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!

I think if everyone saw a breakdown of their ticket price they'd realise how much it costs to run the oldest railway in the world - infrastructure, track access charges, rail staff, engineering contractors, emergency money for when things go wrong (i.e. all the track that was washed away twice in two days at Cowley Bridge last year), dragging stations into the 21st century and restoring them sympathetically to undo the horrendous mistakes of the past (Birmingham New St and Kings Cross spring to mind), plus upgrading and compensating for a total lack of investment previously which means some infrastructure is knackered early on - we had an epidemic of not investing properly in long-lasting infrastructure in the 20th century.

Plus delay minutes - did anyone see that BBC documentary and how much delay minutes cost? It's a good stick (in the sense that people will do anything to avoid getting delays) but it costs an arm and a leg.

And I'm sure there's loads more I've forgotten... how about fixing vandalism? People breaking fences, throwing stones at train drivers (delay, cost of fixing windscreen), graffiti... the list is endless, sadly.

GetOrfMoiLand Fri 17-May-13 07:26:37

I rarely have seen ticket office or train workers be rude, but I have seen lots of extremely rude customers. There is no need for people to be rude to them, they didn't franchise the railways and put the prices up.

I don't think you can rely on a conductor to be discretionary when you have a wrong ticket, presume they are mystery shopped like everyone else.

Tickets are not that complicated, however that said it is worth breaking your journey up, I.e. for some reasom it is cheaper sometimes to buy a gloucester - didcot, didcot - london than a straight through ticket (for season tickets anyway).

And YANBU OP. There's no reason why a non-vulnerable adult cannot understand and apply the concept of different tickets (can understand an elderly person getting confused - my Dad still thinks it's British Rail!).

GetOrf They are mystery shopped.

Tau Fri 17-May-13 07:28:26

Not everyone has a solid grasp on ticket systems and that doesn't make you stupid, The ticket systems are horrendously complicated. I have at least once been SOLD the wrong ticket, and another time we had reserved seats but they had also been reserved for someone else (same train, same time, same seats). So it's not as if train companies are infallible!

Years ago I was on a train going back home. It was late, dark, and we were travelling between two big cities. (not in the U.K.)
The ticket conductor came to check tickets. Opposite of me was a young girl/woman (looked about student age). She had the wrong ticket. It was immediately obvious that the girl was foreign and hadn't understood the ticket system. She needed to buy a new ticket but didn't have that much money on her. The ticket collector said that she'd have to get out in the big city where we were just stopping (at night, alone, in a strange country without enough money).
The girl started to cry. The ticket collector wasn't in the least bothered and insisted she'd get out. The girl cried harder - she was clearly panicking. So I ended up buying her ticket - couldn't bear the thought of her being stranded there without knowing what to do. Wouldn't want that to happen to my child, nor to anyone else's. She asked my address and send me the money back a few days later.
But I honestly think this ticket collector was an asshole and should have shown some compassion and sense. Who knows what would've happened to the girl if she'd had gotten out there?

GetOrfMoiLand Fri 17-May-13 07:31:39

I think perhaps train tickets are just complex wherever you go. Tickets are complicated in switzerland and france as well ime.

I wish we had double decker trains in this country.

slhilly Fri 17-May-13 07:42:19

The reason why tickets have become so complicated is at least partly because some eedjit train operators decided it would be profitable to introduce airline-style ticketing policies to trains.... sorta missing the fucking point that trains are inherently different from planes in consumers' eyes.

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 booked...so 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 email.booking confirmation.... Very odd that the tickets printed wrong tho.

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.

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.

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.

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

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!

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.

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.

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!

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.

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

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

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

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.

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.

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?

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.

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.

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.

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