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The Urbanite

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About The Urbanite

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  1. It's a loophole the industry is well aware of, but there is nothing to prevent people from doing this. Ryde, Newhaven and Pevensey season tickets are more popular than they ought to be.
  2. I had a situation with Southeastern a while back. One of their Revenue Protection Inspectors issued me with a Penalty Fare somewhere in the region of £68, so I was legally required to provide them with my name and address. I appealed on the basis that the ticket I presented to the inspector was valid for the journey I was undertaking, only he wasn't sufficiently trained on how to determine the validity of tickets. The favoured approach is issuing a Penalty Fare or calling the British Transport Police over verifying the validity of the ticket. The appeal was upheld because I was right about the ticket. Because I presented a valid ticket for inspection, there was no way I was giving Southeastern any of my money towards that Penalty Fare, so I made a part payment with a £50 Rail Travel Voucher. I later lodged a Subject Access Request to Southeastern for all information they held on me. In the response, I found out that a member of staff from the Independent Penalty Fares Appeals Service (IPFAS, part of Southeastern) decided to email out my details to various entities, not all of which were Train Operating Companies. The IPFAS were trying to find out the origin of the voucher I had paid with. I reported this suspected breach to the Information Commissioner's Office. This was the ICO's response.
  3. I wonder what the basis was for appealing against a prevously unpaid £2.60 fare?
  4. If the passenger couldn't buy the ticket(s) of their choice at their origin station then they should be offered the full range of tickets at the first available opportunity. Nowadays with the virtues of the National Rail Conditions of Carriage, there is no obligation to make a journey using only one through ticket (or get off a train at the stop where tickets are changed.) As such I think it's safer to assume that retailing guidelines correspond to that than risk a passenger kicking up a stink because they were told by a member of staff that they were subject to a disadvantage by the lack of ticket issuing facilities at their point of boarding. I do sympathise with passengers using "loopholes" that are in actual fact, completely invalid for the journey they are making. Anybody who does attempts to do something "clever" to save money and gets it wrong should certainly have to face up to paying the full price for a new ticket, a PF or whatever the appropriate action is for travelling without a valid ticket.
  5. I've been exploiting a number of loopholes from the National Routeing Guide (NRG) myself over the last couple of years. I have correspondence between ATOC and East Midlands Trains showing that they wanted to make the NRG maps advisory only subject to NRE JP validation from a few months ago. However, I'm just one person and there are probably only a handful of people who actively use the NRG to use such loopholes, possibly a few more like Mr Myers who stumble upon them by trial and error, word of mouth or by pure accident. Up until this point, ATOC and the TOCs only patched over the loopholes one by one, where possible. Quite a lot of times, I faced resistance from East Midlands Trains and more recently Southeastern who always try their best to claim that such loopholes cannot be used - normally by senior retail/revenue protection staff who don't know how to establish the validity of a ticket who receive reports from retail/revenue protection staff on the front line who similarly have no idea. It is true that there are (or were) hundreds of loopholes in the system that would allow people to save thousands of pounds. Not always because of the National Routeing Guide itself, but in many cases, if you know the rules and can interpret them creatively, you can find some real gems. If you can get your head around restriction codes and mileages then you can make savings. I've always stood my ground and to date, neither TOC has been able to pin anything on me despite various Penalty Fare/Unpaid Fare Notices issued, Travel Irregularity Reports filled out and the odd Notice of Intention to Prosecute for fare evasion sent. Solely because you can't criminalise someone for using a valid ticket, despite certain TOC's preference to attempt to do so rather than address their own staff's shortcomings. Going to the media was a poor error of judgement - a few days after this was done, the NRG was changed significantly due to the magnitude of the consequences. Perhaps it was changed before it was fully appropriate to do so owing to the problems the new NRG has thrown up, but that's a matter for another topic. Mr. Myers allegedly chose to go to town with it and as a result, droves of people reportedly went to St Albans demanding £700 refunds for the next few days. A ticket office clerk's obligations are laid out in the Retail Standards Guide - we sell the simplest and cheapest (in that order) ticket for the journey being made. We don't have to sit there trawling the system for loopholes or suggest starting short or anything of the sort. The onus is on the customer to do their own research. Impartiality means that we sell whatever ticket is requested. I think certain media outfits have exhibited a degree of irresponsibility by claiming that FCC were sued for not selling the cheapest ticket - that wasn't the case at all.
  6. It's very user unfriendly and now pointless to the casual user, because a route is only valid if it is shown as valid in the National Rail Enquiries Journey Planner.
  7. I am too and I don't drive unless there are no standees upstairs or on the staircase!
  8. I purchased a ticket from Canterbury West to Tilbury Riverside around 7 weeks ago. The ticket was routed "TILBY EXCL FERRY," translated on Southeastern's website as "Via Tilbury but Not via Ferry." I boarded the train at Canterbury West. The On Board Manager prior to Ashford International who endorsed my ticket "NOT HS1" with his pen and stated that I was to get off at Ashford International and travel via Tonbridge and London Bridge, which was not permitted with this ticket. Of my own accord, but not by choice, I got off at Ashford Interntional. I obtained an itinerary from the ticket office who confirm the ticket was valid on HS1 and boarded a service to Stratford International. At the gateline, I was detained by a member of staff for around 50 minutes. Despite showing her the ticket and the itinerary produced by Ashford International ticket office, she refused to open the barriers to let me through. She said I had to pay her to let me through and if I didn't she'd require my name and address to write on a bit of scrap paper and forward to Eyewitness. She stated that she was not prepared to accept my name and address without seeing I.D and so I was to be detained for an indefinite period of time. She was not revenue protection staff and was not registered with the RPSS, so had no access to the name and address verification service. Southeastern have pledged full support for her actions. A BTP officer turned up as I reported that I was being detained against my will and he decided to keep me detained there whilst the station staff decided what they wanted to do. I was detained for a further 40 minutes by the BTP officer. I requested to go to the loo and the BTP officer decided it was necessary to follow me into the toilet. After this, I asked the officer what would happen if I walked away. He said he'd arrest me for fare evasion. The staff convinced a RPI to leave his post at another station to come and issue me a Penalty Fare for being off route. I informed him that to do so would be in breach of the Penalty Fare Rules, Section 7.6 of which forbids the issue of Penalty Fares to passengers who are deemed to be "off route." I also showed him the printout from Ashford International. He was not concerned with this and proceeded to issue the Penalty Fare for £68.40, twice the single from Canterbury West to Stratford International. I paid £50.00 of it up front and after 90 minutes of detention at the station, was allowed to leave. This was several weeks ago. I have since appealed the Penalty Fare to the IPFAS. They have refused to uphold the appeal in the full knowledge that it was issued in breach of the Penalty Fare Rules. I have had extended correspondence with Southeastern, but they are adamant that the National Rail Conditions of Carriage do not apply to HS1 services and have refused to take any action on the Penalty Fare. The ticket that I was sold had text on the rear beginning with "Issued subject to the National Rail Conditons of Carriage." The NRCoC forms Schedule 24 of their franchise agreement, which to my best understanding, they have a legal obligation to uphold. The ticket was valid because I was travelling by the shortest route from Canterbury West - which is via Ashford International, Stratford Group, Grays and Tilbury Town. The shortest route is always a valid route. In line with Condition 13(d), any restrictions to permitted routes must be shown on the ticket. Southeastern have said a number of things. They claim the ticket states the ferry (which ferry?) must be used, which I cannot fathom given they advertise the route as "Via Tilbury but Not via Ferry. It cannot be used as part of the shortest route, because it does not exist as far as the National Rail Timetable is concerned, which is given as the official source of mileages. They have stated that the alternatively routed "Any Permitted" ticket was valid via HS1, which confirms that I should not have been asked to pay any more than the excess fare. The last I've heard is the RPSS' final demand which declares that legal proceedings will commence without further notice. I travel in accordance with the rules are they are written in the NRCoC and applicable laws. Southeastern are operating to a different set of rules entirely which are not available for the public to see, which they have also declined to produce on request, but strictly enforced. Anyone have any ideas how I can get someone at Southeastern who knows about tickets to listen to what I have to say and acknowledge that the NRCoC does apply to all of their services?
  9. The details are not relevant as the OP is only questioning the principle. If a ticket has more than one permitted route, there is no requirement to return by the same route as used on the outward portion.
  10. If your sister is not a holder of a 16+ Zip Card in her own right then she is likely to be prosecuted and receive a criminal record. She may also be up for a theft charge. If you are found to have allowed her to use your card then you won't get another easily.
  11. What was the discount in question - Two Together Railcard? Whatever the T&Cs are, they won't change because somebody decides they won't travel.
  12. The point I'm making is, a settlement offer of £100 is likely to elicit an identical response to that of £500. Therefore, leading desperate people up the garden path isn't something to be at all proud of.
  13. Of course they will bite your hand off if you send them £250 - £500. I wouldn't consider that a successful outcome at all. What this forum is doing is filling the pockets of the TOCs and making it less fair on those who may only be able to offer a modest and more reasonable settlement.
  14. Hi, You are going to have at least one criminal record for the rest of your life. Even when it is spent under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974, there are still career paths which are exempt from that, so you may still be required to declare it. You may be wealthy, but that criminal conviction is a permanent stain on your record. This is what happens when you decide to use a Freedom Pass that you are not entitled to. It's not something that can be done accidentally - I live with someone that has a Freedom Pass and it has never once crossed my mind to ask to borrow it, so I can't imagine what was going through yours when you did. You did something wrong. You've been taught the hard way that you can't simply buy your way out of trouble, but don't seem to have learnt anything. You have no defence, no sympathy and no case. Man up, accept the punishment, learn from the experience and move on.
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