seated or standing
We often hear complaints that passengers have had to stand, but should we be outraged?
Indeed, have you paid for a seat along with your ticket?
Have you paid for a seat along with your ticket?
Mostly, the answer is no, unless you have bought an ‘Advance’ ticket – and these tickets do include seat reservations. It may also be possible to reserve a seat separately, even if you hold another type of ticket.
But the mere purchase of a ticket does not entitle you to a seat, and the availability of a seat is not part of the Contract of Carriage which exists between you and the railway.
But isn't this unfair?
With the exception of ‘Advance’ tickets, most fares entitle you to choose your train at the last moment (with some restrictions, such as not travelling in rush hours with an off-peak ticket). Indeed, return halves on longer journeys are valid for a month.
With the best will in the world, a railway company cannot provide specific space for you on any of dozens – or hundreds – of trains. So it is up to you to choose a quieter time of day and/or turn up in good time if a seat is vital, or reserve a seat if this is possible.
Commuters travelling at the height of the rush hour cannot expect a seat every time, especially on short journeys. The number of extra trains (and tracks, platforms, depot capacity and staff) which would then be needed would be overwhelmingly expensive (see The problem of the peaks). What would happen to the price of your season ticket? It’s a harsh truth that running a commuter railway is always a matter of finding a balance which accommodates most people in reason without busting the budget, and it’s a problem which afflicts transport systems the world over.