Bank holiday travel demand management

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absolutelymilk

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In light of recent overcrowding on Bank holiday services e.g. Overcrowded Easter holiday 'train from hell' forces police to intervene, I was wondering what operators can do to lighten the load on services that are likely to be heavily overcrowded. This is obviously difficult because it depends very much on the weather and whether it was sunny. This means that they cannot simply offer fewer advance tickets. However there were a few things I thought they could do in the event that they thought particular services were likely to be busy - I don't know whether they already do any of these:

Firstly, simply email those people who have bought flexible tickets online warning them that particular services are likely busy and recommend to travel on an earlier/later train if possible.

Secondly, they could provide some kind of incentive, such as free ice cream or picnic mat (appropriately branded of course) for those travelling before/after a certain time on these services.

Thirdly, and probably most difficultly, when they email people to say that certain services are going to be busy, then offer them the chance to trade in their flexible ticket for an advance (and refund the difference) without charging them a fee, as long as they go on one of the less busy services. Thoughts?
 
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Agent_c

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Thirdly, and probably most difficultly, when they email people to say that certain services are going to be busy, then offer them the chance to trade in their flexible ticket for an advance (and refund the difference) without charging them a fee, as long as they go on one of the less busy services. Thoughts?

What would be the advantage in exchanging a superior flexible ticket for an inferior fixed time one?
 

ainsworth74

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What would be the advantage in exchanging a superior flexible ticket for an inferior fixed time one?

Money back from the sounds of it? Not sure I'd bother! I'd just note which service they wanted me to avoid and then avoid them if possible but keep my flexibility!
 

Rich McLean

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If the trains in question already have zero quota of Advance fares, then the only other real method is to enforce peak restrictions onto certain services which are predicted to be jam packed. However that would have to go through the DfT et al for approval, and doubt that it would ever wash. It would also push people onto other services and make them crowded.

If stock is available, in an ideal world in the case of Padd - Penznace, you would run one fast calling, possibly Pad, Reading, Exeter, Plymouth then stations to Penzance, then a service behind to Plymouth calling at Reading, Newbury, Pewsey, Westbury, Castle Cary, then station to Exeter, followed by Newton Abbot and Totnes calls.

Remember once AT300s arrive, stock can be moved about a lot better to meet demand, even if that means shortening Bristol Services to 5 cars to provide longer formations to Swansea and Plymouth/Cornwall, plus additional queue busters in the paths of Westbury/Exeter Semi fasts running further West
 
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Bletchleyite

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They are essentially kiboshed at doing anything with walk-up tickets because of the regulation of the old Saver. It might be more sensible were regulation based on a basket of walk-up tickets, which would allow a Super Off Peak with Friday evening and Sunday evening restrictions (and Bank Holiday ones in some form) to be added on a revenue neutral basis, by upping the Off Peak a bit to balance.

It needn't be much of a difference, after all people avoid using bags to avoid paying 5p.
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Money back from the sounds of it? Not sure I'd bother! I'd just note which service they wanted me to avoid and then avoid them if possible but keep my flexibility!

Some TOCs have this kind of thing:

http://www.londonmidland.com/download/113349.6/getting-a-seat-from-bletchley/

which really help. Like the Swiss do, I think that data (and data for off-peak trains and expected bank holiday demand) needs to go in the Journey Planner. If I "saw red" and it was an option, I'd seriously consider replanning. The planners could even have an option of "prefer quieter trains at the expense of a longer journey" or something.
 

ainsworth74

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Some TOCs have this kind of thing:

http://www.londonmidland.com/download/113349.6/getting-a-seat-from-bletchley/

which really help. Like the Swiss do, I think that data (and data for off-peak trains and expected bank holiday demand) needs to go in the Journey Planner. If I "saw red" and it was an option, I'd seriously consider replanning. The planners could even have an option of "prefer quieter trains at the expense of a longer journey" or something.

Agreed that would be very useful and something that I think other TOCs are starting to do. I know VTEC offer a similar thing. It's just a shame that they don't appear to integrate it into the journey planner.
 

absolutelymilk

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Money back from the sounds of it? Not sure I'd bother! I'd just note which service they wanted me to avoid and then avoid them if possible but keep my flexibility!

Yes I meant so that they could get money back. I'm sure you would, but many people possibly wouldn't mind getting on an earlier train for the sake of twenty or thirty quid (or more)
 

edwin_m

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Yes I meant so that they could get money back. I'm sure you would, but many people possibly wouldn't mind getting on an earlier train for the sake of twenty or thirty quid (or more)

If they wanted to do that, wouldn't they have got an Advance instead of a walk-up ticket when they first booked? If they selected a less busy train at that time then it would be cheaper than re-booking it later.
 

absolutelymilk

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If they wanted to do that, wouldn't they have got an Advance instead of a walk-up ticket when they first booked? If they selected a less busy train at that time then it would be cheaper than re-booking it later.

What I mean is allowing them to get an Advance at a cheap fare, especially given the knowledge that many trains would be busy. It may not be taken up by many people, but it would be helpful and fairly low cost to the operators.
 

Bevan Price

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Bank Holiday train services ? What are they ? Usually a series of long bus journeys on some routes.
 
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