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Author Topic: I don't think my sister's going to understand this ...  (Read 1179 times)
stuving
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« on: December 19, 2017, 08:19:54 pm »

I'm going to Ipswich on Friday, meeting my sister at Reading at 8:00. She's got a quote from the ticket office, anytime return with senior card at 76.05. Obviously at that hour no off-peak ticket will work, but as Ipswich is outside the Network area at least the card does. So I checked on Journey Planner for tickets from Wokingham, and guess what? I can get an "any permitted" route off-peak return with senior card for 35. And it has no restrictions, inward or outward, on the Paddington leg. The same fare applies between Basingstoke and Felixstowe and a huge range of other stations too.

Start, break, or end of journey at intermediate stations are "generally allowed" (it says in NRCOT), so I can buy her one, with no problems, can't I? Though of course there is the Paddington gate line to worry about - plus this Friday ain't going to be good even if it's not particularly bad.

Those NRCOT words are strange, if you ask me. To remind you:
Quote
16.4 Generally, you may start, or break and resume, a journey (in either direction in the case of a return Ticket) at any intermediate station, as long as the Ticket you hold is valid for the trains you want to use. However, this may not be the case with some through services that take an indirect route. You may also end your journey (in either direction in the case of a return Ticket) before
the destination shown on the Ticket.

It goes on to talk about what happens if you start/stop/break your journey "where you are not entitled to", but there's no hint of where you should look to find that out. I believe most off-peak tickets are OK, but in this case it's restriction code 9A for which BRFares has no general conditions. The National rail site does say some off-peak tickets have such restrictions, and gives you a phone number to call. Its version of code 9A says nothing about this. So are there specific bans on starting "late", imposed for revenue protection, not included in published restriction codes?
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Brucey
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« Reply #1 on: December 20, 2017, 06:56:25 pm »

Break of journey is always allowed unless specified in the restrictions.  As you say, 9A does not have this restriction.  Annoyingly, the wording was made less clear in the new NRCoT (compared to NRCoC), but the same still applies.

I would suggest going armed with a copy of 9A (just in case) and hope that the ticket gets issued in a format on which the restriction code is printed.  I did (last week) hear one of those annoying "off peak tickets are not valid on this service"  at Reading, but hopefully the on-train staff will be more knowledgeable to the restrictions.  If you see any on-train staff, that is.  Made it from Ash to Redland (and back), total of 6 trains over a period of 3 hours each way, without seeing any on-board staff and with no-one checking my ticket at all.

It would appear, IMHO, that this ticket has been allocated the wrong restriction code.  But that's not your problem, it's Greater Anglia and GWR's issue.
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stuving
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« Reply #2 on: December 20, 2017, 08:17:13 pm »

On this occasion I did ask at Wokingham station, where the ticket seller started wuth "I don't think that can be right" but then tapped away at his keyboard for a bit before admitting it was. I even phoned National rail enquiries, who were less surprised but agreed. But in both cases when I asked "I know these peculiar cross-london off-peak tickets can be challenged at ticket barriers even if valid, especially at Paddington. Is there any information that I can print off that shown definitively it is OK used like that?" answer came there none.

I can support its validity at peak times via Paddington with the itinerary off Journey Planner, though that doesn't have all the details on one page. And, as Brucey says, I can print off the restriction code text - it would help if that was shown on by Journey Planner, wouldn't it? At least Wokingham's TVMs have been giving me tickets with the code on them.

It's not unusual for restrictions to seem ill-chosen for the flow, but this does seem a rather extreme case. The destinations are all in Suffolk, and it's priced by GA, so perhaps it's not so surprising that the specific easements all relate to that leg. But the origins are mostly SWR, with some SR and others round through Chiltern territory to around Milton Keynes - but no GWR stations. Yet the list of timed restrictions does not mention Waterloo (or any other Southern Region station) or Marylebone. And Paddington is a valid routing from quite a few of those (e.g. Basingstoke), and has no timed restriction either.

My sister was duly incredulous. I guess the real danger is two-edged; either a jobsworth at a gateline or avoiding that but only due to disruption making it irrelevant.
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Trowres
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« Reply #3 on: December 21, 2017, 12:09:56 am »

Virginia Water to Ipswich also works; fare 32.10 with SC railcard.
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stuving
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« Reply #4 on: December 23, 2017, 04:58:21 pm »

I went back to Wokingham station to buy the tickets on Thursday, but of course fell foul of the requirement to produce both railcards. Given how many other ways of buying tickets don't ask that, it seems rather silly to keep the rule just at ticket offices.

This clerk actually said she didn't think the ticket was valid, but that was based on having recently seen some time restrictions on her screen that she knew were wrong. I'd already checked with two other authorities and then bought the tickets from a fourth - GWR. Their e-mailed itinerary was detailed enough to provide good evidence of what I had asked for, missing only two important bits of information: the restriction code, and the number of passengers! The code is on the tickets, and the number of railcards is printed as a proxy for passengers. But why does it not say (as the collection TVM did on its screen) "Passengers: two adults"?

Since we faced going through barriers at Reading and Paddington (twice each) in the peaks with valid tickets labelled "Off-peak", we ducked the first one at Reading. My sister would get a platform ticket (i.e. single to Earley or Reading West), to meet inside the station. Coming in through the barrier with a ticket and not using it to travel could reasonably be called suspicious, but if you have a valid ticket I can't see that it's dishonest. Doing that with a return ticket so as to exit with a ticket you didn't use to arrive would perhaps have been more misleading.
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grahame
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« Reply #5 on: December 23, 2017, 06:15:50 pm »

I went back to Wokingham station to buy the tickets on Thursday, but of course fell foul of the requirement to produce both railcards. Given how many other ways of buying tickets don't ask that, it seems rather silly to keep the rule just at ticket offices.

I can imagine a scenario where I want to travel from Chippenham to Swindon and back in the morning, attend a meeting at the offices at Monkton Park at lunchtime, and travel back up to and back from Swindon again in the afternoon.   Surely I could legitimately buy two return tickets to Swindon and produce only one railcard?
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stuving
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« Reply #6 on: December 23, 2017, 07:05:12 pm »

Despite my various forebodings, we had a trouble-free trip yesterday. So I am unable to say anything about the potential for this ticket to give problems, as there was almost no opportunity for it to be realised. The only GWR barrier our ticket encountered was on returning to Reading, which duly declined it. However, the attendant attendant nodded it through; in truth he didn't really look. All the LT and GA barriers sesamed except outward from LST (our 9:30 train was the very first OK for all off-peak tickets). We only had one on-board ticket check, on one of the nearly-empty (and off-peak) GA trains.

For a start, not many people actually went to work - perhaps half the usual number. So it was easy to get a pair of seats on all the trains, even the Circle Line (after Baker Street). Coming back the same was true, and a couple even got up to offer us seats (though again there were enough free, this time from Kings Cross). My sister was of course aggrieved to be thought that old, and I was a bit miffed too, but happy to sit down. 

The key factor was that by chance we arrived in platform 1 at Paddington, and the next but one departure when we got back there (the obvious one to go for) was also in P1. So I can't say how full the 17:03 to Penzance (booked for P1) was; the 17:06 HST to Newbury even had a few seats free when it left (and loads 5 minutes earlier).

In fact, he only hold-up was being driven to the station from the east side of Ipswich - some fool left this river in the way ...
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