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Description

Chris Sharpe

Hello,

I'm writing to you and not Network Rail as they have told me that First Great Western manage the operations of ticket gates at Paddington.

Every time I try to put my ticket in the ticket barrier to exit at Paddington, the 'seek assistance' message is displayed and I need to join a queue to be let out.

I understand that occasionally barriers may malfunction or tickets may be damaged, but unfortunately the barriers have not worked on all of the previous ten or so journeys I have made, no matter how careful I have been not to damage the ticket, and it has become quite frustrating.

If the technology cannot be repaired so that there is a reasonable expectation of valid tickets opening the barriers, then please could I suggest you leave them open so as not to cause additional delays at the end of the journey?

Many thanks,

Chris

Problem History

  • 1 Chris Sharpe reported the issue on FixMyTransport. close 22:40 11 Oct 2011
  • 2 Chris Sharpe wrote to First Great Western Railway close 22:40 11 Oct 2011

    Here is the letter that Chris Sharpe wrote.

    Ticket barriers at Paddington

    Hello,

    I'm writing to you and not Network Rail as they have told me that First Great Western manage the operations of ticket gates at Paddington.

    Every time I try to put my ticket in the ticket barrier to exit at Paddington, the 'seek assistance' message is displayed and I need to join a queue to be let out.

    I understand that occasionally barriers may malfunction or tickets may be damaged, but unfortunately the barriers have not worked on all of the previous ten or so journeys I have made, no matter how careful I have been not to damage the ticket, and it has become quite frustrating.

    If the technology cannot be repaired so that there is a reasonable expectation of valid tickets opening the barriers, then please could I suggest you leave them open so as not to cause additional delays at the end of the journey?

    Many thanks,

    Chris

  • 3 First Group Response responded to Chris Sharpe close 22:42 11 Oct 2011
    Thank you for contacting First Great Western. We confirm receipt of your e-mail and aim to forward a full response within 5 working days. If you have a more urgent issue that needs resolving please telephone on 08457 000125 where we will try to give a faster resolution.

    Please note that you will not be able to reply direct to this email, however if you wish to contact us further by email then please use the address below.

    [email address]
  • 4 Myf Nixon commented close 10:25 12 Oct 2011

    Hi Chris,
    We've had a couple of problems like this reported. See http://www.fixmytransport.com/campaigns/issue-travelcards-from-st-albans-that-work-in-tube
    and
    http://www.fixmytransport.com/campaigns/remove-barriers-to-entry-at-st-pancras for example.

    The answer generally seems to be a faulty batch of tickets in one of the machines, and the only solution to wait until the batch is replaced. But let's see what FGW say.

    anorak
    admin
  • 5 Steve Cotton commented close 01:00 15 Oct 2011

    There's normally a number displayed as well as 'seek assistance'. The list of what the numbers mean is at:

    http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/passenger_oriented_display_error

  • 6 Myf Nixon commented close 11:37 17 Oct 2011

    Oh, that's really interesting, Steve!

    anorak
    admin
  • 7 Chris Sharpe commented close 20:59 17 Oct 2011

    Steve - many thanks for the info. Looks interesting - will see what it says when I get to Paddington tomorrow morning.

  • 8 Paul Hollinghurst commented close 12:02 19 Oct 2011

    Chris - did the barriers show a code which explained what the problem was when you tried yesterday?
    From experience barriers of often reject perfectly valid tickets. A couple of examples. Cambridge Station rejects all Off-Peak tickets in the morning peak, despite many being valid (e.g. longer distance journeys, or many routes to the North). Newcastle Station rejects tickets if you try to make a break of journey, despite this being valid.

    anorak
    admin
  • 9 Chris Sharpe commented close 14:51 19 Oct 2011

    Hi Paul,

    It did display a code but unfortunately I was in a rush and didn't make a note of it. I'll be going to London again on Monday and will check it then.

    Thanks for the suggestion - I normally use an off-peak ticket unless I need to be in London early so this may be the problem.

  • 10 Chris Sharpe commented close 17:26 31 Oct 2011

    When I used the train last Friday, the ticket didn't work as usual, and a '136' code appeared.

    Thanks to Steve Cotton for sharing the FOI information about the error codes. Assuming that the barriers at Paddington are the same type as those at Kings Cross, the '136' code means there was a 'TOC Ticket type direction of travel time restriction'.

    I can use off-peak tickets from my station (leaving at 0834), but I think if I was to get on the same train later eg. at Oxford at 0901ish, then an off-peak ticket wouldn't be valid. Perhaps the barrier is not programmed to deal with this sort of complexity and assumes my ticket is not valid?

    In the meantime I received a polite email from FGW explaining that occasionally a batch of tickets may not work and that I should make sure I keep the ticket away from other magnetic strips and mobile phones etc. I'll reply to him asking about the code and whether it's due to the different peak/off-peak designations.

  • 11 Myf Nixon commented close 17:29 31 Oct 2011

    Great - thanks for updating us, Chris. It's interesting!

    anorak
    admin
  • 12 Paul Hollinghurst commented close 11:30 04 Nov 2011

    Chris, You will be right that the barriers are not sophisticated enough to distinguish between different types of Off-Peak tickets. In fact the rules are so complex that such a check would need to be handled by something equivalent to a journey plan query on National Rail's website so at the moment I don't think this could be done quickly enough at a barrier, and in any case the barriers will not have been designed with this in mind.

    However, I have always felt that passengers should have access to a service which allows them to say 'I have this ticket, and am at this station - which trains can I use, and for the ones which I can't use then show me the rule stating this'.

    This service should be available on the National Rail website, and should also be used at the manual ticket gate where there is a bit more time to check tickets, and more importantly could be used to make sure the staff don't turn away perfectly valid tickets. I have had tickets rejected before, and then also incorrectly rejected by barrier staff.

    Unfortunately the Association of Train Operating Companies doesn’t see this as an issue as I have asked them. They are obsessed with the idea that everyone just types something into the journey planner and follows the plan perfectly. They have no concept that people may want to break their journey and check which trains then can use to resume the journey later.

    I recorded some ideas about this here.
    https://brokenrailfares.wordpress.com/2011/09/28/a-proposal-for-presenting-clear-fare-and-validity-information/
    …and an associated piece describing why the ‘journey planner’ approach can fail to easily identify fares between 2 places, so a ‘show me all the fares’ supported by a ‘which trains can I use this fare on’ would work better in some cases:
    http://brokenrailfares.wordpress.com/2011/09/27/national-rails-inadequate-information-about-fares-and-validities/
    Paul

    anorak
    admin
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  • started 11 October 2011
  • supporters 2
Train route between Charlbury and London Paddington operated by First Great Western Railway
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