QUICK ANSWERS TO FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (January 2015)

While this section won’t cover every question we’re asked, we hope it might help with some of the easier ones, and help you find what you’re looking for more quickly. In all cases there is more detail elsewhere, usually with the forms in question.

Suggestions of additions to this list are also welcome at any time.

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THE MOST FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS OF ALL:

1. Forms:  Where can I find application forms?

They are all on this site – click here to go directly to the page.

2. Do I need to print them off to sign them?

No - you can "sign electronically" by typing in your name.  However the email address that you then send from should include your name recognisably.

3. Address:  I’ve changed my address – what should I do?

You can use form 1615, or write to/email us.  Please give both the old and new addresses, together with your name and national insurance number, to ensure that we update the right record. If you’re an Active employee, please remember to notify your employer.

3. Name:  I’ve changed my name - what should I do?

Please let us know in writing – either email or surface mail – providing your name and national insurance number, to ensure that we update the right record.  You’ll also need to provide a copy of the supporting documentation, eg marriage certificate or deed poll. Return any cards that need re-issuing in your new name (just a photocopy if it’s a pass you use to get to and from work). If you’re an Active employee, please remember to notify your employer.

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Topics are listed alphabetically, grouped together for relevance.

 

BOXES

Staff Travel Card:  For how long does a Staff Travel Card “box” last?

One box allows for travel on the date entered and the following day - except on 30 June (as your new card must be used from 1 July).

 

CLASS OF TRAVEL

My class of travel is STD – can I simply buy an upgrade to 1st?

No.  The class of travel is set, for both active and retired staff, and you must travel in the designated class.  However, some train companies occasionally offer upgrades to the public, for example at weekends/Bank Holidays.  In these circumstances only, staff can also take advantage of the offer (ie by paying the requisite fee).  Unfortunately, these upgrade opportunities are not always available or predictable, so we cannot publish a list of them.

My grade/class of travel has changed – should I tell RSTL?

No. This information must come to us from your employer, and we then re-issue any cards and passes as appropriate.

 

FAMILY MEMBERS:

  • CHILDREN

My child is turning 5 – what should I do?

Use form 1602, and send it in with a copy of your child’s full birth certificate - please don't send the original. We’ll then issue all appropriate cards and passes.

Why do I need to supply a full birth certificate?

It’s only on a full birth certificate that the parents’ details are included – the short version says only that the child has been born. The proven link to the parents is needed to establish entitlement.

What should I do if I don’t have a full birth certificate?

You can obtain one from the following government website for c £10:

https://www.gro.gov.uk/gro/content/certificates/default.asp . Alternatively you can use form 1604, but that route might be more expensive.

My child is turning 16 – what should I do?

Use form 1605 to provide details. You must also return any expiring short-dated “box” passes to us for replacement ie Staff Travel Card, East Coast Box Card, First Group Travel Card. Any cards without boxes (eg TOC Priv, FIP) don’t need to be returned.

My child is over 16 but I didn't receive a pass for him/her – what should I do?

Again, use form 1605 to confirm continued eligibility. This declaration needs completing every two years, but we’ll send one out with your Staff Travel Card/TOC Priv Card in the year it’s needed (ages 16, 17, 19, 21, 23). If circumstances change in between times, just use form 1605 again to let us know.

School leaving age - why do I need to do a declaration at all?

After the age of 16, adult fares apply on the railway, which is why we need to put an indicator on cards and passes.  See also this link for more information about when children can leave school.

My child has no income or benefits – what proof is acceptable?

We understand that it's difficult to prove the absence of something.  So in these cases, we can accept a benefits statement from DWP/Job Centre or HMRC showing no income.

If even this documentation is not available, as a last resort you can use form 1613 and get it sworn before a solicitor.  You may have to pay for this to be done.

Grandchild - Can my grandchildren travel with me for free?

Not quite; but if you would qualify for a Senior Citizens’ Railcard (you don’t actually have to have one) and you have retired Rail Staff Travel facilities (ie you are safeguarded) you can take up to 4 children aged between 5 and 15 with you for a flat fare of £2 each way, travelling in Standard class only. Ask at any station ticket office.

  • PARTNERS

Partner:  How do I get passes for my partner?

Use forms 1602 and 1603Form 1603 must be sworn before, and witnessed by, a Solicitor who should first verify the specified documentation proving that you are living together.  The guidance notes on form 1603 list acceptable proofs.  Remember that if passes already issued to a former spouse or partner that are still valid, you must return these to us for cancellation before you apply afresh.  If you can’t return the passes for your ex, you’ll have to wait until these have expired by date before applying for travel for your new partner.

  • SPOUSES

Spouse:  How do I get passes for my spouse?

Use form 1602 and send it back with a copy of your marriage or civil partnership certificate. Please remember that if passes already issued to a former spouse or partner that are still valid, you must return these to us for cancellation before you apply afresh.  If you can’t return the passes for your ex, you’ll have to wait until these have expired by date before applying for travel for your new spouse.

  • INFORMATION FROM FAMILY MEMBERS

Why won't you take information or applications directly from my spouse or partner?

This is because it's the employee (active or retired) who accrues the entitlement and is therefore responsible for the correct usage of cards and passes by eligible family members.  So only the main cardholder can authorise any changes.

A family member is acting on my behalf - what information do you need?

A copy of the relevant pages from a Power of Attorney, a Deputyship, or document nominating an Agent or Appointee, giving name and address details of both the cardholder, and the person representing them.  If there is some kind of official arrangement already in place, we can usually accept a copy of it the relevant documentation.

 

INTERNATIONAL QUERIES

What does FIP stand for?

"Groupement pour les Facilités de Circulation Internationales du Personnel des Chemins de Fer"  - it's a group that's the European equivalent of Rail Staff Travel,

I want to use my FIP card – where is it valid?

Refer to our European Travel Guide, here.

Why isn't my FIP card a plastic one?

The design and format of all FIP products is set by Europe - we aren’t allowed to change it or go our own way.

When will it be renewed?

Current cards have the printed date “2015-2016” and are valid until 31 December 2016. They will be renewed automatically every other December - you don’t need to send it back to us at all.

When using my FIP card/coupons, what ID do I need?

You should carry your passport with you at all time.  Please note therefore that your name on your FIP card/coupons must match your name on your passport.

How do I apply for international facilities?

Please use form 1609. Remember that you’ll need to meet the eligibility criteria, ie have completed the required amount of service. If in doubt, please contact us.  You must have an FIP card first before requesting coupons (from RSTL) or making bookings (see below).

When can I apply for international facilities for my child?

Child dependants are eligible to receive international facilities from the age of 4 years old. Before that, they can travel free of charge.

How do I make bookings for international travel?

Please call our booking agents International Rail Ltd on 0871 559 1075, email them at sales@bookmyrst.co.uk or visit the website www.bookmyrst.co.uk  – they can make your reservations, as well as handle any general enquiries you might have.  We pay your booking fee at IRL.  The normal service includes secure mailing of your valuable travel tickets by Special Delivery.  If you prefer to use normal post, just let them know when booking, but note that if tickets get lost in the post by this method, they cannot then be replaced.

When should I contact them?

Please allow three weeks before your proposed travel date.

Are there alternative agents?

Yes.  If you wish to pay your own booking fee you can use, amongst others:

·         Rail Canterbury              01227 450088

·         Ffestiniog Travel             01766 772030

·         Trainseurope                  0871 700 7722 (not Eurostar)

·         Voyages-sncf.com          0844 848 5848

How do I get FIP fares on Eurostar?

Eurostar FIP fares are only applicable when purchased from a Eurostar station.  Prices will vary when making a booking through an agent, as they do not have direct access to the Eurostar reservations system and are therefore obliged to issue tickets via a third-party system. See here for more information.

PHOTO ID

How do I get a photo ID card?

These are available free of charge at any station ticket office – just take along a passport-office approved photo and ask for a public photo ID card.

Exceptions

Employees of the following TOCs should obtain a photo ID via their own HR department:

• Great Western Railway (Swindon office)

• Chiltern (London office)

• Abellio ScotRail (Glasgow office)

I'm retired - do I need a Photo ID?

No. Holders of Retired Rail Staff Travel Facilities don’t need a supporting Photo ID to use their travel facilities. This also applies to family members.

 

PRIVILEGE RATE TRAVEL FROM SUMMER 2014:

Is this being extended?

Yes, for a further year up to September 2016 with the same terms, conditions and restrictions as at present.

What about my Season Ticket?

There is no change to the discount structure for Season Tickets. Please note that privilege rate Season Tickets allow you to travel to and from your place of work, and that your TOC Privilege Card should not be used for this purpose.

 

REPLACEMENTS

I’ve lost my pass – what should I do?

Use form 1610 to explain the circumstances and request a replacement. A fee may be due. If a pass has been stolen, a letter from the Police on letterheaded paper showing a valid Crime Reference number and confirmation that a theft has taken place (crime reference numbers may be verified with the Police) so that we can waive the replacement fee.

I need the replacement in a hurry – what should I do?

You can pay an extra charge to have the cards sent by Special Next Day Delivery. Tick the appropriate boxes on form 1610.

My pass is faulty – what should I do?

Firstly check the with the station barrier staff to confirm that it’s the pass that’s faulty, not the gate-line. If the barrier staff agree that the card is faulty, and card is for:

  • The employee - send us a copy of the card (email, post or fax). We’ll send you a new pass and you’ll then need to return the faulty pass to us for cancellation.
  • A family member - send us the actual faulty pass (surface mail) with a short covering letter and we’ll then send out a replacement pass.

My pass hasn't arrived  – what should I do?

If you have not received your issued cards/passes, you must let us know within 3 months of the start of its validity.  We can then replace because of postal non-delivery free of charge.  However beyond this window, a replacement free will be charged.  In the case of any "box" card, boxes will then also only be replaced on a pro rata basis.

 

RESERVATIONS

Reservations:  How do I make a seat reservation?

Just take your Staff Travel Card or TOC Privilege Card to any station booking office and they’ll be able to make a seat reservation for you. Please ensure you check the latest restrictions first – listed here.

 

TICKET OFFICES

I've heard that Ticket Offices are closing.  How will I buy my priv tickets?

We have been told by those TOCs which have announced an intention to close ticket offices that Station Hosts will be available on the concourse, and their roles will include help with the use of ticket machines.

Separately, we are investigating alternative methods of obtaining privilege travel tickets, such as by online or telephone-supported booking systems.

We will post more information here when we have it.

Meanwhile, if the facility to purchase a ticket doesn't exist at your departure station, you should be allowed to buy a priv ticket either on the train, at a station en-route, or at your destination station.  As long as you actively seek to pay, there should be no problem and you will not be committing a travel irregularity.

 

TRANSPORT for LONDON

TfL: Priv discount on Oyster  - can non-safeguarded staff have this discount set on an Oyster card?

No. This is only available to safeguarded members of staff.

TfL: How does the closure of TfL ticket offices affect my travel?

You can still obtain point-to-point privilege rate tickets for LUL travel from National Rail ticket offices.  However it is cheaper and usually more convenient to obtain a priv rate pay as you go Oyster.

TfL: How do I get the priv rate discount set on an Oyster card and how does it work?

Fill in a form 1619 and email or post it to RSTL for authorising. We'll return it to you and you should then take your authorised form and your current Staff Travel Card to a TfL station.  The member of staff manning the ticket machines will then set the priv discount on your Oyster card and when you touch in and touch out, the priv rate pay as you go fare will be deducted. If you don’t already have an Oyster card, you’ll need to get one from TfL.

You must remember to touch in on the yellow Oyster card reader at the start and touch out at the end of every journey so that the correct fare is deducted., even if the gates are open - otherwise, you may pay more than you need. You can also use it on buses and trams, but you'll pay the full adult fare.

The benefit of having an Oyster card is that after the initial purchase, you won't have to queue to buy a ticket every time you want to travel - just touch in and out. Pay as you go fares are also always cheaper than cash fares.

When your new Staff Travel Card arrives in March (to start 1 April), you must take it with your Oyster card to a TfL station, where the discount will be updated for use for a further year. If you don't do this by 30 June each year, the full public Oyster fare will be deducted when you use pay as you go until such time as you restore the privilege-rate entitlement to the Oyster card..

You can check your balance and top up your card at any self-service ticket machine, Oyster Ticket Stops (newsagents across London) and Travel Information Centres.  You can also top up your PAYG credit online.

Remember always to carry your Staff Travel Card with you when using the Privilege Oyster card, as proof of entitlement.

TfL: Is it the same for children?

It’s very slightly different, in that for your child needs a Zip Oyster photocard. You then take this and your authorised form 1519 to a TfL ticket office to get the ‘’priv discount” set on it. 

Children usually need a Zip Oyster photocard, as follows:

0-4 years                                             Free travel, no card needed
5-10 years travelling with an adult      Free travel, no card needed
5-10 years travelling alone                  Zip Oyster photocard
11-15 years                                         Zip Oyster photocard
16-18 years                                         Zip Oyster photocard

Apply online  for a Zip Oyster photocard.  You can also find information on where you can use them and what savings you can get.

Priv PAYG on Oyster can also be used for educational purposes – you now no longer need to purchase a season ticket for this purpose.  Apply using forms 1601 and 1619, obtaining a Zip Oyster photocard as above.

TfL: How can I contact them if I've got a query?

  • Use the online feedback form at www.tfl.gov.uk/contact
  • Or call the low-cost phone number 0343 222 1234
  • Or write to TfL Customer Services, 14 Pier Walk, London SE10 0ES.

 

AND FINALLY

Generally speaking, on which trains can I use my travel facilities?

The franchised Passenger Train Operating Companies (TOCs) which accept staff travel facilities are:

  • Abellio Greater Anglia
  • Abellio ScotRail
  • Arriva Cross Country
  • Arriva Trains Wales
  • c2c
  • Caledonian Sleeper
  • Chiltern
  • East Midlands Trains
  • First TransPennine Express
  • GoVia Thameslink Railway (Great Northern,Thameslink and Southern)
  • Great Western Railway
  • London Midland
  • London Overground
  • Merseyrail
  • Northern Rail
  • Southeastern
  • South West Trains
  • Virgin Trains East Coast
  • Virgin Trains West Coast

You may also use your staff travel facilities on the services of Hull Trains.

What if I can’t find the answer to my question here or in the Where Can I Go? pages...

You can:
• Email us rstl@atoc.org;
• Call us free on 0800 652 1700, 9am to 4.30pm, Monday to Friday;
• Write to us at PO Box 72071, London EC1P 1JD.