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At several larger UK train stations, I have noticed that there is a ticket desk beyond the ticket barriers. This is the case, among other places, in Reading and Birmingham New Street. The desk is labelled excess fares.

What is the purpose of this desk?

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  • 2
    Probably similar to Washington DC situation where you have to put extra money to exit.
    – Karlson
    May 16 '16 at 22:29
  • 4
    So Charlie can get off the MTA? May 16 '16 at 23:12
  • 1
    Many UK stations have more than one exit, some have dozens, and at weekends or out of peak time only one exit will be manned. Therefore it is useful to have a ticket office that is more conveniently located than just at the main entrance. The desk, as well as selling tickets, can also provide advice or assistance.
    – Calchas
    May 17 '16 at 7:25
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    At Reading, it'll mostly be for people boarding at unmanned stations with poor/no ticket facilities + trains with no guard, who need to buy their ticket on arrival at Reading
    – Gagravarr
    May 17 '16 at 18:03
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An excess fare is payable according to this operator's typical conditions of carriage for various transgressions of the ticket actually used:

(Summary) Travel in the right train(s) and the right part of the train(s) - otherwise you could be charged an excess or Penalty Fare. You may only change from standard class to first class areas if a member of staff in that train gives permission or you have paid the appropriate additional fare.

(Restrictions on when you can travel) you will be liable to pay an excess fare (the difference between the price paid for the ticket you hold and the price of the lowest priced ticket available for immediate travel that would have entitled you to travel in that train for the journey shown on the ticket)

(The route you are entitled to take) If you start, break and resume, or end your journey at an intermediate station when you are not entitled to do so, you will be liable to pay an excess fare. This excess fare will be the difference between the price paid for the ticket you hold and the price of the lowest priced ticket(s) available at a ticket office for immediate travel that would have entitled you to start, break and resume, or end your journey at that station on the service(s) you have used.

(Starting, breaking or ending a journey at intermediate stations) If you start, break and resume, or end your journey at an intermediate station when you are not entitled to do so, you will be liable to pay an excess fare. This excess fare will be the difference between the price paid for the ticket you hold and the price of the lowest priced ticket(s) available at a ticket office for immediate travel that would have entitled you to start, break and resume, or end your journey at that station on the service(s) you have used.

In some cases you must pay this excess fare before travel and in others on the train itself to a ticket inspector. However, if upon exiting the station at the destination it is apparent that the ticket is not valid, e.g. exiting an an intermediate station, then an excess fare will be payable before exiting.

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