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Author Topic: 'We're not moving' - when reserving a train seat goes wrong  (Read 3383 times)
grahame
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« on: October 27, 2019, 08:18:17 pm »

From The Metro

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An elderly couple refused to budge from seats a pregnant woman and her family had reserved, it is claimed.

Amanda Mancino-Williams posted a photo online after she said she asked them to move from the table seats she had booked. The 37-year-old said she had reserved the four seats on the Cheltenham to Nottingham route. She claims the couple told her seat reservations ‘didn’t matter’. Amanda said the couple were also aware she was six and a half months pregnant. Her three children had to squeeze into two seats opposite the couple on the CrossCountry train.

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Chris from Nailsea
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« Reply #1 on: October 28, 2019, 12:24:39 am »

Unfortunately, the selfish couple apparently chose to fuzz their faces:



Where was the train manager?  Roll Eyes

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Western Pathfinder
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« Reply #2 on: October 28, 2019, 12:48:14 am »

What I read from the woman concerned on Twitter ,is that the Train Manager rather than have an discussion with the people who had occupied her seats,moved mother and all three children to first class by way of a upgrade.
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grahame
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« Reply #3 on: October 28, 2019, 03:06:31 am »

What I read from the woman concerned on Twitter ,is that the Train Manager rather than have an discussion with the people who had occupied her seats,moved mother and all three children to first class by way of a upgrade.

Several sources suggest that happened - and that's a good pragmatic move for the train manager to Mae in such circumstances - I have read of similar being done before on an airline flight when someone said "I should not have to sit next to this person" and the reply was along the lines of "this person should not have to sit next to you" and upgraded the person being complained about.

Problem with this solution - it does not censure the people who have occupied the seats when they should not have.  We don't know how it was done, but one wonders / perhaps hopes it was done in a suitable way to embarrass them into realising that they done bad.  But then perhaps they had no sense of right and wrong - sad lesson that there are some nasty old people around, just as there are some nasty people in just about any demographic;  it just tends to be in some demographics they're not talked about and in other demographics they come to be used to categorise the whole demographic.  Straying off topic there.

Almost every story has 2 sides.  Passengers have 10 minutes to claim their reserved seats from departure of the train from the start point of the reservation.  If the mum and 3 kids were late taking their seats, it's possible that the couple already occupying two of them were actually correct if they said they had lapsed / did not apply. I doubt that was the case, but stranger things have happened.
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Robin Summerhill
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« Reply #4 on: October 28, 2019, 04:23:44 pm »

Quote from: grahame
Almost every story has 2 sides.

Most stories have three sides. What each warring party in the argument has to say, and what really happened... Wink
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MVR S&T
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« Reply #5 on: October 28, 2019, 09:48:49 pm »

One extra coach on every voyager(with ole pantograph) could have been paid for by central government with the B**** advertising budget...
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grahame
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« Reply #6 on: October 29, 2019, 07:55:52 am »

Now made the BBC - https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-50187528 - and a discussion of how many problems the current system has, moving on from the particular case to take a more general look.

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ChrisB
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« Reply #7 on: October 29, 2019, 10:09:19 am »

From the BBC website

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When pregnant Amanda Mancino-Williams boarded a train with her three children last week, she felt safe in the knowledge they had four seats booked.

It was the second leg of a six-hour journey, the first part of which had been spent standing.

"I thought 'thank God,'" she says. "I thought we would be able to sit."

But when Amanda and her family - with luggage for a week's holiday - clambered through the packed carriage, they soon saw their reserved seats were partly occupied by an older couple.

"There was another gentleman sitting at the table who realised it was our seats and got up very quickly, but I could see the woman sort of whisper to her husband when she realised we were on our way."
'We can sit anywhere'

"I said 'I think you're sitting in our seats,'" Amanda recalls. "She looked at me and said 'that's not how it works, we can sit anywhere we want.'

"I just thought 'oh, no, don't do this to me now.'"

Her children sat down, but she had to stand. Furious, she snapped a few photographs and posted them on Twitter.

"Had [the woman] been polite, I would have gone and found the guard to help find them seats," Amanda says. "But I can't be split up from my kids."

After a quick conversation with an apologetic, but seemingly powerless, CrossCountry train conductor, Amanda and her children were upgraded to first class.

A victory of sorts, perhaps.

Yet her predicament reveals the hollow promise of advance train reservations: they are enshrined in law, and the rail industry says they are the only way to guarantee a seat.

But in practice train companies say that, when faced with peaceful protest from those unwilling to move, they often cannot enforce them.

Even the British Transport Police says it would only deploy officers to a reservation row "appropriately and proportionally" after a call from train staff.

It has left Amanda feeling as though the system risks "rewarding being a jerk".
So what's the point of reservations?

Advance seat reservations on trains have become more common in recent years as more passengers book online, according to railways journalist Andrew White.

"When you buy online, you are encouraged to have a reservation," he says. "The operators want you to buy in advance because they then know who is on their train.



That seems clear enough. But in practice, White says, conductors have an "unenviable job of trying to move somebody out of a seat if someone complains".

"What can one person do against another person who is intransient?" he asks, adding: "The options are limited."
'Common decency'

Industry body the Rail Delivery Group says advance seat reservations are the only way passengers can be sure they will get a seat.

"It's up to the train operator how they choose to enforce this," a spokesman explains. "They can demand the reserved seats are vacated or they can relocate those who reserved the seat to other seats on the train."
Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Train seat reservations are increasingly common as more people book trains online

The BBC approached all train operating companies in the mainland UK that allow seat reservations. Those that responded said their priority was to de-escalate any arguments.

Some like ScotRail and CrossCountry said staff always try to find an "amicable solution" that avoids confrontation.

Others like Great Western Railway said they expect customers "to show due consideration to their fellow passengers".

First TransPennine Express went further and said staff hope "common decency prevails".

For Amanda, her tweets were not intended as an attack against the obstinate couple - "I'm sure they're lovely, they just made the wrong decision."

Instead, she says she wants to highlight "bad behaviour".

"I would always try to do what is fair," she adds. "You have nothing to lose by speaking out if you're in the right and call people out on their behaviour.

"Hopefully they will think about it next time."
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grahame
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« Reply #8 on: October 29, 2019, 10:15:40 am »

Thanks, ChrisB - see also http://www.passenger.chat/22368 where a thread about overcrowding on Cross Country has also picked up this story.  Perhaps time to do a bit of merging, splitting and retitling?
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bignosemac
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« Reply #9 on: October 29, 2019, 10:23:29 am »

This is not an issue unique to CrossCountry though so I don't think it should go into a thread about them.

Stubborn folk refusing to move from reserved seats could be on any train.
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grahame
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« Reply #10 on: October 29, 2019, 10:32:40 am »

This is not an issue unique to CrossCountry though so I don't think it should go into a thread about them.

Stubborn folk refusing to move from reserved seats could be on any train.

Probably a move & merge job!
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grahame
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« Reply #11 on: October 29, 2019, 10:43:31 am »

Thanks, ChrisB - see also http://www.passenger.chat/22368 where a thread about overcrowding on Cross Country has also picked up this story.  Perhaps time to do a bit of merging, splitting and retitling?

Now merged under your heading, and all moved to "Fare's Fair".  Although the biggest problem (from an unscientific personal view) is with Cross Country, and this story is Cross Country, I do agree that there is a commonality across all trains that offer seat reservations, thus the new home here for the thread.
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johnneyw
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« Reply #12 on: October 29, 2019, 11:10:32 am »

Network Rail's website says "Seat reservations are normally free of charge if made at the same time you buy your ticket" but are there any exceptions on any of the ticket issuing websites? If there are, then should these cases be treated differently?
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grahame
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« Reply #13 on: October 29, 2019, 11:42:57 am »

The news article highlights the desire of the train operators - and I'm sure of the vast majority of passengers - to have an amicable system that works for all, and under which situations that need de-escalating are minimised.  Sadly (my view) the system that Cross Country use together with the metrics of their operation provide a system which really doesn't work for all and indeed seems almost set up to make for awkward situations; there's a limit to how understanding people will be, even assuming they know about reservations enough to understand in the first place.

Scenario - Bristol to Birmingham, Friday evening.  Connection at Trowbridge missed by a few seconds and following train was late - result, a need to hare across Temple Meads as a Cross Country pulled in, without time to try for any form of last minute reservation. Virtually every seat in my carriage (on a 4 car voyager) reserved ... large numbers of people getting on and few looking for specific seats;  train announcements asking us to move down so everyone could get on and we could get going.

OK - my personal gamble failed and I was asked to vacate my seat (I did) ... but people being asked to move were few and far between.  I don't think many were in the right seats ... I don't know how many people didn't even ask for the seats they had booked, but I suspect that there was no-one there to take up the majority of the reservations.  For sure, people getting up and sitting down at Bristol Parkway and at Cheltenham Spa were not leaving or taking up seats marked as being to or from those stations.

So - system with significant flaws. How to improve it?
* More capacity on trains so that it's the exception and not the rule that people who want to sit down are left standing.
* Removal of encourgements when booking to reserve a seat on an open ticket when you don't really know what train you'll be catching.
* Perhaps "Standby" fares - a pound cheaper but no seat resevations and indeed if you're on one of these tickeks you need to understand you will only have a seat is there are seats to spare.

And, yes, the seat I had "squatted" at Temple Meads was taken by a fit-looking young lady where, these days, I'm really not of sufficient fitness to stand for long periods.  I have chosen to have a senior railcard rather than a disabled one ...
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« Reply #14 on: October 29, 2019, 01:26:25 pm »


"The operators want you to buy in advance because they then know who is on their train."

There is far more to this quoted extract above, to encouraging advance purchase  of tickets; not least because the TOC is getting income/FARES REVENUE  in advance and knowing that a significant and financially worthwhile number of passengers cancel or alter their 'Advance'  paid travel plans and do not bother to go through the processes to get a refund etc.
This is the main reason for so many 'reserved' seats not being occupied by the passenger for whom they were reserved, but instead by a passenger who has no seat reservation.

In days gone by ( pre Privatization) the information of large numbers of pre booked/ reserved seats would assist the Railway's Regional Operating Manager's  ' Reliefs and Strengthenings' staff to make decisions with regard to provision of extra coaches on scheduled trains or the running of 'Relief' trains, as likely traffic at peak times demanded.

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