Penalty Fares

New regulations come into force on 23 January 2023-- but I have seen no advance publicity at stations or on websites. We need a single user friendly document to cover everything in one place, so that forgetful pensioners like me, know what to do when they are confronted with a PF. I think it is time for a new MSE  review of the whole subject.
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Comments

  • baser999
    baser999 Posts: 1,134 Forumite
    First Post Name Dropper First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    Isn’t it more a case that everyone should have paid, or be carrying some form of old age or freedom pass when travelling? 
  • yorkie2
    yorkie2 Posts: 1,595 Forumite
    Name Dropper First Anniversary First Post
    baser999 said:
    Isn’t it more a case that everyone should have paid, or be carrying some form of old age or freedom pass when travelling? 

    Penalty fares have been issued for all sorts of dubious reasons, such as being on the wrong train on an otherwise perfectly valid ticket, boarding a train when no facility to purchase a ticket existed, and more.

    The rail industry needs to be brought to account and a big review is needed
  • There does need to be some better definition of "easements" to the rules when there is disruption, enabling use of other trains to minimize delay of getting to destination when there are severe delays or cancellations.  I.e. tickets can be used on other operators, by any reasonable route (i.e. different line with connections), and on any train for Advance if there is a severe delay to inbound service (cancellations already "unlock" the advance ticket to next available train, or in some cases, immediately prior).

    What is scandalous (and has been getting some press report recently) is the abuse of "P" code cancellations, i.e. if the service is cancelled up to 10pm night before for "emergency" reason (including shortage of staff, in their due to illness), then no delay repay is payable, but it isn't 100% clear if that also "unlocks" the ticket restrictions.

    NB:All the restrictions printed on tickets are fully explained on national rail: example website: https://www.nationalrail.co.uk/ticket_types/restrictions/2C  But the "codes" aren't always printed on "e-tickets" or via moble app ticketing (nor if loaded onto an operator ITSO electronic card).  There is a "text search" based lookup here: https://www.nationalrail.co.uk/times_fares/ticket_types/TicketAndValidityFinder.aspx

    The core problem of ticket complexity is the use of air travel "yield management" pricing concepts in a rail transport context, i.e. get as much money from the customer as they will pay (within some regulations set centrally).  And the use of such concepts is in turn  a result of trying to minimise the amount of subsidy the railways need, allowing for profitable routes subsidising the many unprofitable ones (a problem that has always existed with the railways, resulting in the Beeching cuts). 

    You can either have a heavily subsidised cost per mile pricing (with first come first served capacity limits on popular routes), and agree to pay something towards the convenience of high quality public transport through your taxes, or have lower taxes and higher/confusing fares.  Both are possible with directly operated or management contract operated railways (but only the latter is possible with the franchising process set up by Thatcher/Major, to run the railways at "arms length" to insulate government from unions and with minimised subsidy by putting the commercial and operational risks onto private companies.).

    Ultimately it is up to political parties to propose options, and people to vote on those options.
  • sevenhills
    sevenhills Posts: 5,871 Forumite
    First Anniversary Name Dropper First Post
    What some travelers don't understand is that some stations don't have ticket offices or even machines. But these days you can buy a ticket on your smartphone. But not everyone has a smartphone and occasional users are used to buying a ticket from the guard. 
    The process has changed a lot in recent years 
  • yorkie2
    yorkie2 Posts: 1,595 Forumite
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    soolin said:
    I can’t quite see how the first example works, you either have a valid ticket for that train or you don’t.
    The contract clearly states that under certain circumstances the remedy for an invalid ticket would be an excess fare.

    soolin said:
    There isn’t anything dubious about it though, you need the correct ticket for the train otherwise you face a penalty fare. Likewise buying say an off peak cheap ticket and using it on a peak train would also be chargeable.
    It's a long established principle that a Penalty Fare is not chargeable when a ticket is invalid due to a route restriction or a published (time) restriction.
  • yorkie2
    yorkie2 Posts: 1,595 Forumite
    Name Dropper First Anniversary First Post
    There does need to be some better definition of "easements" to the rules when there is disruption, enabling use of other trains to minimize delay of getting to destination when there are severe delays or cancellations.  I.e. tickets can be used on other operators, by any reasonable route (i.e. different line with connections), and on any train for Advance if there is a severe delay to inbound service (cancellations already "unlock" the advance ticket to next available train, or in some cases, immediately prior).

    I agree; the industry does have a Passenger Information During Disruption (PIDD)  code of conduct which states exactly what you just said but the problem is that the TOCs pick and choose when to implement this; it only gets implemented when they decide they have no other choice.

    I believe the bar at which such principles apply should be a lot lower than is currently the case.


  • What some travelers don't understand is that some stations don't have ticket offices or even machines. But these days you can buy a ticket on your smartphone. But not everyone has a smartphone and occasional users are used to buying a ticket from the guard. 
    The process has changed a lot in recent years 
    The usual rule is if there isn't a machine at the station then you can buy your ticket on the train, but it will be at the "walk up" fare.  This could be "no machine" or "no working" machine, if the machine is not working I think there is a visible light the guard can see. If you have a camera phone take a picture as evidence in case you can't buy a ticket.  Permit to travel machines have been removed I think.  But generally should avoid buying tickets on the train.

    Many ways to buy at home with or without a computer.
  • Hi

    We, me and Mrs D have used a train in London about 20/25 times over 40 years and all of those trips bar two have been with another adult that knew how to use trains and then as kids got older, used train for a day trip to central London 40 odd years ago used to take the car on Sundays

    Anyway, about June time I had a hospital appt at a central London hospital; and the year before-ish we got those free travel cards from TFL.  Our children were advised re trip, catch train the bus get off at charing cross then bus - O Googledbus routes train routes, kids explained to us etc looked at exits - we got their ok.

    Rushing to get home it was a weekday about 5-30 hot day, we ended on f knows what platform, asked this clown station worker who was quite rude when I went to ask for info by responding to my "excuse me" and it responded by "what's up," and I found that very rude and no wonder some people get wound up - the idiot directed us on to the wrong train and we were on the wronf platform (from the station up the road from our home it was easy)

    I felt like going back the next day and dragging the clown to the station manager and first of all teaching the clown manners then
    have the ability to say "sorry I don't know."  

    So you can genuinely get mixed up  - though we had the TFL 60+ tickets until reading this thread not in a billion years was i aware re price differences between fast and slow trains.

    I started so I will finish
    : The same day on the way back looking at the massive boards re trains, we were quickly trying to work out our train a young chap walked in our direction had a white stick and stood close to us and few others as were standing away from the clowns ," please could someone get me help to board a train from the station staff" or close to that. I saw 2 station wworkers leaning on some side gates a man and a woman chatting I went to them and said "excuse me please" and the look both of them gave me was disgusting as though they had trodden in something. I'm not sure if its becuse I was not indigenous etc but if I was one of those that easily took offence I would have landed in a police cell. They reluctantly made their way to the chap that had the white stick and we moved on Sure, I can safely assume the majority are really helpful staff and we were damn unlucky to meet the very rude and incompetent staff member and the 2 that gave dirty look - but it was disgusting


    I'm not a public transport person and have thankfully have been able to take the car to work - but I see the OP's point and as older people, it for me does take longer to register stuff than we are not familiar with and easily make mistakes.

    Of course, you do get the cheats but you also get genuine mistakes.

    Many thanks


  • What some travelers don't understand is that some stations don't have ticket offices or even machines. But these days you can buy a ticket on your smartphone. But not everyone has a smartphone and occasional users are used to buying a ticket from the guard. 
    The process has changed a lot in recent years 
    Hi

    totally agree with you

    Please see above post and add to that. Me & Mrs Diy have a msart phone we share when out but number even have bought a ticket to park never mind a train ticket etc and as our smartphone is an old iphone it is packed.

    I've used the internet since 1994 and we were the fst in our family and firends for years and great with it. I've had two phones when working one was mine other works - but they were used to make and recive calls and rarely used.

    Not everyone is app happy or has the knowledge or aboilty to use online/smartphone ticket sytems.

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