Dunton Green ticket machine: why are we still waiting?


The base for the new ticket machine, photographed a month ago

It’s now months since Southeastern ripped out the “Permit to Travel” machine at Dunton Green. In one sense it was no great loss: it seldom worked. However although the intention seems to have been to replace it with a credit-card-only ticket machine, Southeastern have failed to install the new machine: so far they have only installed a concrete base and some sort of electrical cabinet – together with some dodgy-looking conduit that may bend the first time somebody steps on it.

The lack of either a Permit to Travel machine or a proper ticket machine means that Dunton Green travellers cannot buy a ticket before travelling. And because all trains from Dunton Green are driver-only-operation they cannot buy a ticket on the train either. We wonder how many law-abiding Dunton Green passengers have been unfairly challenged by “Revenue Protection Officers” for not having a ticket?

We have asked Southeastern why there has not been more co-ordinated project management of the ticket machine change-over at Duntonhttps://twitter.com/Se_Railway/status/743381936756895745 Green (and at Bat & Ball and Shoreham). Surely it is not rocket science to arrange for the removal of the old machine and the installation of the new machine to be co-ordinated?

Thanks to our Dunton Green supporter Paul Malyon for continuing to highlight this problem.

Update 16 June: Southeastern have told us that the old PERTIS machines have been removed early for the new ticket machines to be installed in the same location. However the new machines need a larger concrete base and cabling cabinets to be installed, and then BT need to connect network cabling, and then the ticket machine itself is installed. Southeastern say that they are “on schedule with the overall project” and it should be completed “by September” (the Twitter people at Southeastern said today that Shoreham should be done in “6-8 weeks subject to external telecoms work being completed”). Frankly this looks like poor project management and co-ordination by Southeastern – it should not take six months to switch over machines, especially as this is the second phase of a long-running progamme. If it really was going to take six months, why wasn’t the new machine installed alongside the PERTIS machine? – at Dunton Green and Bat & Ball there is plenty of room for this.


Dunton Green ticket machine: why are we still waiting? — 18 Comments

  1. At least the Dunton Green concrete slab seems to be on the platform – the one at Bat & Ball is in a newly-planted flower bed. We’ve never had any trouble with “Revenue Protection Officers” when travelling on Thameslink – we tell them we’ve travelled from Bat & Ball and we’re let through and pointed towards the ticket machine.

  2. @alastair Thanks for this. It is good to hear that Thameslink gate staff have been sympathetic. That’s apparently not the case for Southeastern staff, at least at Waterloo East.

  3. Still no ticket machine at Dunton Green. I’d swap any machine for some signals at London Bridge that didn’t go wrong every day..! 🙂

  4. @paul Yes we looked at Dunton Green this morning. Still no sign of a machine, although (as at Bat & Ball) someone has fitted a hasp and staple to the electrical box Dunton Green electrical box

  5. @Joe Indeed. Ticket machines have now been installed at Bat & Ball and at Shoreham. We were told that Dunton Green would be a bit later because of the need to install a new telecommunication connection, but the trench for that was dug six weeks ago. The whole episode seems to show a lack of urgency and a lack of active project management.

  6. If it’s like the Bat & Ball machine (if we ever get it) then we’d best hope that the phone connection is reliable. What happens if the card only machine goes wrong now there is no PERTIS?

  7. @paul

    National Conditions of Travel 6.3 should apply:

    6.3 You must have in your possession a valid Ticket before you board a train unless
    one of the following circumstances applies:
    (a) At the station where you start your journey, there is no means of purchasing a
    Ticket, either because there is no Ticket office open or self-service Ticket machine
    in working order
    and, where notices indicate that you are in a Penalty Fares area
    you purchase a Permit to Travel if there is a working Permit to Travel issuing
    machine at the station where you start your journey – see section 10 for more
    information about Penalty Fares; or
    (b) … or
    (c) …

    In these cases, you must, as soon as you are reasonably able, buy an appropriate
    Ticket to complete your journey. The price of the Ticket you purchase will be the
    same as if you had bought a Ticket at the station from which you first departed.

    INFORMATION: This means that you should buy a ticket from the
    conductor on the train if there is one available; at an interchange
    station provided there is sufficient time before your connecting
    service; or, if neither of these is possible, at your destination.

  8. Even when a ticket machine is finally installed there is still a problem for some passengers who do not have Credit or Debit cards, as the machines do not take cash. Perhaps it’s only a small minority, but for that reason such already disadvantaged people will probably find it much more difficult to explain why they haven’t got a ticket.

  9. So Southeastern put some information online today about their launch of their new The Key smartcard on 5th December. Considering we still don’t have a ticket machine at Dunton Green (and the one at Bat & Ball was out of order earlier this week) the ‘benefits’ of the new system are unlikely to emerge for those of us at DNG.
    Many residents of the Ryewood community have written to the Transport Secretary supporting Oyster-isation of DNG – the sooner the better with this week’s off peak shambles in mind.

  10. I love this: “Southeastern say that they are <> and it should be completed <>”. Was the year of September mentioned by any chance?

  11. @adam

    Like other station maintenance issues, time does not seem of the essence in plans for the new TVMs. The old PERTIS machines seem to have been ripped out before the rest of the work was scheduled.

  12. Hi. Not sure if this is relevant, but I just moved to the Ryewood estate. My broadband service is abysmal due to the distance of copper from the exchange that it needs to use. There is fibre in the area but the local cabinet on Rye Lane is full and awaiting Openreach to increase capacity to serve the new homes. I assume the cabinet also serves the station, and I also assume that any ticket vending machine will require a reliable internet connection to work properly. It could be that Southeastern cannot install the TVM until Openreach upgrades the fibre to the nearby cabinet. I have no idea when this is likely to be; all I know from BT is that I’m on the waiting list and will have an update from them on 5th December. I may be wrong, but could be the reason.

  13. @neil

    Thanks for this. However the TVM programme started two years ago. Dunton Green, Bat & Ball and Shoreham were in Phase 2 because of the lead times in getting telecoms installed. But if Southeastern and their subcontractor (Vodafone?) had put in the orders promptly they would not have been affected by any constraints due to Ryewood.

    One of the problems at Dunton Green was that the station building has been demolished. At Bat & Ball and Shoreham there were wayleaving and telecoms into the existing station building. So a new trench needed to be dug. But that was done at the beginning of September so it should not be a constraint now.

    A further puzzle is that Network Rail have a private optical fibre network running along the tracks. Southeastern say that they cannot use this – although Network Rail’s literature says that it is available for TOCS and other railway businesses as well as Network Rail themselves, and we think that it is the network that serves the Customer Information Displays. It’s possible that for commercial reasons Vodafone want to do it themselves rather than subcontract to Network Rail. More active management by Southeastern for timely delivery could have tackled this sort of nonsense.

    On Ryewood itself, it’s incredible that the developer and a telecom provider (BT? Gigaclear? Hyperoptic?) did not work together to install full Fibre To The Premises when the estate was built. That would have given you all *proper* end-to-end fibre optic service, and increased property values. On Fibre To The Cabinet, BT only provision on the basis that 25% of lines will adopt the BT Infinity. In several places in the Sevenoaks area this has proved to be completely inadequate, and additional cabinets have had to be installed.

  14. On the Ryewood piece (I live there too), it appears that Berkeley Homes failed to notify Openreach correctly on the number of homes and connections required. Therefore, those of us who arrived in the earlier phases got the fibre connections but Berkeley ‘forgot’ to tell BT when the later phases were going to be completed. Whoops.

  15. @paul Thanks. Still a pity that they did not get Gigaclear or Hyperoptic to do a FTTP installation. That’s increasingly normal for new blocks of flats in London, and there is plenty of backbone infrastructure in Sevenoaks to support it.

  16. Apologies for taking this off-topic, but it has given me a greater insight into the services of the area.

    To clarify Paul’s and Secretary’s comments there, do the earlier Ryewood phases have FTTP or just FTTC?

    Back on topic, thanks for clarifying the situation for me regarding the TVM programme. I’m curious to know if/when Oyster is coming to the area. Is TFL/London Overground taking over the franchise in 2018 confirmed? That should bring Oyster with it. Is Oyster likely to arrive before then?

  17. @neil

    The DfT excluded Sevenoaks and Dunton Green from the scheme that has brought Oyster to Swanley and Dartford during the current Southeastern franchise, so nothing expected until (late) 2018 when the new franchise period starts.

    If TfL’s proposal for devolution of Metro services is accepted then the package includes manned stations, better punctuality, better trains and full Oyster/Contactless, including zonal fares from Dunton Green.

    It would be possible for a new Franchise to Southeastern to specify Oyster for Dunton Green and Sevenoaks, but in this case the fares would still be set by Southeastern and Dunton Green wouldn’t get the other service improvements it needs.

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