Great Northern to rebrief staff on ticketing after incorrect advice given

Great Northern services are changing massively under a new timetable. Picture: Great Northern

Great Northern services are changing massively under a new timetable. Picture: Great Northern - Credit: Archant

The Great Northern rail line operator is to rebrief station staff after passengers received incorrect ticketing advice ahead of an overhauled timetable’s introduction this weekend.

The timetable, dovetailing Govia Thameslink’s Great Northern and Thameslink lines, will see some Great Northern trains now go via London St Pancras to Thameslink stations like Farringdon, Blackfriars and London Bridge.

But there has been confusion over whether existing Great Northern season tickets for London terminals will cover journeys further along this route beyond St Pancras.

Jonathan Sever, an editorial staffer from Hitchin, currently commutes to King’s Cross before walking a mile or so to work.

He was told by Thameslink staff at Farringdon – which is much nearer his workplace – that his existing London-terminal season ticket would be sufficient for him to commute beyond St Pancras from next week.

But Govia today told this paper the Thameslink staff at Farringdon were incorrect and that people in Jonathan’s position would need to get their season tickets changed to the appropriate destination – something the firm said would mean a more expensive ticket, but would not be subject to any administration fee.

A spokesman apologised for the incorrect advice, adding: “We will rebrief staff immediately.”

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Jonathan, 41, told this newspaper: “There is so much confusion. It’s lucky there’s not a major timetable alteration on the horizon! With such a major overhaul starting on Sunday, how are passengers meant to have a clear picture if the staff are even less clued up?”

Jonathan, who moved to Hitchin in December, said the staff at Farringdon had told him he was not the first to ask about this issue – meaning other passengers could now potentially be penalised for going beyond St Pancras with their old London-terminal season tickets.

He queried the issue only after seeing a post in the Hitchin Rail Commuters Facebook group, having seen nothing about it in the railway’s FAQs. He was then confused by advice from Great Northern’s customer service team that he would need to change his ticket to a Thameslink one.

A Govia spokesman told this paper: “It doesn’t matter whether it is a Great Northern or a Thameslink key smartcard the passenger has – it is the actual ticket your reader has loaded to it.”

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