GWR Half price singles replacing Off-peak Returns

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RPI

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Not seen another thread on this so here goes, just seen that from the May fares change Off-peak Returns and Anytime Returns in the Bristol area, roughly bounded by Westbury/Chippenham/Weston-super-Mare/Ashchurch are being withdrawn, to be replaced by Off-peak and Anytime Day Singles at half the price of the former tickets.

A trial on the Barnstaple line of a fare structure of only Anytime Day Singles/Returns and Off-peak Day Returns with the Anytime Day Single at half the price of the Anytime Day Return.

The Devon and Cornwall Railcard will now have a time restriction of 08:45, as opposed to currently ONLY being valid with Off-peak tickets, so will be valid with any ticket type after 08:45.
 
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JonathanH

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Not seen another thread on this so here goes, just seen that from the May fares change Off-peak Returns and Anytime Returns in the Bristol area, roughly bounded by Westbury/Chippenham/Weston-super-Mare/Ashchurch are being withdrawn, to be replaced by Off-peak and Anytime Day Singles at half the price of the former tickets.
What happens in the evening peak?

My reading of 78.1 c) below, and thinking how this is done in London, would suggest the possibility of higher fares in the evening peak (although I note that perhaps there isn't such a large differential between the cost of off-peak and anytime day returns so maybe it isn't necessary).

It looks like a precursor to this, in the Direct Award:

78. Regional Pay as You Go Schemes

78.1 The Franchisee shall, by no later than 31 January 2022 implement a pay as you go scheme and infrastructure allowing users of the Passenger Services to pay for Fares using ITSO Certified Smartmedia at all Stations and along all Routes in the area bounded by the following Stations: Ashchurch for Tewkesbury, Patchway, Severn Beach, Weston-super-Mare, Bath Spa and Chippenham (the “Bristol PAYG Scheme”). The Franchisee shall ensure that the Bristol PAYG Scheme shall incorporate the following features:
(a) single leg pricing;
(b) a cap on the pricing of consecutive Fares at the rate of a Weekly Season Fare where the rate of a Weekly Season Fare is more economical than the rate of the individual Fares (or alternative capping approach as appropriate); and
(c) users of the Bristol PAYG Scheme being charged the most appropriate Fare depending on the time of travel.
78.2 The Franchisee shall, by no later than the date falling six (6) months following the completion of the implementation of the Bristol PAYG Scheme, provide to the Secretary of State a costed proposal with appropriate supporting information setting out in reasonable detail how the Franchisee would propose to implement a pay as you go scheme and infrastructure allowing users of the Passenger Services to pay for Fares using ITSO Certified Smartmedia at all Stations on the following routes:
(a) Plymouth – Penzance;
(b) Plymouth – Gunnislake;
(c) Liskeard – Looe;
(d) Par – Newquay;
(e) Truro – Falmouth Docks; and
(f) St. Erth – St. Ives, (the “Devon and Cornwall PAYG Scheme”).

78.3 The proposal referred to in paragraph 78.2 shall include an assessment of the prospects of securing appropriate funding from third parties.
 
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Watershed

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Not seen another thread on this so here goes, just seen that from the May fares change Off-peak Returns and Anytime Returns in the Bristol area, roughly bounded by Westbury/Chippenham/Weston-super-Mare/Ashchurch are being withdrawn, to be replaced by Off-peak and Anytime Day Singles at half the price of the former tickets.

A trial on the Barnstaple line of a fare structure of only Anytime Day Singles/Returns and Off-peak Day Returns with the Anytime Day Single at half the price of the Anytime Day Return.

The Devon and Cornwall Railcard will now have a time restriction of 08:45, as opposed to currently ONLY being valid with Off-peak tickets, so will be valid with any ticket type after 08:45.
It's brilliant that they are finally introducing half-price singles. But why do they always insist on throwing the baby out with the bathwater and eliminating the return tickets while they're at it? There are still plenty of legitimate use cases for buying a return, e.g. not wanting to queue up to buy a ticket before you return.

This has the DfT's meddling fingerprints all over it.
 

JonathanH

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It's brilliant that they are finally introducing half-price singles. But why do they always insist on throwing the baby out with the bathwater and eliminating the return tickets while they're at it? There are still plenty of legitimate use cases for buying a return, e.g. not wanting to queue up to buy a ticket before you return.

This has the DfT's meddling fingerprints all over it.
I suspect you will still be able to buy 'a return' - it will just be issued as two singles - no need to queue twice. It is all a precursor to PAYG in any case.
 
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Horizon22

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It's brilliant that they are finally introducing half-price singles. But why do they always insist on throwing the baby out with the bathwater and eliminating the return tickets while they're at it? There are still plenty of legitimate use cases for buying a return, e.g. not wanting to queue up to buy a ticket before you return.

This has the DfT's meddling fingerprints all over it.

More than likely you'll just get 2 singles as happens in numerous other locations.
 

Watershed

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Which is no good if you don't know what day you want to return. Or if you want to break your journey overnight on your way back.

Clearly, all somewhat "niche" cases but when the action required to accommodate them is "do nothing", it seems a rather curious decision.

Unfortunately such are the pitfalls of PAYG!
 

JonathanH

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Which is no good if you don't know what day you want to return. Or if you want to break your journey overnight on your way back.

Clearly, all somewhat "niche" cases but when the action required to accommodate them is "do nothing", it seems a rather curious decision.

Unfortunately such are the pitfalls of PAYG!
Indeed, previous threads do suggest that all that sort of flexibility will be lost but ultimately the much louder voice is for 'simplification' and it doesn't get any simpler than one single fare for each journey.
 

robbeech

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Indeed, previous threads do suggest that all that sort of flexibility will be lost but ultimately the much louder voice is for 'simplification' and it doesn't get any simpler than one single fare for each journey.
How is it simpler? Buy a return ticket, come back on any train (or any train after a certain time etc) on any day within a month.
vs, Buy a ticket and have specify what day you want to return for the other ticket. Lose massive amounts of the flexibility you had, and many of the rights you had as a passenger for a given ticket price.

It's a stealth price increase by reducing flexibility and passenger's rights.

No scheme will be set up with a view to reducing revenue/profit for operators, especially not in a time when the railway is losing money.

Only a small number of people actually benefit from this, those that only travel one way, or come back 6 weeks later, and there are usually advance singles for this purpose which are generally cheaper anyway so people taking advantage of this will be increasing revenue.
Most people do not gain or lose much from it, they know what days they're travelling, so all it is is a bit more of a faff stating the day of their return.
Some people making complicated journeys lose out, often significantly here. They pay the same money but suddenly have much less flexibility, or they pay MORE money (in the East Coast examples it could be 2 and a half times the price for a simple overnight stay en route) to do the journey they have wanted to do.

It COULD be simpler, and i agree it SHOUDL be simpler, but the way these things are implemented are NOT simpler, and they are at BEST revenue neutral, and at worst more profitable.
 

Hadders

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I'm not against single leg pricing but do keep a watch out for hidden price rises.

Take Bristol to Weston Super Mare as an example. Current fares are:

Anytime Day Return £12.00
Off Peak Day Return £7.70 (valid after 08:30 - no evening restriction)

We'll probably end up with single fares of £6.00 Anytime and £3.85 off peak. The crucial thing will be whether there is an evening peak - you can bet there will be!

So a passenger travelling both ways in the peak pays no more (£12 in total)
A passenger travelling both ways off peak pays no more (3.70 in total)
Someone travelling out after 08:30 but returning in the evening peak would pay 28% more (£9.85 compared to £7.70)
Only someone travelling out before 08:30 and returning before or after then evening peak would pay 18% less than present (£9.85 compared to £12)

It's also important the railcards are catered for properly, especially where there is a minimum fare involved. A 16-25 Railcard has a minimum discounted fare of £12 before 10am for most of the year so an undiscounted return fare costing £18 means the railcard holder pays £12 and gets maximum benefit. Make it two single fares of £9 and all of a sudden the passenger pays full whack in the morning and gets a £3 discount on their way home - so they end up paying £15 under the new system compared to £12 - a large price increase via the back door.
 

Watershed

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I'm not against single leg pricing but do keep a watch out for hidden price rises.

Take Bristol to Weston Super Mare as an example. Current fares are:

Anytime Day Return £12.00
Off Peak Day Return £7.70 (valid after 08:30 - no evening restriction)

We'll probably end up with single fares of £6.00 Anytime and £3.85 off peak. The crucial thing will be whether there is an evening peak - you can bet there will be!

So a passenger travelling both ways in the peak pays no more (£12 in total)
A passenger travelling both ways off peak pays no more (3.70 in total)
Someone travelling out after 08:30 but returning in the evening peak would pay 28% more (£9.85 compared to £7.70)
Only someone travelling out before 08:30 and returning before or after then evening peak would pay 18% less than present (£9.85 compared to £12)

It's also important the railcards are catered for properly, especially where there is a minimum fare involved. A 16-25 Railcard has a minimum discounted fare of £12 before 10am for most of the year so an undiscounted return fare costing £18 means the railcard holder pays £12 and gets maximum benefit. Make it two single fares of £9 and all of a sudden the passenger pays full whack in the morning and gets a £3 discount on their way home - so they end up paying £15 under the new system compared to £12 - a large price increase via the back door.
On flows where there are only Day Returns, or only period Returns, it will probably be OK. There will be no difficulty in setting the cost or restrictions for a single fare.

It will be intermediate distance flows where the real crunch will come. These are the ones with both Day and period Returns. It seems very unlikely that there will be both an Off-Peak Day Single and an Off-Peak Single, so they will need to settle for halving the cost of one of the existing Returns and using the restrictions of that one.

It doesn't take a crystal ball to work out which of the two fares will be used.
 

david1212

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I'm not against single leg pricing but do keep a watch out for hidden price rises.

Take Bristol to Weston Super Mare as an example. Current fares are:

Anytime Day Return £12.00
Off Peak Day Return £7.70 (valid after 08:30 - no evening restriction)

We'll probably end up with single fares of £6.00 Anytime and £3.85 off peak. The crucial thing will be whether there is an evening peak - you can bet there will be!

So a passenger travelling both ways in the peak pays no more (£12 in total)
A passenger travelling both ways off peak pays no more (3.70 in total)
Someone travelling out after 08:30 but returning in the evening peak would pay 28% more (£9.85 compared to £7.70)
Only someone travelling out before 08:30 and returning before or after then evening peak would pay 18% less than present (£9.85 compared to £12)

It's also important the railcards are catered for properly, especially where there is a minimum fare involved. A 16-25 Railcard has a minimum discounted fare of £12 before 10am for most of the year so an undiscounted return fare costing £18 means the railcard holder pays £12 and gets maximum benefit. Make it two single fares of £9 and all of a sudden the passenger pays full whack in the morning and gets a £3 discount on their way home - so they end up paying £15 under the new system compared to £12 - a large price increase via the back door.

You posted this as I was writing ...

A key question is if the half price single will be half of the period i.e. 30 day return or the day return.
Taking Cheltenham to Weston Super Mare
Off-peak period return is £26.80
Off-peak day return £19.00

If the single is £9.50 fine
If the single is £13.40 a day return jumps £7.80 ......
 

MikeWh

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You posted this as I was writing ...

A key question is if the half price single will be half of the period i.e. 30 day return or the day return.
Taking Cheltenham to Weston Super Mare
Off-peak period return is £26.80
Off-peak day return £19.00

If the single is £9.50 fine
If the single is £13.40 a day return jumps £7.80 ......
Perhaps it's as well that Cheltenham isn't in the included area then.

Geography: D-
 
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Hadders

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The purpose of the minimum fare on a 16-25 railcard isn't really to provide discounts on commuting journeys so they may see it as fair game to increase fares for such users.
I disagree. I think the 16-25 is deliberately seeks to assist young commuters for the following reasons:

- Young people commuting are often either students or at the start of their career and therefore generally at the lower end of their earnings potential
- Younger people often don't have the money to pay several thousands up front for an annual season ticket
- the £12 minimum fare provides some relief to those paying the highest fares, often younger people commuting larger distances into a regional centre

Take my local line - Stevenage to London. Anytime Day Return £23.90. Weekly season £101.70/Annual £4,068

A five day a week commuter using a weekly season (probably aren't any these days) pays the equivalent of £20.34 An annual season ticket holder travelling 220 times a year pays ££18.49 per day.

A 16-25 railcard holder pays £15.75 a day for daily tickets. I think that's fair for a young person at the start of their career.

Let's not forget that railcard users get no discount on point-to-point Oyster fares in the evening peak in London (other than into Zone 1) and no one seems to grumble.
This is part of the problem - they are conditioned to think that PAYG is cheaper (maybe due to the publicity when Oyster first launched when it was cheaper). Problem is it isn't always cheaper. I know of stations near me (Hertford East for example) where Oyster/contactless is never cheaper at the weekend but this doesn't stop people tapping in on their cards because they think it's cheaper. We need to be very wary of this sort of hidden price increase.

Also on the subject of railcard discounts on Oyster, although evening peak fares do not account a discount themselves they do count towards the discounted off peak cap.
 

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Without knowing the details, this looks like just another complexity for the average passenger to have to cope with when buying their ticket.
 

JonathanH

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Without knowing the details, this looks like just another complexity for the average passenger to have to cope with when buying their ticket.
In one way yes, but the point is that the existing structure is being withdrawn so passengers won't need to be concerned about which of the two structures is better.

One other point is that if commuters are on side, that is usually enough.

To some extent I don't think they can win - people say the existing structure is too complicated - they cry 'simplify' - pretty much the simplest structure possible is introduced - and people say it isn't flexible enough.

This step appears necessary to get to the desire of government (and their constituents) for wider PAYG and RDG's proposals to deliver that.
 
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Bletchleyite

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Which is no good if you don't know what day you want to return.

Buy it once you do.

Or if you want to break your journey overnight on your way back.

Split your ticket at the break point. It might even be cheaper!

Yes, OK, you can't break overnight on a whim, but exactly how many people do that? I'd venture somewhere around the 0 mark.

Definitely in favour, should be national.

Without knowing the details, this looks like just another complexity for the average passenger to have to cope with when buying their ticket.

What's complex about it? It's simpler, not more complex.
 

robbeech

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How does having to confirm what day you're coming back make it simpler?

If it was a national thing on every flow it would work better than on selected fares i think. But the EC example showed a simple journey with a stop off could be 2.5 times the price that it was before because they "trialed" it on a handful of flows.
 

Gloster

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What's complex about it? It's simpler, not more complex.
I presume that it is only GWR doing this (possibly in only part of their area), so - even if it is simpler - passengers will be left wondering where and whether they can use it. If it was throughout the country, it might well be a good idea.
 

robbob700

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How does having to confirm what day you're coming back make it simpler?
Surely the whole point of single leg pricing is that you don't have to confirm when you are coming back - you simply buy a new ticket when you come back. Quite a few times I have got a lift back from my destination, but had to buy a day return in case I didn't get the lift. It also makes circular journeys far simpler, and avoids excess fares for travelling back on different routes or at different times of day (which this forum repeatedly proves are not understood by all railway staff).
 

Bletchleyite

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Surely the whole point of single leg pricing is that you don't have to confirm when you are coming back - you simply buy a new ticket when you come back. Quite a few times I have got a lift back from my destination, but had to buy a day return in case I didn't get the lift. It also makes circular journeys far simpler, and avoids excess fares for travelling back on different routes or at different times of day (which this forum repeatedly proves are not understood by all railway staff).

Indeed.

Journeys where you don't know what day you're coming back are a tiny minority, and for the minor inconvenience of having to wait and purchase on the day of travel when you are in that position (and if you get it wrong, the *very occasional* tenner for a refund) I would say the flexibility gains far outweigh the issues.

And even if you allow for overnight break of journey by making singles valid two days, the railway gets a revenue protection (avoidance of reuse) win, too. (Same day break of journey is de-facto allowed on all walk-up tickets, you basically never hear of anyone being stopped from doing this, so no issue with making it actually allowed).
 

embers25

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The 0845 time restriction is significant as from Exeter you can currently use the 0844 express to Plymouth and on to Penzance with a railcard but it appears you won't be able to from May which is very annoying. Also most off peak tickets are currently valid from 0830 onwards and so this is a reduction in the railcare validity in reality (Exeter TO Barnstaple valid at all times with the railcard so a bit change for those passengers as well).
 

RPI

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The 0845 time restriction is significant as from Exeter you can currently use the 0844 express to Plymouth and on to Penzance with a railcard but it appears you won't be able to from May which is very annoying. Also most off peak tickets are currently valid from 0830 onwards and so this is a reduction in the railcare validity in reality (Exeter TO Barnstaple valid at all times with the railcard so a bit change for those passengers as well).
The brief i saw did say that there would be some local easements to be published later, not saying that will be one but possible
 

plymothian

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The 0844 St Davids - Plymouth is planned to have an easement, likewise all Barnstaple-bound trains, the 0835 Barnstaple - St James Park and the 0816 Plymouth - Penzance, plus a few others but not the 0844 Dawlish - Exmouth.
 

david1212

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Back to my Cheltenham Spa - Weston-Super-Mare example.

Aside from if a day return will jump to £26.80 from £19.00 while at the booking office two singles can be issued what about the platform ticket machines given ( unless anything has changed ) they can only sell tickets from the station they are located at? Will the ' return ' ticket have to be bought at Weston-Super-Mare?
 

Bletchleyite

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Back to my Cheltenham Spa - Weston-Super-Mare example.

Aside from if a day return will jump to £26.80 from £19.00 while at the booking office two singles can be issued what about the platform ticket machines given ( unless anything has changed ) they can only sell tickets from the station they are located at? Will the ' return ' ticket have to be bought at Weston-Super-Mare?

Have GWR still not updated theirs to allow you to buy tickets from another station?
 

Starmill

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Is Ashchurch for Tewkesbury to Bristol Temple Meads really going to be £5.30 one way, off peak? That's excellent value if so but also a very grave concern if it is going up significantly from that...
 

david1212

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Have GWR still not updated theirs to allow you to buy tickets from another station?

Admittedly I've not used a machine for serveral years as to me last resort with booking office first choice and a website trailing a long way behind in second. Hence I was totally unaware any ticket machine could now sell a ticket starting at another station which is a major issue with split fares. This is where if known or uncertain if the booking office would be open I have resorted to a website the evening before so just got to collect tickets from machine trusting I will find it working.

Whether machine or website so much ssssllllloooowwwweeeerrrr than booking office staff.
 

Bletchleyite

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Admittedly I've not used a machine for serveral years as to me last resort with booking office first choice and a website trailing a long way behind in second. Hence I was totally unaware any ticket machine could now sell a ticket starting at another station which is a major issue with split fares

Most of them can now. Certainly all of WMT's.
 
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