Millions face rail chaos as half of operators say ticket machines won't accept new £1 coin

Katie Morley
Operators including Virgin East Coast, Transport for London, Southern Rail and Chiltern Rail admitted they were still working to update their machines and that some may not be ready on Monday - Lauren Hurley

Millions of rail passengers face chaos when buying tickets from train stations from Tuesday, as more than half of operators will not have modernized all their ticket machines to accept the new £1 coins.

Responding to a Telegraph survey, some 11 out of 18 rail providers questioned admitted some of their ticket machines will not have been updated in time, and will reject the 12-sided coin when it enters circulation.

Operators including Virgin East Coast, Transport for London, Southern Rail and Chiltern Rail admitted they were still working to update their machines and that some would not be ready on Tuesday.

Customers who find ticket machines reject the new coins face having to queue up at ticket offices to swap them for round pounds, which may result in increased disruption.

The new £1 coin will enter circulation on March 28 Credit: HM Treasury

The 12-sided coin will enter circulation on March 28, six months before the current £1 is phased out in October. During this time both coins will be accepted as legal tender.

James Daley, director at Fairer Finance, a consumer finance campaign group, said the failure was another example of rail firms' failure to put their customers needs first.

He said: "Most of these companies effectively run monopolies which means there is no competitive pressure to act quickly in their customers' interest.

"It is yet another example of them not prioritizing customers' needs and proves that the market is failing them. I just hope that if they get caught short without a ticket or with the wrong ticket after machines failures that firms will take a common sense approach to fines. However, I'm not holding my breath."

Rail passengers have recently endured a spate of strikes  Credit: Gareth Fuller

A spokesman for Virgin East Coast said: "We’re working on updating our machines on the east coast route so that they will be ready to accept the new £1 coins. In the meantime, customers can be assured that our staff have a supply of pound coins if they only have a new 12-sided pound coin."

Chiltern railway's website reads: "Unfortunately many of our older cash Ticket Vending Machines (TVM's) will not accept the new coin. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause." 

TfL said a "small number" of older machines which need to be replaced may not be ready in time.

Meanwhile the introduction of the new £1 is also expected to spark chaos for people trying to park their cars, as tens of thousands of machines will not be ready to accept the coins in time, the British Parking Association warned last month.

The organisation told this newspaper that a "big queue" for modification means around a quarter of Britain's 100,000 parking meters will not have been updated in time for the new pound's debut.

Consumers buying snacks and drinks from vending machines could also run into problems if they try to pay with the new £1.  Around 15pc of the UK's 500,000 machines will not be updated in time for the new coins, the Automatic Vending Association said yesterday.

Supermarket shopping trolleys are all accepting the new £1 coins meaning shoppers should not run into problems. 

The train operators with ticket machines that could reject your new pound coins

East Midland Trains

A spokesman said: "We're working with our ticket machine suppliers on this and we expect the vast majority of our ticket machines across East Midlands Trains and South West Trains to accept the new pound coin when it comes out on Tuesday (28th) March."  

South West Trains and Great Western Railway

“... working to ensure all ticket vending machines across our estate will be able to accept the new £1 before the present coin ceases to be legal tender.”

Virgin East Coast and Virgin Cross Country 

A spokesman said: "We’re working on updating our machines on the east coast route so that they will be ready to accept the new £1 coins. In the meantime, customers can be assured that our staff have a supply of pound coins if they only have a new 12-sided pound coin."

Chiltern

Website reads: "Unfortunately many of our older cash Ticket Vending Machines (TVM's) will not accept the new coin. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause." 

Transport for London

TfL said a "small number" of older machines which need to be replaced may not be ready in time.

Gatwick Express, Great Northern, Southern and Thameslink: 

A Govia spokesman said: "Many of our ticket machines will accept the new £1 coin on Tuesday, and by 15 October, all will be fully enabled."

The train operators with ticket machines that will not reject your new pound coins

Greater Anglia 

C2C Rail 

Virgin West Coast

Heathrow Express 

ScotRail 

Transpennine Express 

Merseyrail

Have you got a story about the new £1 coin? We want to hear about it.Email: katie.morley@telegraph.co.uk

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