East Coast Trains: Don’t Be So Hard on Passengers With Lost Tickets

On a recent rail journey with East Coast from Edinburgh to Berwick upon Tweed, I witnessed a passenger who had lost his train ticket having to leave the train at Berwick upon Tweed. It was going to cost £152 to buy a ticket onboard the train for the Edinburgh to London journey. The hope was that the passenger would be able to buy a cheaper ticket, either at the Berwick ticket office or online, when he’d get his ticket from the online purchase printed at the station’s machine.

lost train tickets east coast

Photo by Timitrius

As I was sitting diagonally opposite I could hear everything that was going on. The passenger had only lost the ticket for the homeward leg of their return journey. He had the receipt for the return journey and therefore asked the inspector if he couldn’t trace the ticket through the reference numbers on the receipt. The answer was no. Surely this should have been possible? I know when I book my train tickets online, I receive a confirmation email with all the booking details.

lost train tickets east coastI noticed that my “Print at Home” ticket had a bar code on it. I asked the guard if it would be possible for him to scan the bar code from the ticket pdf on a passenger’s mobile phone or laptop screen. The guard said that it had to be a printed ticket. I couldn’t understand why, as I’m aware that some airlines now allow you to use your mobile phone for paperless boarding.

I totally agree that East Coast should take a firm line with fare dodgers. However, I do think that there could be some mechanism for passengers who have purchased a ticket, and can prove it with a booking reference number or an on-screen barcode, not to be charged the full fare for a replacement. Perhaps some small admin charge, but not the full whack for a new ticket.

My goodness, even Ryanair only charge you £40 to print your boarding pass if you turn up at the aiport without it.

Come on East Coast, don’t be so hard on passengers with lost tickets whose bookings should be easily traceable.