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  • FIRST POST
    • Kiko4564
    • By Kiko4564 8th Jan 20, 9:32 PM
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    Kiko4564
    Authorised to overtravel by conductor
    • #1
    • 8th Jan 20, 9:32 PM
    Authorised to overtravel by conductor 8th Jan 20 at 9:32 PM
    I was once effectively authorised to overtravel on Greater Anglia by a conductor on a regional service, however the journey he verbally authorised took me onto DOO (Driver Only Operated) suburban services (still operated by GA) on the Great Eastern Mainline (GEML). Is he allowed to do that, and in such a situation what should I do if stopped by an RPO? Is it best to pay up (if offered the option), or say no and give my name and address, which will likely result in a penalty fare being issued.
Page 1
    • yorkie2
    • By yorkie2 8th Jan 20, 9:43 PM
    • 1,435 Posts
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    • #2
    • 8th Jan 20, 9:43 PM
    • #2
    • 8th Jan 20, 9:43 PM
    I was once effectively authorised to overtravel on Greater Anglia by a conductor on a regional service, however the journey he verbally authorised took me onto DOO (Driver Only Operated) suburban services (still operated by GA) on the Great Eastern Mainline (GEML). Is he allowed to do that, and in such a situation what should I do if stopped by an RPO? Is it best to pay up (if offered the option), or say no and give my name and address, which will likely result in a penalty fare being issued.
    Originally posted by Kiko4564
    If you are given authorisation to travel, then you have authority to travel.



    Evidencing it may be tricky if you are not believed.


    I was aware of an incident recently where a Northern Guard gave customers on a cancelled train verbal authority to travel on TPE; the TPE guard chose to abuse the first passenger they encountered and ejected the passenger from the train. TPE initially denied any liability, but eventually admitted liability, though a final settlement has not been reached. The case has cost all parties concerned far more than the rail fare in time to deal with the case. As the rail unions are very strong, I do not expect the Guard concerned to face a disciplinary hearing, as would occur in any other industry.


    Unfortunately if you travel on a verbal authority without anything in writing, there is always a risk - albeit a very small one - that you will not be believed. It makes no difference if the person who potentially refuses to believe you is a Guard or a revenue protection officer or indeed in any other role; if they do not believe you then they could unlawfully do all sorts of things that they shouldn't do.



    I fail to see how the operation of the train makes any difference; in my experience I rarely get my ticket checked on trains that have Guards on TransPennine Express, yet the driver operated trains in the Glasgow area see the most frequent on-board ticket checks I have experienced anywhere.


    I've become aware of dozens of disputes on the railways, both in a professional capacity and also from posts on a forum dedicated to railway ticketing matters. I do not particularly like to discuss 'hypothetical' disputes though; I spend enough time as it is dealing with real cases that have actually happened
    • Kiko4564
    • By Kiko4564 8th Jan 20, 10:00 PM
    • 137 Posts
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    Kiko4564
    • #3
    • 8th Jan 20, 10:00 PM
    • #3
    • 8th Jan 20, 10:00 PM
    OK then, I will clarify that this is a real scenario that happened to me. The reason it will make a difference is that a DOO service will not necessarily have a conductor onboard. Therefore any attempt to justify my actions if caught without a ticket on a DOO service, by explaining that the conductor allowed me to travel will look less credible if I get stopped by a revenue protection officer (RPO). What happened was that I got on a train to Norwich at Wymondham, and asked the conductor, Fred, for an Ely to Chelmsford return ticket (valid both via Ipswich, and via Cambridge), but was instead sold a Norwich to Chelmsford return ticket. I queried this issue with him, but Fred responded that this ticket would be valid via any permitted route, and that in any event he told me that he was authorising me to travel on exactly the same routes that an Ely to Chelmsford ticket would be valid on, but that I could travel as far as Norwich, as that was where the return portion of my ticket was valid until.

    So I travelled to Chelmsford, with that being my intended destination. I got off there, enjoyed a few hours there intending to meet a friend who lives there. However he never turned up or answered his phone, so I decided to travel home with the intentions of breaking my journey in Central London. So I boarded the next train to London, but decided last minute to break my journey in Stratford, so I got off there. After a brief break of journey, I decided to board the next train to London there. I subsquently arrived at London Liverpool Street, got off the train, and then attempted to use my ticket in the gateline, which triggered a message telling me to seek assistance.

    So I did exactly that, spoke to the gateline operator, and handed him my ticket, which he took out of my hand. His reaction was to call the "governor" (a Greater Anglia RPO (Revenue Protection Officer) in high vis) over, and then pass my ticket to him. I explained that the conductor on the train to Norwich had authorised me to travel free of charge, which was to no avail as he did not believe me. He asked me to go and approach him, and explained that he would speak to me once he had finished dealing with another passenger. The "governor" (Greater Anglia RPO) explained that what I had done had now made my liable for a Penalty Fare, I reacted rather anxiously because I thought that they would at least attempt to check out my story first. I was subsquently sold an excess to London Terminals instead of being issued with a Penalty Fare, I was then allowed through the gateline by the gateline operator. Am I right in saying that they should have contacted Norwich station and asked them to contact Fred before proceeding?
    • yorkie2
    • By yorkie2 9th Jan 20, 8:40 PM
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    • #4
    • 9th Jan 20, 8:40 PM
    • #4
    • 9th Jan 20, 8:40 PM
    OK then, I will clarify that this is a real scenario that happened to me. The reason it will make a difference is that a DOO service will not necessarily have a conductor onboard.
    Originally posted by Kiko4564
    If there is no-one on board checking tickets, there is no problem!

    If there is someone checking tickets who is not prepared to accept a verbal authority to travel by a previous person encountered in the journey, then that is a potential problem regardless of their job title.

    Therefore any attempt to justify my actions if caught without a ticket on a DOO service, by explaining that the conductor allowed me to travel will look less credible if I get stopped by a revenue protection officer (RPO).
    Originally posted by Kiko4564
    Why does it make a difference what job title they have? This makes no sense.

    What happened was that I got on a train to Norwich at Wymondham, and asked the conductor, Fred, for an Ely to Chelmsford return ticket (valid both via Ipswich, and via Cambridge), but was instead sold a Norwich to Chelmsford return ticket. I queried this issue with him, but Fred responded that this ticket would be valid via any permitted route, and that in any event he told me that he was authorising me to travel on exactly the same routes that an Ely to Chelmsford ticket would be valid on, but that I could travel as far as Norwich, as that was where the return portion of my ticket was valid until.

    So I travelled to Chelmsford, with that being my intended destination. I got off there, enjoyed a few hours there intending to meet a friend who lives there. However he never turned up or answered his phone, so I decided to travel home with the intentions of breaking my journey in Central London. So I boarded the next train to London, but decided last minute to break my journey in Stratford, so I got off there. After a brief break of journey, I decided to board the next train to London there. I subsquently arrived at London Liverpool Street, got off the train, and then attempted to use my ticket in the gateline, which triggered a message telling me to seek assistance.

    So I did exactly that, spoke to the gateline operator, and handed him my ticket, which he took out of my hand. His reaction was to call the "governor" (a Greater Anglia RPO (Revenue Protection Officer) in high vis) over, and then pass my ticket to him. I explained that the conductor on the train to Norwich had authorised me to travel free of charge, which was to no avail as he did not believe me.





    He asked me to go and approach him, and explained that he would speak to me once he had finished dealing with another passenger. The "governor" (Greater Anglia RPO) explained that what I had done had now made my liable for a Penalty Fare, I reacted rather anxiously because I thought that they would at least attempt to check out my story first. I was subsquently sold an excess to London Terminals instead of being issued with a Penalty Fare, I was then allowed through the gateline by the gateline operator. Am I right in saying that they should have contacted Norwich station and asked them to contact Fred before proceeding?
    Originally posted by Kiko4564
    It does sound somewhat implausible, I must admit. I suggest you seek legal advice from a solicitor if you wish to obtain advice on the legal position of any future occurrence.
    • Kiko4564
    • By Kiko4564 11th Jan 20, 6:41 PM
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    • #5
    • 11th Jan 20, 6:41 PM
    • #5
    • 11th Jan 20, 6:41 PM
    Because I can't say that a conductor authorised it on a DOO train, if there is no conductor there.
    • 55013
    • By 55013 11th Jan 20, 7:10 PM
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    55013
    • #6
    • 11th Jan 20, 7:10 PM
    • #6
    • 11th Jan 20, 7:10 PM
    How would an Ely to Chelmsford ticket of either routing be valid at Norwich?
    • giraffe69
    • By giraffe69 12th Jan 20, 11:58 AM
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    • #7
    • 12th Jan 20, 11:58 AM
    • #7
    • 12th Jan 20, 11:58 AM
    I was once effectively authorised to overtravel on Greater Anglia
    I've no idea what that means. If, for some reason, you are allowed to g further than you have paid for, then it seems to me that if challenged you would need to provide some evidence or everyone could claim the same. The idea that a person should stop everything they are doing, phone a station and ask to speak to "Fred" is risible.
    You seem to have quite a lot of problems with buying the appropriate ticket for the journey you take. It isn't rocket science to do so.
    Last edited by giraffe69; 13-01-2020 at 11:57 AM.
    • Kiko4564
    • By Kiko4564 14th Jan 20, 8:55 PM
    • 137 Posts
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    Kiko4564
    • #8
    • 14th Jan 20, 8:55 PM
    • #8
    • 14th Jan 20, 8:55 PM
    But this is not relevant on this occasion given that I purchased my tickets from the conductor called Fred, not from a machine.

    In any event, that is a fair point. For future reference what should I do then? I take it that I'm expected to buy another ticket, or pay an excess fare before boarding, and then claim a partial refund if that resulted from the initial ticket being missold?
    • yorkie2
    • By yorkie2 15th Jan 20, 7:10 PM
    • 1,435 Posts
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    • #9
    • 15th Jan 20, 7:10 PM
    • #9
    • 15th Jan 20, 7:10 PM
    Because I can't say that a conductor authorised it on a DOO train, if there is no conductor there.
    Originally posted by Kiko4564
    I can only repeat that I do not see how the method of operation of the train is relevant


    Note that many trains are not driver only operated and do not have a conductor able to issue/check tickets (e.g. SWR inner suburban trains, etc...)



    Conversely, many trains are driver only operated and do have a member of staff who sells tickets who could reasonably be described as a "conductor" (e.g. GTR Southern, GTR Gatwick Express, Southeastern High Speed, Scotrail suburban services in the Glasgow area, etc....)


    The job title on the railways is rarely "conductor" though; non-DOO trains have a Guard, whose job may or may not involve the checking and issuing of tickets (non-commercial Guards have nothing to do with tickets!) while DOO trains may have a Travelling Ticket Examiner/Inspector (TTE/TTI), On Board Manager/Supervisor (OBM/OBS), etc.



    I am not sure if you read my posts above; I can only repeat that the method of operation of the train is irrelevant.


    If you are given authorisation to travel, then you have authority to travel. However, where this is made verbally and is not written down anywhere, evidencing this to other staff may be tricky, if you are not believed.
    • Kiko4564
    • By Kiko4564 15th Jan 20, 7:43 PM
    • 137 Posts
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    Kiko4564
    Fair point, I take that back then. Never mind.
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