One of those things that TOC’s seem to be fond of installing at Stations is ATGs (Automatic Ticket Gate see RIS-7701-INS – Rail Industry Standard for Automatic Ticket Gates at Stations).
Obstensivly they claim that these are installed for revenue protection (reduction of ticket less travel), Reduce anti-social behaviour, and also seem to be a requirement of the franchise agreement between the TOC and DfT.
Revenue protection is one of our key priorities. We recognise that ticketless travel is a problem and we have developed a revenue protection strategy to help reduce the number of passengers travelling without a ticket. Automatic ticket gates have been very successful in reducing ticketless travel in other areas; they also help to reduce anti-social behaviour and improve on-train and station security. [Northern Rail]
When ScotRail introduced them at Glasgow Central Station they listed the reason as:
They were introduced under commitments to reduce ticketless travel, increase revenue protection, improve station security and discourage anti-social behaviour. [ScotRail]
Further Steve Montgomery, ScotRail’s managing director, said:
Revenue protection and reducing ticketless travel have always been priorities for us because it is honest, fare-paying passengers who bear the burden in lost investment in Scotland’s railway.
Ticket gates, which are part of out franchise agreement, are also proven to discourage anti-social behaviour and improve station security.
With the introduction of the gates, ScotRail is encouraging customers to buy their tickets in advance of travel. Daily passengers can opt for weekly, monthly or annual season tickets, saving up to 30% in their travel costs in the process. For one-off journeys, pre-dated tickets can be purchased up to seven days before travel.
East Coast on Gates:
Safe, secure and fair
We are committed to improving security and have installed CCTV cameras on our fleet and at our stations. The automatic ticket gates help us to reduce the number of people travelling without a ticket, improve security and discourage anti-social behaviour.
The gates will ensure that customers who buy the correct ticket will no longer be subsidising those who have not purchased tickets. [East Coast]
When EMT (East Midlands Trains) started with their proposal to “Gate” Sheffield Station; This Document (09/10/2008) was produced by Transport Investigations Ltd
Under §17 EMT in response to a customer enquiry about the barrier scheme:
It maybe useful to explain that up until the 1980′s station platforms were restricted areas, and only passengers holding tickets to travel were permitted to access the station, platforms and trains. However, British Rail introduced a policy of open access to stations and removed barriers etc in the late 1980′s and early 1990′s. The problem that has been created is primarily the increase in fare evasion that has taken place – costing the rail industry many millions of pounds a year in lost revenue.
§ 18, and 19 by Transport Investigations Ltd state that:
18. This statement [§ 17] is largely wrong. It is not correct that stations were always restricted areas prior to c.1985. The closing of stations with manned ticket barriers was not an original feature of the railway, but one that became common practice during the early 20th Century. Nevertheless a number of stations, or parts of stations, remained open. It is true that BR reverted to generally open stations in the late 80’s and early 90’s, but this was done for sound reasons. Station based ticket checks were seen as ineffective and had an adverse impact on accessibility and customer service. It was believed that easier access would make the railway more welcoming to new users, improve the scope and range of station trading activity, more frequented stations would be more secure, and secondary entrances and exits could be made more widely available. All of this had a potential for net revenue benefit, to be offset against the risks of increased fare evasion. Penalty Fares regimes were introduced at the same time to guard against that risk, while ticket checks were to be carried out when and where they were most effective, normally on train.
19. There has never been any evidence to support this argument that open stations per se were the cause of a higher level of fare evasion. Of course fare evasion has always existed, and the question should be about what is the most cost effective means of dealing with it. A number of rail networks and major stations manage to function well with an open layout and an acceptable level of fare evasion.
One of the things I have never been on the receiving end of with the reductions in ticket-less travel is reduced ticket cost, so all the extra revenue collected/protected does not go back to the honest passengers.
And yet despite all of the love of Gatelines by TOCs (and the DfT) the only referance to them in the NRCoC (National Rail Conditions of Carriage – 2011-10-05 – NRCoC (Current Issue)) is in section 33; a subsection of the document relating to Season Tickets.
33. Damaged tickets
If a Season Ticket (or a Smartcard containing a Season Ticket) is damaged, or can no longer be read easily, or no longer works in automatic ticket gates, it will be replaced at the office from which it was bought provided the Train Company which sold it can confirm the ticket is still valid. You will not have to pay an administrative charge.
The Ticket Barriers are also mentioned in Passing in the Railway Byelaws under §9(2)
(2) Where the entrance to or exit from any platform or station is via a manned or an automatic ticket barrier no person shall enter or leave the station, except with permission from an authorised person, without passing through the barrier in the correct manner.
Annoyingly that is not very clear on the definition of ‘correct manner’, so its back to the NRCoC and what they mean by ticket checking in §22
22. Inspection of tickets
You must show and, if asked to do so by the staff of a Train Company or its agent, hand over for inspection a valid ticket and any relevant Railcard, photocard or other form of personal identification in accordance with Condition 15 [Travel Cards]. If you do not, you will be treated as having joined a train without a ticket and the relevant parts of Condition 2 [Requirement to hold a ticket] or 4 [Penalty Fares] will apply. If an Electronic Ticket cannot be displayed, you will be treated as if you were unable to hand over for inspection a valid ticket.
So as we can see from above despite the gates being used for revenue protection, there is no requirment in the contractual document to submit your ticket to a Automated Ticket Gate (TfL and LUL have a different Conditions of Carriage).
Oh and for the other Point that they keep using? anti-social behaviour and improve on-train and station security, well the NRCoC has that covered too:
58. Unacceptable conduct
Any person who a Train Company believes is likely to act in a riotous, disorderly or offensive manner may be refused access to, or may be required to leave trains, platforms or stations.
Passenger Focus have produced a What Passengers want Document titled Ticket gates at the station (August 2010)
A report (Ticketing and Concessionary travel on Public Transport) by the Transport Committee highlighted some of the problems/flaws that can arise from the installation of ticket gates. These included:
- Not all tickets are accepted by the gates
- Passengers with bulky items of luggage, parents with buggies, or passengers in wheelchairs cannot easily navigate through gate barriers
- ‘Meeters and greeters’ are effectively barred from platforms
- ‘Gating’ can sometimes result in station side entrances being closed and passengers being forced to make lengthy detours to the main entrance
The Passanger Focus during their research found that the common comments centred on:
- Bottlenecks occurring during peak times – passengers said there were either too few gates or not enough gates operating for use
- The gates are too narrow when carrying luggage
- Gates are too slow to open (particularly compared to the London Underground)
- Gates not accepting all types of tickets
- The rejection of magnetic stripped tickets when they become corrupted – this was particularly a problem for season ticket holders
- Unhelpful staff when tickets don’t work.
So why the problem with them? This is Bristol Temple Meads Station on a weekday morning at about 06:20:
Opening times – Ticket Office
Mondays to Fridays: 0530 – 2130
Saturdays: 0530 – 2130
Sundays: 0645 – 2130
Peak Demand Period
It is our intention to serve you as quickly as possible. However, at peak demand persiods you may have to wait a little longer than normal when purchasing a ticket. Under normal circumstancess the peak demand periods are:
Monday to Fridays (AM)0630 – 0900
Monday to Fridays (AM) 1630 – 1830
Can you guess what a station looks like at Rush hour, when the gates are closed and being staffed by two or three members of staff who are standing one at each end (next to the auxiliary gates (See RIS-7701-INS)) or what the ticket hall looks like when there is a que of people buying tickets for the train that they had left a reasonable amount of time for?