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Old 11th January 2017, 13:48   #121
najaB
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I have been having a place with some milages from an old timetable and have come to the conclusion that however you price rail fares you are equally likely to end up with anomalies.
Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a winner!
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Old 11th January 2017, 15:13   #122
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Originally Posted by PeterC View Post
I have been having a place with some milages from an old timetable and have come to the conclusion that however you price rail fares you are equally likely to end up with anomalies.
I agree. But I'm not sure if that's a bit of a red herring in the context of this discussion, as I don't think anyone is claiming that you could produce a system that has no anomalies anywhere. Rather, the question is, can you produce a system that is workable, and is (a) is fairer than, and (b) has fewer anomalies than, the current system. I and others are suggesting that a system built more closely on mileage (albeit with other factors built in) can do that. So far, I've not seen anyone provide a good reason in principle for doubting that (although I'd accept that you'd need to do more work and more modeling than any of us is probably able to do to prove it one way or the other)..
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Old 11th January 2017, 16:38   #123
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Originally Posted by PeterC View Post
I have been having a place with some milages from an old timetable and have come to the conclusion that however you price rail fares you are equally likely to end up with anomalies.
Not at all.

Some systems are much more likely to produce anomalies than others. The current system where different TOCs, with very different pricing models, price fares for the same sections of track will produce more anomalies than when one body sets the fares. The notoriously expensive Cross Country walk up fares which can be easily undercut by, for example, a string of Great Western/Northern/East Midlands walk up fares valid on exactly the same trains is a prime example.
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Old 11th January 2017, 17:17   #124
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Originally Posted by najaB View Post
Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a winner!
It's not true, though. A pure kilometric/mileage based (same thing) system based on rail miles will by definition not have any anomalies.

It might have undesirable features, e.g. long distance journeys being pricey, no peak/off-peak so peak overcrowding, some routes non-viable, some journeys that are short as the crow flies but long by rail expensive etc - but none of those are anomalies.

I challenge anyone to find an actual anomaly in such a system with prescriptive routeing.
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I agree. But I'm not sure if that's a bit of a red herring in the context of this discussion, as I don't think anyone is claiming that you could produce a system that has no anomalies anywhere.
You could, because provided you have prescriptive routeing a rail-mile based system will not have any actual anomalies at all (i.e. situations where splitting or buying long is cheaper). That's even true if it has a taper, or if it uses notional tariff kilometres.
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Old 11th January 2017, 20:12   #125
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You could, because provided you have prescriptive routeing a rail-mile based system will not have any actual anomalies at all (i.e. situations where splitting or buying long is cheaper). That's even true if it has a taper, or if it uses notional tariff kilometres.
OK, I'll grant you that with one proviso: You may find that you also cannot have peak/off-peak distinctions, since I've not yet encountered any suggestion for how you could do that without anomalies. If you can do that, and have prescriptive routing, then there would be no anomalies (although I'm fairly sure the disadvantages of such a scheme - not least, the complexity that completely prescriptive routing would cause to passengers) would far outweigh the 'no anomalies' advantage). Perhaps I should rephrase my early comment to something like, 'no one is seriously proposing a scheme that has no anomalies at all as a sensible way of setting fares)

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Old 11th January 2017, 22:35   #126
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Agreed, there is, by my mind, no peak/off peak differentiator that avoids anomalies *other than* basing it on journey segments which would require all tickets to be Advances so the correct peak/off peak segment was selected for each train.
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Old 13th January 2017, 13:20   #127
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Agreed, there is, by my mind, no peak/off peak differentiator that avoids anomalies *other than* basing it on journey segments which would require all tickets to be Advances so the correct peak/off peak segment was selected for each train.
Yep.

I think by the way there is another way you can get close to no-anomalies, but not all the way there:
  1. On each route decide on which trains will count as peak trains, and how far out the peak restrictions will go. So to extend my example from earlier in the thread, you might - say - decide that on the West Coast Main Line, peak restrictions apply between Euston and Rugby on all trains scheduled to arrive at Euston between 6.30am and 9am Mon-Fri. So, on any of those trains, you need an anytime ticket to travel south of Rugby. The important thing here is that there is one fixed geographical area that applies to all peak trains.
  2. Set peak fares on all journeys between Euston and Rugby to be some simple multiple of the corresponding off-peak fare. I used 1.5 earlier.
  3. For journeys that are only partially in the peak zone - for example, Stafford to Milton Keynes, the 'anytime' far is calculated as 'off-peak fare' PLUS the peak adjustment for the portion of the journey that's in the peak zone. So if the peak multiplier is 1.5, then anytime Stafford-Milton Keynes fare = off-peak Stafford-Milton Keynes + 0.5 * (off-peak Rugby-Milton Keynes).

I don't think it's possible for that algorithm to produce anomalies for one peak zone: The calculation means that split-ticketing at the peak/off-peak boundary will never be advantageous, people travelling mainly outside the restricted area won't pay unfairly large fares (as is currently the case for many longer distance passengers), and it won't produce any anomalies of long journeys being cheaper than short journeys.

However, that reasoning breaks down if you have two peak zones. For example London-Birmingham: You probably want peak restrictions around Birmingham as well as around London. So for a London-Birmingham ticket, do you price the anytime markup to take account only of the London peak restrictions, or only of the Birmingham peak restrictions, or do you add the markups from the two sets of restrictions together? Whichever one you do, you'll end up creating anomalies. However, I'm fairly sure this will create far fewer anomalies than any other reasonable system (sorry - I don't consider requiring all tickets to be advances to be 'reasonable' and I suspect you agree and have only put that up as a theoretical example )

(Actually, you could avoid anomalies in this scheme by doing things like issuing separate London-peak and Birmingham-peak tickets depending in which zone you're travelling on peak trains, but I think it's obvious that would be too complicated for passengers to be workable).
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******** New post (a few days later and unrelated). Sometimes I wish you could switch off the double post prevention system.... )
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I think the following post from this thread perfectly demonstrates the need for a radical change to the way fares are calculated. It explains the reasoning behing why going via Preston is OK if travelling Leyland-Chorley.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Indigo2 View Post
If you change at Leyland then it is valid under the shortest route rule. If you change at Preston then it is valid because:
Wigan North Western is a routeing point itself (technically a member of Wigan Group)
Preston passes the fares check as a destination routeing point for a Wigan to Chorley journey
Preston to Chorley is a valid local journey in itself (through train)
The Virgin train from Wigan to Preston follows a valid mapped route between those two routeing points.

Because the mapped route and the local journey are validated in separate steps, the doubleback is irrelevant.
I'm assuming the above is correct because noone has contradicted it, but ... how could any reasonable passenger possibly be expected to understand and figure that out for himself? Even I don't understand the reasoning or some of the terminology in the post - and I'm pretty sure I would be in the top 2-3% of passengers when it comes to knowing stuff about the railways. Would even most revenue staff have sufficient knowledge to answer this simple routing question without having to search through documentation? Something better is surely urgently needed when it comes to routing guidelines.

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Old 13th January 2017, 13:39   #128
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I'm assuming the above is correct because noone has contradicted it, but ... how could any reasonable passenger possibly be expected to understand and figure that out for himself?
Does the average passenger need to understand and figure that out for himself? The average passenger goes to a ticket office or website and buys the best ticket on offer.

As Neil Williams posited previously - as long as the ticket office or machine is able to work out what is best then it doesn't matter how complex the system behind it is.
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Old 13th January 2017, 14:08   #129
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Does the average passenger need to understand and figure that out for himself? The average passenger goes to a ticket office or website and buys the best ticket on offer.
I would say in this case, quite possibly. If you have a ticket to somewhere for which multiple routes look reasonable, you do need to be able to tell fairly easily if the ticket is or isn't going to be valid by any of those routes.
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Old 13th January 2017, 14:10   #130
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I would say in this case, quite possibly. If you have a ticket to somewhere for which multiple routes look reasonable, you do need to be able to tell fairly easily if the ticket is or isn't going to be valid by any of those routes.
The best way to do that is to list them on the ticket. With barcodes, tickets could easily be A4 sheets from a laser printer (or otherwise larger) so have much more room for this, or you go DB style and base it on 3 character codes. Again makes no odds as to what esoteric method was used to work it out.

With Advances, all you need to know is the booked train. Again, no need to have a clue how the fare is worked out.
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Old 13th January 2017, 14:19   #131
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Does the average passenger need to understand and figure that out for himself? The average passenger goes to a ticket office or website and buys the best ticket on offer.
Requires the passenger to be clear about their requirement and to be aware that day and/or time of travel can affect the price.

If you then require a complex dialogue to determine the best fare the traveller may simply decide that it is too complex and intrusive and decide to drive instead, not to mention delaying customers waiting behind.
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Old 13th January 2017, 14:22   #132
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I still think Trainline-style (or DB-style) TVMs are the way to go for this. Select a connection by price.
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Old 13th January 2017, 15:51   #133
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If I want to travel from London to Dartford I would not want to be tied to one of the four different routes. If I had to be I'd probably find another way of travelling.
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Old 13th January 2017, 16:03   #134
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Originally Posted by Neil Williams View Post
The best way to do that is to list them on the ticket. With barcodes, tickets could easily be A4 sheets from a laser printer (or otherwise larger) so have much more room for this, or you go DB style and base it on 3 character codes. Again makes no odds as to what esoteric method was used to work it out.
At least that would stop people complaining that Paper Roll Tickets are too big!
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Old 13th January 2017, 16:44   #135
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If I want to travel from London to Dartford I would not want to be tied to one of the four different routes. If I had to be I'd probably find another way of travelling.
Remember that, in this world, all tickets are Advances so you would be tied to a given train, not a given route.
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