Cross­Coun­try ticket ma­chine er­rors

Rail (UK) - - Barry Doe Britain’s Leading Fares And -

Quite a few read­ers have told me that when buy­ing an off-peak (OP) re­turn from a ticket ma­chine (TVM) for a jour­ney where Cross­Coun­try (XC) sets the fare, the screen says a break of the out­ward jour­ney is not per­mit­ted.

XC OP Re­turns all have ticket code 2V, which says, for Mon-Fri: “Not valid for trains sched­uled to depart af­ter 0429 and be­fore 0930 out­ward or re­turn”, and then specif­i­cally goes on to add: “Overnight Break of Jour­ney: restart­ing jour­ney from an in­ter­me­di­ate sta­tion on day two, the above re­stric­tions ap­ply.”

In other words, if you set out Mon­day and stop overnight some­where en route, when you recom­mence your jour­ney on Tues­day it must not be be­fore 0930. It would make no sense to add this de­tail if a break of jour­ney were not al­lowed in the first place!

One reader had made this point to XC’s Cus­tomer Re­la­tions depart­ment, but, sadly, as is so com­mon nowa­days, peo­ple in this role know lit­tle about fares and replied in­sist­ing the TVMs were right and break of out­ward jour­ney isn’t al­lowed.

Af­ter be­ing alerted I took this up with a con­tact at XC, who told me that, be­cause XC op­er­ates no sta­tions it­self, it has no TVMs, and has a lim­ited re­la­tion­ship with the sup­pli­ers to en­sure in­for­ma­tion is cor­rect across the board. It seems that, de­pend­ing on the spec­i­fi­ca­tion of the TVM, they use data from dif­fer­ent sources to present in­for­ma­tion. My con­tact asked for the fares data-feed to be checked to en­sure all walk-on ticket types used by XC are set ap­pro­pri­ately, with break of jour­ney en­abled for both the out­ward and re­turn por­tions, thereby re­mov­ing the er­ro­neous in­for­ma­tion.

He has since been as­sured this has now been done and it should now be the case that all TVMs should say the 2V re­stric­tion al­lows a break of jour­ney in ei­ther di­rec­tion. If read­ers do find any TVM where this is not the case, please let me know so I can pass this to XC for in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

It’s wor­ry­ing that, once again, we see Cus­tomer Ser­vices get­ting some­thing com­pletely wrong – and of course most trav­ellers don’t have ac­cess to any­one fur­ther up the chain.

I suf­fered in a sim­i­lar fash­ion re­cently. A few weeks ago, the 42nd edi­tion of my Na­tional Rail ‘Fran­chise’ map was pub­lished to re­flect the re­place­ment of Ar­riva Trains Wales by Trans­port for Wales (plus other mi­nor tweaks). As usual it may be down­loaded from the rail sec­tion of my web­site (­ry­ and printed, if re­quired, any size, with­out per­mis­sion, cour­tesy of its spon­sors.

In the key, I al­ways show an op­er­a­tor with its pre­cise own­ing-group de­tails, but be­cause the op­er­a­tor had not then been launched, I couldn’t find if the own­ers were Ke­o­lis Amey, Ke­olisAmey, Ke­o­lis Amey Op­er­a­tions or any other com­bi­na­tion. I did a search and found an email ad­dress for the Ke­o­lis Amey Com­mu­ni­ca­tions depart­ment and posed the ques­tion to them, say­ing I needed the de­tail within a few days.

I had an au­to­mated re­ceipt within the hour, but noth­ing more. I tried again. Ditto. So I gave up and went with Ke­o­lis Amey Op­er­a­tions Ltd, which ap­pears to be cor­rect. I can only as­sume its Com­mu­ni­ca­tions depart­ment didn’t know or care. They cer­tainly don’t com­mu­ni­cate! We can but hope its in­put into Trans­port for Wales is more ef­fi­cient.

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