I just bought a 7 day season ticket this morning when I noticed the letter "A" at the end of the expiry date. The last time I bought the same ticket on the same route, there was no letter.

Does this signify anything important (such as the ticket expires in the morning on the 20th)?

Picture of a British rail season ticket with the curious letter highlighted


According to the wiki...

Advance dating indicator: If an A is present next to the date, the ticket was bought before the date of travel. Standard travel tickets can be bought up to one year in advance.

Source: APTIS Ticket Features

  • Looking more carefully at the dates I can see you're right. I bought this ticket on the train from the guard this morning. Why would he sell me an advance ticket when I am on the train already? The next ticket inspector didn't notice but I don't suppose the London tube barriers are going to be so careless. This is not going to be a good day... – Calchas Mar 11 '16 at 7:11
  • @Calchas, did you pay for "Anytime", he cautiously asks... – Gayot Fow Mar 11 '16 at 7:14
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    It's a season ticket, not an "anytime" ticket ... if you are thinking I can get it refunded and fixed, you may be right, but I think the refund rules are different (and I don't really have time to be doing that before work this morning) – Calchas Mar 11 '16 at 7:19
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    You know more than the ToCs. I asked Southern and they were totally stumped and couldn't give me an answer. – DumbCoder Mar 11 '16 at 9:10
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    @GayotFow This is not a regular commute and I'm not expensing it. For various reasons I need to visit a family member on the south coast from time to time. This ticket is cheaper than two on peak round trips so even if I only do this twice a week it is a "good deal" (relatively speaking). That said this is a key commuter route and the first class cabin is usually filled up at Brockenhurst. – Calchas Mar 11 '16 at 11:19

After changing trains I asked the guard on the subsequent train. It turns it means that the season ticket was bought in advance of the start period ... and now I see that it was, of course 20th March is more than 7 days away: the guard on the last train has sold me the wrong ticket. (I don't know why he would sell me an advance ticket when I was already on the train.)

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    The start date is clearly shown as 14 March 2016 (14 to 20 March is seven days of validity). You should find that barriers reject the ticket as "Not started yet", unfortunately. – Andrew Leach Mar 11 '16 at 8:28
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    The usual pattern of purchases for a weekly ticket on a Friday would be commuters buying next week ticket, to start on the Monday, so the guard went with the normal behaviour rather than what you were asking for. – Gwyn Evans Mar 11 '16 at 8:58
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    @GwynEvans He asked to see my ticket and I said I wanted to buy one ... I suppose he must have been distracted or something. We were even talking for a few minutes while the credit card machine waited for a connection. – Calchas Mar 11 '16 at 9:31
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    Well there you go. You get three free days. Most staff will only look at the expiry date. – Andrew Leach Mar 11 '16 at 12:52
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    By the way, the "season ticket not yet valid" gate code is 114, just in case you see that number. "Can't be read because ticket is faulty" is 09. – Andrew Leach Mar 11 '16 at 13:06

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