c2c website does not show cheapest possible ticket on cross-London trips

miklcct

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I'm checking some fares between a station and a London terminal which is opposite to the station, requiring a cross-London underground trip at the end of journey.

I have found a pair of stations which different operator's website shows different fares, which is Upminster to London Paddington. c2c website shows the cheapest fare is £11, anytime day single from London Underground and DLR zones 1-6 to London Terminals, while SWR website shows the cheapest fare is £6, anytime day single from Upminster to London Paddington. TfW website also shows the £6 fares, with a note that you can travel to London Underground and DLR zones 1-6.

If I use Trainsplit to search this journey, the fare shown is also £6 with a London Underground Zones 1-6 to London Terminals ticket, but it says Valid only for travel on London Underground or Docklands Light Railway services which is contradictory to the route which includes a train travel.

So I have questions here.
1. What does a ticket from London Underground and DLR zones 1-6 to London Terminals mean?
2. Is the £6 fare a valid fare for the trip? If so, what are the ticketed stations?
 
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MikeWh

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This is an extremely common issue where travel is requested from a NR station to a London Terminal which is not served from that station without using the Underground. It affects ticket machines at many London terminals as well.

For this particular journey I'd use Oyster/contactless for £5.30 peak single or £3.30 off-peak single.
 

Fenchurch SP

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London Underground tickets can also be used on the c2c between Upminster and Fenchurch Street but like Mike says it is cheaper to use Oyster.
 

Paul Kelly

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If I use Trainsplit to search this journey, the fare shown is also £6 with a London Underground Zones 1-6 to London Terminals ticket, but it says Valid only for travel on London Underground or Docklands Light Railway services which is contradictory to the route which includes a train travel.
If you click on "click for details" underneath that it breaks you to a page which includes the text:
Fare Notes:Ticket valid for this journey under London Underground interavailability rules.

As per what Fenchurch SP has said above, this is treated as one long Underground journey ending at a London Terminal and so the ticket is valid.
 

kieron

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As per what Fenchurch SP has said above, this is treated as one long Underground journey ending at a London Terminal and so the ticket is valid.
Doesn't that depend on your route?

There were two different £6 tickets in the opening post, one going from "Zone U1256 London" and one going to there. C2C are being diverted to Liverpool Street on Saturday, and only the latter ticket is offered then.
 

Paul Kelly

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Not quite sure I understand but Upminster to Fenchurch Street OR Liverpool Street is entirely interavailable, as long as the train doesn't stop at Forest Gate or Maryland. Quite tricky to program that into a journey planner.
 

mattdickinson

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Not quite sure I understand but Upminster to Fenchurch Street OR Liverpool Street is entirely interavailable, as long as the train doesn't stop at Forest Gate or Maryland. Quite tricky to program that into a journey planner.
It doesn't matter whether the train stops at Forest Gate or Maryland. The restriction is on boarding or alighting at those stations with an LUL ticket.
 

Haywain

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Upminster to Fenchurch Street OR Liverpool Street is entirely interavailable, as long as the train doesn't stop at Forest Gate or Maryland.
Those stations are not included* but the stopping pattern of the train has no bearing on interavailability from Upminster (or Barking) to Liverpool Street or Fenchurch Street.


Edited to add: *They are specifically mentioned in terms of TfL tickets routed to U zones being interavailable on National Rail services but not at those stations.
 
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greatkingrat

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Does that mean you can travel Upminster - Romford - Liverpool Street on an Underground ticket as well?
 
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So, is this right? Comments in brackets
  1. Upminster - London Terminals, any permitted: £6 (not valid)
  2. London Underground Zones 1-6 - London Terminals, via Underground/DLR: £6 (valid? Does inter-availability satisfy the route restriction?)
  3. London Underground Zones 1-6 - London Terminals, any Permitted: £11 (valid? But cheaper fare exists)
  4. Upminster to London Underground Zones 1-6, any Permitted: £6 (valid, would normally cost more from other zone 6 stations but I think set at this price because of inter-availability so no separate NR-TfL fare scale)
Trainline, etc. sell (4), which seems to me the right fare to offer. (2) and (3) have the zones at the 'wrong' end which makes me a little queasy but I'd say it's OK. I don't know if I'd use a train with the via Underground fare. This feels equivalent to 'Not Underground' undermining inter-availability through the Thameslink core. PAYG cheaper still as mentioned above.
 

Haywain

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This feels equivalent to 'Not Underground' undermining inter-availability through the Thameslink core.
Not sure what you mean by that - Thameslink tickets routed 'Not Underground' do not have interavailability.
 
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Not sure what you mean by that - Thameslink tickets routed 'Not Underground' do not have interavailability.
Sorry I wasn't clear. Given that "not Underground" isn't, as you say, valid there despite the overall rule, does an Underground only route (which denies c2c, GA, etc.) become OK on a train where inter-avaialbility is in effect?
 

Haywain

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Sorry I wasn't clear. Given that "not Underground" isn't, as you say, valid there despite the overall rule, does an Underground only route (which denies c2c, GA, etc.) become OK on a train where inter-avaialbility is in effect?
Looks like it. They are a slightly odd case though.
 

Paul Kelly

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So, is this right? Comments in brackets
  1. Upminster - London Terminals, any permitted: £6 (not valid)
  2. London Underground Zones 1-6 - London Terminals, via Underground/DLR: £6 (valid? Does inter-availability satisfy the route restriction?)
  3. London Underground Zones 1-6 - London Terminals, any Permitted: £11 (valid? But cheaper fare exists)
  4. Upminster to London Underground Zones 1-6, any Permitted: £6 (valid, would normally cost more from other zone 6 stations but I think set at this price because of inter-availability so no separate NR-TfL fare scale)
Trainline, etc. sell (4), which seems to me the right fare to offer. (2) and (3) have the zones at the 'wrong' end which makes me a little queasy but I'd say it's OK. I don't know if I'd use a train with the via Underground fare. This feels equivalent to 'Not Underground' undermining inter-availability through the Thameslink core. PAYG cheaper still as mentioned above.

Agreed completely on 1.

I think 2 is technically the most obviously valid because the VIA UNDERGRD/DLR route makes it clear that you are using the full extent of the interavailability, since the entire journey must be LU/DLR/interavailable (at least that's my interpretation of that route restriction). There are no ambiguities in how to validate it in journey planners.

I don't think 3 is valid because you would need to start using the U-zone validity already at Upminster, and then there is then no National Rail component to the journey, which would be required with route Any Permitted.

I think 4 is the trickiest one. Similarly to 3, because that ticket is routed "." (as opposed to "VIA UNDERGRD/DLR"), I would say that implies it cannot be used wholly on LU/DLR routes and there must be a National Rail component to the journey.

So to validate the ticket properly you need to pick a station at which you change between NR and U-zone components. This could be Barking, West Ham, Limehouse or Fenchurch Street. I can of course see the argument that Fenchurch Street is the obvious choice, but it's technically ambiguous and depends on how you have programmed your journey planner! Another way of looking at it is that because the entire journey can be validated as made on the U-zone component, you end up with no NR component and the validation fails. But that's more a limitation of journey planner programming. I agree that it's valid.
 
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I don't think 3 is valid because you would need to start using the U-zone validity already at Upminster, and then there is then no National Rail component to the journey, which would be required with route Any Permitted.

I've noticed that within the zones, the zone combinations always cover the whole NR + LU journey (in other words, there are no combinations that don't include the origin and destination station zones). There is no Upminster to zone 1 fare, like there is from, say, Manchester. As it's in zone 6, then, any fare from Upminster into the centre can only be to zones 1-6. For this reason, I'd say that you can transfer networks wherever you like, and that might as well be Fenchurch Street. That isn't using the interavailability, but I don't think that matters, it shouldn't constrain what we can do. Where there is no interavailability, I'd say the same applies. My station, Surbiton, to Tottenham Court Road, would be issued as Surbiton to zones 1-6 - there's nothing else that could cover it.
 

Haywain

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I'd say that you can transfer networks wherever you like, and that might as well be Fenchurch Street.
You could equally transfer at Upminster. Interavailability in this case means simply having a free choice of which service to use.
My station, Surbiton, to Tottenham Court Road, would be issued as Surbiton to zones 1-6 - there's nothing else that could cover it.
It’s not available but Surbiton to Zone U1 would cover it.
 

bb21

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I posted some rules of U-zone fares in this thread previously: https://www.railforums.co.uk/thread...s-from-wimbledon-be-the-best-fares-for.167669

In short, paper train-tube (mixed-mode) fares are priced entirely on a zonal basis on one fare scale so all zones travelled through must be covered by the U-zone element.

Hence to me,
(1) is National Rail only to Fenchurch St/Liverpool St, and Tower Hill/Gateway using NR ticket interavailability on LUL/DLR;
(2) is an LUL Zones 1-6 fare issued by NR to a London Terminals LUL interchange station, valid on C2C between Upminster and Fenchurch St/Liverpool St using LUL ticket interavailability on NR;
(3) is a train-tube fare valid for one journey in Zones 1-6 to a London Terminals NR/LUL interchange station - I am rather intrigued it issued it from U1256 rather than from Upminster to U1256;
(4) is intriguing - If you swap Upminster for Romford or other stations in the zones not on the C2C route then the "Route ." fare is the train-tube fare, so that makes me wonder whether on the C2C route they have taken into account the fact the whole route is interavailable using LUL fares so default train-tube fares were overwritten by LUL prices, essentially making it the same as (2), and also tallies with what I thought (3) should have been issued as;

So for a journey from Upminster to Paddington LUL via West Ham (2), (3) and (4) are all valid, but you will be overpaying with (3) obviously. Via Romford (3) is valid, but I do wonder whether technically (4) is also valid as by the book it is still a train-tube fare, only with an updated fare, which should not affect validity.

I don't believe booking engines generally take into account interavailability when offering fares (with the exception of Trainsplit) but without interrogating them I can't be sure.

C2C website is trying to retail (3), which while valid is incorrect imo. Changing Paddington to U1256 on the C2C website correctly changes the fare sold to (4), so to me C2C website are incorrectly implementing London Terminals fares, overcharging and potentially giving passengers less validity. Should you change your mind mid journey to go somewhere else from Fenchurch St, you cannot with (3) but you can with (4).

From what I can see, SWR are correctly offering (4). Impossible to tell from a test booking whether TfW are offering the correct £6 fare as the exact ticket being sold is a mystery.

Trainsplit correctly interprets the interavailability conditions so correctly offers (2).
 
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I don't believe booking engines generally take into account interavailability when offering fares (with the exception of Trainsplit) but without interrogating them I can't be sure. [...] Impossible to tell from a test booking whether TfW are offering the correct £6 fare as the exact ticket being sold is a mystery.

Trainline (so its TOC clients) does consider interavailability but I think in this case it would find nothing cheaper than Upminster to U1256, which doesn't need the interavailability to be valid. I think you're right that the prices have been modified (almost halved!) to take account of the unusual situation of that line.
 

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