Cheaper journeys using BoJs

m00036

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Split ticketing gets a lot of coverage but, with flexible working on the rise, anomalies around break of journey (BoJ) rules could also become quite relevant for passengers travelling around the end of morning peak. Similar considerations may also apply to railcard holders with time restrictions.

Before heading any further, it's worth remembering that these thoughts do NOT apply to advance fares as BoJs are not (in general) permitted, and some off peak fares may also prohibit them on either the outbound, return or both legs, so it's everyone's responsibility to check the specifics of the restriction code.

For the illustration, you want to take a journey B -> C but there is a station A before B, and another station D after C.

These are all the cases I can think of, but I'm sure there are others, and any thoughts on the contentious points would be gratefully received.
  • Buying a normal ticket from your origin to your destination (B -> C). Definitely fine!
  • Buying a ticket from your origin to a station beyond your destination (i.e. B -> D). Still definitely fine
  • Buying a ticket from before your origin station to your destination station (i.e. A -> C).
    • If the train you board also called at A and it would have been valid for you to join the train at A given the restriction code, this is clearly fine
    • If the train you board didn't call at A, or called at A prior to its validity starting, it starts getting a bit more contentious...
  • Buying a ticket from A -> D has the same considerations as the above bullet point.
  • Rover/ranger tickets covering an area larger than B -> C
    • If there is a specific time restriction (or no time restriction), then this simply holds for the journey you actually take
    • In some cases, rover tickets are valid from a certain time or when the off-peak return becomes valid, whichever is earlier. In this case, one could argue that the relevant CDR is whichever is most favourable to the consumer within the validity area, incorporating B -> C, while others might argue it's based on the journey you actually take. I'd be interested for any views on this.
While bullet points 3 to 5 do start coming down to how much you want to argue at the ticket barriers or scrutinise the fine print, the B -> D option is frustrating (just like split ticketing) because a cheaper valid option isn't advertised, and yet doing so would just lead to TOCs changing validity instead to "fix the anomaly" which obviously doesn't help customers. Even bullet point 1 is poorly handled by ticket machines because those who are just early for the first off-peak train may be forced into buying an anytime ticket without realising that an off-peak ticket would be valid.
 
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AlterEgo

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Before heading any further, it's worth remembering that these thoughts do NOT apply to advance fares as BoJs are not (in general) permitted, and some off peak fares may also prohibit them on either the outbound, return or both legs, so it's everyone's responsibility to check the specifics of the restriction code.
BoJ is always permitted on the return leg of an off peak return. You will only find an enforceable prohibition on the outbound leg of such a ticket.
 

Deafdoggie

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29 Sep 2016
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I accidentally found an error in the systems, at least I presume it's an error. It could be fares were reduced.
A friend asked me about tickets from A-B I looked them up and it was £125. B is the major city centre station, ticket barriers, 5 TOCs serve it, all trains call there. They asked about tickets to a small suburban station, C, just a small 4 minute train ride away from B. Only served hourly by 1 TOC and a need to change at B, as it was a little handier for their final destination, but obviously less trains.
I know it's the same fare as B. It always has been since BR days. According to BR fares journeys to C are the same fare as B. My friend asked if they bought tickets to C but wanted to finish at B would it be OK, I said fine. But, daft though it seems, if you buy to B you can't then travel to C (although few guards would actually charge you if you showed a £125 ticket to B and said you were going to C).
When they came to buy them though, tickets A-C were £75 on the ticket buying website (A-B were still £125)
Out of curiosity I tried a few websites. Some charged £125 for both journeys, some charged £75 for A-C and all charged £125 for A-B. So it can pay to shop around!
Buy quick though, this was a few days ago and things appear to have been corrected now. But my friend still managed to bag a bargain.
A few searches at the time also revealed booking to C rather than B was cheaper from most places on the websites affected. C has never been so popular!
 

462cd

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30 Dec 2019
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Three or four years ago I went to a football match on an ODR with an A-B-C route. A few weeks later my team were playing at B so I assumed the fare would be slightly less, but was surprised to find the A-B ODR was noticeably more expensive than the A-B-C; of course I bought the A-B-C and just didn't do the C leg.

Just checked and it's still the case (21% cheaper for the longer journey), hence the anonymous station names!
 

yorkie

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It can be cheaper to go further, but if this is publicised it can result in the cheaper fare being increased and/or additional restrictions put in place to put a stop to it.

A good place to discuss such anomalies is fares workshops or forum meals (providing of course no-one present has a conflict of interest, e.g. involved in pricing at a TOC ;)).
 

Bletchleyite

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BoJ is always permitted on the return leg of an off peak return. You will only find an enforceable prohibition on the outbound leg of such a ticket.

8A Off Peaks are an exception to this, though the TOCs that have the restriction seem to show no interest in enforcing it, which does give credence to the idea that it was done by accident.

  • Buying a ticket from before your origin station to your destination station (i.e. A -> C).
    • If the train you board also called at A and it would have been valid for you to join the train at A given the restriction code, this is clearly fine
    • If the train you board didn't call at A, or called at A prior to its validity starting, it starts getting a bit more contentious...

No issues if the train didn't call at A, as you could just have changed at B. Can be an issue if the train did call at A, e.g. you board at MKC with a ticket from Euston on a train where boarding at Euston would not have been allowed but boarding at MKC with a ticket from MKC definitely was.

Also a potential issue in the other direction.

Whether this would stand up in Court (not that it would get there, as the remedy is an excess) depends on the exact wording of the restriction.
 

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