Monday, June 11, 2007

Does the reservations system work?

I spend a lot of time sitting in reserved seats. Not ones that I've reserved, but ones with tickets in the back that someone else has reserved, but that the reservee doesn't actually turn up to park his or her bottom in. Our annoying friend, Mr NVN, whose comments I've been blocking due to their insulting nature, did actually make an interesting point. He suggested that we should all stop moaning about not being able to get a seat on the train, and reserve one, which costs nothing.
A lot of people do reserve seats. In fact, there's one carriage every day which is liberally peppered with these reserved labels, and there are always people hopefully hanging around waiting for the train to leave, so they can nab them.
Several times a week, when there's no seat available, I take my chances and sit in one of these reserved seats, and nine times out of ten no-one turns up to turf me out. So, are these people just reserving seats on several trains, to make sure they get a seat on one of them, or are they getting on the train and finding out there is a seat available, and sitting in that instead? And, if hardly anyone's turning up to use their reserved seats, what's the point of them?
This week, I think I will try and reserve a seat on the train I normally manage to catch in the evening from Paddington, the 18:45 to Swansea, and will let you know if it's an easy thing to do and whether the system works. I'd be interested to know whether the system has worked for you.
On another subject, it seems my celebration at finally receiving a refund from First Great Western was short-lived, as I am still to receive a cheque from their finance department. How long do you think I should leave it before I start charging them interest?


Anonymous said...

When you make a reservation it is not actually compulsory to occupy your reserved seat. Many people simply sit on the first empty seat they find. Also when travel agents buy tickets for corporate customers the will often automatically reserve a seat even though one may not have been requested. Finally I have seen that some people will reserve a seat on a busy train. They may travel earlier or later as it suits them but they always have to seat reservation to fall back on in case they travel on the busy train. As you travel to pangbourne may I suggest you can occupy any seat which is reserved from Reading as that is where you will be getting off.

I hate FGW said...

I do always look for seats reserved from Reading, but the majority of them are reserved from Paddington. As it is, I usually manage to get a seat because I'm very determined, and have no hesitation in making people move their bags or get up from their laptop to let me in. Hopefully soon I will join the gang, and have a lovely reserved seat to myself, I can't wait.

Daniel (memorex) said...

When you make a reservation it is not actually compulsory to occupy your reserved seat

Acctually it normally is. All cheap (advanced purchase) tickets come with a MANDATORY seat resveration.

By the way, legally a reserved seat can be occupated by someone other than the reserver providing it is at least 20 minutes AFTER the station from which the reservation begins.

Also if you do have a seat reservation and someone is in your seat, KICK THEM OUT OF IT!!! It's YOUR seat!!

Anonymous said...

Daniel, you're wrong. Although it is mandatory to have a reservation for advanced tickets, it's not necessary to actually sit in the seat as defined by the reservation. All the reservation is designed to do is make sure people with advanced tickets travel on the correct train. The seat doesn't matter.

Unknown said...

Have you tried reserving on the new GWR? I've booked tickets only to realise I was not given the option to book seats. Can't find it anywhere on there site. Apparently you're supposed to consult the Oracle, then phone a secret hotline. So what's the website for again?