Convenience Stores in South Wales To Sell Rail Tickets

Dai Corner

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From Monday 24 January 2022, Transport for Wales (TfW) customers within the South Wales Metro area will be able to purchase selected rail tickets for local journeys in a number of convenience stores.
The pilot being launched will involve stores in 90 different locations and its main objective is to make it easier and more convenient for customers to purchase tickets and also give them the option to purchase tickets with cash, if their local station is unstaffed or has a card-only self-service machine.
TfW, powered by SilverRail retailing technology, will become the very first train operating company in the UK to partner with Payzone to make the purchasing of rail tickets possible through their instore Payzone devices.

David O’Leary, TfW’s Commercial and Customer Experience Director, said:
“This is an exciting pilot that gives customers additional choices about how and where their purchase their rail tickets. This is the very first time in the UK that rail customers will be able to buy their tickets in their local convenience store and it also gives customers the added choice of purchasing with cash, especially if their local station does not have a ticket office or only has a self-service machine that accepts cards only.”
Noel Goulty, Head of Transport and Ticketing at Payzone added:
“This is truly a first for rail ticketing, bringing the retailing of rail tickets to the centre of Welsh communities.
“This strategic partnership with SilverRail will deliver a fully accredited system on behalf of Transport for Wales, which is exclusive to Payzone and allows passengers to buy rail tickets, whilst popping into their corner shop for some essentials!
“We are committed to innovating in this space to become the default high street network for cash ticketing. This is a genuinely exciting time for Transport for Wales and we are delighted to be part of the team delivering on their strategy.”
David Pitt, SilverRail’s Head of UK, concluded:
“We are very excited to deliver this pioneering retail solution alongside Transport for Wales and Payzone. Bringing rail tickets to the high street in this way will ensure nobody is left behind by the digital revolution and will provide convenience and a wider availability of tickets to the travelling public.
We believe it’s very important that rail retailing remains inclusive by allowing all types of travellers - from those who are confident with mobile ticketing to those who are less digitally adept - to be able to book rail journeys using cash or through more modern payment methods”

Notes to editors​

Payzone is owned by the Post Office.
The use of local convenience stores is in addition to purchasing TfW rail tickets:
- At ticket offices
- Online
- Via our app
- By phone
Rail tickets that can be purchased from the stores include:
Ticket typeRestrictions
Anytime day SingleTicket can only be used for one outward journey per passenger.
Anytime day ReturnTicket can only be used for one outward journey AND one return journey. Return travel must be on the same date as the outward journey.
Small Group Day SingleOnly available for short distance journeys. The group must make each journey together as the ticket will not be valid for incomplete groups. The number of passengers travelling must not exceed the number printed on the ticket. Children over 5 do not travel for free on this ticket. Ticket can only be used for one outward journey.
Small Group Day ReturnOnly available for short distance journeys. The group must make each journey together as the ticket will not be valid for incomplete groups. The number of passengers travelling must not exceed the number printed on the ticket. Children over 5 do not travel for free on this ticket. Return travel must be the same date as the outward journey.
Advance SingleTravel is only permitted on the date and time shown on the ticket. These tickets are non-refundable. A seat reservation must be made with this ticket type.
It will be interesting to see exactly what 'local journeys' tickets will be available for, what training the shop staff get, what uptake there is and the quality of any advice given.

How long does it take to train a ticket office clerk?
 
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AlterEgo

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About time. You shouldn't need a dedicated trained member of staff to sell simple tickets for short distances.
 

island

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And if, as they say, they are selling advances, how many convenience store clerks will be willing to faff with a Payzone terminal for long enough; all the while the rest of the people in the queue are leaving their purchases behind And walking out...
 

Bletchleyite

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About time. You shouldn't need a dedicated trained member of staff to sell simple tickets for short distances.

You shouldn't ned any ticket for short distance single and return journeys. Tap in/out contactless is the way. Shops could be tasked with providing simple stored value cards topped up with cash for those not holding a debit card or for children, and simple zonal fares would allow a sheet of A4 to act as a lookup for Valley Lines journeys if someone can only afford to load the exact fare on it.
 

PeterC

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And if, as they say, they are selling advances, how many convenience store clerks will be willing to faff with a Payzone terminal for long enough; all the while the rest of the people in the queue are leaving their purchases behind And walking out...
Advances to seem a little OTT for this type of outlet.

I tend to agree with Bletchleyite that a stored value card would be a better approach but would need the additional expense of installing readers at every station. It would also create issues over through ticketing to points outside the card's validity.
 

Bletchleyite

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I tend to agree with Bletchleyite that a stored value card would be a better approach but would need the additional expense of installing readers at every station.

This is going to happen anyway, it's just a question of when.

It would also create issues over through ticketing to points outside the card's validity.

Does TfL's system "create issues over through ticketing to points outside the card's validity" (other than people who try it on), or do people manage to use other sales channels for those tickets?
 

Bletchleyite

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I would wager the amount they will sell is close to zero, anyway.

I'd be inclined to agree.

What might be a useful feature, though, would be to come up with some sort of system whereby one could book an Advance online or by telephone, but then pay for it in cash at a convenience store (or buy some sort of voucher to pay for one). People who have a smartphone (or indeed a basic mobile) but not a bank account are probably more common than people who have neither - e.g. teenagers, homeless people etc. I'm sure I've heard of this sort of system in other countries.

Having said that, a cash-accepting planner-based TVM also offers that option, so perhaps not necessary.
 

WelshBluebird

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The list of participating stores looks some what questionable from my point of view (I'm from the Rhondda which is one of the areas this is aimed at).
They list "closest store" to each station, however that closest store looks like it is based on straight line distance not actual travel distance, which seems pretty stupid for an area that is largely made of valleys where straight line distance basically doesn't matter when it comes to knowing how "close" something is. What that means is for say Ton Pentre, the nearest store is in Clydach Vale (in actual travel terms - a 3.4 miles walk or drive away) yet some of the stores listed for other nearby stations like Treorchy and Ystrad Rhondda have stores that are significantly closer to Ton Pentre in terms of tactual travel than the one in Clydach Vale (the one listed for Treorchy is a 1.9 walk or drive from Ton Pentre, and the one listed for Ystrad Rhondda is a 2.2 mile walk of drive away).

Also if the idea is for this to be short distance tickets, the stores chosen seem to somewhat fly in the face of that. For my Ton Pentre example, you'd likely need to get the train (or bus) to the store anyway making it pointless for short distance stuff. There are other stores within Ton Pentre itself that offer payzone so why they couldn't partner with them who knows!
 

Bletchleyite

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If Payzone is the base for it, why can't it be all Payzone stores?

Edit: according to the Payzone website, all Payzone stores can do National Express tickets. Local tickets for the Valley Lines are less complex than that - no reservations to faff with for a start.
 

Starmill

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If anyone gets to see a picture of one of the tickets I'd be very interested.
 

WelshBluebird

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I also do kind of thing that this is maybe a decade or so too late.
With many of these stations are now getting actual TVMs (having had no ticket buying facilities for a number of years) and the ability to easily buy etickets on a phone app (if even my technophobic dad can get on board with etickets I imagine the vast majority of people can, especially for short journeys where battery life issues are less of a problem. And to make it even more usable I believe TfW have actually started to move to proper etickets now, not the rubbish mtickets they used to use - at least via the Trainline app anyway) it really does seem like a solution that is trying to find a problem (rather than a problem trying to find a solution - especially with the participating store issue I mentioned in my previous post which reduces how useful this is even more).
 

Dai Corner

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The list of participating stores looks some what questionable from my point of view (I'm from the Rhondda which is one of the areas this is aimed at).
They list "closest store" to each station, however that closest store looks like it is based on straight line distance not actual travel distance, which seems pretty stupid for an area that is largely made of valleys where straight line distance basically doesn't matter when it comes to knowing how "close" something is. What that means is for say Ton Pentre, the nearest store is in Clydach Vale (in actual travel terms - a 3.4 miles walk or drive away) yet some of the stores listed for other nearby stations like Treorchy and Ystrad Rhondda have stores that are significantly closer to Ton Pentre in terms of tactual travel than the one in Clydach Vale (the one listed for Treorchy is a 1.9 walk or drive from Ton Pentre, and the one listed for Ystrad Rhondda is a 2.2 mile walk of drive away).

Also if the idea is for this to be short distance tickets, the stores chosen seem to somewhat fly in the face of that. For my Ton Pentre example, you'd likely need to get the train (or bus) to the store anyway making it pointless for short distance stuff. There are other stores within Ton Pentre itself that offer payzone so why they couldn't partner with them who knows!
How about Abertillery News, an hour and a half bus ride from Abergavenny station changing at Brynmawr or Pontypool?
 

Ken H

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The list of participating stores looks some what questionable from my point of view (I'm from the Rhondda which is one of the areas this is aimed at).
They list "closest store" to each station, however that closest store looks like it is based on straight line distance not actual travel distance, which seems pretty stupid for an area that is largely made of valleys where straight line distance basically doesn't matter when it comes to knowing how "close" something is. What that means is for say Ton Pentre, the nearest store is in Clydach Vale (in actual travel terms - a 3.4 miles walk or drive away) yet some of the stores listed for other nearby stations like Treorchy and Ystrad Rhondda have stores that are significantly closer to Ton Pentre in terms of tactual travel than the one in Clydach Vale (the one listed for Treorchy is a 1.9 walk or drive from Ton Pentre, and the one listed for Ystrad Rhondda is a 2.2 mile walk of drive away).

Also if the idea is for this to be short distance tickets, the stores chosen seem to somewhat fly in the face of that. For my Ton Pentre example, you'd likely need to get the train (or bus) to the store anyway making it pointless for short distance stuff. There are other stores within Ton Pentre itself that offer payzone so why they couldn't partner with them who knows!
There is some api websites use to find the 'nearest' - It thinks Barrow in Furness is close to Liverpool and Lancaster! How you program actual 'nearness' I dont know.
 

Dai Corner

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There is some api websites use to find the 'nearest' - It thinks Barrow in Furness is close to Liverpool and Lancaster! How you program actual 'nearness' I dont know.
The developers of journey planners have got it sussed out.
 

Doctor Fegg

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There is some api websites use to find the 'nearest' - It thinks Barrow in Furness is close to Liverpool and Lancaster! How you program actual 'nearness' I dont know.
The dumb way to do it is by computing the crow-flies distance between the two locations' latitude and longitude.

The smart way to do it is with route-planning software, which computes the shortest driving (or walking, or cycling...) route between two locations. I could write a piece of code pretty easily to find the closest convenience store to Ton Pentre, by walking distance, and it would find the answer in a fraction of a second.

(For those of a technical bent: use OpenStreetMap loaded into a PostGIS database, do a first-pass query to find all convenience stores within a crow-flies distance of 10km from the station, then throw a 1-x-many matrix request at OSRM and select the one with the lowest distance.)
 

Non Multi

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Quite pleased to see yet another suggestion of mine become a reality. Turning up at a small unmanned station/halt only to find that the only ticket machine is 'out of order' discourages rail travel, especially so in penalty fare areas.
 

Dai Corner

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Quite pleased to see yet another suggestion of mine become a reality. Turning up at a small unmanned station/halt only to find that the only ticket machine is 'out of order' discourages rail travel, especially so in penalty fare areas.
I think I'd rather buy my ticket from the guard than try to find a shop which sold them and likely miss the train.
 

Dai Corner

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Valley Lines is a "local railway for local people". If in need of that service, people will find out once which shop sells them, and go to that one each time.
Only if they know the TVM is down, it's on their way to the station, or they need to pay cash and don't realise guards accept it.

I wonder whether the plan is for guards to stop accepting cash?
 

pdeaves

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I think I'd rather buy my ticket from the guard than try to find a shop which sold them and likely miss the train.
The press release talks in terms of buying a ticket when you get other conveniences. Thus it assumes a level of planning ahead. Washing powder, can of soup, ticket for Saturday's journey.
 

plugwash

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There is some api websites use to find the 'nearest' - It thinks Barrow in Furness is close to Liverpool and Lancaster! How you program actual 'nearness' I dont know.
One problem websites have is "nearest to what".

There are databases/APIs that turn an IP address into a geographic location, but anything beyond country level is laughablly unreliable. My current IP geolocates to Alderly Edge (I'm actually somewhere in Greater Manchester), that is one of the better results i've seen, many addresses from smaller providers will simply geolocate to London regardless of where in the UK the customer is,
 

Horizon22

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Makes sense, but I can see the RMT kicking up a stink regarding "devaluing our skilled members jobs"...
 

infobleep

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There is some api websites use to find the 'nearest' - It thinks Barrow in Furness is close to Liverpool and Lancaster! How you program actual 'nearness' I dont know.
You use network route analysis software or an application programming interface (API) service that you'd call to do that for you, along with some mapping route data of course.

The Ordnance Survey provide a product called OS Highways, which enables one to do routing. Maybe someone wanted to do this on a budget and skipped the essential parts that cost more.

The dumb way to do it is by computing the crow-flies distance between the two locations' latitude and longitude.

The smart way to do it is with route-planning software, which computes the shortest driving (or walking, or cycling...) route between two locations. I could write a piece of code pretty easily to find the closest convenience store to Ton Pentre, by walking distance, and it would find the answer in a fraction of a second.

(For those of a technical bent: use OpenStreetMap loaded into a PostGIS database, do a first-pass query to find all convenience stores within a crow-flies distance of 10km from the station, then throw a 1-x-many matrix request at OSRM and select the one with the lowest distance.)
This is a cheaper solution than I was suggesting.

Perhaps they didnt employ any GIS [geographical information systems] people [mapping specialists] to work on this or they got them in so sparingly as to not be able to make a difference. Wouldn't be the first time that's happened in the world.
 
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