Rail travellers losing out by wrong time on ticket machine

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From: Allan Ellis, Weir Lane, Weir, Bacup, Lancashire.

I WOULD like to inform you and your readers of overpriced rail tickets that have commuters paying £9.30 per day instead of £5.60 per day.

I travel from Todmorden to Leeds most days of the week. The off-peak price after 9.30am is meant to be £5.60, the peak-hour price is £9.30.

I was told to use the ticket machine on a number of occasions by various ticket conductors. I started using the automated system and was told that the fare the machine was charging should be at the lower rate as I was catching the 9.32am service into Leeds.

I then reverted to paying on the train and being charged only £5.60 and raised this through the customer service desk in Leeds and was not even offered compensation for the extra cost incurred.

The other day, I was told by the woman issuing tickets on the train that I ought to pay her the full price. I questioned this and stated that the automated service was not calibrated correctly. She replied that this was not her problem and that I could be prosecuted for not paying for a ticket prior to boarding a train.

She also informed me that she gets commission for each ticket sold by her. However she would allow me to pay the reduced fare as I said I did not have the funds for the full price.

The next morning, I took a photo of the automated ticket machine displaying destination and the peak-time tariff at 9.32am and 9.45am due to the train being 17 minutes late.

I explained this to the guard issuing tickets and showed him the photo on my mobile. He again said he had every right to charge me the full tariff as the train was 30 minutes late. He also said he would let me have the reduced fare this time.

I would like your readers to be made aware of this as they are being ripped off. There has been a 10 per cent rise in rail fares and you cannot even get on the train on a lot of occasions due to lack of carriages, let alone get a seat which is, after all, part of the price you are paying for.

It’s bad enough that there is no refund for late trains, and no seats on them, but this is the final straw.

You are entering a contract when purchasing a ticket. I wonder if I would get anywhere asking for an hourly rate of lost time at my usually salary? I know, due to incompetence, some customers will have been docked pay for arriving late through no fault of their own.

The conductor also informed me that they are currently prosecuting in excess of 250 people for not purchasing tickets prior to commencing their journey. She also compared this to buying a loaf of bread and leaving a supermarket without paying for it.