Ghost reservations

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David Emmott

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Trying to find out fares from Liverpool to Manchester Airport, I discovered that the Anytime single was about three times the cost of an Advance one. Nothing unusual about that, but, having booked the Advance one, it tells me that it is 'valid only with seat reservation'. However, the Northern Electrics service to Manchester Airport does not have allocated seating, hence I was given a 'seat reservation' ticket for a non-existent seat. Presumably if I fail to produce this along with my travel ticket I could be fined. Crazy or what?

Oh and another thing: as I have a Merseytravel senior pass which will take me as far as Newton le Willows (i.e. half-way), I tried to get a ticket from there instead. Unfortunately the Advance tickets are not available from there so I would have to pay more than twice as much as travelling from Lime Street.
 
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Trying to find out fares from Liverpool to Manchester Airport, I discovered that the Anytime single was about three times the cost of an Advance one. Nothing unusual about that, but, having booked the Advance one, it tells me that it is 'valid only with seat reservation'. However, the Northern Electrics service to Manchester Airport does not have allocated seating, hence I was given a 'seat reservation' ticket for a non-existent seat. Presumably if I fail to produce this along with my travel ticket I could be fined. Crazy or what?

Oh and another thing: as I have a Merseytravel senior pass which will take me as far as Newton le Willows (i.e. half-way), I tried to get a ticket from there instead. Unfortunately the Advance tickets are not available from there so I would have to pay more than twice as much as travelling from Lime Street.

They are a counted place reservation. So you have to be on that train but you don't get an allocated seat.
 

Kite159

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They are a counted place reservation. So you have to be on that train but you don't get an allocated seat.

And yes you might be asked to show your counted place reservation to the guard to ensure you are on the correct train.

Regarding Newton-Le-Willows, my theory is that the Northern advances are northern's way to compete against the faster services run by TPE & EMT between Liverpool & Manchester, neither of those stop at Newton-Le-Willows so the competition isn't there for Manchester - Newton-Le-Willows.
 

Paul Kelly

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my theory is that the Northern advances are northern's way to compete against the faster services run by TPE & EMT between Liverpool & Manchester, neither of those stop at Newton-Le-Willows so the competition isn't there for Manchester - Newton-Le-Willows.
The funny thing is that, since the latest franchise and timetable changes, for travel from Manchester Airport (MIA) to Liverpool, journeys using only TPE services (generally with a change in Manchester Piccadilly) are never the fastest option in the daytime. Therefore the TPE advances don't even show up in a lot of booking sites (e.g. Trainline) - so Northern didn't really need to compete there! I'd hazard a guess that they are making less money from the MIA-LIV route than they would if they didn't have advances on it.
 

LowLevel

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And yes you might be asked to show your counted place reservation to the guard to ensure you are on the correct train.

Regarding Newton-Le-Willows, my theory is that the Northern advances are northern's way to compete against the faster services run by TPE & EMT between Liverpool & Manchester, neither of those stop at Newton-Le-Willows so the competition isn't there for Manchester - Newton-Le-Willows.

Correct. If you travel on an EMT or TPE service with a Northern advance or similar expect to be smacked with the full fare. I charge all holders of Northern 3/4/5/6 quid fares without exception. These rather irritating tickets for local routes cause a lot of hassle. People don't expect restrictive tickets to be available for local routes.
 

bradford758

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There's a similar advance ticket for the Bradford Interchange to Manchester Victoria route, and yes they do check you're on the correct train.

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Romilly

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On the more general theme of ghost reservations, I find that some booking engines get confused (or, I assume, ticket details haven't been correctly loaded onto them). For example, I often find that when I am on the Virgin Trains East Coast site trying to buy a Scotrail Advance that comes only with a "counted place" reservation, VTEC tell me that there are no seats remaining available for reservation on the Scotrail service and that it is therefore unable to sell me the ticket, but I can go onto the Scotrail site seconds later and buy the ticket without problems.
 

Tetchytyke

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I'd hazard a guess that they are making less money from the MIA-LIV route than they would if they didn't have advances on it.

Given the weird and wonderful world of ORCATS, I bet that they make more money from the advances because they don't have to share.
 
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