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Old 27th April 2012, 17:50   #16
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A Rugby to Kyle SVR is cheaper at 152.60 or a Rugeley Tv - Kyle ticket is even cheaper at 149.80, both are vaild to start short at Birmingham and both are 2T (after 0415)

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Old 27th April 2012, 20:11   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by General Zod View Post
I recall from older version of the Avantix NFM ( ver 8 I think) that the HWY-KYL fare was priced by Virgin. Was this possible ? This may have been one of the reasons for my confusion.
.

It would have been Virgin XC if you go back far enough. Which made some sense as XC used to used to operate via the West Coast as well as the East Coast before the DfT changed the franchise spec.
Quote:
Originally Posted by General Zod View Post
bb21 : I've been looking for a cheap BHM-KYL advance fare for close to two years - never found one. .
I suggest you write to XC.

Sample letter:-
Quote:
Dear Sir/Madam,

Before 'Simplification' in 2007 under Virgin Cross Country I used to be able to buy a Birmingham to Kyle of Lochalsh 'Saver Return' for 128.70, valid on any train. A fair price for such a journey.

In order to make this long journey I need to start my journey early in the morning. For example, on the outward leg, if I do not leave by 0920 I cannot get there the same day. For the return leg, if I do not catch the train at 0621, then I will not get back until 11pm which is too late.

The price has been increasing for a while, but recently jumped up to 324.00 - a nearly 3-fold increase in 5 years!

Clearly, leisure customers such as myself cannot afford to pay 324.

I am told it is Cross Country who sets this fare. Therefore, I would appreciate your response to the following questions.
  • Why have you increased the cost so dramatically?
  • Do you feel this fare is good value for money?
  • What do you suggest I can do to make this journey affordable by rail?
  • Is this fare designed to put people off using rail and to go by coach or air instead?
Thanks in advance.


Yours sincerely,
I would send a copy to Virgin West Coast, saying that you wish to travel with them, and you have asked XC why the fare is so expensive, and what would Virgin recommend?

Yes, we can provide solutions here such as starting short or "splitting" but I'd be very interested to hear what the TOCs say. Bear in mind that if someone did not know about this forum, they may believe that their only choices are to pay a daft fare, or not go by rail. I wonder how many people go by road or air instead...
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Old 27th April 2012, 20:16   #18
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Dear yorkie,

Buy Advances.

Regards

XC Customer Service.
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Old 27th April 2012, 20:28   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by island View Post
Dear yorkie,

Buy Advances.

Regards

XC Customer Service.
Dear XC Customer Service,

I want the flexibility to only go when the weather is nice. Will you refund my Advance purchased 12 weeks early if it rains on the day?

Regards,

Soon to be ex-rail customer.
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Old 27th April 2012, 20:28   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by island View Post
Dear yorkie,

Buy Advances.

Regards

XC Customer Service.
If they said that I would respond by saying that no Advance tickets can be found for any of the journey opportunities.

(There is also the issue that XC do not have any Advance fares for this flow, but I'd not bother saying that)
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Old 27th April 2012, 20:41   #21
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I have a question regarding this issue.

Isn't the Off-Peak Return (SVR) ticket regulated? XC are preventing customers travelling from Birmingham to Kyle of Lochalsh from using that ticket, unless they are willing to break their journey overnight (which few are). Surely preventing people from using regulated tickets must be contravening legislation? As the whole point of regulated tickets is to ensure that rail remains an affordable mode of transport for all (within reason)!?

It's worth noting that none of the main journey planners allow you to purchase the Off-Peak Return ticket, because they are unable to come up with any journey itineraries!

The last departure from Birmingham that allows the journey to be completed in one day is the 09:20. What's really ironic is that by buying the ticket from Wolverhampton (departing at 09:37, this being the first stop on the 09:20 from Birmingham) the fare plummets from 324 return to 164.70.
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Old 27th April 2012, 23:24   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by All Line Rover View Post
Isn't the Off-Peak Return (SVR) ticket regulated? XC are preventing customers travelling from Birmingham to Kyle of Lochalsh from using that ticket, unless they are willing to break their journey overnight (which few are). Surely preventing people from using regulated tickets must be contravening legislation? As the whole point of regulated tickets is to ensure that rail remains an affordable mode of transport for all (within reason)!?
Yes, the SVR fare is regulated. Sadly, there appears to be nothing in the regulation that says that passengers should not have to pay a huge premium to avoid an overnight stay! For this we can blame the Government of the time of privatisation.
Quote:
Originally Posted by All Line Rover View Post
It's worth noting that none of the main journey planners allow you to purchase the Off-Peak Return ticket, because they are unable to come up with any journey itineraries!
Indeed, that is correct. That is why XC should be made to answer for this mess. It is XC who created it. I also think it's worth copying Virgin in on the correspondence. It looks to me like a case of XC pricing off Virgin's passengers off rail and onto road/air transport!
Quote:
Originally Posted by All Line Rover View Post
The last departure from Birmingham that allows the journey to be completed in one day is the 09:20. What's really ironic is that by buying the ticket from Wolverhampton (departing at 09:37, this being the first stop on the 09:20 from Birmingham) the fare plummets from 324 return to 164.70.
Yes, but that train is apparently full of Birmingham to Wolverhampton commuters you see, and for that a premium of 159.30 applies

It's a similar story for a passenger travelling from Par (depart 0928) to York on the only through train of the day, there are apparently loads of Par to Bodmin Parkway (arrive 0937) commuters and for this, a huge premium applies from Par. (333 is the return fare from Par to York, while 155.70 is the return fare from Bodmin Parkway!). The premium between Par & Bodmin on that train is a whopping 177.30.

The managers who decide these things are completely out of touch with reality.

Perhaps the local media in Cornwall would be interested in a potential story?

And perhaps Scotland's National Tourist Board would be interested to know how Cross Country are pricing people off journeys to Scotland?
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Old 27th April 2012, 23:40   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by All Line Rover View Post
Isn't the Off-Peak Return (SVR) ticket regulated?
Yes.
Quote:
Originally Posted by All Line Rover View Post
Surely preventing people from using regulated tickets must be contravening legislation?
Preventing passengers from using regulated tickets at a time that they must be made available would be contravening the terms of the franchise. Unfortunately, I don't think this has happened in this instance.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rail Fares and Ticketing Review: Initial consultation
Annex A: How fares and ticketing regulation works

33. Long-distance travel
An off-peak, walk-up fare for long-distance journeys is regulated where an equivalent fare existed in 2003. Both the price and the restrictions on these fares are regulated: these fares must be available for use after 10.30 on weekdays and all day at the weekend, except for journeys from London area stations or (when travelling away from London) from stations between London and Reading, Watford, Luton or Stevenage inclusive, where train operators are permitted to restrict the use of these fares between 15.00 and 19.00 Monday to Friday.

http://assets.dft.gov.uk/consultatio...n-document.pdf
By allowing the SVR Birmingham - Kyle "by any train except those scheduled to depart Monday to Friday before 0930", XC appear to be meeting the requirement that the "fare must be available for use after 10.30 on weekdays and all day at the weekend".
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Old 28th April 2012, 09:49   #24
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I get the impression that absolutely no thought was paid to passengers making long distance journeys when this legislation was drafted up.

However, it still might be worth complaining to the DfT and/or ATOC and/or local authorities about this matter, as I don't think it is within the spirit of the rules to prevent people from being able to use regulated tickets in a reasonable way.
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Old 28th April 2012, 13:14   #25
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Here is a list of supposed various Advance single tickets available for the BHM-KYL journey.



I've searched up to the end of July ( on the XC booking site) and the only fares coming up are the Anytime singles (1st & STD). A similar thing happens on the Virgin trains website. I begin to question myself , "Do Advance singles for this route actually exist and if so then the quota must sell out very quickly ?" Surely there isn't such a high demand for the journey that the latter is the case ? I would be most enlightening to know how many BMH-KYL VWC & Connections 23 Advances go on sale and if any lucky customer has had the good fortune to be in a position to purchase one !
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Old 28th April 2012, 13:21   #26
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Don't be surprised about the quota selling out, remember scotrail will have a lower quota than virgin. It could of course be that scotrail is not open yet. Inter-operator APs are a pain!
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Old 28th April 2012, 13:31   #27
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Presumably, for inter-operator APs, it is quite feasible that none are ever available for the through route, because the leg which goes on sale first may sell out so quickly that by the time the second leg is available, there is no AP availability on the first train?
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Old 28th April 2012, 15:44   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkyMarkD View Post
Presumably, for inter-operator APs, it is quite feasible that none are ever available for the through route, because the leg which goes on sale first may sell out so quickly that by the time the second leg is available, there is no AP availability on the first train?
Perhaps if pushed to reply when an Advance BHM-KYL was actually available (because the peak fare to avoid overnighting is so high) CrossCountry would admit that the only way to do both halves of the journey was on split tickets.

Last edited by HowMuch?; 28th April 2012 at 15:44. Reason: added "Perhaps"
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Old 28th April 2012, 15:58   #29
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XC have been known to advise people to buy a combination of tickets. I'd be interested to hear what they advise for this journey.
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