Lewes Forum thread

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purchasing a ticket from the guard

On 23 Feb 2011 at 4:22pm jrsussex wrote:
You will recall the discussion on purchasing a train ticket from a guard of about a week ago, I contacted them to clarify the situation. I also mentioned that at Polegate station my wife had missed a train due to only one window being open in the ticket office with a very long queue forming. Below is their answer.
Dear Mr O??Riordan
Thank you for your email on the 17 February 2011 addressed to Mr Chris Burchell, Managing Director. Mr Burchell has read your comments and has asked that I respond on his behalf.
With all Train Operating Companies a ticket must be purchased before boarding a train when a working facility is in place. If the station does not have a ticket booth, ticket vending machine or a permit to travel machine, then we understand that our passengers have no other means of purchasing tickets.
If you are unable to produce a valid ticket in a Penalty Fare Zone, a Penalty Fare will be issued either on the service or the arrival station. I would like to send my sincerest apologies that you were given the wrong information by one of our staff members.
In regards to experiencing problems with buying tickets at Polegate Station I would like to further apologise. I wholly understand the frustration this may cause you. As an alternative to buying tickets at the station, they can be bought on our website up until the evening before which should help you to catch your correct service on time. We are aware of the problems and will be working on implementing a solution.
At Southern we value all customer feedback to help us improve our services. We strive to make every customers journey an easy and enjoyable one.
If you require any further information or have any queries or requests you wish to make please contact our customer services team on 08451 27 29 20, where we will be more than happy to assist and support in any way we can.
Yours sincerely

Rachel Phillips
Customer Service Manager
On 23 Feb 2011 at 5:28pm Rookie wrote:
I too complained to Mr Burchell after being totally ignored by the Customer (dis)Service people. I have had a reply and my grievance is "being analysed". So it seems contacting the top man directly is the only way to get any reply from these people.
On 23 Feb 2011 at 6:21pm Nosmo King wrote:
I'm not sure why they say tickets 'can be bought on our website up until the evening before ' - they can be bought online immediately before you travel.
On 23 Feb 2011 at 7:22pm jrsussex wrote:
"I would like to send my sincerest apologies that you were given the wrong information by one of our staff members" - That is due to a rail employee telling my wife and I that we could get on a train without a ticket (there was a longish queue) provided we went immediately to the guard and purchased our tickets, which we did and were not threatened with a penalty. The letter clearly indicates that we should have been give a penalty.
On 24 Feb 2011 at 7:59am Ticket Holder wrote:
The trouble is the Train Companies don't apply their own rules consistently. Some guards (or are they called conductors?) will sell you tickets, some won't. Some guards practively walk through the train checking tickets, others hide never to be seen.
There appears to be another breed of ticket enforcers sometimes wearing a Southern Uniform or Rail Neighbourhood Officer Uniform. These people take no prisoners and will not issue anything other than a penalty fare. On one occasion last year I witnessed a man board a train at London Road Brighton holding a £10 note in his hand. As soon as he saw a person in uniform he approached them and asked for a ticket. Problem is he approached one the enforcers and was charged a Penalty Fare. When he protested, the enforcer said "tough, if you wanted a ticket you should have gone to the Guard".
On 24 Feb 2011 at 12:25pm Salute wrote:
I love how the long-coat Southern Gestapo are now called "Fare Protection Enforcers" or something daft like that. What about the customers threatened with drunken violence by teenage oiks, where's their protection? Oh yes, sorry, money before people.
Lewes now employs a burly, rude fat man in the evenings by the side gate who doesn't wear a uniform but looks more like a fan on his way to a football match. He gets unacceptably confrontational if you walk past him, taking him for a member of public, which most people would since he's not visually obviously staff.
On 24 Feb 2011 at 6:25pm Rookie wrote:
I got my reply.from Southern. It turns out I was correct. Many apologies for everything, it was due to staff changes, technical issues blah blah blah etc etc. The best bit is that a new staff training scheme is in the pipeline and that is going to sort everything out.
Watch out!!! Low flying pig!!!!
On 24 Feb 2011 at 6:30pm Rookie wrote:
The blokes with the long black coats who look like they are hiding sawn off shotguns, and who randomly appear checking tickets are called Revenue Protection Officers. They will just issue penalty fares with no debate. They are best avoided at all costs if you haven't got a ticket legitimately or otherwise.

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