Fare changes from September 2008

Discussion in 'Fares Advice & Policy' started by yorkie, 22 Feb 2008.

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  1. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    You may remember the Delivering a Sustainable Railway White Paper states that ticket types are going to be changed. The rumour is that this is going to take place from September 2008 (which seems an odd date - will there then be additional rises in January 2009? could be an excuse to have 2 rises?!).

    It looks like fares such as Business Savers are to be abolished, and Saver Singles (renamed Off Peak) are to be half the price of returns.

    If you take York-London, the BVR is £112.50, half the SVR fare would be £37.55 and the SOS is £88.50, so the total under the new system would be £126.05, an increase of around 12%.

    The distinction between CDR and SVR seems to be that the former will be prefixed with "day". So, in order to carry out their promise of making things simple, they will either have to enable the outward portions to allow break of journey (BOJ), or they will result in CDRs being more limited by not allowing BOJ. I know which I'd rather have!

    How will York-Sheffield fares work out? Thre is no Standard Open Return, because the SVR is an open ticket. So, presumably the Saver will be renamed 'Anytime' and the CDR will be called Off Peak. Or will it? Well that's what should happen, but I do worry that some beancounter will decide that all SVRs should be re-branded "Off peak" without understanding the fact that SVRs are actually 'peak' tickets on many routes. It's not all good news if this happens, though. Railcard holders could suffer a huge increase in fares before 10am. At present, the SVR has a £8 min fare for Y-P holders, yet the SDR minimum is £16. So a York to Sheffield journey at peak time costs £11.15. If the Saver is renamed Anytime, then (assuming that, as Anytime is generally replacing SOR/SDR) that will result in YP holders having to pay £16.00 (only 90p discount), which is effectively a massive fare rise. What's the alternative? Well, the SVR could be re-branded as "Off Peak" but then people might get confused that such a ticket can be used at any time...

    Any more conundrums out there?

    (Note: all fares above are from NFM95)
     
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  3. devon_metro

    devon_metro Established Member

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    Christ not more price hikes :roll:

    At least FGW have frozen their fares :D
     
  4. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    They are claiming it will benefit passengers, however I am certain there will be winners and losers.

    All advance fares have to offer railcard discounts, apparently. I can't see NXEC allowing people to travel from York to London for £6.65. They will want at least, say, £9 per seat, so they may increase the £10 (no discounts) singles to maybe £13.50 (with discounts). The winners here will be railcard holders but I can see everyone else losing out for sure.
     
  5. me123

    me123 Established Member

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    Fantastic news, then! The AP fares I purchase don't have discounts which is a tad infuriating, but they still represent value. As a potentially frequent user of the Abedeen-Edinburgh line around about this time (if I get into university up there), this could save me a lot of money.

    Otherwise, well, it's the typical rail network trying to get more money off us and into their pockets really. It could benefit some people, but I can see a lot of people being pretty bummed at these proposals.
     
  6. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    Is that the VALUE ADVANCE1 AP SCOTRAIL ONLY? it could potentially save you £14 per journey, that's if FSR don't increase it.

    FSR are notoriously bad value though, I see your fare is c£41 but it's cheaper than that from London with NXEC, and only £5 less than the fare from Penzance via London on FGW+NXEC!

    I remember once requiring a Wick-Edinburgh single and booking to Sheffield to save money!
     
  7. me123

    me123 Established Member

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    I know :shock: AP to Aberdeen at £20 ain't bad (AP2s don't tend to sell out too fast), but I'm saving a lot going to Edinburgh and getting the HST up. Better service, better traction, more miles... Definately worth it.

    Scottish fares are really bad in places anyway, becasue of the dense Glasgow commuter network imtermingling with long distance services i would imagine, but when you can travel ABD-LKX cheaper than ABD-GQS... well, there's something wrong there...
     
  8. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    An update:

    In May the Advance fares will change to a common structure, all with the same conditions.

    In September walk-on fares will follow.

    I've also been informed that Savers with code 8A will be re-named 'Anytime', and Savers that are restricted will be 'Off Peak'.

    Unfortunately, this could drastically increase prices for railcard holders who have a £8 minimum fare before 10am on Saver returns but this is £16 on Standard returns. Unless the minimum is decreased to £8 (about as much chance as pigs flying), it can only be assumed that the Savers that get re-branded 'Anytime' will increase in price to railcard holders before 10am. However ATOC are, as to be expected, hardly being transparent in this area, so we just do not know.

    Further complications could also follow. For example, York-Peterborough Savers are valid on any train, so they will presumably be re-named 'Anytime'. But currently if someone fails to buy a Saver before they commence their journey (assuming the station they start at is staffed) then NatEx can ching them the full Standard fare. But if the Saver becomes the Anytime, it is then the full fare, so how can they ching you? I don't know how much money the likes of NatEx make by chinging people on board but I can't see them happy at losing this source of revenue. While it would be a big boost for customers to be able to buy on board without being penalised (and well done to GC for doing that!), most TOCs don't really want to treat their customers as well as the likes as GC and HT so they won't be happy. So, will NXEC restrict the Saver in order to avoid this happening? They'd better not do...!
     
  9. paul1609

    paul1609 Established Member

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    Surely if you are going to simplfy fares you need to apply the same terms nationwide.
    I would suggest all savers would be banned before say 10 am.
     
  10. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    By terms do you mean the restriction codes? that'll never happen! The TOCs like to confuse us with dozens (hundreds?) of different codes. Most guards don't even know what the codes are, let alone what they mean (they can't learn them all because there are too many of them).
    Savers won't exist!! Do you mean all Off Peak travel starts at 10am? That would be a bit extreme! Super Off Peak could start at 10am, that would seem fair to me.

    Anyway, going back to what I was saying earlier, I can see another problem for the TOCs. If, as mentioned earlier, Savers with code 8A, which are valid on any train, get re-branded as "Anytime", then that will legitimise the practice of using a ticket from somewhere like Flint to London to bring the price down. While it can (and, I am sure, is) done at present, by pretending the started at Flint, these changes should mean this ticket gets re-named 'Anytime' that you CAN then start your journey short* on this ticket, making it totally legit to turn up at Chester and ask for a ticket from Flint and start your journey "short".

    According to Avantix traveller from last year, a Flint to London SVR was £59.70 (code 8A), but a SOR does exist (£183). With a SVR valid at peak time, there is arguably no point in the SOR, apart from as in the Peterborough example above, VT presumably only ever sold SORs on the train. If the SVR becomes the AnyTime (as the TOCs seem to suggest!), then it becomes the peak ticket, then how can the existing SOR also be re-named AnyTime? it can't, so if it ceases to exist, Virgin can't ching anyone on board. They won't like that!

    * I am assuming that all "Anytime" tickets will allow break of journey as with existing standard open/day tickets. I don't see how they can allow it on some and not others...
     
  11. Techniquest

    Techniquest Veteran Member

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    Hold on, wasn't this whole scheme to make it simpler? I'm now super confused by that lot, wanting the current system to stay as it is. Hell, from what I've seen the current system is easy to understand compared to the proposed scheme.

    *Walks off shaking head, wondering when it will ever be simple to travel by train in the UK*
     
  12. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    It could be simpler, but as I said earlier, if it is kept as simple as they claim, it's going to be incredibly good for passengers - too good, I fear, because the TOCs aren't going to like it.

    The only way they can keep it simple, and be of genuine benefit for all passengers is if they:-
    1) Rename all 8A Savers as "Anytime" as previously mentioned but without increasing any costs
    2) Abolish the fares currently known as SORs, where they exist for any journeys applicable in point 1).
    3) Consistently apply a £8 min fare before 10am for railcard holders (not £16 or £8 as at present)
    4) Have single versions of ALL fares as 50% of the return cost, without fail.

    If they do all that, then yes it is going to be simpler, almost no-one will lose out, and it will be genuinely good for passengers. But can you see the TOCs agreeing to that?
     
  13. me123

    me123 Established Member

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    Problem is that 4) would make the £8/16 rule easier to enforce, as it then implies that the 2x£8 single journeys can be the same as a £16 return journey therefore returns will definatrely be priced at £16 minimum... I know what I'm trying to say.

    I really don't agree with 4:

    1) I've said it above
    2) It encourages ticketless travel. If 2 singles are the same as a return, people could and will chance their arm getting one of the legs for free.
    3) They will use it to increase the price of return fares. Guaranteed.

    I do agree, however, that single tickets should be much cheaper than return tickets, but it must be that a return is cheaper than twice the respective single fare.
     
  14. Techniquest

    Techniquest Veteran Member

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    Too flaming right, that's the way it should have been all of the time. Returns being only pence (in the case of dozens of CDRs at least) more than a single? Ridiculous.

    Here's to a decently worked out scheme by the time it's implemented.
     
  15. paul1609

    paul1609 Established Member

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    I think the fairest way would be to have the same time bands accross the whole country.
    If you are simplfying the whole structure the codes have got to go.

    10 am for off peak and 12 pm for super off peak is what many parts of the southeast are paying now.

    Of course if you simplfy the situation some parts of the country are going to face fairly large increases but these are the areas that have enjoyed hugely subsidised cheap fares for years.

    I think the Shotton/ Flint fares are a farce and should be abolished.
     
  16. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    If you buy 2 singles you are already subject to £8 min each way! The minimum is applied to the ticket. All singles are £8! Some returns are £8 and some returns are £16. What I am saying is that if they don't reduce the £16 ones to £8 then what they are proposing will not be a good deal for many people.
    ?
    But that's already the case with SOSs and AP tickets. I think what they are saying is they want to simplify things. If you say it's half for some and not others then you aren't simplifying.
    As I said before, it's only a good deal for passengers if they do not raise any prices and do the above - that's singles half the returns, not the other way round! Obviously, if they propose to do as you suggest then that would be a serious concern and we should all object.
    But that isn't the case for Standard Open or advance tickets, so to implement that means SORs being reduced (can't see that happening) and advance tickets being reduced if you get two (can't see that happening either) or increasing the cost of SOSs and advance singles (doesn't sound good to me).

    As for paul1609's 10am rule - I think people doing Inverness to London would object to not being able to use a Saver (sorry, "Off Peak"!) on the only direct train of the day (which doesn't get to London 'til well after the morning peak!!), and from York, the 0938 is bad enough without having to wait for the 1004 (!!!!) and no, we aren't subsidised..!

    and to pigs flying!!! (and I don't mean 442s flying down the Brighton mainline ;))
     
  17. paul1609

    paul1609 Established Member

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    Actually Yorkie the ECML is a heavily subsidised service. The small premium paid by GNER/ NXEC no way covers the huge sudsidy paid to Network Rail for the infrastructure.
     
  18. Metroland

    Metroland Established Member

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    Yes, since we had to buy back the railway from the shareholders and paid a very large amount of money for the privilege. A situation that didn't exist pre 2001.

    I'm yet to see any evidence the government can run the railway any safer/better/more cost effectively than the private sector.

    In the same period Indian railways is now sitting on huge cash surpluses, their railway is so successful it's been used as an example in American business schools.

    Personally I think people get caught up too much with the idea of subsidy to the railways, it's called investment in roads. Transport gets by far the least amount of money of any sector from the treasury, and is one of the most important. Part of the railway subsidy it to pay for the huge underinvestment since the war. Rail use has grown at 50% since 1997, compared to 12% on the road network, and domestic flights are in decline. This is despite record fare increases.
     
  19. me123

    me123 Established Member

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    But, Yorkie, AP tickets can't be boought onboard!
     
  20. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    In that case all bus journeys are subsidised. And taxis too. And, actually, a lot of car travel, especially in rural areas! As Metroland pointed out, road investment is never counted as subsidy. So why should rail investment?

    The ECML can only be counted as subsidised if you count many other forms of transport as subsidised, and I think you'd have to include walking in that too. (!!)

    I didn't say they could! I don't think the fares changes have anything to do with the point of sale though.
     
  21. Metroland

    Metroland Established Member

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    All forms of transport are subsidised. Either because of direct government subsidy (rail is not the only one to get it, buses get £2.5 billion subsidy and there are numerous subsidy and PSO grants to airlines, plane and car makers, energy companies), tax breaks, lack of payment for externalities (if you don't know what those are look here http://tutor2u.net/economics/content/topics/externalities/what_are_externalities.htm ) or indirect benefits.

    A good example of the latter are airports. Airports cannot function without supporting road and rail infrastructure, yet airport authorities rarely pay for it. In fact Bournemouth Airport access improvements has just appeared on my council tax bill, as have many road construction charges. So yes even if you don't own a car or fly, you are paying for it.

    Even very successful companies like Tesco are in receipt of indirect subsidy through agricultural subsidy and the tax credits system, which bolsters low paid employees pay.

    For some reason some (right wing?) rail commentators are obsessed by subsidy. Like it or not, the railways perform an essential public service in this country, to reduce congestion, provide point-point networks quicker than other methods of transport over certain distances, and provide transport services to the 25% of households without cars or to people in households with 1 car who do not have access to the vehicle, or the £76 billion tourist industry. 82% of travel into the centre of our capital city is by rail, the whole economic geography of the powerhouse of the SE would be different without it. All this generates positive economic benefits for the country.

    http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/news/nol/shared/bsp/hi/pdfs/13_03_08bud08_completereport.pdf

    On page 11 of this document is public spending.

    Note transport gets the least spending of any sector, and rail a small proportion of that. I use the railways all the time because I don't have a car, it is completely essential to me and a lot of people, it is a public service. there is no alternative that provides the speed or frequency to the places I want to go. Yet I see frequent messages obsessed with closing services.

    Well how about closing a few hospitals and schools and making everyone pay the full cost of that, and going private. Private companies controlling things we need? Pah! Well housing, food and water are THE most important things for most people yet they are in private hands?

    Is all public money spent on things that are value for money, or we really need, or could be done cheaper? Is cheap always good, like factory farming? Should doctors really get paid £300,000 a year or do we really need 50% of people at university, or should heart operations be on the state? After all, many people make themselves ill. Why should I 'susidise' people with bad lifestyles or everyone else's children? Perhaps we should create less wars, and cut the defence budget, or have no social security? Yet all the latter are virtually unquestioned public services, and nobody ever questions 'the subsidy'.

    I don't use hospitals very much and schools at all. But I realise we live in a society where there are positive benefits of having things and I am happy to pay for it, even if I don't directly use them myself and use some things that people moan about the 'subsidy' far, far more.

    It's called society, so give it a rest, please.
     
  22. me123

    me123 Established Member

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    Well, I was referring to people boarding trains without tickets intentionally. If they're not caught, they get it for half-price under your proposal, or for free if they're really lucky. By offering a return with a small discountm ticketless travel will therefore be reduced.

    AS I already said, I do not agree with half price returns, but do think that singles should be about 60% of the return fare for the reason outlined above, and as you and I both have said, either will only work if they don't raise fares significantly.
     
  23. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    How do you define boarding without tickets intentionally? what does that mean?
    It's not my proposal, it appears to be the DfT's proposal. Although I can't see it directly quoted, they are suggesting it in the way they word it. I can't really see any other way they can achieve the simplicity they claim to want to achieve.
    I don't see how you can avoid that with any fare structure.
    If it's only a small discount for a return it's unlikely to make much of a difference.

    half price singles?
    So what you are saying is that SORs should be reduced in price by about 20%? (e.g. current SOS £50 SOR £100 would be Anytime single £50, Anytime return £80 (£50 is approx 60% of £80)), and SVSs should be reduced in price by about 40%? That would be a lot fairer than now, although it would hit people using Saver Half tickets.
     
  24. djw1981

    djw1981 Established Member

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    I wish there was an option to have a half n half.

    ie I want to travel during the evening peak, returning later in the evening, so I'd like to have a return which was half SDR and half CDR.

    I also think that the terminology does need sorting out. Especially with people like SWt currently calling tickets the opposite of what they are. A super Off peak should be more off peak than anormal one rather than a hybrid of off peak and standard tickets.
     
  25. me123

    me123 Established Member

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    Too many questions, Yorkie. I think we've gone too far into insanity (by we I mean me :lol:) but;

    Intentionally boarding without a ticket is fare-dodging. In the knowledge that you attempt not to purchase a ticket at all for your journey.
     
  26. djw1981

    djw1981 Established Member

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    I disagree. I intentionally board without a ticket - i.e. I intended to board, in full knowledge that I have no ticket for travel (thus I have both intention to board, and to travel, and I have no ticket) - all the time when travelling to/from Gleneagles, a lot of North Clyde services etc because there is no facility to buy a ticket at the station. In the case of gleneagles, I even get the YP Railcard discount, despite buying on the train.

    I think maybe the phrase you were after was "those intending to travel without a ticket" (since travel is not complete until you arrive at your destination); or "those boarding who do not intend to buy a ticket"
     
  27. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    No it isn't. Thousands of people 'intentionally board without a ticket' every day.

    The vast majority of TOCs sell tickets on board. Many will penalise you if you travel off-peak by charging you a non-discounted Standard Open/Day fare when your origin station is staffed, while some are happy for the custom regardless (notably GC and HT).

    For example from York, if you travel at peak time (depending on the destination) there may be no point purchasing at the station unless you want to inconvenience yourself queuing. TPE, NXEC, Northern and CrossCountry will all sell standard day/open on board. GC will sell any fare on board even with railcard discounts. I realise the situation will be very different in your local area where penalty fares apply.

    I also agree with djw1981 that combining singles at no penalty should be possible. I understand where you are coming from, me123, but I do not feel that the DfT can fulfil its claims of simplicity and offering passengers a good choice if they do not reduce all singles to half the cost of returns.

    SOSs are already half the cost of SORs, and Advance tickets for one way are already half the cost of a return. It makes sense to keep this principle the same across all ticket types, not just some, otherwise I don't see how they can claim to be simplifying.
     
  28. me123

    me123 Established Member

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    Sorry, I meant to add "without the intention of purchasing one". And hoping the ticket examiner misses them (on a busy commuter service, easily done) and getting off at a station without barriers.

    I know I'm talking rubbish, but sift through it all I am probably making a point somewhere... :)
     
  29. Nick W

    Nick W Established Member

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    The white paper claims that £1-2m is spent on collecting £5m of fare. Even more must be wasted when we take into account the cost of revenue protection. Clearly the sensible thing to do would be to run the 80% or so of services that would not be overcrowded as a result (ie non commuter), free, and collect the £2-3m of money (if that much given that most of the revenue is probably from the 20% of services) from increased income tax or all the so called "environmental taxes".

    That way the commuters still pay for their daily travel while the rest of travellers pay less over all. We might even be able to afford a new "crossrail" every year...
     
  30. Tom C

    Tom C Member

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    You forget that Revenue Protection isn't the same as Revenue Collection!!

    A guard/conductor only collects revenue by issuing tickets, revenue protection take much more per passenger than a guard will.

    An example would be a simple journey from say Blackfriars to Elephant & Castle. If a conductor checks a train and finds someone without a ticket they will sell them a SDS which is about £2. If a RPI finds someone with a ticket they can charge a penalty fare which is £20 or can report the matter for further action which can lead of fines and compensation which adds up to a lot more.

    Also if 20 people see a RPI on their train which leads them to buy a ticket from the booking office which they wouldn't do otherwise means that revenue is not only being protected its being collected which is a win win situation.
     
  31. Nick W

    Nick W Established Member

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    But the guard is there to look after the train and passengers. You don't pay the guard any extra (apart from commission) to collect fares. He is doing that to pass the time the train is running smoothly and he isn't needed for safety duties.

    But this is far a less efficient means of revenue collection than running a free railway outside peak services, and collecting the deficit between commuter fares (etc) and the total railway farebox from direct taxation.
    [/quote

    But you're still paying for the RPI to be there on all the off peak services which you wouldn't need to have on a free off-peak railway.
     
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