Daily Mail Story: Charged for starting short on Advance ticket

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MarlowDonkey

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http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/art...an-pay-64-shorter-train-journey.html#comments

Disgusted businessman is forced to pay £64 when inspector discovers he got on train for SHORTER trip than his ticket allowed
  • Jonathan Worsley, 45, bought a £19 advance ticket from Nottingham to London
  • He boarded the train at East Midlands Parkway, a stop closer to London
  • Yet he was made to pay a £64 fare for 'breaking the terms' of his ticket
  • Mr Worsley, who works in Chesterfield & lives in Nottingham, was given a refund
A businessman has spoken out after being forced to pay £64 for a second train ticket, despite travelling a shorter distance on the same line.

Jonathan Worsley, 45, had paid £19 for an advance ticket to travel from Nottingham to London St Pancras on Wednesday January 24.

Yet he decided to board the train at East Midlands Parkway, which is 10 minutes away from Nottingham and a stop closer to his final destination.

But a ticket inspector demanded that Mr Worsley buy another ticket for the journey as he had 'broken the terms and conditions' of his advance ticket.

'There were two attendants and they both said I had to buy another ticket,' he told the Derby Telegraph.

Jonathan Worsley, 45, was made to pay a £64 fare after boarding the same train he had bought a ticket for one stop closer to his final destination


He added: 'I said "surely that can't be right?" but they both stood their ground and insisted I pay again.

'I'm a pretty calm guy so didn't get angry with them, but two other passengers picked up the fight for me because they were disgusted at what they were hearing. They kept saying how utterly ridiculous it was and that the world had gone mad.

'Eventually a third member of staff came and showed me the terms and conditions on a phone. Legally speaking, they were in the right so I paid the £64. I was left a little bit aghast. I just thought it was bonkers.'

Mr Worsley, who works in Chesterfield and lives in Nottingham, shared his experience on Facebook.

He wrote: 'Absolutely livid. East Midlands Trains have just presented themselves as the worst kind of money-first, customers-second kind of company.'

Mr Worsley took to Facebook to complain about the service of East Midlands Trains

Mr Worsley has since been refunded £64 and has received an apology from East Midlands Trains

Mr Worsley said that he boarded the train at East Midlands Parkway as his plans to have drinks in Nottingham and then walk to the station were scuppered due to poor weather.

He said: 'I was looking to have a couple of drinks so planned to get the bus to Nottingham and then walk to the train station.

'But it was raining hard. Rather than get soaked, I decided to drive to East Midlands Parkway and forgo having some drinks.'

He wrote a letter for to East Midlands Trains and was given a full refund on the £64 ticket.

A spokesman for East Midlands Trains said: 'We are very sorry to hear of Mr Worsley's experience in travelling with us.

'The ticket he had already purchased was valid to board at East Midlands Parkway and he should not have been charged a new ticket.

'We are already in touch with Mr Worsley and confirmed we will refund the full cost of ticket as swiftly as possible.'

Slightly surprising East Midlands backed down, so what is the policy on starting short on an Advance ticket? Some of the comments refer to the Lancaster/Preston issue.
 
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gray1404

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This is a different situation to Lancaster/Preston tickets as that relates to peak/off peak timings and break of journey on the outward portion is not allowed on the said ticket. In short, it relates to an attempt to evade paying a higher fare.

This situation is totally different. There is no attempt to avoid paying a higher fare. The railway's own internal guidance is that when I passenger travels short on an Advance ticket they should not be charged provided there is no higher fare avoided. This would certainly apply in this situation and common sense should have prevailed. It sounds like his encounter was with gateline staff rather then staff on board the train. I have also just checked the Advance fares between Nottingham and East Midlands Parkway to London St Pancras. It would appear they are exactly the same level of tiers from both stations. Internal guideline should simply have been followed.

I had a similar situation this past week with another TOC, I wanted to board a station later (and alight a station earlier on my return journey) within a short distance of each other. I tweeted the TOC and they said that would be fine. No problems on board or at the station.
 
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bb21

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It has nothing to do with the Lancaster/Preston issue.

The agreed process is that the customer should not be charged extra in these circumstances unless it was clear he started short to gain monetary benefits, which in the case of EMT Advances between Nottingham/EMD and London, I don't think would apply.

Although given that the mistake was corrected by Customer Services promptly, it is beyond me why he felt the need to have a whine in the Daily Hate Mail, especially if he agreed that "Legally speaking, they were in the right" (his own words).
 

MarlowDonkey

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I have also just checked the Advance fares between Nottingham and East Midlands Parkway to London St Pancras. It would appear they are exactly the same level of tiers from both stations. Internal guideline should simply have been followed.

How would a passenger without detail knowledge of where to look up ticket prices know this? A national rule that if a ticket was valid on a particular train from A to B, it was valid at all the intermediate stations as well would be far more acceptable to the general public, even if it would wreck some promotional fares. Perhaps that should be the general rule for "valid only on one train" fares, with exceptions valid only for joining at A and leaving at B highlighted.
 

PeterC

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Did he catch the train that he was booked on? That isn't clear from the article.
 

ainsworth74

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The agreed process is that the customer should not be charged extra in these circumstances unless it was clear he started short to gain monetary benefits, which in the case of EMT Advances between Nottingham/EMD and London, I don't think would apply.
I thought that only applied to finishing short not starting short?
 

MarlowDonkey

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Did he catch the train that he was booked on?

That was how I read the original article. If he had managed to get on the train before a ticket inspection, no-one would have been the wiser at any subsequent inspection.
 

Kite159

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That was how I read the original article. If he had managed to get on the train before a ticket inspection, no-one would have been the wiser at any subsequent inspection.

How I read it as he was charged by the gateline staff at East Midlands Parkway when his ticket didn't work the barriers, rather than by the member of staff on the train.
 

tony_mac

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I thought it was a little interesting that EMT went a little further than might have been expected.
Instead of the usual 'gesture of goodwill' - they specifically said that they considered the ticket was valid and that the passenger should not have been charged.
 

Steveoh

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How I read it as he was charged by the gateline staff at East Midlands Parkway when his ticket didn't work the barriers, rather than by the member of staff on the train.

There are no barriers at East Midlands Parkway. I've never known a ticket inspection happen prior to boarding either.
 
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NOT-STP advances are regularly available where BEE-STP aren't dispute Nottingham and Beeston being in the same station group. It could be argued that by joining at BEE, the off-peak single which would have been required has been avoided. Any thoughts on this scenario?
 

MikeWh

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Although given that the mistake was corrected by Customer Services promptly, it is beyond me why he felt the need to have a whine in the Daily Hate Mail, especially if he agreed that "Legally speaking, they were in the right" (his own words).
I suggest that it's all happened concurrently. The Fail probably picked it up from the local rag and/or facebook. At least they've reported that it has been resolved, and the story may be a help to anyone else who may have been similarly treated.
 

tony_mac

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Indeed - it's all on Facebook.
He posted his complaint, the local paper picked it up and published it. They had a reply from EMT before he did.
When approached for a comment to this story East Midland Trains have already replied to them saying I have been offered a refund..... No I haven't!
 

RJ

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NOT-STP advances are regularly available where BEE-STP aren't dispute Nottingham and Beeston being in the same station group. It could be argued that by joining at BEE, the off-peak single which would have been required has been avoided. Any thoughts on this scenario?

How many reserveable trains from Nottingham stop at both Beeston and East Midlands Parkway. It's generally either or. The trains that stop at Beeston are short and call at lots of stops and are picked up on by online journey planners

The Nottingham fast trains that call at East Midlands Parkway usually have lots of availability at the cheaper tiers for a number of technical reasons which I took advantage off amply - I always made a beeline for them if I wanted cheap 1st tickets from Leicestershire to London.
 
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bb21

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Indeed - it's all on Facebook.
He posted his complaint, the local paper picked it up and published it. They had a reply from EMT before he did.
I didn't even realise local papers now trawl through people's facebook posts looking for things to publish. o_O
 

MikeWh

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I didn't even realise local papers now trawl through people's facebook posts looking for things to publish. o_O
I'm sure that they don't. But if the paper was tagged in the post so it showed up in their news feed ...
 

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Glad to hear EMT did the right thing in the end.

Clearly a re-briefing of staff with the correct policy would be in order.
NOT-STP advances are regularly available where BEE-STP aren't dispute Nottingham and Beeston being in the same station group. It could be argued that by joining at BEE, the off-peak single which would have been required has been avoided. Any thoughts on this scenario?
On the same train? Can you post a new thread with examples of this and I will look into it. Thanks :)
Slightly surprising East Midlands backed down, so what is the policy on starting short on an Advance ticket? .
The rules allow them to charge an excess fare, charged at the the difference between the amount paid for the Ticket you hold and the lowest price Ticket that would have allowed the journey made.

However the policy is not to charge any additional fare in the circumstances applicable to this case.

In practice I don't think I've ever heard of anyone been charged an excess fare of the correct amount that is allowable by the rules. I have heard of a small number of cases where staff have incorrectly charged a new fare, and the customer has then been refunded (or had the charge cancelled) and the company has gained predictable negative press.

So the EMT staff member not only did not adhere to the rules, but also did not adhere to the policy. So I am not at all surprised EMT cancelled it.
 
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gray1404

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So it begs the question, was the person refunded because they were incorrectly sold a new ticket or because internal guidance was not adhered to? Had they only been charged an excess, would that have been refunded..... we will most likely never know.

I had a similar situation this past week with another TOC, I wanted to board a station later (and alight a station earlier on my return journey) within a short distance of each other. I tweeted the TOC and they said that would be fine. No problems on board or at the station.

How long would you say I can take that permission as being valid for - the remainder of the franchise? The TOC concerned were very polite about it (saying just tell the station staff you've got off a stop early/getting on a top later if station staff ask) and I know that this is a TOC that has their Tweet manned by actual Customer Relations staff.
 

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I'm sure that they don't. But if the paper was tagged in the post so it showed up in their news feed ...
I don't know whether they trawl through personal pages but the Leicester Mercury certainly has 'journalists' stalking all of the local facebook groups in Leicestershire and regularly asking for permission to share photos and copying posts depicting fairly everyday occurrences.
 

Wallsendmag

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.

The agreed process is that the customer should not be charged extra in these circumstances unless it was clear he started short to gain monetary benefits.
I keep seeing this on here but apart from a few stations that are paired for Advance tickets (starting, terminating short) it certainly hasn't been briefed out to the staff at the TOC I work for.
 

yorkie

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The brief was first sent a long time ago. It probably should be re-issued, if it hasn't been recently.
 

cuccir

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In an ideal world, the T&C of Advance fares would be changed. The current policy seems to favour:
1. Those in the know
2. Those who don't care

This leads quite a middle ground of passengers who bother to look at the conditions of their ticket, but aren't railway geeks who hang out on this forum. It strikes me that those people will end up making unnecessary journeys etc to comply to the conditions on their ticket, because policy is enacted via internal briefings and shared practice, rather than following the info available to the general public.

I'm not sure how Advance fare restrictions might be reworded, particularly if the intention is to prohibit some but not all starting/travelling short, but at the moment the system seems a little weird if nothing else.
 

greyman42

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Glad to hear EMT did the right thing in the end.

Clearly a re-briefing of staff with the correct policy would be in order.

On the same train? Can you post a new thread with examples of this and I will look into it. Thanks :)

The rules allow them to charge an excess fare, charged at the the difference between the amount paid for the Ticket you hold and the lowest price Ticket that would have allowed the journey made.

However the policy is not to charge any additional fare in the circumstances applicable to this case.

In practice I don't think I've ever heard of anyone been charged an excess fare of the correct amount that is allowable by the rules. I have heard of a small number of cases where staff have incorrectly charged a new fare, and the customer has then been refunded (or had the charge cancelled) and the company has gained predictable negative press.

So the EMT staff member not only did not adhere to the rules, but also did not adhere to the policy. So I am not at all surprised EMT cancelled it.
Would the re-briefing of staff simply be to tell them to use a bit of common sense.
 

Mathew S

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I didn't even realise local papers now trawl through people's facebook posts looking for things to publish. o_O

I'm sure that they don't. But if the paper was tagged in the post so it showed up in their news feed ...

I don't know whether they trawl through personal pages but the Leicester Mercury certainly has 'journalists' stalking all of the local facebook groups in Leicestershire and regularly asking for permission to share photos and copying posts depicting fairly everyday occurrences.

Happens all the time. Not at all unusual to get stories from social media, and far from just newspapers who do it; radio, TV, and online all do it regularly. You do, of course, have to check and verify any information before you publish/air the story... unless you're a complete wombat.

The railway's own internal guidance is that when I passenger travels short on an Advance ticket they should not be charged provided there is no higher fare avoided.

The agreed process is that the customer should not be charged extra in these circumstances unless it was clear he started short to gain monetary benefits, which in the case of EMT Advances between Nottingham/EMD and London, I don't think would apply.

Anyway, back to the point: does railway policy therefore mean that - as long as I don't do it to save money - I can start/finish short on an already purchased Advance ticket if, for example, my plans change? And, if there were a higher fare which should have been paid, that I should be charged an excess rather than being forced to buy a whole new ticket? If that's so, it's certainly an element of flexibility to Advance tickets of which I was previously unaware.

For clarity, I'm not talking about deliberately using this mechanism to obtain a cheaper fare, that would be clearly against the rules. Rather, I'm thinking about where a genuine change of plans occurs and a shorter journey needs to be made.
 
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