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Author Topic: Booked seat v seat needed for priority passenger - which takes precedent?  (Read 2161 times)
grahame
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« on: October 22, 2022, 02:51:38 pm »

You (a fit person) book and reserve a seat ... but it turns out to be a "priority" seat for those less able, and someone needs it.  Where does the priority lie, morally and by legal / bylaw rights?

From Somerset Live - quite why they have picked up a London to Aberdeen story I don't know!

Quote
A train passenger has defended her decision to refuse to move from a priority seat for an elderly woman, as she insisted she had booked the seat in advance and didn't think she should have to give it up.

The woman said she was travelling from London to Aberdeen by train and decided to treat herself to a first class ticket so she could book an individual seat and work in peace without being disturbed by any other passengers. When she boarded the train, she discovered the seat she had been allocated was a first class carriage priority seat, usually reserved for people with mobility issues.

But problems began when a woman aged around 60 got on board and demanded she give up the seat for her.
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Ralph Ayres
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« Reply #1 on: October 22, 2022, 08:28:18 pm »

  • Person who made sure to book expensive seat gets to use it
  • Person who didn't reserve despite knowing she couldn't stand and was presumably just relying on all the seats not being taken by others in equal need (or maybe it was a last-minute thing?) does get found a seat elsewhere albeit not quite so luxurious and can claim a partial refund for being downgraded
All seems reasonable in the circumstances both morally and in terms of the Conditions of Carriage.  I do hope it is followed up by whoever sold the seat reservation (it may not have been LNER» (London North Eastern Railway - about) themselves) sorting out their booking software.

...and I'm 61 but wouldn't call myself elderly, though at least that's better than the hideous "Senior" euphemism!
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infoman
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« Reply #2 on: October 23, 2022, 08:23:06 am »

This is why I don't like cross countrys system of being able to buy an on the spot ticket with a reservation.

So another traveller who is on the train enjoying an unreseved seat on the journey from  London to Glasgow.

is supposed to leave the seat because another traveller has just bought a ticket(with reservation)at Crewe for a journey to Glasgow
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Ralph Ayres
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« Reply #3 on: October 23, 2022, 09:45:25 pm »

another traveller who is on the train enjoying an unreserved seat on the journey from London to Glasgow is supposed to leave the seat because another traveller has just bought a ticket (with reservation) at Crewe for a journey to Glasgow

Agree wholeheartedly, particularly as it will be a complete lottery as to which passenger gets de-seated. You can never completely relax on a train with instant reservations even once you get a seat; I came across it in Germany with a dot matrix display above the only free seat which I eventually worked out was telling me it might get reserved and spent the whole journey on edge.  A system that detected seat occupancy and only offered currently empty seats wouldn't be so bad, though it might encourage putting luggage on seats even more than happens already.  Failing that, is the trick perhaps to reserve it yourself once sat down if the system lets you?
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TonyK
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« Reply #4 on: October 25, 2022, 08:26:28 pm »

You (a fit person) book and reserve a seat ... but it turns out to be a "priority" seat for those less able, and someone needs it.  Where does the priority lie, morally and by legal / bylaw rights?



I have the advantage of not being a fit person, though not obviously so when I am seated and reading the paper. I am also occasionally chivalrous, and would happily offer my seat to a lady or other person as fit or less as me if I was getting off at the next station, but not if, as has happened, we have just pulled out of Penzance full and standing on the way to Bristol. On the other hand, if surrender of my paid-for reserved seat was demanded as opposed to requested, I would probably say words I might regret later, on the lines of "Go away, you fish-faced old bat, and reserve a seat next time like I did, and I have issues too, which aren't immediately obvious but may become so in the near future if you are still here. Was there anything else I can help you with?"
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Bmblbzzz
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« Reply #5 on: October 26, 2022, 02:54:45 pm »

Legally, it would I suppose be contract law, and your contract is with the TOC (Train Operating Company); or is it with whoever sold you the ticket? Certainly you don't have a contract with another passenger.

Morally, it's hard to say except that I'm inclined to agree with infoman and Ralph Ayres that the system is morally dubious itself.

As it happens, I had a similar situation yesterday travelling with a disabled friend on a Cross Country service from Leeds to Bristol. We had not reserved seats, because we ended up travelling on a later service than originally intended (open off-peak tickets so that wasn't a problem in itself). This friend prefers to sit opposite anyone she travels with, as it's easier for lip reading; she also has a mobility disability which is probably more relevant to seat requirements. So we ended up sitting at a table in two window seats, with the aisle seats also occupied. At Cheltenham a man got on and said that my friend was sitting in his reserved seat. I'm not sure at what point it had been reserved; when we boarded at Leeds one window seat was reserved and occupied to Sheffield, where we shifted over from aisle to window, with the other seats free. Fortunately, there was another seat free on the other side of the aisle, and he sat there, as it would in fact have been quite a disruption for the aisle seat people to move, us to get up, and him to then sit down.

As an aside to this, are reservations available for un-ticketed passengers? The woman in the reserved window seat when we boarded (not necessarily the person who had made the reservation, of course) was travelling with a four-year old, too young to need a ticket. But the train was not too heavily loaded at that point so no child-moving was required.
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Bob_Blakey
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« Reply #6 on: October 26, 2022, 07:23:13 pm »

If the Plan for Rail, or whatever it is called, is ever implemented this an aspect of rail travel which needs to be properly sorted out as part of that process:

Standardise the on-train Priority Seat signage; currently each TOC (Train Operating Company) seems to be delivering a different message to passengers concerning what can be expected.
Change all booking systems to make the reservation of Priority Seats impossible.
Change all booking systems so that seat reservations are disabled at the scheduled departure time of each relevant service from its originating station.
Ensure that all TOC's, or their successors, provide a public online booking app which permits seat selection (if LNER» (London North Eastern Railway - about) can do this so can all the others!).
Make it entirely clear to passengers that they can only occupy a reservable seat if they have the appropriate reservation confirmation or if the seat is obviously not taken after starting station departure.
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IndustryInsider
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« Reply #7 on: October 26, 2022, 07:27:41 pm »

If the Plan for Rail, or whatever it is called, is ever implemented this an aspect of rail travel which needs to be properly sorted out as part of that process:

Standardise the on-train Priority Seat signage; currently each TOC (Train Operating Company) seems to be delivering a different message to passengers concerning what can be expected.
Change all booking systems to make the reservation of Priority Seats impossible.
Change all booking systems so that seat reservations are disabled at the scheduled departure time of each relevant service from its originating station.
Ensure that all TOC's, or their successors, provide a public online booking app which permits seat selection (if LNER» (London North Eastern Railway - about) can do this so can all the others!).
Make it entirely clear to passengers that they can only occupy a reservable seat if they have the appropriate reservation confirmation or if the seat is obviously not taken after starting station departure.

Agreed, though you want to make the reservation of priority seats possible (or some of them at least) for those that need them.
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Bmblbzzz
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« Reply #8 on: October 27, 2022, 12:48:10 pm »

I think it would be sensible to leave some priority seats unbookable, as some of the people who need them can also tend to be less likely to reserve seats, for various reasons. In fact thinking about it a bit more, I'm not sure of the sense in having priority seats which are bookable; if a passenger entitled to a priority seat makes a reservation, they can reserve any reservable seat, but if they haven't made a reservation, then having those seats available will be handy. Of course there then needs to be some way of checking who's entitled to such a seat, and that could get tricky.
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« Reply #9 on: October 27, 2022, 02:01:27 pm »

I guess you could design the reservation system in such a way that holders of Senior and Disabled railcards are given the option of selecting a priority seat for reservation.  I guess that would cater for the large majority of passengers who require a priority seat and allow them the peace of mind of knowing they have got a reservation?

Agree that not all priority seats should be reservable.  Fortunately most new and refurbished stock now has quite a lot of them.
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