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National Express coach open returns - how do they work? (from Victoria, LDN)
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# 1
Old 04-08-2008, 1:28 AM
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Join Date: Aug 2007
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Default National Express coach open returns - how do they work? (from Victoria, LDN)

Hey all, just got back home from visiting my dad in london (heart attack put him in hospital there :rolleyes: ) and almost didn't make it due to, presumably, me messing up something with a National Express open return ticket. Unfortunately I've gotta do pretty much exactly the same thing again in a few days and as I've no idea what went wrong, and because I can't find any info on the NE site, and everyone but the driver seemed happy, I was hoping someone here would know.

Basically, ordered online (LSTEN = 10% off ), open return to victoria from leeds, entered booking ref into ticket machine in leeds which printed out a single ticket with outward details and a return section just saying to call XYZ or visiting an NE travel show to validate return details. Did the validation from a hospital phone (note to self - payphones + 0870 don't mix well), asked for the 8pm back (this was about 6.30pm at the time), confirmed my details, lady says it's done and gives me a 4 letter code and tells me to tell the driver this. I presume that's all along with the ticket I had originaly.

Cept when I show the driver my ticket he basically says something to the effect that I don't have the right ticket and anyone could have written down said code, motions towards the ticket officie and tells me to get help there. It's now about 7.50.

Ticket office look at ticket ref on original ticket, look stuff up online, confirm it's booked and fine, tell me to find a supervisor somewhere and it's now 7.55. Run back to coach guy, tell him ticket officie said it was fine, grab a supervisor, he checks the reference on the radio and, well, dissapears pretty much, then just says he'll let me on the coach but he shouldn't (nothing to do with ticket ref, think he was just busy, dont think he even got a reply over radio).

So I've no idea where I went wrong. AFAIK there was only one reference number, it was deffinately booked fine, I had the right coach, I think the ticket ref was on the passenger list the driver had printed out but his issue was with my single ticket with only outgoing details and a blank open return section (obviously). Something was mentioned about neading a proper ticked being printed out but it was now 8.00 so no time to figure that lot out.

And just for the lulz, I used the same ticket machine in leeds when I got back, put in my ref number for collection of a ticket and nothing came out, so I dunno if a ticket office would have given me much more.

Only up side was the driver didn't seem to let anyone on without a fight. I mean, you got an 8 digit ref with 100 million different combinations, and you just happen to turn up to the right bus at the right time in the right place having guessed said 100m to 1 ref matching one on the passenger list, plus 4 char code (PAZR fwiw, presumably it's identicle for all NE over a prolonged period if it's so easy to "just write it down") and the "real" ticket holder just happens not to turn up? Does this happen so much on NE that the drivers have to be that careful? :rolleyes:

If anyone knows the secret please let me know I would've asked the driver/s cept they still had another stop when I got off (didn't wanna keep them) and the main guy sure weren't in the mood at victoria

EDIT: silly me. using alphanumerical codes, that would be 10 to the power 34 possible combinations for a ticket ref, which is too big for even google to figure out. and suddenly only having a ticket ref to get a ticket printed out at a machine doesn't seem too stupid after all cept i guess they stick with the 3 char 5 digit system quite a bit?

Last edited by pepsi_max2k; 04-08-2008 at 1:48 PM.
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# 2
Old 04-08-2008, 12:10 PM
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There are three ways of validating an open ticket:

by phone, as you did
at a ticket office
or just give the ticket to the driver - if he knows there are seats it should be OK

Sounds as though you did nothing wrong - unless you possibly misheard the code?? - and that maybe the confirmation went wrong in some way. Lady did it for right time, wrong date? There's any number of errors that might have occurred.
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# 3
Old 04-08-2008, 12:46 PM
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nope, confirmation code (PAZR) was right - both driver and supervisor confirmed it was the same as what they had on their passenger list (and seemed certain anyone could have used the thing for anything so it was no help for proof of purchase or whatever). confirmation was right as i went to the ticket office (where the driver told me to go to sort things out) and they checked the ticket reference, time and date and had it all listed correctly (03/08/08, 20:00, NX561 Vic > Leeds). but both the driver and supervisor were convinced i should have had something more than i did :confused:

EDIT: offending ticket. if anyone spots what's missing please let me know fwiw, mark over outgoing is the outgoing driver marking it as used, he was fine with the thing. PAZR I wrote when told over the phone. bottom right numbers are from the ticket office confirming details (still ain't figured out what the 42 / 47 bit is, but the rest matches up), the box around PAZR was the super underlining it while confirming it was correct.

Last edited by pepsi_max2k; 04-08-2008 at 2:02 PM.
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# 4
Old 18-09-2008, 3:12 PM
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Wow, I'm suddenly impressed. 2 months late but... I just got a reply from National Express customer services regarding a complain I made about this, and they basically confirmed I did everything right, and that possibly due to the time I booked the driver may not have had my ticket number on the list.

Frankly I'm not too sure about that; at first he didn't even notice there was a ticket number on the ticket (he sent me away saying there was none, I pointed it out to him, he made little attempt to check his list for it after that), and apparently they should get an updated list when they arrive at the station (unless he'd been sat in victoria for 2 hours...), and the super, well... he just didn't seem bothered but anyways.

End result, they've apparently "notified the appropriate managers", and given me a £10 voucher for National Express coach ticket. Doubt I'll be using it but nice they replied.

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