Anytime cheaper than Off-peak.

Discussion in 'Fares Advice & Policy' started by AM9, 20 May 2015.

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  1. AM9

    AM9 Established Member

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    When I checked the fares from St Albans to St Pancras on NRE for my wife this afternoon, I was surprised at the results:

    Standard Anytime Single - £11.50
    Standard Off-Peak Single - £12.00

    clicking on the 'Other tickets' button gives:

    Anytime - £11.50 and Anytime £19.60
    also
    Off-Peak - £12.00 and Off-Peak £13.70

    Now I can believe that Off-Peak comes in different grades (as well as Super Off-Peak) but given that there is only one viable route from SAC to STP and since GTR became the incumbent, only one TOC, how can there be two separate prices for a ticket to travel at anytime?
     
  2. greatkingrat

    greatkingrat Established Member

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    11.50 is the price for an Anytime Day Single

    12.00 is the price for an Off Peak Day Return (there is no Offpeak Single)

    So bad programming in showing the 12.00 fare for a single journey when there is no reason to purchase it.
     
  3. AM9

    AM9 Established Member

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    Thanks for that. It explains why I couldn't find it on BRFares. There is a Super Off-Peak single at £8.40 but as far as I know, they are only available at weekends.
    That would surely confuse a casual traveller who had looked the fare up on NRE only to find that it wasn't available on a TVM.

    So are the different anytime tickets mistakes as well?
     
  4. RJ

    RJ Established Member

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    Because return tickets can be used for a single journey, NRE lists them under the Anytime/Off-Peak tabs as well as singles. You only find out what ticket type each price corresponds to when you click the radio button next to it.

    The principle of a return being valid for a single journey is what's causing confusion. In this case, there is a SDS, a CDR at 10p more but no CDS. So the headline Anytime fare is cheaper than the headline Off-Peak fare.

    It follows that sometimes, NRE will suggest a CDR for a single journey, where the CDR is cheaper than the SDS. Cue people wondering why it's offering a return for a single journey!
     
    Last edited: 20 May 2015
  5. bb21

    bb21 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    This should not really be happening, as these flows should have had a CDS fare introduced at 10p less than the CDR, after the massive exercise a few years back to correct such anomalies.
     
  6. RJ

    RJ Established Member

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    A cursory look at the fares database suggests there are around 20,000 flows which have no CDS and a CDR that's cheaper than the SDS!
     
  7. bb21

    bb21 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    That would suggest to me that they really didn't do a very good job, or that at least some TOCs didn't.
     
  8. AM9

    AM9 Established Member

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    Thinking on from that, isn't using a CDR as a single, technically 'shorting'? With airlines, prices for returns sometimes being lower than a single for the same sector has caused passengers to throw the return half away and book a second return. Airlines, aware of the practice frustrating their attempts to manipulate the market have warned their customers that serial 'offences' my lead to then refusing bookings in the future.
    On rail, without knowing a passenger's identity at the time of travel, a TOC doesn't have absolute control over the use of its tickets, but does seem to have some pious attitude that passengers should adhere to the ticket conditions they publish. If they wilfully propose that passengers misuse a CDR, then they can hardly complain that some may try to use low priced advance tickets in creative ways.
     
    Last edited: 22 May 2015
  9. bb21

    bb21 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Advance fares come as singles, so I can't see how allowing a passenger not to use a return portion has any relevance to Advance fares.
     
  10. Hadders

    Hadders Established Member

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    You're perfectly allowed to use just one portion of your ticket on the railway. The NRCoC specifically allows to to start and finish short on 'walk up' tickets too.

    What you can't do is use the outward portion after you have made the return journey.
     
  11. AM9

    AM9 Established Member

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    Actually I didn't say that advances were used in the same way by throwing the return half (which doesn't exist anyway) away. I was commenting on the example that it sets where the railway itself advises using tickets in ways contrary to their description.
    I have also just revisited the planner and it is also prepared to sell me an Off-Peak Single for £13.70. I have screenshots of both the NRE summary page and the Southern Mixing Deck on which I could complete the sale if I was daft enough. Unfortunately, I'm not sure how to post the images. If somebody could point me to the instruction I will do that.
     
  12. bb21

    bb21 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    The big difference is that not using the return portion of a return ticket is not "misusing" a ticket, as you put it, regardless of how it is named, and is perfectly permitted, whereas "shorting", using your term, on an Advance is against the terms and conditions of Advance fares, as is doing so on some air fares.

    You cannot draw parallels between something which is perfectly permitted and something which is against the terms and conditions.

    If you really want to draw parallels, it would be more appropriate to compare Advance singles with SuperAdvance Returns or Apex Returns as they were called back in the day.
     
  13. AM9

    AM9 Established Member

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    I'm not saying that there is a direct parallel here. It's more an issue of misleading names. I doubt that most people have even seen the NRCoCs but it's reasonable to assume that a return ticket is just that, i.e. is for use travelling there and back again. So when asking for a single, they would be confused if offered a return.
    There are opportunities to misuse advances with little or no risk of getting caught, - mainly over itineraries that involve a station exit to change trains, e.g. across London or at places like Wigan (WGN to WGW).
    The other 'opportunity' to misuse tickets concerns transferability, - especially two-part returns.
     
  14. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    If the railway really cared about that to a significant extent, they'd put names (rathe than just the booker's name) on tickets and verify them at the time of travel. Exactly the same as if event promoters cared about touting they'd do the same (and some indeed now do).
     
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