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  • FIRST POST
    • iggy12a
    • By iggy12a 7th Dec 16, 1:50 PM
    • 22Posts
    • 13Thanks
    iggy12a
    SWT and their interpretation of the Super Off Peak fare code
    • #1
    • 7th Dec 16, 1:50 PM
    SWT and their interpretation of the Super Off Peak fare code 7th Dec 16 at 1:50 PM
    SWTrains offer a Super Off Peak ticket from Portsmouth & Southsea to Waterloo with a fare validity code of BE. Looking this up on National Rail it gives the following evening restriction:

    Not valid on trains timed to depart:
    • London Terminals (except London Paddington, below) after 04:29 and before 11:00, and after 15:59 and before 19:00.
    My interpretation of this, is that it is not valid from 16:00 to 18:59 inclusive, but checking the Journey Planner, it does not let you travel on the 19:00 departure.
    I rang to check with Customer Services, and the man I spoke to had to seek clarification from a supervisor. Apparently I could make a complaint, which I have done, but for now their interpretation of "after 15:59 and before 19:00" is any train between 16:00 and 19:00.
    I realize this is only 1 minute we are talking about, but the overall effect is that either I have to wait for the 19:30 departure to complete my journey, or buy a higher priced Off Peak ticket.
    Surely SWTrains can't just make up the rules as they go along?
Page 1
    • Emily1975
    • By Emily1975 7th Dec 16, 3:38 PM
    • 66 Posts
    • 33 Thanks
    Emily1975
    • #2
    • 7th Dec 16, 3:38 PM
    • #2
    • 7th Dec 16, 3:38 PM
    As a professional mathematician (or even just someone who simply speaks English), I can confirm that 19:00 is most definitely not before 19:00.

    Are you trying to catch a train to or from Waterloo? The restriction (as you have stated it) applies to trains departing from Waterloo, but in your opening paragraph you talk about a train to Waterloo? Does that make any difference?
    • iggy12a
    • By iggy12a 7th Dec 16, 9:50 PM
    • 22 Posts
    • 13 Thanks
    iggy12a
    • #3
    • 7th Dec 16, 9:50 PM
    • #3
    • 7th Dec 16, 9:50 PM
    The ticket is a return from Portsmouth to London. I am referring to the return leg from Waterloo in the evening.
    • rdr
    • By rdr 8th Dec 16, 9:56 AM
    • 276 Posts
    • 214 Thanks
    rdr
    • #4
    • 8th Dec 16, 9:56 AM
    • #4
    • 8th Dec 16, 9:56 AM
    I would read that as a carefully and clearly written sentance intended to exclude a 16:00 train and to include a 19:00 train, as such you should be able use it on the 19:00 train.
    I imagine this problem is a result of some sloppy programming, some one has used "greater than or equal to" when they should have used "greater than."
    • yorkie2
    • By yorkie2 8th Dec 16, 10:36 PM
    • 1,338 Posts
    • 524 Thanks
    yorkie2
    • #5
    • 8th Dec 16, 10:36 PM
    • #5
    • 8th Dec 16, 10:36 PM
    The public restriction text ends the barred period at 1859, but the electronic data ends it at 1900.

    For the sake of £5.90 I would have simply boarded the 1900 regardless.

    In the unlikely event that an excess fare of £5.90 was charged, I would appeal it, and put in a complaint to London Travelwatch. I would also inform the regulator (Office of Rail & Road) that a consumer law breach has occurred and insist they investigate. I would also inform the Department of Transport that a franchise breach has occurred.

    You can do those things now, but as you were not actually charged, it is harder to demonstrate any actual loss.

    I know someone at SWT who would have been encouraged to give you a positive outcome, too...
    • iggy12a
    • By iggy12a 13th Feb 17, 9:07 PM
    • 22 Posts
    • 13 Thanks
    iggy12a
    • #6
    • 13th Feb 17, 9:07 PM
    • #6
    • 13th Feb 17, 9:07 PM
    Just an update that I have received the following reply form SWTrains, some 2 months (so much for a 20 working day response) after my query was logged:

    "I am sorry for the confusion over the terms and conditions of the Super Offpeak ticket, which can change according to the journey involved. The advice given is to check the journey concerned on any of the available journey planners for further clarification. However, I can confirm that the ticket is not valid on any trains which leave London Waterloo from 1500 to 1900, which means it cannot be used on any train leaving at 1900."

    There is absolutely no attempt to justify this against the timings given against the fare restriction.

    I will raise a complaint with London Travelwatch.
    • yorkie2
    • By yorkie2 14th Feb 17, 9:15 PM
    • 1,338 Posts
    • 524 Thanks
    yorkie2
    • #7
    • 14th Feb 17, 9:15 PM
    • #7
    • 14th Feb 17, 9:15 PM
    Let us know how you get on.

    You can also escalate the matter to the ORR.
    • iggy12a
    • By iggy12a 8th Mar 17, 9:39 AM
    • 22 Posts
    • 13 Thanks
    iggy12a
    • #8
    • 8th Mar 17, 9:39 AM
    • #8
    • 8th Mar 17, 9:39 AM
    Update:
    SWTrains finally admitted that the wording on www.nre.co.uk/BE is wrong and will seek to have it amended as soon as possible. However in the meantime, they still say that because the Journey Planner has been set (the way they want it), then travel is still not allowed on the 19:00 departure.
    I complained to London Travelwatch who whilst agreeing the wording was sloppy, sided with SWT in that the Journey Planner is the definitive tool to use to decide on which trains a ticket is valid.
    The ORR said that they had no powers in respect of the TOCs fare policies and referred me to the DfT, so I have today made my complaint to the DfT.
    • martindow
    • By martindow 8th Mar 17, 11:01 AM
    • 7,085 Posts
    • 3,917 Thanks
    martindow
    • #9
    • 8th Mar 17, 11:01 AM
    • #9
    • 8th Mar 17, 11:01 AM
    Does it stop at Clapham Junction? If so and you got yourself there you could catch the same train without falling foul of the 19.00 cut-off.
    • wealdroam
    • By wealdroam 8th Mar 17, 11:21 AM
    • 18,640 Posts
    • 15,523 Thanks
    wealdroam
    Does it stop at Clapham Junction? If so and you got yourself there you could catch the same train without falling foul of the 19.00 cut-off.
    Originally posted by martindow
    I don't think so.

    The text quoted in the original post is "timed to depart London Terminals...".

    Wherever you join the train, it still departs London Terminals at the same time.

    And no, Clapham Junction isn't a London Terminal.
    • glider3560
    • By glider3560 9th Mar 17, 7:20 AM
    • 3,195 Posts
    • 1,931 Thanks
    glider3560
    I complained to London Travelwatch who whilst agreeing the wording was sloppy, sided with SWT in that the Journey Planner is the definitive tool to use to decide on which trains a ticket is valid.
    Originally posted by iggy12a
    The new style tickets specifically tell you to visit www.nationalrail.co.uk/BE on the front. There is nothing about the journey planner being the definitive tool.

    • yorkie2
    • By yorkie2 9th Mar 17, 9:19 PM
    • 1,338 Posts
    • 524 Thanks
    yorkie2
    Update:
    SWTrains finally admitted that the wording on www.nre.co.uk/BE is wrong and will seek to have it amended as soon as possible. However in the meantime, they still say that because the Journey Planner has been set (the way they want it), then travel is still not allowed on the 19:00 departure.
    Originally posted by iggy12a
    They are in breach of contract.

    Did you incur any losses? If so, file a claim with small claims court.
    I complained to London Travelwatch who whilst agreeing the wording was sloppy, sided with SWT in that the Journey Planner is the definitive tool to use to decide on which trains a ticket is valid.
    Originally posted by iggy12a
    Write to LTW's Chief Exec:

    The Chief Executive,
    Dexter House,
    2 Royal Mint Court
    London EC3 4QN.

    State you are making a formal complaint about the way your case has been handled and that the member of LTW staff who wrote back to you is incorrect; the contract refers you to the NRE website. Inform them that

    If LTW do not back down, complain to the Local Government Ombudsman, inform them you wish to make a complaint about the actions of LTW. They can be contacted on 0845 6021893 or online at www.lgo.org.uk



    The ORR said that they had no powers in respect of the TOCs fare policies and referred me to the DfT, so I have today made my complaint to the DfT.
    Originally posted by iggy12a
    Inform the ORR that you are reporting a consumer law breach, and remind them that they are a designated enforcer under Part 8 of the Enterprise Act 2002.

    As for the DfT, you can complain to them too. Inform them that a franchise breach has occurred, and you wish this to be investigated. This is because SWT are committed through their franchise agreement to honour fares as per the relevant conditions, and they are refusing to do so. Insist that a franchise breach notice is issued.

    Do not give up. Keep fighting this.

    I have some contacts (including at SWT); feel free to let me know any case reference numbers if you wish me to help you chase this up.
    • Ian011
    • By Ian011 10th Mar 17, 3:43 PM
    • 1,724 Posts
    • 965 Thanks
    Ian011
    If LTW do not back down, complain to the Local Government Ombudsman, inform them you wish to make a complaint about the actions of LTW. They can be contacted on 0845 6021893 or online at www.lgo.org.uk
    Originally posted by yorkie2
    LGO does not use premium rate 0845 numbers.

    The number changed to an inclusive 03 number several years ago. See official website for the new 0300 number.
    • iggy12a
    • By iggy12a 1st Jun 17, 4:23 PM
    • 22 Posts
    • 13 Thanks
    iggy12a
    Update
    The DfT have written to say that it is up to South West Trains to decide on which train a particular ticket is valid.

    So, I have followed Yorkie's suggestions:
    1) Contacted London Travelwatch to request a review of the way my case was handled
    2) Informed the ORR that I am reporting a consumer law breach, and they are the designated enforcer
    3) Informed the DfT that a franchise breach has occurred, and I wish this to be investigated.
    • Kite2010
    • By Kite2010 1st Jun 17, 10:05 PM
    • 4,108 Posts
    • 3,501 Thanks
    Kite2010
    Good news, SWT have requested the wording of the BE restriction to be "Not valid on trains timed to depart:
    London Terminals (except London Paddington, below) after 04:29 and before 11:00, and after 15:59 and before 19:02"
    • martindow
    • By martindow 2nd Jun 17, 11:08 AM
    • 7,085 Posts
    • 3,917 Thanks
    martindow
    Good news, SWT have requested the wording of the BE restriction to be "Not valid on trains timed to depart:
    London Terminals (except London Paddington, below) after 04:29 and before 11:00, and after 15:59 and before 19:02"
    Originally posted by Kite2010
    This is not good news is it? It means you definitely can't use your ticket on the 19.00 train.
    • redux
    • By redux 5th Jun 17, 12:56 AM
    • 16,879 Posts
    • 21,169 Thanks
    redux
    For their Promo Day Single, the off-peak band ex-London seems to start at about 2000
    • iggy12a
    • By iggy12a 9th Jun 17, 6:25 PM
    • 22 Posts
    • 13 Thanks
    iggy12a
    Update
    The DfT have written to say that it is up to South West Trains to decide on which train a particular ticket is valid.

    So, I have followed Yorkie's suggestions:
    1) Contacted London Travelwatch to request a review of the way my case was handled
    2) Informed the ORR that I am reporting a consumer law breach, and they are the designated enforcer
    3) Informed the DfT that a franchise breach has occurred, and I wish this to be investigated.
    Originally posted by iggy12a
    Reply from DfT:
    In regard to your point on the setting of the fare in question, SWT inform us they are currently amending the information you highlight to ensure wording reflects the intended
    instruction, before submitting the change to National Rail Enquiries. SWT explain this change should be visible on the system over the coming week and will make clear the restriction applies up to and including 19.00.

    I would like to assure you that this does not constitute a breach of the Franchise Agreement as the super off-peak fare is not one regulated by the government - restrictions for this fare are set at the discretion of the Train Operator
    • yorkie2
    • By yorkie2 13th Jun 17, 4:52 PM
    • 1,338 Posts
    • 524 Thanks
    yorkie2
    Were you charged an excess fare or denied travel?
    • iggy12a
    • By iggy12a 14th Jun 17, 10:45 PM
    • 22 Posts
    • 13 Thanks
    iggy12a
    Were you charged an excess fare or denied travel?
    Originally posted by yorkie2
    I have never actually attempted to travel on the 19:00, so consequently have never been charged an excess fare or denied travel. When queried over the phone, Customer Services have told me that I would not be allowed to travel on the 19:00 with a Super Off Peak ticket.

    I just want to get the matter clarified as I believe that SWTrains are completely in the wrong and that as things stand I should be able to travel on this train if I wanted.

    I asked London Travelwatch to look again at my complaint, as you suggested. An alternative advisor was assigned who asked for my email correspondence, and she is now proceeding with my complaint.

    Ultimately I think that SWTrains will just get the rule amended to legitimately deny travel on the 19:00.
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