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Old 4th January 2017, 16:27   #16
Camden
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Perhaps a system of flat fares to cover distance ranges?

London to Edinburgh, Glasgow = Fare 1

London to Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield, Leeds = Fare 2

London to Birmingham, Coventry, Leicester = Fare 3

Birmingham to Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield, Leeds = Fare 3

Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield, Leeds to Edinburgh, Glasgow = Fare 2

and then local fare zones for local travel within areas.

Obviously you wouldn't want jumps between fare zones that seem unfair (ie, you wouldn't want Wigan and Preston in different zones) but that shouldn't be too hard to work out where they should be to and from, with overlapping.

Then it doesn't matter what route you take, as your ticket would in effect be from "North West England" to "London" rather than "Liverpool Lime Street" to "London Euston".

Franchises could then be let out as concessions, paid a fixed sum with performance incentives of various types on top. There would be no TOC specific tickets.

That would keep things simple all round.
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Old 4th January 2017, 16:28   #17
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Mileage based pricing is unviable because it would result in congested routes being too cheap, and little-used lines becoming too expensive. Penzance to Plymouth would become rather more expensive than Reading to London!
On purely fairness grounds, if Penzance to Plymouth is actually further than Reading to London, then wouldn't it make some sense for it to be more expensive?

I can think of one counter-argument: There's a much better service from Reading to London, with much faster trains, and you could argue that should attract a higher fare. I wonder if one way of accommodating that would be for a system that's (roughly) based on mileage-pricing, but not rigidly so. And for it to be combined with supplements (say, around £3) for travel shorter distances on designated long-distance trains where more local trains are available. Thus, you might find that travelling Reading-London would be cheaper than Plymouth-Penzance if you use local stopping trains, but you'd pay a small premium to use the non-stop HSTs. Since those HSTs actually become the 'local' trains in Devon and Cornwall, the supplement wouldn't apply there.


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Originally Posted by yorkie View Post
1) Please give me the proposed fares from York to Whitby for a day return, avoiding Darlington, and tell me how this fare is calculated and whether you think it will be competitive with the coach service provided by Coastliner that costs only slightly more than the current rail ticket price but offers a shorter journey time? Also if I was to start the journey at Church Fenton, would that add to the cost?
Could you argue that, with an integrated transport system, York to Whitby would be much more sensibly made by coach (or perhaps by train to Scarborough and coach from there), and it's not unreasonable for the fare to reflect that - and to be higher if someone wants to go on what is - as the crow flies - a somewhat (although not massively) roundabout route in order to use the train all the way.
(Yes, I do think that a decent fare structure would not only be somewhat mileage based but would feature integration with bus services).

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4) Please give me the proposed fares for a return from London St Pancras to Ashford Intl (and any routeing options you wish to provide) and would those fares apply from, say, London Charing Cross to Ashford Intl? Please give me your calculations for different termini, if they vary..
I don't see any incompatibility between having a (roughly) mileage-based system and having the Ashford-London ticket as designated Ashford-London terminals. After all the actual differences in distance are relatively minor. Presumably travelling via HS1 would attract a supplement for travelling on a high speed train when there are slower ones available.
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Old 4th January 2017, 16:34   #18
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(Yes, I do think that a decent fare structure would not only be somewhat mileage based but would feature integration with bus services).
That kind of scenario is probably best handled with zonal fares of some kind, probably based on the "honeycomb" type zones the Dutch used to use. But even that isn't perfect.
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Old 4th January 2017, 17:18   #19
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I wonder if one way of accommodating that would be for a system that's (roughly) based on mileage-pricing, but not rigidly so. And for it to be combined with supplements (say, around £3) for travel shorter distances on designated long-distance trains where more local trains are available.
An excellent plan with just three potential points of contention (highlighted above). What is 'short' - it can't be a fixed distance nationally as the distribution of stations isn't uniform. Who decides which long-distance trains, what are the criteria? What is the threshold for 'more' local trains?
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Old 4th January 2017, 18:07   #20
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An excellent plan with just three potential points of contention (highlighted above). What is 'short' - it can't be a fixed distance nationally as the distribution of stations isn't uniform. Who decides which long-distance trains, what are the criteria? What is the threshold for 'more' local trains?
I don't think you could do that by formula - it would have to be done on a case-by-case basis, but with 'long distance' (or 'inter-city' or whatever you want to call it) very clearly marked in timetables, and on all announcements.

Examples of where you might reasonably mark trains as requiring a supplement, based on today's timetable might be:
  • All Virgin services South of Crewe/Manchester (but not North of there because they effectively become the local services from Warrington northwards)
  • Great Western HSTs between Paddington and Didcot
  • HS1 trains west of Ashford (the one place where this kind of supplement is in effect already charged)

For what counts as 'short' - I guess you could drop the restriction to 'short journeys' altogether and say ths supplement is payable for any journey that uses a designated train - for passengers who really are travelling long-distance, the supplement would be too small a proportion of the actual fare to be significant.

In an ideal system, I'd envisage a system of supplements replacing walk-on tickets that are only valid on particular operators, which would no longer be sold (except possibly in the case of open access operators)

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Old 4th January 2017, 18:32   #21
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For what counts as 'short' - I guess you could drop the restriction to 'short journeys' altogether and say ths supplement is payable for any journey that uses a designated train - for passengers who really are travelling long-distance, the supplement would be too small a proportion of the actual fare to be significant.
That's roughly how the IC-Zuschlag used to work on DB. It was something like DM7 in the late 1990s, which was a lot if you were going one stop (though you could choose to do that if you wanted) but next to nothing if going the length of the country.

The trouble with the UK compared to Germany is that we don't have a system of parallel IC and regional trains on most of the network, and we'd need to take a substantial hit to frequencies if we did. What, for example, is TPE?
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Old 4th January 2017, 20:14   #22
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Provided the income to the railway as a whole remained the same, which would be achieved by setting the per-mile figure appropriately, franchise agreements could be renegotiated in order to move the requisite money around to counter this problem. They'd need to be renegotiated for any substantial fares system change anyway.
You're also redirecting people off a quiet line onto one of the busiest corridors in Yorkshire.

It helps any argument to close or not invest in the Harrogate line even if you redirect money - in fact it makes it easier to argue the line is sucking money off other more successful lines.

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On purely fairness grounds, if Penzance to Plymouth is actually further than Reading to London, then wouldn't it make some sense for it to be more expensive?
So long as you don't mind pricing people off using the trains in the South West, it's fine.

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I can think of one counter-argument: There's a much better service from Reading to London, with much faster trains, and you could argue that should attract a higher fare. I wonder if one way of accommodating that would be for a system that's (roughly) based on mileage-pricing, but not rigidly so. And for it to be combined with supplements (say, around £3) for travel shorter distances on designated long-distance trains where more local trains are available. Thus, you might find that travelling Reading-London would be cheaper than Plymouth-Penzance if you use local stopping trains, but you'd pay a small premium to use the non-stop HSTs. Since those HSTs actually become the 'local' trains in Devon and Cornwall, the supplement wouldn't apply there.
The problem with this is the local trains between Reading and London are already rammed by the time they get to London. If you price people off the faster trains, they're going to be rammed by the time they leave Reading and local passengers won't get on at all.

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Old 4th January 2017, 20:40   #23
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What about a pay what you think it's worth scheme ? It has been known to give good results in the catering trade, so might be worth a go.
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Old 4th January 2017, 20:51   #24
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What about a pay what you think it's worth scheme ? It has been known to give good results in the catering trade, so might be worth a go.
GTR might have financial problems
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Old 4th January 2017, 22:21   #25
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GTR might have financial problems
Good. Such a shambolic operation would be forced to close down.

I think that people who use quieter services should be refunded a % of the difference in ticket price.

For example;

Anytime single Preston-Birmingham £47.50
Some advance singles only cost £24

If the person bought an anytime but used the service that would have been £24
they should get maybe get X % of the difference in price back.

Maybe 25% so £5.875
Provided they did not break the journey and provided that the train was not full.

"Here you go sir, your £5 voucher for using a cheaper priced service." oh such a vivid imagination.

To summarise, I think the operators should incentivise people to use quieter services. Spread the load and therefore be able to offer more reasonable ticket prices.
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Old 4th January 2017, 22:41   #26
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That's roughly how the IC-Zuschlag used to work on DB. It was something like DM7 in the late 1990s, which was a lot if you were going one stop (though you could choose to do that if you wanted) but next to nothing if going the length of the country.

The trouble with the UK compared to Germany is that we don't have a system of parallel IC and regional trains on most of the network, and we'd need to take a substantial hit to frequencies if we did. What, for example, is TPE?
Agreed. That is why I suggested we'd have to have trains designated as requiring a supplement for only a part of their routes, rather than - as I think was the case in Germany - the IC-Zuschlag designation being for a train. Thus, there might be portions of TPE that should attract a supplement - if there are places where local passengers should be encouraged to use more local services, but you certainly would just mark the whole of TPE as requiring a supplement.
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Old 5th January 2017, 01:19   #27
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So, we have no actual figures to work with, so my questions still don't have proper answers.

We will have mileage based pricing but at various different rates, we will have supplements for fast trains, and journeys like Poppleton to Sheffield have to be bought with a routeing of "Via: Harrogate/Leeds/Doncaster" or "Via: York/Pontefract/ NOT Leeds/Doncaster" or "Via: Leeds/Wakefield NOT Harrogate/Doncaster" and so on and so forth?

It would take an age to buy the ticket, by which time the train would be gone and the guard would be calculating an excess fare for you on the next train!

Presumably the supplement would only apply to the trains via Doncaster, as if you go via Leeds, the speed does not exceed 100mph?

And I thought the current system was complicated
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Old 5th January 2017, 07:51   #28
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Good. Such a shambolic operation would be forced to close down.
So many things wrong with that statement.

What you want is an improved offering, certainly not it being closed down.
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Old 5th January 2017, 08:16   #29
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To summarise, I think the operators should incentivise people to use quieter services. Spread the load and therefore be able to offer more reasonable ticket prices.
They do - Advance and Off Peak. Go any more granular than that and you are just getting hideously complicated.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
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Agreed. That is why I suggested we'd have to have trains designated as requiring a supplement for only a part of their routes, rather than - as I think was the case in Germany - the IC-Zuschlag designation being for a train. Thus, there might be portions of TPE that should attract a supplement - if there are places where local passengers should be encouraged to use more local services, but you certainly would just mark the whole of TPE as requiring a supplement.
Again really complicated.

FWIW DB did have exceptions - some of the one-off ICs that ran onto branch lines would run as IC until the junction station, then would be designated RB/RE and thus supplement-free. (Thus giving some RB/REs with restaurant cars). The Hamburg-Berchtesgaden (Königssee) was one such train.

They also sometimes designated an IC supplement-free (Zuschlagfrei) where there were few local services or high local demand e.g. Muenchen-Salzburg.

All this was shown on the PIS - "IC zuschlagfrei", "IC mit Zuschlag" or "ICE - Besonderer Fahrpreis[1]".

However...there was then the complexity that IR and D required a lower supplement (I think DM3, which at the time was about a quid so barely worth collecting) for journeys under 50km. Which you'd have to work out yourself or wait to see if the guard bothered or not.

[1] ICEs have been market-priced since day one.
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Old 5th January 2017, 09:02   #30
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GTR might have financial problems
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Originally Posted by TrainfanBen View Post
Good. Such a shambolic operation would be forced to close down.
They won't be forced to do anything as they are on a management contract and are not revenue dependant.
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Originally Posted by TrainfanBen View Post
I think that people who use quieter services should be refunded a % of the difference in ticket price.

For example;

Anytime single Preston-Birmingham £47.50
Some advance singles only cost £24

If the person bought an anytime but used the service that would have been £24
they should get maybe get X % of the difference in price back.

Maybe 25% so £5.875
Provided they did not break the journey and provided that the train was not full.

"Here you go sir, your £5 voucher for using a cheaper priced service." oh such a vivid imagination.

To summarise, I think the operators should incentivise people to use quieter services. Spread the load and therefore be able to offer more reasonable ticket prices.
I wonder how you think this would be done? Perhaps a smartcard system that required full payment in advance and touching in and out at the start/end of the journey and on the train during the journey? Sounds a touch complex to me, to achieve much of what our fares system already does.
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