Cambridge to Kings Cross Anomalies

Status
Not open for further replies.

sparky18

Member
Joined
1 Apr 2012
Messages
15
Hello,

According to the National Rail website:
- the cheapest return from Cambridge (CBG) to Kings Cross (KGX) costs £16, but
- the cheapest return from KGX to CBG costs £22.20
(based on a journey on 14th April)

I've heard of "fare anomalies" but this is very odd and, dare I say it, unfair.

Is this sort of asymmetry common? Are there well known examples?

Is there a requirement to use the outward portion of a ticket before the return portion? (ie am I permitted to buy a CBG/KGX return (for £16) and use it to travel from KGX to CBG and back again?)

Sparky
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Sponsor Post - registered members do not see these adverts; click here to register, or click here to log in
R

RailUK Forums

Ivo

Established Member
Joined
8 Jan 2010
Messages
7,307
Location
Bath (or Southend)
There are other examples of this, usually related to leisure traffic and the like, but the one you have highlighted is one of the most well-known. And as you can probably guess, the idea of a return is that you use the "return" bit to "return" - i.e. in response to your last question, no you can't.

However, fear not. Instead of travelling to King's Cross, aim for Liverpool Street. There is a £14.70 return available for this journey. It is valid only on Greater Anglia services, meaning you must travel via Harlow (and cannot travel on CrossCoutnry to Audley End or Stansted Airport), but given the cost saving it is definitely worth the minor inconvenience and slightly longer journey time.
 

MidnightFlyer

Veteran Member
Joined
16 May 2010
Messages
12,846
Is there a requirement to use the outward portion of a ticket before the return portion? (ie am I permitted to buy a CBG/KGX return (for £16) and use it to travel from KGX to CBG and back again?)

Sparky
Yes, if you use the Return portion first, the Out portion becomes invalid immediately.
 

sparky18

Member
Joined
1 Apr 2012
Messages
15
Interesting - I wondered if I'd stumbled across a glitch, but this seems like established practice. How do the TOCs (or whoever is responsible for setting fares) justify charging two different prices for effectively the same thing?

Not a huge surprise that you can't use outward/return tickets in the wrong order, but I would not have been surprised to be told that this was perfectly ok either!
 

philjo

Established Member
Joined
9 Jun 2009
Messages
2,611
At weekends/bank holidays FCC have the super off-peak returns available which are about 20% cheaper than the off-peak return.
These are only available if booked TO London terminals or as a London travelcard at weekends/bank holidays. Presumably intended to promote travel into London.

It also means it is cheaper for me to book to Kings Cross than to Finsbury Park at Weekends.
 

142094

Established Member
Joined
7 Nov 2009
Messages
8,789
Location
Newcastle
In the morning peak, more people are trying to get into London than out, so as a form of demand management, the price of an Anytime ticket from some stations into London is at a higher price than an Anytime ticket from London to those stations.
 

jopsuk

Veteran Member
Joined
13 May 2008
Messages
12,424
but this is off peak tickets, and is the exact opposite
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
At weekends/bank holidays FCC have the super off-peak returns available which are about 20% cheaper than the off-peak return.
These are only available if booked TO London terminals or as a London travelcard at weekends/bank holidays. Presumably intended to promote travel into London.

It also means it is cheaper for me to book to Kings Cross than to Finsbury Park at Weekends.
This is the answer. Similarly, on the Cambridge- Liverpool Street line the super off peak return to Liverpool Street (also valid to Stratford or Tottenham Hale according to posters) is cheaper than much of the line.
 

142094

Established Member
Joined
7 Nov 2009
Messages
8,789
Location
Newcastle
but this is off peak tickets, and is the exact opposite
OP asked how TOCs can justify charging two different amounts, and one of the reasons is due to the peak flow of passengers on some routes (although not in this case).
 

Oscar

Member
Fares Advisor
Joined
11 Feb 2010
Messages
1,127
Location
Switzerland
I'm not sure that the original £16/£22 comparison was necessarily a fair one as the £16 Cambridge - London is only valid at weekends or Bank Holidays but I suppose if travelling into/out of King's Cross at these times, yes, this is a fair comparison and the prices are a little unfair.

London - Cambridge:
Greater Anglia only Super Off-Peak Day Return (weekends/Bank Holidays only) - £14.70
Greater Anglia only Off-Peak Day Return (not leaving London before 08.15) - £18.60
Off-Peak Day Return (not leaving London before 09.30) - £22.20
Cambrige - London:
Greater Anglia only Super Off-Peak Day Return (weekends/Bank Holidays only) - £14.70
Greater Anglia only Off-Peak Day Return (morning and evening peak restrictions) - £18.60
Super Off-Peak Day Return (weekends/Bank Holidays only) - £16
Off-Peak Day Return (morning and evening peak restrictions) - £22.20
 

jopsuk

Veteran Member
Joined
13 May 2008
Messages
12,424
Do such anomalies extend to season tickets, and therefore are there journeys where you can legitimately reverse the flow and make a saving?
If there are any, I doubt anyone using them would like it publicised!
 

Failed Unit

Established Member
Joined
26 Jan 2009
Messages
7,516
Location
Central Belt
I would be surprised if any seasons have differential pricing as they are between stations and a lot of people buy at thier destination to avoid the morning queues.

Getting a season ticket for a longer journey (or better route availability) certainly happens.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

Top