Service Consultant
     
  28. 455driver

    455driver Veteran Member

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    So you are on £60 an hour are you!
    Must be a nice job you have.
     
  29. Merseysider

    Merseysider Established Member Fares Advisor

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    Poker players, football referees, self employed business - all can easily earn £60/hour+ ;)
     
  30. talldave

    talldave Established Member

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    That's what I'd charge a TOC for my time, not the same as the day job though. You may not earn £60 an hour but by the time pensions, national insurance, sick pay, insurance, etc are added to basic pay the employer is looking at a much higher figure.
     
  31. RJ

    RJ Established Member

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    Extra points for them identifying somebody who understands tickets - this is an area that some other TOCs struggle with. That said, such a basic query about break of journey should be something that any competent person who sells or inspects tickets for a living should be able to look up and answer correctly with relative ease. It's not however - I've been told by gateline staff at Southern, Southeastern and London Overground that it's not permitted to break a journey on a season or day ticket - only with a Travelcard. It suggests there may be a more widespread deficiency in training processes.

    Instead of pasting a stock meaningless paragraph about staff being disciplined, why don't they demonstrate that the company will be doing something to address the problem at hand? The problem is ticket inspection and selling staff at Clapham Junction not understanding how break of journey works - which is something that could be addressed with a well worded brief from someone who does understand it. Interviewing the individuals concerned would probably be a waste of time - it'd probably be better to have everyone that works there read and sign the brief to ensure that everyone is reading from the same hymn sheet.
     
    Last edited: 9 Nov 2014
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