Keith, Graham and Iain

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Northern Rail hand out Gatley penalty fares

by Iain Roberts on 20 November, 2015

The Lib Dems have asked Northern Rail why Gatley station users are being given penalty fares when they’ve done nothing wrong.

Gatley station has no ticket machine and it’s always been the case that you can pay on the station (if the ticket office is open), on the train (if there’s a guard to sell you a ticket) or at your destination.

Recently, people have arrived at Piccadilly and been given big penalty fares on the grounds that the ticket office in Gatley has been open and they should have bought a ticket there.

The problem is that you can’t always buy a ticket even if the ticket office is open! Sometimes there’s no-one around and if your train is just pulling into the station you’re going to get on it.

“The answer is simple.” Keith said. “Northern Rail should install a ticket machine at Gatley so passengers can buy a ticket on the station whenever they travel. Handing out penalty fares at Piccadilly is just another way to rip off customers.”

   10 Comments

10 Responses

  1. phil says:

    I have, in the past,reported the ticketing problem many times to Northern Rail. The whole thing is a farce and i would suggest that anyone having problems quotes the regulations and takes a photo of the empty ticket office.
    Railway Byelaw 18(1) and (2) state that no person should enter a train without a ticket, however 18 (3)(i) states unless there were no facilities in working order for the issue or validation of any ticket at the time when, and the station where,he began his journey. i.e man not there!!

  2. Garry says:

    I had a run in with someone at Piccadilly recently. The ticket office at Gatley was open but as usual the member of staff wasn’t in sight. My train was pulling in and being on jury service I didn’t want to be late. No guard/train manager came along so I thought I’d get one at the gate. The person on the gate basically accused me of boarding before Gatley. Luckily a lady who got on at Gatley vouched for me. Thankfully I don’t have to make this journey often.

    • Chris says:

      I had similar issues when I was on jury service. I knew when I got to the station that the ticket office would be un-manned because I’d spotted the ticket seller ambling along the road a few minutes earlier, on his way to buy a newspaper.

      Jury service seems to be a recurring theme with these comments. It’s probably because most people drive rather than put up with Northern Rail’s customer disservice, unless they are forced by something like jury service into using the train!

      In addition, being in court means that it matters more if you are late (as if it’s ok to be late for work). Late or cancelled trains, absent ticket sellers and enthusiastic idiots trying to entrap people with fines (rather than catch real fare dodgers) just add unnecessarily to the grief of an already stressful duty.

      Presumably if you are a regular train user, you just become numb to all this and accept it as a normal state of affairs that you have to put up with…

  3. Alan Gent says:

    Typical of NR. I have been in ful
    Trains where the guard never emerges and a whole train load of people travel for free. Lack of investment in rolling stock, incompetent management, if ever a franchise needed removing it’s this one.

  4. Robert Cohen says:

    I use the Gatley station sporadically. I can’t remember to last time I saw the ticket office open, bu ive always been able to buy on the train. NR have no excuse for not installing machines!

    • Chris says:

      Off peak, I’ve always been able to buy a ticket on the train.

      However, when the credit card machine failed at Gatley, and there was a massive queue, I was faced with a choice of either boarding without a ticket, or having a ticket and missing the train / being late for jury service.

      That of course was one the time there was no ticket seller on the train and a big purge at Picadilli. Coincidence? No way!!! My explanation was accepted thankfully, so I wasn’t fined, but I’ll be on a database now, which I object to almost as strongly.

  5. Jane says:

    I can’t believe what I’m reading! No ticket machine at Gatley so they pay a man to do the job & he’s not there when you need him? Then the person travelling gets fined? Sounds nothing short of a scam. Unbelievable.

  6. Gill says:

    I had a similar issue about 2 months ago at Wilmslow station. I didn’t receive a penalty fare but was made to buy a single ticket and give my personal details which are now on record.

    It’s frankly ridiculous to be expected to add 15-20 mins to my journey to walk to the other platform to buy a ticket from the office for an hourly train service to Wilmslow, when the queue can be quite unpredictable. It’s the inconsistency of Northern Rail’s treatment that really annoys me. It’s perfectly fine to buy a ticket on the train or at the destination stop 90% of the time but not the other 10% when they place revenue inspectors on the station and enforce the bye law.

    I wrote a long letter of complaint to NR after being stopped and asked specifically whether they would expect a disabled person to have to go up and down all the ramps at Gatley station to buy a ticket to travel south but they gave me a stock response quoting the bye law I had broken with no mention how they would treat a disabled person.

    I am currently 34 weeks pregnant with very swollen feet and calves and am still intending to travel by train to work in Wilmslow for the next three weeks. I find it very stressful having to think ahead to try and buy tickets in advance as I want to avoid any further confrontation with the revenue inspectors, which may potentially raise my blood pressure and endanger the health of my baby.

    It seems ridiculous that NR would behave in a way that is alienating true fare paying passengers.

    • Trevor Gaunt says:

      The lack of reasonable facilities – the ramps are of no use to someone with breathing difficulties – for disabled passengers at Gatley – and many other railway stations – is a disgrace.
      I note that on the house building topic today, someone comments about forcing “lazy motorists to use public transport”. Well, lots of us would use public transport if it was good enough. Sadly, it’s appalling for the most part and is already short of capacity in the peak times, so could not cope with an influx of “lazy motorists”.

  7. Ian says:

    The whole ticket system for the rail network is in problems. Yesterday my wife and I returned from Euston to Stockport and nobody checked out tickets,upon arrival at Stockport the new gates were open,How many people had a free Journey??

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