Ashford to Ebbsfleet

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Medicy

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Hello! Usual long-term lurker, first time poster. Thought I'd join up because I had a spot of bother with a staff member at the gate yesterday; nothing serious but I just wanted to check if he was right for the future.


I'm often travelling between Ashford and Brussels (thankyou, lower tuition fees!) but yesterday being a Sunday there were no trains (leading me to grumble about Ashford's Eurostar neglect yet again, especially for those of us near the county town Maidstone but then that's another thread). Deciding to go from Ebbsfleet instead for the first time instead of Ashford or St Pancras, I originally booked tickets from Maidstone West which goes via a connection at Strood and takes 47 minutes.

I decided the day before that seeing as the SET sale was on, I'd rather travel to Ashford and take the HS as it would be quicker from where I live and I wouldn't have to change (and I can't think of a way to wangle London CIV tickets to cover me if my train to either Ebbsfleet or Ashford is delayed, so I really don't want to miss the Eurostar). Their website offered a range of tickets, with the two cheapest being off-peak + HISPEED and off-peak ANY PERMITTED respectively, and the latter being cheaper. Clicking the cheapest, and it still covering the direct HS train on the itinery (I checked both the site and my email) I booked that. Picked it up at the station, barrier was open so it didn't get checked there, but the train guard was fine with it when he glanced it on the way round.

At Ebbsfleet however, the barrier guard was reluctant to let me out as he said my Any Permitted was not valid and I should have bought a +Hispeed or travelled through Gravesend. Luckily he let me through before I missed the Eurostar but he told me next time to get a +Hispeed, but surely if I've been told this route by the SET booking website it should be valid? I'm reluctant to go to Ebbsfleet by train again now but if I did I don't want to risk getting a wrong ticket and being given a Penalty Fare or being late for my connection, but I also don't want to pay over the odds! Either way, which ticket would be right for this journey?
 
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MarkyMarkD

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This looks like a fare setting mistake by Southeastern. They don't normally offer "ANY PERMITTED" routes between their own stations - as they renamed all the "ANY PERMITTED" tickets "NOT VALID ON HS1" and then created new "PLUS HIGH SPEED" versions at higher prices.

So, I think that the "ANY PERMITTED" is valid, but it's a mistake. The "ANY PERMITTED" tickets don't come up on the Eastcoast or the Trainline or the MyTrainTicket sites, either, so it looks like it's a partially corrected mistake.

I also can't see how you bought a ticket to EBBSFLEET INTERNATIONAL CIV as that doesn't appear as a destination in the tickets database?
 

MikeWh

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If you bought your tickets through the Southeastern website then print off the itinerary that was geberated by the sale and take it with you. Right now I'd definitely be inclined to write to Southeastern asking them why the barrier staff at Ebbsfleet did not like a ticket sold through their website.
 

bb21

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Yes, it does look like they made a hash of the fares on that flow.

If a ticket is routed Any Permitted, it is valid on any permitted route regardless of whether HS1 is used or not. I am pretty confident that online booking engines are programmed to allow Any Permitted tickets travel on HS1.

Expect the flow to be corrected to Not Valid on HS1 at the next round of fares revision.

Before such an exercise is carried out, I see no reason why the fare is invalid for travel on HS1.
 

MarkyMarkD

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Ebbsfleet barriers I swear are set to accept no tickets whatsoever ..

And ANYPERMITTED is used for long distance tickets ...

But yes it should've stated PLUSHS1 or similar.
It is a Southeastern promoted (encouraged, at least) myth that tickets need to say "PLUSHS1" to include travel on HS1.

As HS1 is just a "normal" train route and part of the National Rail network, many different route wordings include travel on it - in fact, any route wording other than "NOT HS1" which is offered mainly by Southeastern on routes between Southeastern stations as a means of enabling them to offer a higher "PLUS HS1" fare.
 

MarkyMarkD

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Unfortunately, that section - which was produced by Southeastern - is exactly an example of Southeastern's misleading materials re HS1:

NFM11 section written by Southeastern said:
However, tickets (except Travelcards) issued over longer distances e.g. York to Dover etc. which display the 'Any
Permitted' route are valid on High Speed services.
This wording is misleading. There is no requirement to display the "Any Permitted" route to be valid on HS1. On Southeastern's own website they do, thank goodness, manage to be slightly more accurate:
Southeastern website said:
ANY PERMITTED - in the case of long distance through tickets, i.e. destinations beyond St Pancras.

...

Tickets that are not valid on the high speed route specifically state ‘Not Valid on HS1’, unless a supplement has been purchased.
The second paragraph there is the accurate one, not the first. For example, a "ROUTE SHEFFIELD" or "ROUTE DERBY" ticket might quite easily be valid via HS1.
 

robbob700

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in fact, any route wording other than "NOT HS1" which is offered mainly by Southeastern on routes between Southeastern stations as a means of enabling them to offer a higher "PLUS HS1" fare.
Confusingly, tickets routed "Not via London" are not valid on HS1 even if not travelling via London. For example Sidcup to Ashford International requires you to purchase the "ANY PERMITTED ROUTE" ticket to travel via HS1 rather than the "Not via London" ticket, even though using HS1 does not involve travelling through London and is also the shortest route by distance.
 

Medicy

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I also can't see how you bought a ticket to EBBSFLEET INTERNATIONAL CIV as that doesn't appear as a destination in the tickets database?
Sorry, I didn't mean to suggest I'd bought Ebbsfleet CIV tickets, just ordinary Ebbsfleet Int ones. I just meant I was extra cautious about getting my Eurostar on time because London CIV tickets cover you for delays but I can't find a way of doing that for Eurostars from Ebbsfleet or Ashford.

Right, it looks like a fare-setting mistake then? I'll write to Southeastern and get back to you with what they say, cheers everyone!
 

bb21

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Right, it looks like a fare-setting mistake then? I'll write to Southeastern and get back to you with what they say, cheers everyone!
I'm not sure it is the best idea writing to them about this issue. They might realise the error by reading here anyway however do you really want to bring it to their attention? ;)
 

MarkyMarkD

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Sorry, I didn't mean to suggest I'd bought Ebbsfleet CIV tickets, just ordinary Ebbsfleet Int ones. I just meant I was extra cautious about getting my Eurostar on time because London CIV tickets cover you for delays but I can't find a way of doing that for Eurostars from Ebbsfleet or Ashford.

Right, it looks like a fare-setting mistake then? I'll write to Southeastern and get back to you with what they say, cheers everyone!
No problem - I couldn't see CIV for Ebbsfleet or Ashford. That is a point which would be worth raising with Eurostar themselves, as it's unfair that only London can be used as a through "CIV" destination to guarantee coverage for delays.

That said, most or all people travelling from Ebbsfleet or Ashford, instead of St Pancras, will be from the south-east and not using Advance tickets, so it is probably less of any issue other than where the last train of the day home is missed due to Eurostar delays.

You haven't explained where you managed to buy the ticket, as I can't get the "ANY PERMITTED" on any rail ticket website I've tried?
 

Medicy

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Direct from the Southeastern booking website. The fare is a special web-only one for the sale - WEB OFF PEAK DAY SINGLE and is 9.50 one way with a 16-25 railcard (the OFF PEAK DAY SINGLE PLUS HISPEED is 9.95) on a Sunday on the first train of the day Ashford Int to Ebbsfleet
 

156402

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Its not the only fare SE have c**ked up with HS services, see below for another example:

Ebbsfleet Int to Ashford Int CDR route plus high speed £20.60
Rochester to Ashford Int CDR route Ebbsfleet + HS, Not Ldn £18.70

:roll:
 

Medicy

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Reply from Southeastern:

'I am very sorry to learn you encountered a ticket validity problem with a member of ticket barrier staff at Ebbsfleet on 1 April, after having travelled from Ashford with a Web Off Peak ticket, and I do apologise for this. I should reassure you that your ticket was valid for travel on High Speed, the general rule being that any ticket with a destination of Ebbsfleet International is indeed valid on that service. I think the problem here was that this special promotional ticket is a temporary one (finishing this weekend) and has not been set up on the national database to show 'PLUS HS' like other tickets valid on High Speed. I believe a memo did go out to barrier staff about this but I will notify the relevant manager about your experience at Ebbsfleet.'

Looks like any destination Ebbsfleet ticket is valid on HS1 then; that makes it simpler!
 

Oscar

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As mentioned on a previous thread, Ashford does has CIV tickets. They come up under "Ashford Intl" on Avantix rather than "Ashford Intl CIV" and are routed "Not London CIV".
A single from Maidstone is £8.20 and a return £15.80. These are Euro Open Singles/Returns and I think that they work just like Anytime Returns. Eurostar domestic sales should sell you them. I wouldn't be surprised if something similar is available to/from Ebbsfleet but I just can't find it.
 
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