Gatwick London fares

Discussion in 'Fares Advice & Policy' started by WesternLancer, 21 Jun 2019.

  1. WesternLancer

    WesternLancer Member

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    These must rate as amongst the most confusing in the UK....

    anyway - just giving some advice to friends from abroad flying into Gatwick at 7.30am on a weekday - who want to do a day trn to London (then onwards to the south coast later on) - so an Anytime rtn is needed I think - need to keep it as simple as possible rather than seek the rock bottom cheapest fare and then they get on the wrong train and have an invalid ticket.

    Study of BRfares.com suggests:

    A Thameslink rtn fare for Thamelink only services - cheapest c£21
    A Southern Fare - at c£25
    Gatwick express fares - £most expensive

    My question is - is the southern fare at c£25 return valid on the Thameslink trains?

    I'll be advising them to avoid the Gatwick Express as it affords no greater comfort and minor only speed advantage for a fair bit extra £. I want to suggest a ticket that will allow them to get any other southern or thameslink train into central London basically, that they won't end up falling foul of southern or themslink revenue protection!
     
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  3. ForTheLoveOf

    ForTheLoveOf Established Member

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    Tickets routed "Southern only" are only intended for use on Southern-branded services, despite Thameslink being the 'lowest' in the GTR 'hierarchy'. They are, of course, legally speaking valid on all GTR services just as "Thameslink only" fares are (subject to the geographic route), but at the end of the day I would not recommend trying to do this to anyone who wants a simple journey as unfortunately GTR are well out of control when it comes to this.

    I see nothing wrong with suggesting the Thameslink only ticket for them - it is clear enough which ones the Thameslink branded services are, as they are the only trains to London that don't terminate there, and the only ones painted (off-)white!

    Nothing wrong with using a Thameslink only Off-Peak Day Single/Return from Gatwick Airport onwards, either, if they're going down to, say, Brighton.

    Of course, the simplest option (and that which is sometimes cheaper but sometimes more expensive) is to use contactless or Oyster.
     
  4. WesternLancer

    WesternLancer Member

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    Thanks - all good advice

    I think they prob want to go north into Blackfriars, but south again later that day out of Victoria - so need to go on both a TL branded train and southern branded train. So want them to be able to get on those without fear or hassle.

    They will not have oysters, but I wonder if their german bank cards would work for touch in / touch out oyster style from gatwick? I've never used that myself yet with a UK bank card so no experience of it.

    BUT on the rtn they would stay on southern train / or network through to Polegate so would be unable to touch out (without getting off at Gatwick which would be a waste of time) so I think they are better off with paper tickets?
     
  5. AlbertBeale

    AlbertBeale Member

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    So are you saying [...just as "Thameslink only" fares are...] that - eg - London-Brighton tickets labelled "Thameslink only" are valid on any train run by GTR - eg Southern-branded ones? If so, aren't Southern tickets similarly valid on Gatwick Express?
     
  6. OxtedSignaller

    OxtedSignaller Member

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    Between London and Gatwick Airport there is as you said three fares, however there is no Southern Only fare apart from travelcards and some cross London tickets. You will find the fares are Any Permitted, Not Gatwick Express and Thameslink Only. The Not Gatwick Express ticket can be used on both Southern and Thameslink. This is a much better system.
     
  7. sheff1

    sheff1 Established Member

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    There certainly are Southern Only fares, e.g. this Anytime Day Return @ £24.80
    http://www.brfares.com/#faredetail?orig=GTW&dest=VIC&rte=777&tkt=SDR

    As well as the other three routeings you mention there are Not Undergound tickets.

    This is a ridiculously complicated and confusing system, seemingly designed to catch out travellers not familiar with such nonsense in their own country.
     
  8. Hadders

    Hadders Established Member

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    A ticket to Kentish Town, route 'Not Gatwick Express' at £25.20 for an Anytime Day Return is probably the most straightforward option.
     
  9. WesternLancer

    WesternLancer Member

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    Thanks - cos of course that's the obvious option! I wonder how many of them get sold....!
     
  10. WesternLancer

    WesternLancer Member

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    so do you mean the fares that Sheff1 provides the link to are valid on both Southern and Thameslink trains. This would be the logic since a) they are the same franchise and b) you might expect by paying it a bit more you get more validity (and logic would suggest if you pay the most you get GatEx, Southern and Thameslink)
     
  11. Hadders

    Hadders Established Member

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    The National Rail COnditions of Carriage allows tickets to be restricted by Train Operating Company. There is no provision for them to be restricted by brand.

    Southern, Thameslink and Gatwick Express are all brands of the same Train Operating Company, namely Govia Thameslink Railway. It therefore follows that a ticket routed 'Gatwick Express only', 'Southern only' or 'Thameslink only' can be used on any train operated by Govia Thameslink Railway.

    However, using a ticket in this way would not be without considerable hassle and I would not recommend it unless the person undertaking the journey is fully aware of the hassle they might encounter and the considerable inconvenience dealing with it.

    We have had this debate many times over the years and having it again now will not help the OP, who is looking for a hassle free way to make the journey.
     
  12. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    GTR don't like tickets being used on the wrong brand. They engage in illegal practices and are abusing a dominant position.

    My advise is not to get embroiled in a dispute with the company. While any evidence of wrongdoing/overcharging on the part of GTR may come in useful one day (if anyone has any evidence please do hold onto it), but is beyond the scope of this thread.

    How much travelling do they want to do in London, and where on the south coast do they want to end up and what time do they want to leave London to get there?

    For example they may wish to consider an Anytime Travelcard routed Thameslink Only http://www.brfares.com/#faredetail?orig=GTW&dest=0035&rte=789&tkt=ADT ; although this is legally valid on all GTR services I would avoid using it between Gatwick and the Zone 6 boundary on the company's GX and SN branded trains in order to avoid a dispute.

    The company do not like those tickets being used between Gatwick Airport and the Zone 6 boundary on their Southern branded trains but will of course be happy to accept them within the zones. ie. if doing Gatwick to Victoria they want you to change at East Croydon.

    For their later journey to the South Coast a ticket from the Zone 6 boundary, or from a relevant station such as East Croydon, to their destination could be used in conjunction with the Travelcard (eg. http://www.brfares.com/#faredetail?orig=GTW&dest=BTN&rte=789&tkt=SDS )
     
  13. AnkleBoots

    AnkleBoots Member

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    Probably they should get:

    Thameslink single to Blackfriars,
    Network Railcard per four people in the group
    Polegate Off Peak Travelcard for use after 10am
     
  14. AlbertBeale

    AlbertBeale Member

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    Apologies for asking for clarification for something you've apparently discussed many times over the years - I've only read this forum relatively recently; and I realise it's probably a side issue as far as the original question is concerned.
    Very many thanks, however, for your definitive clarification. I sometimes run away to Brighton for the day (from London), and at the weekend the off-peak returns restricted [allegedly] to Thameslink are less than half the price of the other ones. So next time I'm feeling broke, but up for the argument should it happen, I'll get the cheaper ticket whichever route I'm using... (Though I assume that a "via Thameslink" ticket could still be legally argued to preclude - say - Waterloo to Clapham Junction to connect with the Brighton line, even if it's printed as London Terminals or similar, since the illegality of the "Thameslink" restriction wouldn't stop the restriction legally defaulting to being deemed a GTR restriction. Unless the illegality/unenforceability of the Thameslink restriction meant that there was legally no way to enforce any specific company/routing tighter than the normal criterion of "permitted" routes?)
     
  15. WesternLancer

    WesternLancer Member

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    Thanks but only 2 in the group but this would cost way more.

    and can you imagine explaining that to someone whose 1st language isn't English

    arrive off plane, buy a railcard, buy ticket a, then ticket b etc etc
     
  16. Iggy12a

    Iggy12a Member

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    Building on Yorkie's suggestion of the Anytime Thameslink Tcard at £28.40, and the requirements of the travellers, I am inclined to suggest the Anytime Not GX Tcard at £32.10 plus a single from Gatwick to Polegate at £14.30.
    That way they can travel to Blackfriars on Thameslink and return home from Victoria to Polegate without any changes, using tickets that no-one can dispute.
     
  17. Gerald Fiennes

    Gerald Fiennes Member

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    OK, but NB they would need to change at ECR onto a Thameslink train for the portion to GTW for this combination to be valid, so the AP Zone 1-6 Travelcard would be more user friendly (as well as convincing your friends that this country has gone completely mad, as there always told back home!) On balance, I would suggest gritting one's teeth and using PAYG for the Airport to London trips, the German bank cards will be valid for this, and then checking out at GTW and using a paper ticket from there.
     
  18. Iggy12a

    Iggy12a Member

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    No, you are wrong. The Not GX Tcard is by definition valid on trains except the Gatwick Express. So it would be perfectly valid to return from Victoria to Gatwick on a Southern service, and if already in possession of the Gatwick to Polegate ticket, stay onboard an Eastbourne bound service.
    At £47.10 the Anytime Any Permitted Tcard is only for those with more money than sense, or on business expenses.
     
  19. WesternLancer

    WesternLancer Member

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    Thanks Yorkie
    In theory they don't want to do much travel in London - just go to the Tate / southbank area (so T-link out and back is what I would advise and a ticket for that only would in theory suffice) BUT being tourists they could easily get it into their head to go on a whim and do something else, end up taking another train eg from Vic - so just want to advise them on a ticket that would permit this if they wish to do it.

    Telling them the cheapest option is not necessarily the best thing in this scenario - they need an element of flexibility even if they don't end up using it in my view - just to protect them from the daftness of the UK system. But I think I can advise them it will be OK if they just take care to avoid GatEx trains.
     
  20. WesternLancer

    WesternLancer Member

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    Thanks - I think this might be what they need, but without the travelcard element - as I don't think they will use the tube, so I will prob tell them if they do to use contactless bank card method (maybe).
     
  21. WesternLancer

    WesternLancer Member

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    All this does make you wonder what tickets to London are mostly sold at gatwick? And given many people will now get them from machines what the TVM actually offers you - and how understandable it would be to the avg person arriving.

    I thought that on of the franchise pledges that GTR had was to simplify all this at the DfT's request - even if that of course might (not that I'm a cycnic) have meant that only the most expensive fares would have survived. But that does not seem to have happened in any way that I can see.
     
  22. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    Legally it's difficult to say what the true validity is, as it's not lawful to have a product marked in this way. However I agree the company intends for it to be valid on all its services except those branded Gatwick Express, though there is no provision for this implementation in the Ticketing Settlement Agreement (TSA) whatsoever.
    Indeed, GTR are playing a risky game here.
    There are moves to get rid of the old TOC only fares since it all became one TOC, with several flows having the cheaper fares removed (I believe Redhill to London is a good example of this) however progress has been very slow. Both DfT and GTR must be well aware that restricting operator specific tickets by brand is illegal and yet still continue to restrict them in this way, many years after the merger. I would encourage people to keep all evidence of wrongdoing on GTR's part as it may be useful evidence one day, as I can't see them getting away with it forever.
    If they are able to use contactless, they may be best off just using contactless for everything, except for a paper single from Gatwick to their final destination (which could be bought in the morning or on their journey back); the only real downside is that they would be unable to get a direct train as they'd need to tap out at Gatwick on the return leg.
     
  23. Hadders

    Hadders Established Member

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    Given the shambles on GTR last year - strikes and timetable meltdown I don't think they dare do anything that might be seen to increase fares. Too many marginal constituencies and the rail service is a significant local factor for an MP in that area.
     
  24. Gerald Fiennes

    Gerald Fiennes Member

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    Whoops, I stand corrected. I'd misread the 'Not GX Travelcard' as 'TL only'. So, indeed, the combination suggested would work.
     

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