Bat & Ball on-train ticket inspection: Suspicious? or just Ignorant?

On Tuesday 14 February 2017 I travelled on the 17.00 Thameslink service from Sevenoaks to Bedford as far as Bat & Ball. After the train departed Sevenoaks three Southeastern staff made their way through the train checking tickets.

I have an annual season ticket from Bat & Ball to London Terminals. When I showed it to the person who asked to see it I was surprised that he asked me if I had “excessed” the ticket up to cover my journey between Sevenoaks and Bat & Ball. I advised him that the ticket was valid from Bat & Ball to London via Sevenoaks or Swanley and he walked away very quickly. I thought that this incident was suspicious for the following reasons:

  • Although the person was wearing a Southeastern anorak I could not see a name badge to identify him
  • London to Bat & Ball via Sevenoaks is a commonly-used route and should be familiar to Sevenoaks area staff: how come this person did not recognise that it was valid?
  • Why were Southeastern staff undertaking duties on a Thameslink train?

I cannot decide whether this ‘inspection’ was genuine, and the inspector was just ignorant of the routing rules, or whether there was something suspicious going on. I’ve asked both Southeastern and Thameslink whether there was an authorised inspection on that train.

If you have had a similar ticket inspection experience on Thameslink trains on the Bat & Ball line, please let us know.


Bat & Ball on-train ticket inspection: Suspicious? or just Ignorant? — 7 Comments

  1. Very interesting. You need to check the credentials of these people always. I know of incidents affecting passengers known to me where people were impersonating ticket inspectors apparently a few years ago, and others were asked to pay in cash only by inspectors. These were reported to Thameslink.

  2. @alan Thanks. Unfortunately, when we once enquired, Southeastern would not tell us what a genuine revenue protection id card looked like!

  3. We had two ticket checks on Thameslink trains on between London and Sevenoaks by Southeastern staff last week, for the first time in years. Also had a Southern inspectors check a few months ago.

  4. We have never had a ticket inspector (and only once seen a guard) on trains going through Bat & Ball in either direction.

  5. @NC Thanks. Interesting – we have had other reports of ticket checks on Driver-Only trains that have been rarely checked in the past

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