This is awful

June 20, 2022, 6:02 pm
This is awful
This is awful. There are still loads of people who dont have smartphones or internet access - my dad didnt and couldnt have managed it. Are they supposed to just stop using the railways?

Superb answer

Yes, I agree. I support the strike.

If it saves 500 million, sure. Current system functions as a tax on those who book online.

My Mum always makes the trip down to the train station to book tickets as she cant manage online. I dont know how shell manage now

Smartphones aren`t easy to use, either. (Mine buries the phone information 85 pages into a 160-page manual. It is NOT in the "getting started" section.)

Or this "The way you access care [the] Surgeries is changing from Monday 13/6/22. We are introducing a new online triage system whereby all requests for care are best to go via our website". My independent ma is 97, doesn`t use a computer. Not great on the phone either.

Fair point. Probably need to have more simple permit to travel machines where the ticket can be sorted out on the train or at the other end.

Can u tell me of the figure of how many over 65s travel on trains and of those how many cant use a computer and of those how many wud travel on their own anyway and of those how many have actually used a ticket office as it wud give some clarity to the size of the issue u have

My dad started using computers 40 years ago: he stopped being able to use one c. 12 years ago, even though he was still living perfectly well independently. He still doesn`t need live-in help now, yet can`t reliably use any of the new hi-tech dementia phones: far too complicated

meaning folk will need not just internet access but a printer! Which a LOT of folk don`t have - I do, cos I`m a writer but most of my neighbours don`t.

This weekend I travelled to Oxfordshire on the train. I purchases tickets online, to be collected at my local station in SE London. A week before travel I lost my bankcard. Waiting for the replacement I went to the local station to collect tickets.....

My sister doesn`t.

You may underestimate your father. That`s why he should go his local library where they provide computers and, I have no doubt, they run courses on the subject. Probably being run by former railway ticket office staff.

Thank you, Frances - this is very kind of you

Really? How old is your father? He just enters his postcode and types "to Irkutsk via San Bernadino" or wherever and it gives you the answer!

Compassion is everything!

Actually Google maps is absolute belter for answering those questions. I had to go to Sudbury on Saturday and it came up with two bus routes which were as quick as the train and cost me nothing.

If they want to make that journey they can do it themselves at home or in the library!

Is that an unreasonable aim? To give best value to the travelling public?

Really? I always get irritated by the person in front of me in the queue who wants to research the options for getting a ticket to Irkutsk via San Bernadino going out next Sunday and returning via Smolensk the following Thursday? The machine is so much quicker.

Presumably that`s to please the environmentalist lobby?

Nor can the person in the ticket office in my experience

Buy it from the machines on the station.

machines are complex if you want more than a standard single/rtn for today and aren`t always working on esp rural stations. where my parents are there`s a guy there to whistle and wave a sign at trains, why can`t he sell tickets from a counter in between times, like now? insane.

You may sa-ay I`m a dreamer... Seriously though, nationalise all passenger railways and local bus services, and abolish fares Better for the environment, better for health, better for public safety.

yes that is probably true.

Every station has a ticket machine personally I have never come across one out of order etc so cant see wat the issue is

presumably there will be ticket machines?

Often find massive queues at the ticket machines, while queues to humans move faster. I always end up with a cheaper train ticket when I buy from a person instead of online too. Our reliance on machines is a dystopian nightmare waiting to happen!

If the past is a foreign country, the future will be completely alien to anyone of my generation.

It also makes no sense because it presumes the technology is infallible. Ive lost count of the times someone has failed a ticket inspection because printing machines at the station failed and other such things.

Are they also closing down ticket machines?

So right now its just here say

So, they should prob keep paper tickets of some kind so people can still print them / a QR code at the station.

Yet again, the elderly & poorest in our society being ignored. Also, when I needed to get my son a train pass for college, I couldn`t find the answers to my questions or info I needed online. Visited nearest train station and experienced man in ticket office sorted it in seconds.

My daughter has learning disabilities. No way can she do this.

What a crap idea. Ticket offices are useful for more than just buying tickets. Information, best links, platform location, best prices and help when things go wrong - lost, hurt, need help etc

Presumably there will still be ticket machines at stations?

Yeah, probably. I have given up on my smartphone except as a sort of mini-PC out of doors. Internet I can do; machines & things to do with numbers, no. The day online banking becomes compulsory, it`s all going under the mattress.

Yes its age apartheid. Most of the people affected will be older people.

It`s not even just enough to have a smart phone. It has to be recent. Vendors quit updating the software after a year or two and then half the apps don`t work anymore.

I recall a few years back when elderly in the US could call a number on a landline, and an inexpensive service gave them access to Uber. Maybe something equivalent can be created.

Functional ticket machines would be a start.

Unless they`re going to do away with tickets altogether and run the railways as a public service... Hey, I can dream, can`t I?

So, sensibly you can now only load season tickets onto Southern keycards. One off trip tickets can no longer be added to the card, but must be picked up as paper copies at the station...

Tories and rail industry don`t care. ToryCriminalsUnfitToGovern But would Labour be any different?

Yes. They are punishing anyone without an always-on tracking device. I wish I were kidding. I really think thats what is going on.

So this 25% of over 65s are all regular train users ? Usage of ticket offices would suggest not

You seem to think this is a public service, its just another opportunity to make money.

Well they could buy a phone and get Internet access?

At our local station, the person in the ticket office is also responsible for assisting disabled people on & off trains & ensuring trains are safe to depart. No ticket machine or app can provide this level of safety, security, inclusion & accurate joined-up information.

Its terrible. I completely sympathise, but if youve just wasted 400bn on covid and had a complete collapse in rail revenue what can you do but cut costs? Pls tell me? How did anyone think there wouldnt be a price to pay for covid measures?

Its just to save the companies cash. Continued cutting of things to the bone. Staff being viewed as disposable. All in the name of profit.

I`m 37 and can`t afford a house or to have children but yes, let`s worry about a generation that had it all and threw it away.

Sorry but the older generation have had their way for far too long and still get to enjoy a third off rail journeys or not pay at all as happens in Northern Ireland. Most people under 50 can`t afford a rail ticket. Pass the savings on to consumers.

Try getting somebody to help you in a ticket office. It`s like banging your head against a wall.

Also, I dont think we can assume ticket machines will still be available. The article also says paper tickets will be phased out, not just ticket offices. It would be good to read the whole piece, but I cant find it on The Times / Sunday Times app

This is appalling. But, won`t happen. Not all tickets can be "on-line". Safety regs will stop some "guard-less" trains. Another Tory disaster in the making.

This is crazy. In Wales they`re actually opening ticket offices on the High Street. The ticketing system is so Byzantine the ticket office staff are usually the best way of ensuring you get the correct ticket at the lowest price.

It is our duty to educate our parents on technology. My mother taught my grandfather, then aged 95, how to accept and make video calls. We discussed how to avoid scams. If someone can read a train timetable and check which platform to board, they can also buy a ticket online.

And what if the ticket machines at rail stations aren`t working? Who do you go to for help?

Great way to ensure only those with a sufficient social credit score are allowed to travel on public transport. Going same way as China.

So the business model is to ignore cost and provide a service to the very last person that needs it? Most of these offices (like most bank branches) are barely used.

Nothing`s perfect, but maybe they can reinvest the money saved from going fully automated to improve the reliability & usability of the automatic tellers

This is abominably shit. We`re creating a world that is practically unusable by the people who`ve been in it longest

What about tourists? Where are they meant to go?

They`ll still have ticket machines, I`m sure. For those that can`t manage either, hopefully a family member/friend will do the do

That was my first thought. Well, feeling.

As a tourist with no international connection on my phone I`d be SOL. (Shit outta luck)

Likewise with banks disappearing from our high streets - theres no thought to the elderly population. But I think thats been obvious for some while. State pension far below living wage so were not expected to travel or use a bank!!

The guy who sold the tickets at one station I used to commute from did more than just that: he stopped fare-dodgers; he kept the station immaculate; he helped people on and off trains, if necessary; he provided information etc.

The amount of old folk who come into my cafe in York station asking for help navigating the systems, or struggling with the way everything has been computerised. They are perfectly with it, fit and well, they just don`t know how to use modern tech.

No, just Use a machine at the station.

As far as the PM is concerned, they were supposed to die from Covid. As for me, I will always want and use something printed. If not possible, Im content to never travel again.

They closed the tube ticket offices without any obvious problems, there are staff at the ticket machines to help. Cant see that part being a problem, but moving exclusively online would be.

Yes, that way they can claim that the railways aren`t financially viable any longer and move to privatize them so that a private company can charge you more for worse service and refuse to operate unprofitable lines.

If access to the internet is a precondition for existing, then access to the internet must be a right, not a luxury.

There are many, many people who are excluded from a plethora of services because of lack of alternatives. Sometimes, it can lead to them getting penalties such as in carparks where even the tech-savvy can have difficulties with poorly functioning, badly designed tech.

As someone whose landlady is completely off the grid, the pace with which everything is being automated is inhuman. Making everyday payments has turned into a complete struggle for her because companies just assume we`re all online.

I quoted the Equality Act 2010 to SE CEO when they insisted they would only fix my 90yo, deaf uncle`s issue if he phoned them. He sorted it in 2 hours. Companies must `make reasonable adjustments` to not discriminate unfairly.

Bad enough there are no paper timetables any more. Takes a moment to look at one and see when a convenient train departs; takes forever to tell the laptop exactly when one wants to travel when one doesn`t know until one knows the possibilities

It`s also not just about getting from A to B. Some people need several trains to go from A to F! And they need someone to guide them with complicated connections & most economic routes.

This is exactly what happens when an industry is turned into a nationalised monopoly. They have no reason to please customers because customers cant punish them by moving to another provider.

Ive just thought about a whole load of reasons why this is bad. I think getting rid of office space and repurposing generates around 50m for them, so iPads are cheaper will be confusing for many.

It`s such a shame because human interaction is so important. Robots and machines can`t answer our questions and for the lonely people in the world that ticket office worker may be the only person they interact with that day.

I know people who still dont own computers. There may still be a way of buying tickets on the train, perhaps? But I agree, it makes assumptions & excludes too many.

This also doesn`t account for the people who work in the ticket offices that will inevitably lose their jobs!

Thank you. That`s appalling.

And what happens when the system goes down or is hacked? Because it will and will be.

It would have helped if the poster could have taken a photo of the whole article. Also its a Victoria Sandwich not a sponge. (Check the bio).

My mother has never so much as ever even used an ATM in her life and doesnt believe in the internet! Mobiles are the worst invention ever. So this would be sun-optimal for her

Thats terrible. Where is the article from?

Perhaps the rail operators have decided that anyone without a smartphone or internet wouldn`t be able to afford a rail fare.

the ticket booths are way more efficient than their confusing websites.

No way my Dad can manage this.

Wow! This is not good, and I don`t even deal with it

Need to make them public services again.

Not a lot of detail here. I suspect there will be someone to assist people with the machines at major stations or from travel agents via call centres.

Yes my elderly neighbours don`t have a clue about smartphones or Internet

Aren`t there ticket machines in most stations now?

In Sydney (at least, for the moment) we can buy rail passes at the newsagent, which can then have money added to them via your standard ATM card, also at the newsagent. I don`t think the newsagent will be disappearing anytime soon. Can they not go to the newsagent?

So the financial model for success for UK Railways.. is to stop selling tickets face to face?

This is so discriminatory to the disabled, the elderly and the poor. My local station, in Sussex, is an old Victorian building. Relatively recently, a standard WC was made accessible. When the Ticket Office is closed, usually because of staff shortages, so is the Disabled WC.

My dad is now registered blind and no way could manage this. Also the ticket office is where someone with additional needs can ask for help, or a place to go if someone is being followed etc. Big safety risk getting rid of ticket offices.

Means paying more too I imagine.

So if you have no battery, or you drop your phone, or lose it, or it gets stolen, you`re screwed? Or if you don`t have a suitable up to date for the app smartphone?

These are the job cuts the strike is about - hundreds of people being laid off.

Gosh my dad would have a melt down! My mum has only just got a smart phone, she is always asking for help with it from me or my teenagers! There`s going to be no face to face service with anything soon

Fully agree with you. Yet another way to isolate and alienate people.

It`s appalling & there is more to ticket offices than just buying tickets. How would I, as a disabled person request a ramp to get on & off the train which you can do on the day & not have to book online? They give advice, link with platform staff, other stations & much more...

People will certainly stop rail travel because not everyone has a mobile phone

Totally agree Frances

Yes, absolutely. Lots of people aren`t able function online. And them that can`t often don`t have the access. You`ve only got to look at the queues outside some of the city libraries in the morning to get on the computers to see it in action.

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