Cheapest way to use Gatwick Express

Discussion in 'Fares Advice & Policy' started by gpb_croppers63, 18 Aug 2015.

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  1. gpb_croppers63

    gpb_croppers63 Member

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    Hi All,

    Sorry if this is a duplicate thread. I did search the forum but didn't find anything that would seem to help me here. Feel free to point me to the correct thread if I've missed something obvious. :)

    My partner and I are flying into Gatwick on 2nd October (arriving at 20:00) and out again on 4th October (flying at 20:20 so we'd need to be at the airport for around 18:15). We're staying in Central London (near to Temple tube station) so Victoria is really handy for us and I would really like a ride on the 442s after my plan to ride them numerous times on a Southern Daysave a couple of years back failed spectacularly due to a power failure on the line.

    I've seen that if I book online with "Gatwick Express", I can get a return for £31.05 each (which is only 45p more than the "Southern only" SOR so not worth getting into an argument about validity for). I was wondering if there was any clever way to get this any cheaper. I've tried fiddling with adding a travelcard and other options but can't see any better prices at the moment. If anyone has any tricks, I'd be really grateful.

    Thanks in advance!

    P.S. We'll be using Oyster to travel around London for the weekend while we're there as it's the most convenient option, unless there's some clever way to bundle this whole weekend's travel into one and thus reduce the price.

    P.P.S. Thanks to searching the threads on this forum, I know not to use the print at home Gatwick Express tickets. I would select to pick the tickets up from the TVM at Gatwick.
     
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  3. dzug2

    dzug2 Member

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    For cheapness there is a £19.40 anytime return on Thameslink to Blackfriars.

    Depends how much the 442 is worth

    What's the reasoning behind this? It's not self evident that it's a universal don't or if it depends on circumstances
     
  4. gray1404

    gray1404 Established Member

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    Can get cashback if you sign up to Quidco then book through GX website. I also have a cashback credit card.
     
  5. gpb_croppers63

    gpb_croppers63 Member

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    Yeah, I'd spotted that one but I specifically wanted to get on the 442s so was wondering if there was a cheaper way to do so. Thanks for the advice though! :)

    As I understand it, the print at home tickets are only valid on Gatwick Express services whereas the tickets from the TVM are valid on any operator should the need arise (or have I misunderstood this?). I also prefer "proper" tickets to A4 sheets printed out at home. ;)

    That is a good tip. I might well look into that. Thanks! :D
     
  6. talldave

    talldave Established Member

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    Because you're travelling on different days, the SOR is actually the cheapest option.

    For same day travel, an Off-Peak Travelcard (£12) and a Gatwick Airport - Boundary Zone 6 Off Peak Day Return (£6.20) beat the Gatwick Express tickets.

    For a single journey, you're looking at an Off-Peak Travelcard (£12) and a Gatwick Airport - Boundary Zone 6 Anytime Single (£5.20), making £17.20 in total each way, making the return £34.40.

    However, if you can live with using an Off-Peak paper Travelcard around London on the 4th October, it's potentially a cost-effective solution. And an Off-Peak paper Travelcard doesn't suffer from an afternoon "peak".

    On Southern's mixing deck you have to be a bit selective on which "From" station to use in order to have the £12 Travelcard offered. East Croydon works, but London Victoria doesn't. During December I use Turkey Street;).
     
    Last edited: 18 Aug 2015
  7. maniacmartin

    maniacmartin Established Member Senior Fares Advisor

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    WebTIS does not offer travelcards if you specify a London Terminal as the destination.
     
  8. talldave

    talldave Established Member

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    It does - try Turkey Street to London Victoria?

    But actually the destination "London All Zones Travelcard" is presumably the one we're intended to use?
     
  9. gpb_croppers63

    gpb_croppers63 Member

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    That's really helpful. Thanks! So basically, for an extra £3.15 over the Gatwick Express ticket, I get the tube to Temple on the Friday night thrown in and all of our travel on the Sunday so we only need to use Oyster on the Saturday then (3rd October). That sounds like a good deal to me.


    OK, so just to clarify, I need a "Turkey Street" (or somewhere else I like the name of ;) ) to London All Zones Travelcard for 2nd October, the same for 4th October, a GTW to BZ6 Anytime Single for 2nd October (can I buy that online or at a TVM?) and a BZ6 to GTW Anytime Single for 4th October. Correct?

    Thanks again for the help. :)
     
  10. talldave

    talldave Established Member

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    Yes! The BZ6 tickets are not available online. On a TVM at Gatwick it'll be easy because you just select Boundary Zone 6 as your destination. But on your return you'll have to select the TVM's "Buy tickets from another station" function - select Boundary Zone 6 as the starting station and Gatwick as the destination.

    You can also buy from the ticket office. But beware, at Gatwick the ticket office staff will try to sell you a Gatwick - East Croydon ticket because it's the same price; but that ticket is NOT valid on the Gatwick Express in conjunction with the Travelcard. And they'll go very glazy eyed if you try to explain why you MUST have the BZ ticket.

    The BZ tickets work the Gatwick barriers and the Travelcards work the Victoria barriers, so you don't need any interaction with the red suits :).
     
  11. AM9

    AM9 Established Member

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    If I understand the above correctly, does that mean that a BZ ticket combined with a zones 1-6 Travelcard allow travel on a fast train from the limit of the BZ ticket through to a London terminal (and vice versa) whether the train stops at the travelcard boundary or not? If so, is that true for all lines from London or just the BML?
     
  12. Agent_c

    Agent_c Member

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    Careful not using Gatwick Express tickets. I have an email chain where they continue to insist that only a Gatwick Express ticket is valid on Gatwick express.

    I did include the "its the same company/franchise" argument which they couldnt countered, but referred up the chain.... but the awaited response from customer relations never seemed t come
     
  13. bb21

    bb21 Forum Staff Staff Member Global Moderator

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    What are "Gatwick Express tickets"? Surely "Any Permitted tickets" are "Gatwick Express tickets" as there is no operator restriction whatsoever. I don't think I have ever seen anything shown as "Gat Ex Only" or anything similar.
    That is the whole point of Boundary Zone tickets. Applies across board.
     
  14. talldave

    talldave Established Member

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    I've used the BZ/Travelcard combination dozens of times. It's perfectly valid. I've passed manual ticket checks on trains and at the barriers. And I've saved a colossal amount of money that would otherwise have needlessly lined Southern's pockets.

    As bb21 points out, there is no such thing as a Gatwick Express ticket.
     
  15. Agent_c

    Agent_c Member

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    Tell them that.

     
  16. sarahj

    sarahj Established Member

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    Well they could be meaning the Gatwick Express tickets that are sold at the travel exchange places and those that are sold on planes. But probably not.;)
     
  17. talldave

    talldave Established Member

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    The fact that Southern's Customer Services department is incompetent doesn't make their imaginary Gatwick Express ticket a reality. And I've had enough interactions with them to know just how stupid they are.

    I spent 5 months trying to get them to fix the Gatwick Express website's validity text for Off Peak tickets. After that length of time they managed to fix the desktop site but the mobile site was still wrong. I see now that they're both wrong again. I can't be bothered to have another series of discussions with people who are idiots in order to try to get them to fix it.
     
  18. gpb_croppers63

    gpb_croppers63 Member

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    Excellent. Thanks for the detailed instructions! :D I think I'll buy the whole lot at the TVM in Gatwick anyway as I'd prefer to pay cash for them (assuming the TVMs there take cash) and it's easier to do it all in one go.

    Thanks again for the help and for the interesting subsequent discussion on Southern Customer Services' ineptitude. ;)
     
  19. yorkie

    yorkie Forum Staff Staff Member Administrator

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    Their ineptitude is due to the top levels of management insisting that they can ignore the NRCoC and make up brands to enforce their own vision of ticket restrictions.

    You will never be able to get them to change their ways, so the bwt thing to do is report any concerns to the ORR and Transport Focus and hope on day it will be solved.

    In the mean time many people just accept what they are inaccurately told and those who do use a ticket on the wrong 'brand', so far have always been other refunded or charged a "Southern supplement" which was subsequently not only refunded but further compensated. People can make their own choices but I know what I would do!
     
  20. gpb_croppers63

    gpb_croppers63 Member

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    Yeah I can see that point but in my case, it didn't seem worth "risking it" for 45p each. I now see that there's a "Southern Only" travelcard for £16.20 for each day which would mean we'd save £2 each over the travelcard+BZ6 option above. In my opinion, this would be valid on Gatwick Express. Would I be within my rights to argue this case with them or is there something else I'm missing with this ticket?
     
  21. talldave

    talldave Established Member

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    If you use that ticket you're guaranteed aggro on the day and will be going down the well-trodden path that Yorkie refers to.

    Personally, I prefer the un-challengeable BZ/Travelcard option, as it avoids delays on the day whilst you're forced to buy a supplement and all the subsequent aggro of dealing with Southern's muppets trying to get your money back.
     
  22. bb21

    bb21 Forum Staff Staff Member Global Moderator

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    I agree. Is it really worth all that extra hassle when an alternative exists?
     
  23. talldave

    talldave Established Member

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    You can't buy the whole lot at a Gatwick TVM as that will only sell you a ticket for Today or an Anytime ticket for Tomorrow (after 3pm today). Thus the useful "Buy a ticket from somewhere else" is only useful if you're coming back today or it's currently after 3pm today and you're coming back tomorrow morning during peak time.

    You have to remember that Southern make it as hard as possible to do business with them ;). I don't think they know why they do, since they're idiots. The reality will be the industry stock response of "we've always done it that way".

    I'd buy the Travelcards online and get the BZ tickets at Gatwick and Victoria respectively on the day of travel, at the same time as collecting the Travelcards.
     
    Last edited: 19 Aug 2015
  24. gpb_croppers63

    gpb_croppers63 Member

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    Yes, good point. Thanks for the advice. :)

    Agreed, it's probably not worth it for a couple of quid.

    Ha ha! Good point about Southern making it difficult to do business with them and thanks for the info on how to get all of the tickets successfully. You've been really helpful. :D
     
  25. lyesbkz

    lyesbkz Member

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    I just used the Gatwick Express website to check the prices and times of the service. Now when I go onto the normal Southern website and put in any journey and click 'Buy Rail Tickets' I get redirected to the Gatwick Express homepage unless I clear my cookies...

    This includes St Pancras to Gatwick Airport which seems a bit unfair...
     
    Last edited: 28 Aug 2015
  26. talldave

    talldave Established Member

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    Yes, that "feature" is irritating - private browsing windows are the solution.

    However, the close coupling between the sites/cookies is why the bonus of quidco cashback works for the Southern website, so it's not all negative.

    If you want a serious laugh, try reporting that to Southern's Customer Services department. The only cookie they'll understand has chocolate chips in it ;)
     
  27. 34D

    34D Established Member

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    For completeness: since the TOC change to GoVia last month, I am now less certain that a 'southern' or a 'thameslink' ticket can be used on Gatwick Express, as all three are brands of the same TOC which is NOT called Southern.

    Personal view only
     
  28. yorkie

    yorkie Forum Staff Staff Member Administrator

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    They can only restrict tickets by Company (NRCoC Condition 10) so any tickets restricted by brand are non-compliant.

    The TOC is Govia Thameslink Railway; there is no separate Companies or Company called Gatwick Express or Southern.

    Tickets routed via a defunct company name become valid on the new TOC. The old names should then no longer be used.
     
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