LNER compulsory reservations - what happens if you don’t have one?

Watershed

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Although most of LNER's long distance market probably isn't "walk up" anyway.
Their actions, particularly during the pandemic, have made it blatantly obvious they find the short and medium distance market a piddling nuisance.

But for as long as they continue to receive a public subsidy, and are given a state sanctioned monopoly on the majority of the ECML's capacity, they cannot be allowed to become an airline on rails. That would be the antithesis of the purpose public transport serves.
 
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Bletchleyite

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Sounds like what we have now is a pretty pragmatic compromise; trains still marked as Compulsory Reservations in the timetable mean that they will show trains as sold out when no more reservable seats are available (so people are discouraged from turning up for already busy trains), but there's nothing to stop you turning up with a walk-up ticket if you really want to.

As I say above, I think we've moved to a position that helps manage loadings better ("you've sold too many tickets!" every Maundy Thursday), but still does not inhibit "walk up" travel. So we have very much rowed forward, and then a tiny bit back.

I'm not a fan of the present situation because it is effectively fraudulently saying that to get on some trains you must book a First Class ticket even though you could walk up and buy Standard. It's also causing reservations to be wasted on other trains as people "in the know" book for another train with no intention of ever using it.

CR (done properly) or not CR is fine by me but this "hybrid" situation needs to be fixed.

Or if the hybrid situation is desirable, allow purchase of a walk up fare but with a big red warning that it may mean no seat.

Eurostar, with their check in processes, are a poor comparison as this can't be done in our domestic market. French TGV is a better example where an additional number of reservations are issued for standing places. However, revenue can be managed especially if the constraints of the current regulate fares system are removed and in that case I suspect customers are likely to be happier paying slightly more for a more comfortable experience.

SNCF doesn't sell standing places, it sells places for "strapontins" which are tip-up seats in the vestibule.
 

Wallsendmag

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Marking all trains as reservation compulsory data substantially inhibits walk-up travel on busy trains.

Whilst a minority of people might know they can just select another service and still travel on the "sold out" train, Joe Smith would quite reasonably think that "sold out" (if such a train even appears in their search) means "you're not allowed to get on".

It is also of little comfort when all services on a given day (or around a given time) are sold out, meaning booking sites and apps say "no trains available". The LNER operated ticket machines and offices at the major stations (York, Newcastle, Edinburgh, Kings Cross) are unlikely to be able to sell tickets either.

If LNER truly want to drop compulsory reservations, they need to make the timetable data match what their new policy says.
The Travel Centres are always able to sell a ticket, added to the fact that there is considerable extra space that uses counted places instead of a specific seats.
 

Ianno87

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Their actions, particularly during the pandemic, have made it blatantly obvious they find the short and medium distance market a piddling nuisance.

But for as long as they continue to receive a public subsidy, and are given a state sanctioned monopoly on the majority of the ECML's capacity, they cannot be allowed to become an airline on rails. That would be the antithesis of the purpose public transport serves.

But reservations are no longer mandatory, so I don't understand your complaint now?

Clearly it is not disincentivising travel, as the busyness of my recent IETs would testify to....
 

35B

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Their actions, particularly during the pandemic, have made it blatantly obvious they find the short and medium distance market a piddling nuisance.

But for as long as they continue to receive a public subsidy, and are given a state sanctioned monopoly on the majority of the ECML's capacity, they cannot be allowed to become an airline on rails. That would be the antithesis of the purpose public transport serves.
It might be worth checking DfT's view of the purposes of public transport.
 

Ianno87

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I'm not a fan of the present situation because it is effectively fraudulently saying that to get on some trains you must book a First Class ticket even though you could walk up and buy Standard.

It is also (to some) fraudulent to continue to suggest that space is available on trains when it isn't. I know some people have bought off-tickets still offered for "full" trains, click through the booking process, and only at the end (after payment) be told "oh, by the way, you don't have a seat reservation".
 

Bletchleyite

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It is also (to some) fraudulent to continue to suggest that space is available on trains when it isn't. I know some people have bought off-tickets still offered for "full" trains, click through the booking process, and only at the end (after payment) be told "oh, by the way, you don't have a seat reservation".

Yes, I think that is bad too. If the systems can check reservation availability before showing the options to select from, it would make sense to show the train in red or similar, and when hovering over it pop something up like "This train is reservable, and all reservations are sold out. If you select this train it is likely you will have to stand for part or even all of your journey. We strongly recommend choosing a different train."
 

WesternLancer

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Marking all trains as reservation compulsory data substantially inhibits walk-up travel on busy trains.

Whilst a minority of people might know they can just select another service and still travel on the "sold out" train, Joe Smith would quite reasonably think that "sold out" (if such a train even appears in their search) means "you're not allowed to get on".

It is also of little comfort when all services on a given day (or around a given time) are sold out, meaning booking sites and apps say "no trains available".
This is also my view. I recall speaking to a 17 year old student friend of mine a couple of years back, she simply could not get the idea that a train might have more capacity than the seats / seats that could be reserved. She could not really appreciate that you could just walk up, buy a ticket and get on and take your chances.

Her family mostly drive (but she does not yet) and the main time they use 'public transport' is when they go on an aircraft. If it says 'fully booked' against a train listed on a website she would assume you can't get on, and would look for an alternative (which would be a coach or a parent to drive her).

Loads of people are like this - even if I think it's a bit daft to think like that.

Yes, I think that is bad too. If the systems can check reservation availability before showing the options to select from, it would make sense to show the train in red or similar, and when hovering over it pop something up like "This train is reservable, and all reservations are sold out. If you select this train it is likely you will have to stand for part or even all of your journey. We strongly recommend choosing a different train."
a very sensible approach IMHO
 

1955LR

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Once all the available to book seats run out yes, there will still be a coach and a bit of seats available in Std and half a coach or so in First.
Hotels are often like that. Only a proportion of rooms are bookable online , others are kept back for walk in guests or phone bookings
 

Starmill

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Eurostar, with their check in processes, are a poor comparison as this can't be done in our domestic market. French TGV is a better example where an additional number of reservations are issued for standing places. However, revenue can be managed especially if the constraints of the current regulate fares system are removed and in that case I suspect customers are likely to be happier paying slightly more for a more comfortable experience.
Maybe, although a vacant seat rather than an occupied one doesn't in practical terms improve the comfort of the onboard experience.

Or revenue increases because some people feel more confident travelling if they know they are being directed to less busy trains before leaving for the station.
Why would customers have more confidence? LNER haven't said anything about less busy trains have they?
 

Mainline421

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Sounds like what we have now is a pretty pragmatic compromise; trains still marked as Compulsory Reservations in the timetable mean that they will show trains as sold out when no more reservable seats are available (so people are discouraged from turning up for already busy trains), but there's nothing to stop you turning up with a walk-up ticket if you really want to.



As I say above, I think we've moved to a position that helps manage loadings better ("you've sold too many tickets!" every Maundy Thursday), but still does not inhibit "walk up" travel. So we have very much rowed forward, and then a tiny bit back.
The current situation works well for people in the know as long as there's always an open ticket office or open barriers, but probably the majority aren't aware of this. My last journey on LNER was pleasent, nice staff and coach C was about 50% of seats taken while the rest of train looked closer to 90% on my way to the food bar. However, there's still shouty posters up with the headline "RESERVE A SEAT" (although it does crudely point out that if you haven't there's an unreserved coach for you) and they make trains take up 3 lines on departure boards by insisting on including the word "highly" before recommended.

Worst of all their TVMs still refuse to sell tickets for "full" trains (not even direct you to the ticket office), that needs to be fixed!
 

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Wallsendmag

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The current situation works well for people in the know as long as there's always an open ticket office or open barriers, but probably the majority aren't aware of this. My last journey on LNER was pleasent, nice staff and coach C was about 50% of seats taken while the rest of train looked closer to 90% on my way to the food bar. However, there's still shouty posters up with the headline "RESERVE A SEAT" (although it does crudely point out that if you haven't there's an unreserved coach for you) and they make trains take up 3 lines on departure boards by insisting on including the word "highly" before recommended.

Worst of all their TVMs still refuse to sell tickets for "full" trains (not even direct you to the ticket office), that needs to be fixed!
If the train is showing as full on the TVM that means that all the seats plus the counted places have been sold. Personally I'd never want to try to get on a train that is that full, not just in the current climate.
 

Bletchleyite

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If the train is showing as full on the TVM that means that all the seats plus the counted places have been sold. Personally I'd never want to try to get on a train that is that full, not just in the current climate.

But whether you would want to does not matter. How about the person trying to get to a funeral or wedding, running late?

This halfway house is confusing and to me unacceptable. Fully compulsory or back the way it was.
 

Starmill

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But whether you would want to does not matter. How about the person trying to get to a funeral or wedding, running late?

This halfway house is confusing and to me unacceptable. Fully compulsory or back the way it was.
And in any case, there will always be no-shows. Why would the company want to turn away an Anytime Single fare who is happy to try and pick off a seat that someone's not turned up for?

I've boarded "fully reserved" trains on many occasions and miraculously found a single seat by itself unoccupied because such a large proportion of the reservations are made without much likelihood of ever being used.
 

trebor79

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If the train is showing as full on the TVM that means that all the seats plus the counted places have been sold. Personally I'd never want to try to get on a train that is that full, not just in the current climate.

And in any case, there will always be no-shows. Why would the company want to turn away an Anytime Single fare who is happy to try and pick off a seat that someone's not turned up for?

I've boarded "fully reserved" trains on many occasions and miraculously found a single seat by itself unoccupied because such a large proportion of the reservations are made without much likelihood of ever being used.
Indeed, and those "in the know" will just book a seat on a different train, and then board the "full" on we need to get to our destination at the required time anyway. This leaves the other service apparently "full" for other travellers and the problem just continues.
Also the "Mandatory reservation" message on the TVM is wrong - gives the impression that you can only travel on the specified service you've booked a seat for, which is only true for advances.
 

Bletchleyite

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And in any case, there will always be no-shows. Why would the company want to turn away an Anytime Single fare who is happy to try and pick off a seat that someone's not turned up for?

I've boarded "fully reserved" trains on many occasions and miraculously found a single seat by itself unoccupied because such a large proportion of the reservations are made without much likelihood of ever being used.

For the record I only really support full CR if it is done properly i.e. how SNCF (or easyJet) etc do it, with lots of easy methods to change your ticket even at short notice, including TVMs, ticket offices and online.
 

WesternLancer

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And in any case, there will always be no-shows. Why would the company want to turn away an Anytime Single fare who is happy to try and pick off a seat that someone's not turned up for?

I've boarded "fully reserved" trains on many occasions and miraculously found a single seat by itself unoccupied because such a large proportion of the reservations are made without much likelihood of ever being used.
Yep - I reserved a seat on the LNER website for both sat and Sunday 2 weeks before I was travelling and before I bought my super off peak ticket (which I purchased at the station 5 mins before start of journey which commenced with another TOC). This was to ensure I was not denied boarding due to a train being full (I was not aware of their policy change).

On the Saturday I decided to travel and then cancelled the Sunday reservation (but I could have just not bothered) approx 15 hours before train departure. On the Saturday I made a prompter connection on to a Hull Trains service, fancied the HT 1st class upgrade at £5 cheaper than the LNER equivalent train 10 mins later. Could not cancel my LNER reservation in that 10 min window as I don't have a smart phone.

End result - an empty seat on a train that might in theory have shown as 'fully booked'.
 

Bikeman78

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And in any case, there will always be no-shows. Why would the company want to turn away an Anytime Single fare who is happy to try and pick off a seat that someone's not turned up for?

I've boarded "fully reserved" trains on many occasions and miraculously found a single seat by itself unoccupied because such a large proportion of the reservations are made without much likelihood of ever being used.
Pre Covid I'd often sit in a reserved seat at Paddington and take my chances. Very rarely did I get evicted. Chatting to other passengers or overhearing conversations it's clear that a lot of other people were doing the same thing.
 

WesternLancer

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Pre Covid I'd often sit in a reserved seat at Paddington and take my chances. Very rarely did I get evicted. Chatting to other passengers or overhearing conversations it's clear that a lot of other people were doing the same thing.
Of course that relies on the typical British reserve of being reluctant to challenge the 'squatter'...;)
 

stevetay3

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Yesterday I booked a last minute reservation on LNER due to my booked train being late, had been granted permission to use a different service on my standard advance ticket. The new reservation put me in first class had I tried to do this would I have been allowed to travel in first class, I just went to coach C which was practically empty ,trains on east coast being very quiet.
 

Wallsendmag

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Yesterday I booked a last minute reservation on LNER due to my booked train being late, had been granted permission to use a different service on my standard advance ticket. The new reservation put me in first class had I tried to do this would I have been allowed to travel in first class, I just went to coach C which was practically empty ,trains on east coast being very quiet.
Are you sure it was first? Can you pm me the reservation?
 

Haywain

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Yesterday I booked a last minute reservation on LNER due to my booked train being late, had been granted permission to use a different service on my standard advance ticket. The new reservation put me in first class had I tried to do this would I have been allowed to travel in first class, I just went to coach C which was practically empty ,trains on east coast being very quiet.
Did you do this through the LNER app?
 

Haywain

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Not able to find it may have deleted it but definitely said 1st class advance single at zero value . At the bottom it said this is a reservation no a travel ticket.


Yes
When reserving a seat through the app, it offers two columns to select from, one each for standard class and first class. On making the relevant selection it just gives a page stating that the reservation is confirmed, and shows the journey and, further down the page, the seat reserved. No mention of ticket type or a price. I'm confused by what you are saying you saw.
 

Bletchleyite

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Was this done before departure of the original train? If so, could it be that the OP actually changed their ticket rather than getting a separate additional reservation, and that there was no fare difference, so it was legitimately a First Advance they had?
 

High Dyke

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Funnily enough I'm currently on the 15:41 ex-Grantham to Doncaster. I've got a reservation in coach J. 18 out of 86 seats show a reserved seat, but the table nearest me is unoccupied (despite being reserved from Stevenage- Leeds). At this time of the day there is the available capacity, but still there are no shows for reserved seats that could be utilised if needed.

My point though is that if it wasn't for the information about reserving a seat I wouldn't have ordinarily bothered making a reservation for the journey.
 

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