Advance tickets not available online due to journey planner limitations

Discussion in 'Fares Advice & Policy' started by 158757, 13 Apr 2015.

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  1. 158757

    158757 Member

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    I'm trying to book advances for Stalybridge-Bangor out on 1st May, back on 4th May. I can book advances Stalybridge-Llandudno Jn or Stalybridge-Holyhead, but not for my journey. Usually if they are sold out the fares appear in webtis but are greyed out. I rang ATW regarding this (they are very helpful in customer services-highly recommended) and apparantly to get the advance fares for Stalybridge-Bangor to show you have to put in via Manchester Piccadilly and Chester AND avoiding Liverpool. Obviously you can't have this many options on online journey planners so they can only do it via Telesales or at a station. Has anyone else ever encountered this before whereby there are advance tickets but due to limitations on journey planners you can't buy them online? It's certainly the first time I have.
     
  2. Arctic Troll

    Arctic Troll Established Member

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    You might want to play around with it, it's saying that to force you on to the ATW trains from Manchester. Would putting in via Helsby or Frodsham assist?
     
  3. life210

    life210 Member

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    Hi, I have faced the same problem, where I am traveling from Leeds to Leicester, but the the journey planners always show a change at sheffield, however if i change at derby, it is cheaper. To get round this, I use the fare bands to find the cheaper rate.
     
  4. RJ

    RJ Established Member

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    Not an error as such, but Southeastern's apparent policy of not wanting Advance ticket holders on 'peak' HS1 services impacts on Advance fares offered by other TOCs. For example, Manchester to Canterbury - for most of the departures between 12:15 and 17:15 from Manchester, there are no Advance fares shown by default.

    If the via point is manipulated to force a route that doesn't use HS1, Advance fares will appear. It would seem that Southeastern are interfering with other TOCs' attempts at yield management, but I suppose what goes on with the journey planner isn't their problem. I have friends in Canterbury that would buy an Advance ticket, but would sooner take the coach than pay the £105 Off Peak fare for that journey.

    I wonder if the powers that be expect that Joe Public will work out why there are no cheap fares available for a large part of the afternoon.

    It now appears HS1 services are quota controlled, with the quota set at 0 for 'peak' services with certain ticket types. Initially the HS1 time restrictions were published in the restriction codes of Advance fares. The text appears to have been removed from EMT's and Virgin's Advance restriction codes, but still appear in those published by East Coast;

     
    Last edited: 15 Apr 2015
  5. Indigo2

    Indigo2 Established Member

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    I'm not convinced it's a journey planner limitation; I think it may be an error in the fares database. Have you actually managed to buy the tickets via Telesales or at a station?

    The reason I'm suspicious is as follows. If you look at fares from Stalybridge to Bangor Gwynedd and scroll down to the "Advance Purchase Fares – Standard Class" section you will see under each fare the text "Journey must include travel on the following main TOC: ARRIVA TRAINS WALES". Usually that is followed by an indication of which connecting trains are allowed, but in this case there is no such indication.

    On the other hand, if you look at fares from Stalybridge to Llanfairfechan, under each advance fare there is the indication "Journey must include travel on the following main TOC: ARRIVA TRAINS WALES
    Connecting travel (where permitted by routeing) is allowed on: any TOC".

    I think problem is with restriction code AE (used for the Bangor fares) - it doesn't allow any connecting TOCs to be used, and since ATW don't operate between Stalybridge and Manchester, these fares are never made available for sale. That's my theory anyway.
     
  6. Romilly

    Romilly Established Member

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    By way of a practical solution for now, maybe buy Manchester Piccadilly-Bangor advances (quota is running low on some of the prices currently quoted for 1 and 4 May) plus Stalybridge-Manchester singles. That seems likely to be cheaper than Stalybridge-Llandudno Junction advances combined with Llandudno Junction-Bangor singles.
     
  7. 158757

    158757 Member

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    If it is a restriction code error, how does one go about correcting it? I make this journey 3-4 times a year and although I can buy Manchester-Stalybridge singles, because I come back on different days this wipes out usually at least half the saving made by buying in advance. I haven't tried to buy using the suggestion but might do at my local station while it is quiet one day.
     
  8. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    What price were you expecting, and for what itineraries?

    You say online planners don't provide that many options, but are you aware some forum members have created a booking engine called Trainsplit?

    This has one via/calling at plus up to 3 avoids, and the option to alter the interchange time. It may find a split, but it's cheaper for a through fare, it has more options to identify them.

    There are other limitations with Trainsplit which will slowly be phased out over time as further improvements are made.
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    By contacting the pricing manger. This may be possible to achieve by making a request though Customer Services.

    At some TOCs, the request is received directly simply by posting on this forum ;):lol: (sometimes to our benefit, and sometimes not!!)
     
  9. 158757

    158757 Member

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    I wasn't expecting a price, I just wanted to see what there was.

    I tried trainsplit with no joy (other than the already known split at Flint for flexible fares) as by the time you factor in two singles at the end of each journey (e.g LLJ-BNG or SYB-MAN) as I'm coming back different days it adds at least £8.80 onto the journey which makes any saving non existant or minimal and not worth it compared to flexible tickets.

    I did ask at the ticket office tonight with the via/avoid points input but they couldn't bring any up either so I think it is the restriction code that is causing it.

    I'll try and tweet them tomorrow with a link to this thread (they're very good on twitter) and see if someone can change it. It's a journey I make at least 4 times a year but have yet to find a saving on advances that isn't wiped out by having to buy Stalybridge-Manchester singles as part of the journey.

    All the other destinations Stalybridge-North Wales Coast with advances showing have restriction code AC when you look them up on brfares.com, so I think it is restriction code AE on the Stalybridge-Bangor fares which is causing them to block.
     
  10. 158757

    158757 Member

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    I tweeted ATW about this, and sure enough it is the restriction code. They've looked into it and now changed it so AP tickets are available from 17th May onwards, see here:

    https://twitter.com/ArrivaTW/status/594911673644875776

    Told you they were good on twitter-very impressed! :)
     
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