Friday, October 05, 2007

Tickets please!


Is it just me, or has today been a ticket-checking day? I was asked to show my ticket on two occasions this lunchtime, maybe it's just because I'm on a late shift.
I'm glad actually, because I hadn't seen a ticket inspector yet on the Windsor-Slough line, and having paid £30 for a month's season ticket to pootle backwards and forwards between the two, I was wondering if I should have bothered. But this lunchtime, several youngsters were given a severe dressing down for boarding the train without a ticket, and I breathed a sigh of relief that I am an generally a pretty honest person and always buy a ticket even if I think no-one's going to check.
Then, on my Slough-Paddington leg, I duly sat in first class, and the host came and asked me to show her my ticket. I had a moment of horror as I realised that my upgrade might have expired, but thankfully it's still good for another week, so phew, a free cup of tea and a nice empty carriage, thanks very much. I'll be sad to see that upgrade go, as I'm sure will all the others who've taken advantage of it. I must remember to ask FGW what the effect of the offer has been, and whether they might be considering another similar scheme in the future, I for one would be heartily in favour, not too surprisingly.
I do have one note of complaint today. Last night I shuffled up the stairs of the Hammersmith and City Line entrance to Paddington Station. As I'm not yet used to the timetable to Slough, I asked the person at the information desk whether the 1833 Oxford train on Platform 12 would be stopping at Slough. He said yes. I got on it. Then a lucky announcement moments later declared that the train would be stopping at Maidenhead, Twyford, Reading.... I got off again.
So, either the information man was mistaken, or lying. In either case, he's not a very good information man, and nearly sent me to the wrong destination. What's the use of an information man that gives out wrong information?

23 comments:

Ollie said...

The 18:33 is not booked to call at Maidenhead.

FYI
Between 18:00 and 19:00 best trains for Slough are::

18:14 Henley
18:44 Bourne End
18:52 Oxford

I hate FGW said...

Seems I'm not so good at the information either! Thanks for this, I did in fact catch the Bourne End service in the end, and had no further hitches on the way, thank goodness

Ollie said...

Correction to my comment which I totally messed up.

"The 18:33 is booked as first stop Maidenhead, therefore not calling Slough"

Sorry about that.

In relation to masses of ticket checks, I noticed this yesterday on my train from Wokingham which had about 4-5 Revenue Protection on board.

Anonymous said...

The 18:14 is a good one to catch, as it's lightly loaded (especially at the front of the train). Problem is it runs on the slow lines and often gets stuck behind stopping services.

It's not worth getting the 18:44 as this is a 3-car Turbo that runs on the slow lines. You're better off waiting for the 18:52 which is an Adelante (for now!) and runs on the fast lines. It's scheduled to arrive a few minutes later than the 18:44 (but often arrives first).

Anonymous said...

This may be something to do with me:


On the 1st October 2007 I had planned to get the 06:37 train from Slough to Swindon (changing at Reading) and then the 07:40 from Swindon to Newport Gwent (same train as from Reading but due to your baffling ticketing policy purchasing in this manner is cheaper than an advanced ticket straight through!)

I had purchased these tickets accordingly and been issued them on the 28th September at the Newport station fast ticket machine, having booked them on the 25th or 26th via the internet, as I have done on frequent occasions over the past year.

Due to a change in circumstances I decided to get the train direct from Reading at 07:11 and continue my journey as planned to Newport and had a lift to Reading station to these means. However there was some traffic congestion and therefore I left myself 5 minutes to get from the concourse entrance to platform 4 at Reading. This should take approximately 1 minute.

I tried to swipe my ticket through the barriers but the barrier wouldn’t open using my Slough to Swindon ticket, hence I had to seek assistance which added a little more time.

I approached the platform and the train was there. The time was 07:10. I tried to get on the train using the nearest carriage but was told in no uncertain terms that I was too late (which is fairly ironic considering the lack of punctuality prevalent in your services.) I wasn’t late though as the train is timetabled to leave at 07:11.

So, slightly infuriated, I waited to get the next relevant service; the 07:41 from Reading to Cardiff Central. Little did I know that the ticket barrier at Reading and the train leaving earlier than advertised would leave me considerably angrier and impecunious.

I boarded the 07:41 train. The guard appeared as “the bullet train” ambled its way to my destination and I proceeded to give him my ticket.
He asked to see the other part of the ticket. I showed it to him. I was then told my ticket was invalid as it was a leisure advance ticket. And I would have to pay the full fare from Reading to Swindon.
As I’m an honest person I informed him that I was actually traveling to Newport. He asked to see my ticket from Swindon to Newport. THIS WAS ALSO INVALID (“Computer says “Nooooooooo!”) I was then informed the price, £54. I rang your customer service desk at the time to verify whether this was actually happening.
“COMPUTER SAYS Nooooooooooo!”

I was then told I couldn’t claim a refund on the tickets I’d purchased for the original journey either. Even though I had missed the train because of YOUR rubbish ticket barriers and YOUR insistence that I couldn't get on the train even though there was still a minute to go before it was scheduled to leave. So, and pardon my French, the F-ING TRAIN JOURNEY HAS COST ME £76. I could have flown to Paris/ Amsterdam/ wherever for that price. But instead I have paid this amount for a train from the cultural hotspot of Reading to the beautiful metropolis of Newport. Seventy six bleeding quid!?!?

What compounds this complete farcical rip off is that, as previously stated, I regularly use this service. Normally on a Friday I get the train from Newport to either Reading or Slough (17:09 from Newport) and on the Monday from either Slough or Reading to Newport, usually the 07:11 from Reading as it is considerably cheaper. Check my account.

To get from my place of work to Newport train station on a Friday I normally get a bus. I’m one of these conscientious people who care about the environment and to that end try and use public transport as much as possible….

I usually leave work at 15:55. The bus is timetabled to appear at 16:03. The total journey to the train station should take half an hour according to the Travelline Cymru website. Unfortunately the traffic is sometimes very heavy and occasionally I have missed the 17:09 train. (Even though I am giving myself 30 minutes grace in such an event) Therefore I board the next suitable train. And not one member of your staff in that time has challenged the validity of my 17:09 ticket, NOT ONE!!! In fact none of them have actually checked the second part of the ticket. Not until last Monday.

Indeed on one occasion I was trying to get the 17:09 and due to my cash card being damaged I had to go into the Customer Service office at Newport station and ask for my tickets through them FOR THE SERVICE I HAD JUST MISSED.
The employee was extremely courteous and helpful and AT NO TIME DID HE TELL ME I WOULD HAVE TO GET A NEW TICKET FOR MY JOURNEY. He proceeded to issue me the tickets for the 17:09 train

I have also on occasion missed the 07:11 train from Reading and thus had to get a later one. Again I have never encountered a problem with possessing an advance ticket (ie “invalid”) for the preceding service.

Also, on the occasion where I have ended up paying £76 in total, at Newport train station when going through the ticket barrier I used my so-called invalid ticket for the barrier machine. And guess what? Yes I was able to go through the barrier with the INVALID TICKET.



I enclose my remaining tickets for my claim for a refund for the £54 I was forced to pay. I would like to inform you that on the corresponding service a week later (the 07:11 from Reading to Newport on Mon 8th Oct) that the guard didn’t check the second part of my ticket. And the train left Reading at 07:15.
If this had occurred a week prior I wouldn’t have had to pay an extra £54.

Indeed if I was permitted to board the train on Oct 1st which was leaving at 07:11 as timetabled I wouldn’t have had to pay an extra £54. Or if your barriers at Reading were dependable I wouldn’t have “missed” my train.

Also the service I caught from Cardiff Central to Slough on Fri 5th October at 15:55 the guard didn’t check the second part of my ticket; I informed you about via the telephone to register my distaste. (Even though the first part of the leisure advance tickets does not actually give an indication of what train one should be traveling on.)

The glaring inconsistencies in your company and employee’s approach beggars belief and has cost me over £50.

A cursory internet search reveals the utter hatred that many people have for your company, its service and even the “conditions of carriage.” I’m glad I’m not the only one thoroughly peeved off with your “business” sorry, profiteering racket.

Ollie said...

The aim is to get train doors locked approx 30seconds prior to departure to ensure a right time departure.

The barrier would not take your ticket because it was from Slough. All the barriers read is origin and destination, not such a bad thing, it wouldn't be practical to program the barriers to recognize you are breaking your journey at Reading, doing this would require alot of programming, which would be a waste of time. Also as you were on advanced purchased tickets you shouldn't have gone through the barriers at Reading in first place, that is considered a break of journey which is not allowed on your type of ticket.

Newport is operated by Arriva, the fact they didn't tell you to buy a new ticket as you had missed your booked service is not down to FGW, you should consider yourself lucky you weren't checked rather than complaining or you would have been looking at another new ticket.

It is also worth noting that Reading has a 10minute minimum connection time.

I wish you luck with your claim for refund, but you was correctly told in the first place that you will not be entitled to one.

Anonymous said...

Ollie,

As I use Reading station regularly how come sometimes the ticket machine works in instances such as below then?

On my advance tickets at Reading, time permitting, I like to go for a ciggie whilst waiting for my connecting train.
Hence on the Slough to Swindon train I have a 15 minute break and not wishing to fall foul of the authorities I go outside and have a quick fag.
Or are FGW now penalising smokers for not actually smoking on their stations? Or are you actually not allowed you to leave the station even though there could be a major gap between connecting times. Isn't that false imprisonment?

May as well light up on the platforms again (like they do at Fishguard!)
I DESPAIR!!!

Anonymous said...

To continue unabated,

What happens if a connecting train on an advance ticket is late or cancelled? Would I have had to pay £54 in these circumstances?

How come some staff check both parts of an advance ticket and others don't??

If you wished to maximise revenue surely the ticket machines could be programmed so that you need a proper valid ticket to pass through them???

HOw can you justify £54 for a train journey from Reading to Newport IN ANY CIRCUMSTANCES????

If FGW as a company allowed a certain amount of flexibilty (fortunately some staff seem to have a degree of common sense) in dealing with advance tickets and inherent problems on the day then this may reflect better in customer service ratings? This holier than thou attitude in regard to being on the correct train is something that I think as a company you need to address. Rather than branding honest commuters like me Fare Dodgers

Ollie said...

I'm not currently able to respond to all your comments and will do once I am home, but I will comment on the bit you brought up about missed connections due to late arrival of the first leg, or cancellation.

If that is the case your ticket should be validated for the next available service.

I know train managers do use discretion when it comes to advance tickets, but you cannot fault someone for doing their job correctly.

The fact that your reservation isn't being checked with the actual ticket is worrying and it would be worth sending to Customer Services on these incidents.

I will do a follow up this late tonight/early morning.

Anonymous said...

I have just heard that some of the fare increases planned for November (for example plans to increase the price of Bristol- London open singles and returns)have been shelved by FGW. Whether this is to avoid another fare strike or in acknowledgemnt of FGW's failings this cannot be anything other than A GOOD THING.

In a mind-boggling attempt to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, FGW made the U-turn at the last minute after it had aleady sold some tickets at the higher price. apparently customers will be refunded if they ask, but it is anothr example of how FGW managament does something good but gets the execution of it wrong.

Tim

Anonymous said...

Ollie said...

I will do a follow up this late tonight/early morning. (9th Oct)

Today is the 12th!!! First Late Western indeed

Ollie said...

If you have ever been on my site you will have noticed the issue I am having with an internet connection at home, hence being unable to comment back like I wanted to.

In all honesty after having another read of your comments I do not feel there is much more I can add to what I have already said, what has been said on here should really be directed through Customer Services.

Sorry for the late response, out of my control.

Anonymous said...

I got the train from Newport to Slough last Friday. I was booked to be on the 17:09 service.

Fortunately my working day had finished by 3pm so I thought I'd chance my arm regardless of past experiences (see above) and get an earlier train (15:09 but surprisingly enough it was late!!!) and if told to purchase a new ticket I would just get off the train at the next station and wait till my "correct" train appeared. (Praying that I wouldn't have to spend 2 hours in Swindon!)

But no Mr Guard didn't investigate my ticket. Though he did look at part one of the two part advance ticket. Just before Swindon.
So in the eyes of FGW I hope I am perceived as a fare dodger!! I fought the law and I won! HA HA HA

Anonymous said...

dear anonymous. Why is it everybody elses fault that you cannot organise yourself properly? Leisure advance tickets are cheaper so they come with restrictions, ie they are not flexible. This is explained when you buy the ticket, (you put a tick in the box), and they then send you an email stating the restrictions again. If you cant be bothered to read them then that is hardly FGW's fault. Why not buy a saver? I checked up on Easyjets website for a flight to paris tomorrow and it was between £66.99 and £109.99 plus £2.00 for a bag for a one way ticket. The cost for a ticket to Amsterdam from Gatwick was between £69.99 and £169.99 ONE WAY. So i dont see how you can compare this with a ticket for £54.00 RETURN to Newport. Incidently, if you miss your flight for which you have to turn up 40 minutes before the flight time in order to catch it, you have to pay for another ticket.This compares with FGW closing the doors 30 seconds before departure. Really, you shouldn't blame everyone else for your problems.

JameiLei said...

If you are deliberately and knowingly travelling on trains which are not the correct ones on your ticket, I fully support your fine of £54.

On a return from London to Birmingham (yes I know, Virgin not fGW), the tube (due to a suicide) made us miss our booked train on our advance tickets. Instead of jumping on any-old train, we went to the customer services, who proceeded to pass us onto the following train at no extra cost.

If there is a problem, see customer services. They will pass you onto the next train if there is a good enough excuse. Catching a train 2 hours earlier than your booked one, because you felt like it is NOT a good excuse.

Anonymous said...

I took a train 2 hours earlier due in no small part to the fact that on one occasion (out of roughly 140) where I was unaware of the complete lack of flexibility or empathy from the quality customer service that FGW offer its patrons ) I am categorised as "abusing" the system, a fare dodger etc etc. Whatever!!!
I did not intentionally get on the wrong service on THAT occasion. I was at the train station at the right time etc as explained. Rushing to get a train which was on the platform and left one minute early...
If you're labelled as something maybe sometimes you should play up to it!!! A Master criminal such as I.......

I was prepared to get off the train and get onto my correct service on the 2 hour earlier "jolly."
In fact I would argue I was helping to ease the congestion on the later (17:09) service by taking the earlier train!!!!

I have learnt my lesson. Namely ensure I'm at the train station in good time to get the service I have booked. Which I have done in the past and will continue to do.

But train operators aren't gonna listen to lil ol me moaning about the connecting mode of transport to get that train are they? (if that connection was delayed, through road congestion etc etc) Have you seen the wreck that is Newport City Centre at the moment???

Its all part of the problem and if there was a proper integrated public transport policy rather than the quick buck cowboy outfits that monopolise UK transport policy it may form part of the solution!

Btw FGW I had to show my reservation card this morning but I didn't on Friday, nor about 90% of the time I have used this service. The mainline service between South Wales and London Paddington incidentally.


@ Anon: The ticket was £54 ONE WAY between Newport to Reading. Plus the leisure ticket I had booked which I have no chance for a refund from. So thats £76 for a ONE WAY JOURNEY BETWEEN READING AND NEWPORT. The flight I took from Amsterdam to Cardiff not six weeks ago was £60 ONE WAY. Booked roughly 5 days prior.(As was my initial train journey)

And I'm fully aware of the stringent penalties for missing flights. I hardly think trains are the same as aeroplanes.
Do I need to explain why???

Am I hankering for a time when the railways were nationalised and you didn't have the inherent confusion caused by privatisation where Joe Public as a general rule doesn't really know who is responsible for what? Still? And a far less complex ticketing procedure.

Suggestion to FGW, would it be possible to alter tickets so that the reservation coupon is included on the ticket (ie one documentation to show?) Is that too difficult? That may help put an end to those pesky passengers who are playing the system and dodging fares. Like me. Ahem. Cough

oooh

Anonymous said...

I took a train 2 hours earlier due in no small part to the fact that on one occasion (out of roughly 140) where I was unaware of the complete lack of flexibility or empathy from the quality customer service that FGW offer its patrons ) I am categorised as "abusing" the system, a fare dodger etc etc. Whatever!!!
I did not intentionally get on the wrong service on THAT occasion. I was at the train station at the right time etc as explained. Rushing to get a train which was on the platform and left one minute early...
If you're labelled as something maybe sometimes you should play up to it!!! A Master criminal such as I.......

I was prepared to get off the train and get onto my correct service on the 2 hour earlier "jolly."
In fact I would argue I was helping to ease the congestion on the later (17:09) service by taking the earlier train!!!!

I have learnt my lesson. Namely ensure I'm at the train station in good time to get the service I have booked. Which I have done in the past and will continue to do.

But train operators aren't gonna listen to lil ol me moaning about the connecting mode of transport to get that train are they? (if that connection was delayed, through road congestion etc etc) Have you seen the wreck that is Newport City Centre at the moment???

Its all part of the problem and if there was a proper integrated public transport policy rather than the quick buck cowboy outfits that monopolise UK transport policy it may form part of the solution!

Btw FGW I had to show my reservation card this morning but I didn't on Friday, nor about 90% of the time I have used this service. The mainline service between South Wales and London Paddington incidentally.


@ Anon: The ticket was £54 ONE WAY between Newport to Reading. Plus the leisure ticket I had booked which I have no chance for a refund from. So thats £76 for a ONE WAY JOURNEY BETWEEN READING AND NEWPORT. The flight I took from Amsterdam to Cardiff not six weeks ago was £60 ONE WAY. Booked roughly 5 days prior.(As was my initial train journey)

And I'm fully aware of the stringent penalties for missing flights. I hardly think trains are the same as aeroplanes.
Do I need to explain why???

Am I hankering for a time when the railways were nationalised and you didn't have the inherent confusion caused by privatisation where Joe Public as a general rule doesn't really know who is responsible for what? Still? And a far less complex ticketing procedure.

Suggestion to FGW, would it be possible to alter tickets so that the reservation coupon is included on the ticket (ie one documentation to show?) Is that too difficult? That may help put an end to those pesky passengers who are playing the system and dodging fares. Like me. Ahem. Cough

oooh

Anonymous said...

So now its FGw's fault that Newport Centre is congested.Have you tried speaking to Newport Council?

May I remind you that it was you who brought up the Airlines, as you say 'I hardly think trains are the same as aeroplanes'.

You seem to be deluded when it comes to ticket pricing. If you add the cost of both tickets together, then it will be more, however if you kept to the agreement that you made freely with the rail company, you would not have to buy a new ticket. Ditto airline companies.

Please be careful as I am concerned that you are building up to having a heart attack. Mate it's not worth it.

Anonymous said...

Is this blaming FGW... no I don't think so.......

"Train operators aren't gonna listen to lil ol' me moaning about the connecting mode of transport to get that train are they? (if that connection was delayed, through road congestion etc etc) Have you seen the wreck that is Newport City Centre at the moment???"

and:

"if there was a proper integrated public transport policy.."

As for me bringing up the aeroplanes it was in terms of comparative cost. As the original letter explicitly states.
Deluded on ticket pricing??? HA HA HA.

Can you explain how a journey to the same destination split into two transactions, works out cheaper than merely purchasing a ticket in one transaction for the same journey at the same time? Now Thats What I Call Deluded.

As for a heart attack... well there was an occasion this year when on a service from London Paddington to Cardiff the three previous trains had been cancelled so we were forced to stand in first class....

I wasn't the one carried off the train at Swindon train station. But someone was. Heat exhaustion due to FGW packing us in like sardines.

Anonymous said...

Well, I will let you have the last word as this will run forever and I have got a more interesting life to lead.

bye bye.

Anonymous said...

further to my correspondence I have recently discovered that trainmanagers/ resource protection assistants/ CONDUCTORS are paid a %bonus on their trains for tickets purchased/ collected (don't really know the ins and outs of it.)

Suffice to say the reason why I was charged full whack, with no flexibility/ empathy from the train manager, has nothing to do with performance related pay?

I would also like to send my thanks to the Arriva trains Wales staff on friday who chnaged my local service going to Penarth to one going to Swansea (during the service) without informing me!!However the RPAs/ TMs were most understanding and apologetic, directing me which service I needed to get on at Bridgend to get back to Cardiff and it got me thinking if such a thing had occurred on an FGW train would I have been penalised for not having the correct ticket?

Anonymous said...

I’ve meant to post about something like this on my webpage and you gave me an idea. Cheers..

Anonymous said...

pozyczki bez krd
pożyczka bez bik
kredyt bez bik bez bik
kredyt chwilówka roznoszenie ulotek
pożyczki bez bik na samochód
chwilówki internetowe
pożyczki pozabankowe real