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To think it's your responsibility to check you have the right ticket?

(57 Posts)
YoureAllABunchOfBastards Thu 16-May-13 19:16:23

Just listened to a bloke get shirty with the train guard - he had an advance ticket for a different train, not valid on this service, so he had to pay full price.

It isn't the guard's fault - it says quite clearly that the ticket is only valid on a particular train. And no point complaining about cost - trains are pricey, that's why people buy advance tickets!

Every time I have travelled by train recently I have heard the same bloody argument!

ajandjjmum Fri 17-May-13 16:32:58

It was a very quiet train - he could have checked but chose not to.

Furthermore, my name was on the receipt and credit card information, so he could have checked that out with me.

I think it must be a very de-humanising job to be honest, as clearly you end up not believing a word anyone says to you.

No argument necessary, just a 'want to help' attitude rather than a 'can't be bothered to try and help', but clearly that's asking too much.

Having paid twice, DS did get to London in time to do his volunteering, so he didn't let anyone down.

Mrsdavidcaruso Fri 17-May-13 15:34:57

You call it inflexibility you may have had a receipt and number and yes the guy could have checked that you paid for the tickets BUT there was no proof that having collected the tickets that you did not pass them to someone else and then try and claim that you lost them - again this happens a lot - do you think that they should just take your word?.

Of course on a quiet train he might have found the person who had the original ones (either being found by someone or passed by someone) But depending on what you had to show him there could be a doubt as to wether it was you who found a receipt and tried to use that to 'prove' you purchased a ticket - again thats something that people do.

You then expect the TM to get into a he said she said argument and that is not their job to do that.

ajandjjmum Fri 17-May-13 12:49:29

I'll give you another example of inflexibility in a Virgin TM. DS was volunteering in the Olympics last year, and was travelling from the Midlands down to London for a shift. Mostly he stayed over, but this time it wasn't possible.

Being a lovely Mum, I'd bought the ticket online for him, and gave him a lift to the station, where he picked up the ticket from the machine. When we got to the train, he couldn't find the tickets he'd just collected anywhere - being a total plonker had obviously not put them away and had dropped them.

The train was leaving, so I went to find the TM to explain the situation, while DS retraced his steps. I explained what had happened, showed him the receipt and number that we had used to collect the tickets (on what was a midweek, lunchtime train, so quiet), and he wouldn't let him travel without purchasing a new ticket.

He sent me over the the Virgin ticket office, and they told me that the only person who could let him travel was the TM, so he must have known he was wasting more of my time.

Yes - it was our mistake, but it was a genuine mistake that could easily have been checked, but the guy had absolutely no desire to try and help his customer.

I remained polite.

memphis83 Fri 17-May-13 10:28:20

I missed an advance train partly because I was chatting and also because the tannoy was crackling. I had to pay an extra £127, totally my mistake so I had to suck it up.
My friend works at the local train statio and gets verbal abuse daily and has been shoved about a couple of times too due to people missing their trains.

bakingaddict Fri 17-May-13 10:19:32

I don't think all train guards and TM's are totally without pity. I remember my DH getting drunk and missing the last London Virgin train to Liverpool. They told him to take the Manchester Train and organised for one of the guards who lived in Liverpool to drive him over and this guard pretty much dropped him to the doorstep. Such a nice thing to do when they could have shrugged their shoulders and laughed at him for being a drunken arsehole.

Xiaoxiong Fri 17-May-13 09:47:41

MrsK that's exactly the situation we have here but with SWT and FGW both going between the same stations. It's absolute bullshit.

The thing I have a problem with is when there is no guard and the ticket office is closed, as it usually is outside of peak times when there is a queue a mile long - you use the self service machines and it has:
open return
day return
off-peak day return
super off-peak day return

And when you click anything but "open return" it just says "RESTRICTIONS APPLY" with no detail of what those restrictions are! No signage on the machine, no posters in the station, no one to ask.

Of course once I travelled on the train daily for years, I gradually learned the byzantine restrictions - but it's hard to avoid the suspicion that they don't explain what the different tickets mean at point of sale because they want to herd everyone into buying an open return just to make sure they can travel, which is nearly 4 times as expensive as the super off-peak day return.

Mrsdavidcaruso Fri 17-May-13 09:41:05

Tau - you were lucky and I am afraid according to my BIL who has been a TM for 5 years it does happen a lot. You may travel a lot but have you made at least 4 journeys a day for the last 5 years and spoken to every passenger on that train like my BIL - he sees a lot more than passengers
and believe me its a common scam so TMs like my BIL cannot give the benefit of the doubt- it's their job on the line if they do.

I am glad you were able to help one of the genuine passengers and I am glad you got your money back, BUT unless they prosecute the train companies never get THEIR money back and genuine passengers lose out when they are in trouble.

As I said dont blame the TMs for not believing people, put the blame
on the people who try every trick in the book to get out of paying fares, even genuine passengers might try it on if they see other people getting away with fare dodging - so examples have to be set.

Even I got on the wrong train once I was going to my Nans funeral, I did explain even searched for the TM when I realised what I had done so he knew I wasn't trying it on but was asked to pay extra - it was a mistake but it was MY mistake not the train company so why should they lose a proper fare?

ArbitraryUsername Fri 17-May-13 09:33:50

The staff on the trains I get are all fine. Very professional. Sometimes the train announcements are quite amusing. I don't have a problem with the train managers or other staff at all. I have a problem with the pricing system, which is absolutely not their fault.

MrsKoala Fri 17-May-13 09:32:49

IME there is an assumption (in not just rail but i find in every 'bureaucratic' situation) that you are expected to know the process in detail and use all correct terminology. If you don't ask specific questions you do not get vital information, but if you don't know the system you do not know which questions to ask.

I have had trouble at Euston traveling to MK because of this. It did not occur to me that 2 operators would be going to MK. I just queued and asked for a ticket. Was asked no questions and unbeknownst to me bought a Virgin, but tried to board a London Midland. Then when told it was the wrong ticket, i asked where to get a Virgin train. The inspector said 'no idea' <helpful> and i went back up to the concourse to see the next Virgin train was in 2 hours. I had to then queue and change the ticket where i was informed i should have specifically asked for a Midland. But how was i to know. And i'm a bloody native. Imagine not speaking English.

ajandjjmum Fri 17-May-13 09:23:40

The trouble is train managers assume everyone is a cheat and a liar. Perhaps understandable as they are confronted with many cheats and liars, but sometimes all of us make genuine mistakes.

We have always travelled probably an average of once a month to London from the Midlands, to Great Ormond Street. I booked fixed trains as it reduces the cost (which is significant and obviously a cost we had to cover), which meant that we were either running like mad if the appointment schedule had over-run, or hanging around in London for ages. The Virgin Train managers were - almost without exception - totally heartless when we missed the odd train, despite being shown the hospital letter confirming appt. times etc.

One TM did let DD travel on her ticket, despite the fact that she had picked up DS's travel card and not her own! He was lovely - but it was a genuine error.

Tau Fri 17-May-13 09:16:54

Tickets and how to manage public transport is hard. Some people get it wrong. I find that many train and bus personnel are helpful and considerate, but by far not all, Some are downright aggressive and rude.

My son has been shouted at in an aggressive way by a bus driver in London because he didn't show his ticket clearly enough. Of course he should have, but we are not from London, and my son is not exactly socially savvy. He had held his ticket up like he'd seen other people do and apparently the bus driver couldn't get a good enough look. Or perhaps he just picked on my son because my son is a male teenager. .

The bus driver apparently thought that my son was trying to hide a wrong ticket and he reacted very angrily. My son couldn't understand what the driver was shouting, and he didn't understand why he was being shouted at. He just stood there, confused and startled, which caused the driver to shout even louder and more incomprehensible. It was very intimidating. I couldn't understand the words either, but I got the gist of it and send my son back to show his ticket. On seeing the correct ticket, the driver just sneered at my son and then suddenly started the bus so my son nearly lost his balance.

Why is it okay for a bus driver to behave like that?

Tau Fri 17-May-13 09:10:28

Mrsdavidcaruso: I don't think the vulnerable girls in tears on the train happen a lot. I have no doubt that there are girls who do this in an attempt to deceive, but I used to travel on the train a lot and I've only seen it happen once. As I said in my message, the girl asked for my address and she send me the money back only a few days later. With a thank-you note.
Of course I could not be sure that she wasn't tricking me, but I would always risk getting scammed rather than risk placing a girl like that in a potentially dangerous situation.
If the girl is known for such behaviour, fair enough, confront her. But if you are not sure, you cannot take the risk.
I think train ticket collectors ought to give people the benefit of the doubt. Some do, but many just assume that everyone is trying to trick them into getting free rides.

ArbitraryUsername Fri 17-May-13 08:45:58

It would often be much cheaper for me to drive to work than to get the train. The only reasons I get the train are that it is much quicker (due to the dreadful road alternatives) and I have a health condition that make driving long distances for commuting a stupid choice. Sometimes I can get cheap-ish advance tickets, but they're increasingly rare (even booking several weeks in advance it'll come in at nearly £25 each way) and the main issue is that they're utterly inflexible.

If you want any flexibility, you have to pay an absolute fortune (which goes up considerably more than inflation every year on the route I use). The bastards messed about with the off-peak definition last time making any train you might actually want to use in the morning a peak time train (even if it gets you to your destination at 3pm). If you miss your booked train on an advance ticket you are actually better off buying a full price first class single ticket, because the price difference between that and a full price single is less than the price of a sandwich and a coffee (which they'll provide in first class).

Thing is, for commuters it can be really, really difficult to sort out inflexible advance tickets in advance. How can you know that something will come up late that afternoon, or that a meeting will overrun 10 weeks in advance? Nor can you take advantage of finishing early. It's just absolutely shit. It's even worse when you've paid £60+ to sit on a train with a bunch of loud, drunk arseholes for just over an hour (which happens regularly). A stag do getting pissed and being rowdy on the 8am in train you're getting to work is no fun at all.

I would never buy a train ticket to go anywhere as a family. It is always much, much cheaper (and often more pleasant) to drive. I loathe trains.

I also suspect that fewer people would try to chance it if the ticket system weren't so ridiculously complex.

Startail Fri 17-May-13 08:23:09

Our local trains now have weird restrictions on not using two evening trains on cheap day returns, and I can never remember which. It isn't all rush hour ones confused

samandi Fri 17-May-13 08:16:43

But yes, it is your responsibility to check you have the right ticket.

samandi Fri 17-May-13 08:16:20

If train tickets weren't so expensive and complicated then more people would travel by train. We drive pretty much everywhere because we refuse to pay the extortionate fares and booking three months in advance each time is unrealistic. It can work out £200 cheaper or more per journey, which can be over £1000 a year.

5madthings Fri 17-May-13 08:09:05

HA ha at listening to the announcements most of the time its of such poor sound quality you cant understand what they are saying anyway!

Ariel21 Fri 17-May-13 08:03:51

It's horrible when you get on the wrong train. I'd like to think that guards would take pity on me. They rarely do.

RocknRollNerd Fri 17-May-13 08:03:03

Meh, I live in Japan and the train tickets are set so very easy to understand. A return is twice the price of a single and ticket prices are the same no matter when you travel or when you buy your ticket.

Yep - it certainly used to be the same in Germany. I once was faffing about my weekend plans and enquired having been quoted DM30 for a return how much the single would be. The guy looked confused and explained that of course it would be DM15. I then explained that in the UK it could be anything between probably 10 and 35 - he was baffled and said 'but don't you charge by the kilometer, how can a single cost more than a return' and got all his colleagues over to listen to the tale of crazy English train pricing grin.

Groovee Fri 17-May-13 07:59:47

It's also helpful if people read and listen to what train they are on. I was on a train which hadn't fully left the platform when it pulled to an emergency stop because some numpty pulled the emergency cord when they realised they were on the wrong train. If they'd had a brain we would be stopping at the next station in seconds where every train stops too. That cost them £150 for doing that!

Hasitfallendownagain Fri 17-May-13 07:59:21

I imagine the guard, who does this every day, is often easily able to spot those who have made a genuine mistake, and those who are just trying it on.

The thing that does annoy me is the self-service ticket machines; specifically the way they just have a small selection of (expensive/inflexible) tickets on the first page. People see a button with the destination they want to go to and just press that, when often there is a cheaper ticket that they could buy, but you have to go through several screens for that. It's confusing when there are so many options, and even more confusing when you can't actually see all the options at once to enable you to choose the one that suits best. I used to be always helping befuddled people standing bewildered in front of the machines grin

GetOrfMoiLand Fri 17-May-13 07:50:17

My dd doesn't listen to any of the announcements on the trains.last year she got on the wrong train going in the wrong direction and didn't realise. I got a call 'mum I am in Wales'.

Luckily the train staff were very kind and let her travel back on her ticket.

Mrsdavidcaruso Fri 17-May-13 07:48:42

I dont know what country that was Yau but that happens a lot in the UK
'vulnerable' girls in floods of tears when told they would have to get of the train.

Happened to my BIL last week young girl late at night wrong (cheaper) ticket no money for extra fare, when berated by another customer who offered to pay the girls fare and threatened to report my BIL - he had GREAT satisfaction information the angry passenger that the same girl had done the same thing the week before and was known to other TMS for doing the same thing on other occassions.

I personally was on a train opposite a foreign girl who was speaking perfectly understandable English on her mobile, when the TM came round for tickets suddenly she speaks no English at all and started to cry, I had great pleasure in informing the TM that the Lady did actually speak English - she demonstrated that by calling me a Bitch - she got thrown offno ticket and no means to pay for one.
As I say there are too many scam artists and dishonest people for TMs to take anyones word even if a genuine mistake is made.

ZenGardener Fri 17-May-13 07:45:43

Meh, I live in Japan and the train tickets are set so very easy to understand. A return is twice the price of a single and ticket prices are the same no matter when you travel or when you buy your ticket.

I find the system in the UK absolutely confusing as hell.

5madthings Fri 17-May-13 07:43:01

Yes you should check the tickets but actually recently ds1 went to london and thenncame back a few days later. I booked his tickets in advance online for certain trains etc yet whennit came to the returnnjourney hos ticket had the wrong date on it. The ticket office people just gave him a pass to travel and were actually very nice. But i was puzzled as i had booked the tickets. Anyway i still had the email.confirmation of the booking etc which quite clearly gave the dates and times i had somewhere after booking there was an error and the printed tickets (collected at ticket machine on outward journey) were wrong.

If ds1 who was travelling on his own was made to pay i would have been very cross tho as it was the ticket people were fine about it. I guess technically as ds1 wouldnt have had enough money for the new ticket the could have called me but i could have given ds1 our email details and he coukd have logged into our email on his phone and shown them.the confirmation.... Very odd that the tickets printed wrong tho.

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