Author Topic: Train ticket prices!  (Read 2362 times)

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Train ticket prices!
« Reply #25 on: March 24, 2021, 09:34:01 pm »
There's a circle of hell where you do nothing but try to make sense of BRITISH train tickets.

My favourite was the discovery that you could sometimes buy advance tickets to Birmingham from assorted locations in Kent and Sussex for substantially less than a ticket to London.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

ian

  • feat. Undead Jess & Finestre, Queen of Hell
Re: Train ticket prices!
« Reply #26 on: March 24, 2021, 09:57:53 pm »
I used to have to carry a letter from a senior customer ticketing executive at Southern Railways explaining my ticket*. Seriously. I've not needed it for a while, obviously, but it's still there in my wallet ready to deploy in the faces of ornery gate guardians. Sophie, Queen of the Tickets, Mistress of Demand-Based Pricing insists you let me pass, or be favoured by the dire fates of bumfire and other intestinal malfunctions (it's not clear she can do this, but I like to think this is in Sophie's executive remit). There are a lot of people I would like to watch expire – at a safe distance – from bumfire.

*because, if you want to travel to, say, Oxford when it's peak time in abyssal Surrey, the jam-filled baggage engines and the croissant-headed assistants will only offer you peak through-fares because computer says no, even though it will be some sundry flavour of off-peak when you are throatily belched from the mouth of Padders or, more favourably (and Didcot-avoidingly), St Mary of the Bone. This is a brand of diabolical timetabular tomfoolery and crime against all that is good with expense accounts. I may favour taxi drivers with my redistributive largesse** but not ToCs on account of a deep-seated anti-acronymism***. Basically, they can offer a off-peak ticket they just don't believe it. But Sophie thinks otherwise and she's got the power of inductive bumfire.

**mostly because it was G. and he's got stories, the best kind. Former commando who moved on to be a celebrity bodyguard and so has all the stories. And I checked, it's not even bullshit. He's used Sharon Osbourne's crapper and blamed Ozzy for the smell.

***I give NASA a pass because rockets and robots are cool.
Support the Great Surrey Bear Census 2020

Re: Train ticket prices!
« Reply #27 on: March 24, 2021, 10:23:37 pm »
There are some great bargains if you know how to play the game, and have the time to do so, it's no substitute for sensible pricing though.
I'm a bit cautious about using a ticket to a station past mine, I've done it a couple of times getting off in Derby with a ticket to Birmingham, but only when the ticket barriers are unlikely to be manned.  The Man in Seat 61 says it can be against the conditions of carriage as you are not permitted to break the journey with certain ticket classes. You would be liable for the difference between the walk on fare and the cost of the one you're using.

ian

  • feat. Undead Jess & Finestre, Queen of Hell
Re: Train ticket prices!
« Reply #28 on: March 24, 2021, 10:26:05 pm »
Getting off the train in Derby has to be a euphemism, right?
Support the Great Surrey Bear Census 2020

Re: Train ticket prices!
« Reply #29 on: March 25, 2021, 08:27:54 am »
With the exception of the channel tunnel, I can't remember the last time I used a train.  This thread has been an eye opener.

Last year, when the UK 14 day quarantine on return was announced, I was down in the Alps for a family holiday.  We didn't join the mass migration of heading for the border to avoid the quarantine, but we did change our plans to be back for school term-14days.   The chunnel ticket got moved at minor price, and the overnight hotel stop was cancelled at no cost (so we were actually quids in) to give us maximum time where we were staying - ironically pretty much self isolating and negating need to quarantine on return. 

£70(ish) diesel filled the car up.  We then (family of four) drove non-stop (except two wee wee stops on a grass verge as the services facilities were closed) from the Alps to good old Blighty and our cosy beds at home. Not much more than 12 hours trip as I recall.   I saw a couple of London registered Teslas on route, both leaving the motorway, and wonder how many times they had to stop to charge up and how long their door to door journey actually took.

At our cost to head home, compared to the stated cost of a much shorter train journey, it's no wonder that cars are still a primary transport choice.

Cudzoziemiec

  • Eating all the pies and drinking all the tea.
Re: Train ticket prices!
« Reply #30 on: March 25, 2021, 08:35:54 am »
There is some sort of commission for the investigation of simpler train fare policies underway right now. It'll probably end up scrapping super off-peak but that might be a price worth paying (sorry) if it brings down walk-on fares.
Riding a bike through a city is like navigating the collective neural pathways of a vast global mind.

ian

  • feat. Undead Jess & Finestre, Queen of Hell
Re: Train ticket prices!
« Reply #31 on: March 25, 2021, 09:35:51 am »
To be fair, we expect transport to be cheap and that we can go anywhere and anytime, and that public transport must be cheaper than the car, or we get angry.

And the main issue is that travelling by car is massively subsidized and while politicians will bemoan the minuscule burden on car drivers they will in the next sentence declare that the users of public transport shouldn't expect taxpayers to support fare reductions.
Support the Great Surrey Bear Census 2020

Re: Train ticket prices!
« Reply #32 on: March 25, 2021, 09:59:19 am »
There is some sort of commission for the investigation of simpler train fare policies underway right now. It'll probably end up scrapping super off-peak but that might be a price worth paying (sorry) if it brings down walk-on fares.

All of these fare reviews have had a requirement to be "revenue neutral", which means for every passenger who might pay less you have to make other passengers pay more, which is why they usually just end up renaming things and fiddling with things no one cares about, or adding more layers of complexity.

If I were god Advance fares would be abolished, thus removing the requirement to decide whether you'll want to travel at 3pm or 5pm on a Tuesday four months in the future. Off peak fares would be reduced to match.

Re: Train ticket prices!
« Reply #33 on: March 25, 2021, 11:04:12 am »
To be fair, we expect transport to be cheap and that we can go anywhere and anytime, and that public transport must be cheaper than the car, or we get angry.

And the main issue is that travelling by car is massively subsidized and while politicians will bemoan the minuscule burden on car drivers they will in the next sentence declare that the users of public transport shouldn't expect taxpayers to support fare reductions.

Please explain, offline if required, the statement "travelling by car is massively subsidized"

I got no subsidies when I paid a fortune for my car, and it costs me per mile for using it.   With the exception it's hardly been used in 12 months due to covid, over the normal lifestyle lifespan it is much cheaper to my pocket than buying train tickets.  However it appears that the government are paying subsidies to the trains and as a tax payer who doesn't use trains I'm contributing to their running!?
https://www.theguardian.com/business/2020/jun/18/rail-subsidies-costing-uk-taxpayer-100-per-journey-in-lockdown

ian

  • feat. Undead Jess & Finestre, Queen of Hell
Re: Train ticket prices!
« Reply #34 on: March 25, 2021, 12:25:29 pm »
Roads, parking, direct healthcare, infrastructure, more healthcare, policing, direct subsidies to car manufacturers, all the externalities of climate change etc. etc. etc.

These costs are massive but are not even close to covered by the costs to buy and operate a car.

As a taxpayer, I'm also paying for lots of things I don't use, that's how it works.
Support the Great Surrey Bear Census 2020

Cudzoziemiec

  • Eating all the pies and drinking all the tea.
Re: Train ticket prices!
« Reply #35 on: March 25, 2021, 01:07:15 pm »
There is some sort of commission for the investigation of simpler train fare policies underway right now. It'll probably end up scrapping super off-peak but that might be a price worth paying (sorry) if it brings down walk-on fares.

All of these fare reviews have had a requirement to be "revenue neutral", which means for every passenger who might pay less you have to make other passengers pay more, which is why they usually just end up renaming things and fiddling with things no one cares about, or adding more layers of complexity.

If I were god Advance fares would be abolished, thus removing the requirement to decide whether you'll want to travel at 3pm or 5pm on a Tuesday four months in the future. Off peak fares would be reduced to match.
If God were a democracy, you'd get my vote.
Riding a bike through a city is like navigating the collective neural pathways of a vast global mind.

Train ticket prices!
« Reply #36 on: March 25, 2021, 01:22:48 pm »
There is some sort of commission for the investigation of simpler train fare policies underway right now. It'll probably end up scrapping super off-peak but that might be a price worth paying (sorry) if it brings down walk-on fares.

All of these fare reviews have had a requirement to be "revenue neutral", which means for every passenger who might pay less you have to make other passengers pay more, which is why they usually just end up renaming things and fiddling with things no one cares about, or adding more layers of complexity.

If I were god Advance fares would be abolished, thus removing the requirement to decide whether you'll want to travel at 3pm or 5pm on a Tuesday four months in the future. Off peak fares would be reduced to match.
Advanced fares serve a purpose. It is disposing of excess capacity. It is like when the supermarket sells off excess croissants for 19p. You have to do it in a way that most people will still purchase full price croissants most of the time.

Edit: in the years BC I would book a £5 Sunday evening train ticket home from random station 150+km away and then cycle there.

Re: Train ticket prices!
« Reply #37 on: March 25, 2021, 02:53:49 pm »
It is like when the supermarket sells off excess croissants for 19p. You have to do it in a way that most people will still purchase full price croissants most of the time.

They started that way (I remember £5 Virgin Funfares that you had to book through a special cheesy website), but on some longer distance routes the availability of Advances has allowed them to greatly raise the price of Off Peak tickets because flexibility is now a luxury and priced accordingly.

Thus instead of stale croissants for 19p and fresh croissants for 50p, we have stale croissants for 49p and if you want a fresh croissant that's a fiver.

(I've regularly seen Advance tickets that are only a quid or two cheaper than a flexible ticket)

MikeFromLFE

  • Previously known as Millimole
Re: Train ticket prices!
« Reply #38 on: March 25, 2021, 02:54:43 pm »
Advanced fares serve a purpose. It is disposing of excess capacity. It is like when the supermarket sells off excess croissants for 19p. You have to do it in a way that most people will still purchase full price croissants most of the time.
I can see what you are saying, but it doesn't /quite/ work like that - If I'm in the house of toothy comestibles to buy toothpaste and spot some of your 19p croissants I might think to myself 'that's a jolly good deal, I'll have a few of those for the weekend'. Excess croissant capacity solved, and a happy customer. (And this is what Mrs M did when she went to the Co-op to buy veg' - she saw some 'Indulgence' cakes being sold off cheap - they were very nice).
But, if I want croissants, then I want croissants at whatever price, and I have no other option other than to pay the price (or not buy them), if they are cheap, then I'm quids in (or pence). I can't pre-book my purchase of croissants at the reduced price.
Back to rail fares - If I want to travel to Oldham* then I want to travel to Oldham, and I've got no choice other than to pay the price (or not travel), if I can see a cheap advance fare then I'm quids in (most certainly a lot of quids).
But, I'm not likely to see a cheap fare to Oldham and think, that sounds like a good deal, I think I'll go to Oldham to see what bands are playing at the Palais**

The railway companies aren't selling off excess capacity - I think what they are doing is demand management, or load management.
The Train Operating Companies don't want everyone travelling at the same time, they want to use their very expensively leased rolling stock as efficiently as possible, so they will sell the first n tickets (note I didn't say seats, oh, no) to Oldham at the price they think they can get away with, knowing that those who are price conscious, and need to travel will but them at that price. As the journey time approaches and these tickets are sold out then they will sell the tickets at a higher price to those who either have no alternative to travel today, or don't care about the price.

It is all far too complicated and does the average traveller no favours at all. Then when you throw the nonsense of rail passes for everyone who hasn't got a rail pass it just gets stupid. (I've got a Disabled Rail Pass because I've got a hearing aid - go figure)

*Why Oldham? - don't know - I'm sure it's fine place.
** No idea if such a venue exists, it should do.
Too many angry people - breathe & relax.

Re: Train ticket prices!
« Reply #39 on: March 25, 2021, 02:59:42 pm »
The railway line to Oldham was converted to a tramway a couple of years ago and now you can't buy a National Rail ticket there at any price.

(unless you start inside Greater Manchester and can buy some multimodal day Travelcard gubbins if you ask nicely at the ticket office)

Jaded

  • The Codfather
  • Formerly known as Jaded
Re: Train ticket prices!
« Reply #40 on: March 25, 2021, 03:02:40 pm »
They key point is basic. ian has alluded to it.

How much should travel cost, given the limited resources the planet has.
If you don't like your democracy, vote against it.

Cudzoziemiec

  • Eating all the pies and drinking all the tea.
Re: Train ticket prices!
« Reply #41 on: March 25, 2021, 03:05:39 pm »
In practice, Advance fares have become the standard for long-distance travel and the walk-on fare is a last-minute premium.

Also, if croissant sales fall, supermarkets can reduce their purchase of croissant dough correspondingly and reallocate the shelf space to Chelsea buns or whatever. They can even do this on a daily basis. ToCs don't have the flexibility to add or remove carriages to their trains except on an annual timetabling basis.

Finally, there is competition between various houses of toothy comestibles offering croissants (and Chelsea buns), whereas there's usually only one house of chugging locomotion going to each town.
Riding a bike through a city is like navigating the collective neural pathways of a vast global mind.

Re: Train ticket prices!
« Reply #42 on: March 25, 2021, 03:11:56 pm »
The system has been horrendously manipulated for profit imo.  I recall that I could buy a cheap return to London from Rugby but on the very same train the return from Rugby to Hemel Hempstead was more than twice the price.  Given that I'd be on the exact same trains but for less time it is not at all rational, fair or even reasonable as a pricing policy.  Imagine buses or taxis running on a similar model.  Imagine buying your petrol and if you are going on a longer journey the petrol is cheaper.  Bonkers.

This is after all a privatised industry being subsidised to the tune of hundreds of millions of pounds from the taxpayer.

Re: Train ticket prices!
« Reply #43 on: March 25, 2021, 03:37:09 pm »
For every advanced ticket sold, 7 off-peak tickets are sold.

ian

  • feat. Undead Jess & Finestre, Queen of Hell
Re: Train ticket prices!
« Reply #44 on: March 25, 2021, 04:07:40 pm »
They key point is basic. ian has alluded to it.

How much should travel cost, given the limited resources the planet has.

This is what gets me. We expect to be able to get from one end of the country to the other, when we want to do it, and how we want to do it, and not pay very much for the privilege. And the moment that need is not matched by our expectations, we get angry enough to write to the internet.

You can, of course, do this in a car if you have one, and it's incrementally not very expensive, because fuel is cheap and the costs of fucking up the planet will be paid by your children. And you're not paying the full costs of everything else that enables you to drive from A to B. So it's always going to look cheap.

There are valid questions on how we subsidize public transport and maybe we shouldn't effectively be subsidizing commuting (especially in the south-east) but that brings us to bigger questions about how we structure society. People shouldn't really be spending hours a day on a train or being the wheel of a car, there's something fundamentally wrong with that.
Support the Great Surrey Bear Census 2020

Re: Train ticket prices!
« Reply #45 on: March 25, 2021, 04:39:31 pm »
They key point is basic. ian has alluded to it.

How much should travel cost, given the limited resources the planet has.

You can, of course, do this in a car if you have one, and it's incrementally not very expensive, because fuel is cheap and the costs of fucking up the planet will be paid by your children.
I am sure I read recently that 2 or more people in a car is less co2 than the train. Electric cars are better still.

Jaded

  • The Codfather
  • Formerly known as Jaded
Re: Train ticket prices!
« Reply #46 on: March 25, 2021, 04:49:12 pm »
The point is that not travelling has the least CO2.

Just been in a meeting, where an attempt at a definition of a market town was made.

It wasn't completed, but what was said was that they thought Market towns were, on average, 8 - 10 miles apart, because that is what people would could walk in a day to go to a market.
If you don't like your democracy, vote against it.

Re: Train ticket prices!
« Reply #47 on: March 25, 2021, 04:55:22 pm »
For every advanced ticket sold, 7 off-peak tickets are sold.

For longer distance routes though?

Currently the cheapest to travel with any flexiblility and without booking months ahead is by car.

I am sure I read recently that 2 or more people in a car is less co2 than the train. Electric cars are better still.

The marginal CO2 cost of travelling by a train that's running anyway is zero.

And the vast majority of passenger miles in this country is already electric, which IIRC is delicious zero-ish carbon nuclear power.

Cudzoziemiec

  • Eating all the pies and drinking all the tea.
Re: Train ticket prices!
« Reply #48 on: March 25, 2021, 05:01:56 pm »
They key point is basic. ian has alluded to it.

How much should travel cost, given the limited resources the planet has.

You can, of course, do this in a car if you have one, and it's incrementally not very expensive, because fuel is cheap and the costs of fucking up the planet will be paid by your children.
I am sure I read recently that 2 or more people in a car is less co2 than the train. Electric cars are better still.
In terms of CO2 per person-mile that might be true. But the train will emit pretty much the same CO2 per journey whether it's empty or full and standing, whereas any CO2 emitted by the car is additional. And then are the non-gaseous pollutions, from tyre particles to noise and further road construction.
Riding a bike through a city is like navigating the collective neural pathways of a vast global mind.

Cudzoziemiec

  • Eating all the pies and drinking all the tea.
Re: Train ticket prices!
« Reply #49 on: March 25, 2021, 05:05:53 pm »
The point is that not travelling has the least CO2.

Just been in a meeting, where an attempt at a definition of a market town was made.

It wasn't completed, but what was said was that they thought Market towns were, on average, 8 - 10 miles apart, because that is what people would could walk in a day to go to a market.
Reminds me of the 15-minute city concept, where all your daily destinations are supposed to be within a 15-minute walk. Something we have almost achieved by accident, as it were, living fairly much in the central area of the city.
Riding a bike through a city is like navigating the collective neural pathways of a vast global mind.