Hatton-Lapworth Gold Card "Not available" in RDG

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Bletchleyite

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It's almost a tacit admission that the shrewd can use the system to their benefit.

A lot of elements of the ticketing system are like that. Until popularised by Portillo and thus having restrictions added, the unrestricted All Line Rover was an example - intended to be a leisure ticket, but useful as an all-lines season if you actually needed that, and cheaper than many other long-distance seasons.

It is of note that they bumped up the price of Lichfield City to Lichfield Trent Valley, presumably in order to gain a little more income from it (as I suspect there are probably no actual annual season ticket holders for that journey who hold the season ticket to actually make the journey who would be annoyed by such a large increase).
 
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CyrusWuff

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I suspect that London Midland were well aware of this 'loophole' when they joined the Gold Card area. Perhaps there is even a price war between TOCs to have the cheapest Gold Card season in the fares database. LM get all the revenue from these tickets and don't have to carry any passengers - many people who bought the card card will use it mostly on other operators' routes.

Nice theory, but Hatton - Lapworth is priced by Chiltern, not London Midland...
 

Starmill

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It is of note that they bumped up the price of Lichfield City to Lichfield Trent Valley, presumably in order to gain a little more income from it (as I suspect there are probably no actual annual season ticket holders for that journey who hold the season ticket to actually make the journey who would be annoyed by such a large increase).

I understand that it was £108 the year before last, and £140 last year. It's now £164. I also understand that Lapworth - Hatton went down very slightly (although am open to correction on this, and farehistory.info doesn't have the latest data) for this year to ensure it is under this. And so it is, at £160 - now £4 cheaper. This is what so makes me think that they know exactly what is happening. Ryde Esplanade - Ryde St Johns Road is £172 for reference. I do wonder if SWT have lost any money from this!

Now all we need is for the Gold Card area to be extended to the west of Plymouth, with an annual season between Devonport (Devon) and a Dockyard (Devonport) Annual Season costing merely £112.
 

ravenik45

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Ryde Esplanade - Ryde St Johns Road is £172 for reference. I do wonder if SWT have lost any money from this!

Are SWT still doing the 6 free weekend tickets if you buy an annual on any SWT route? It would work out cheaper (an extra £12 for 6 free travel days) especially if you live around the SWT network.

Although I've read that some people got them, some didn't, and some had to chase SWT for their weekend tickets!
 
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IanD

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Until popularised by Portillo and thus having restrictions added, the unrestricted All Line Rover was an example - intended to be a leisure ticket, but useful as an all-lines season if you actually needed that, and cheaper than many other long-distance seasons.

I thought it was publicity by Adonis that prompted the restrictions to be added.
 

CyrusWuff

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I understand that it was £108 the year before last, and £140 last year. It's now £164. I also understand that Lapworth - Hatton went down very slightly (although am open to correction on this, and farehistory.info doesn't have the latest data) for this year to ensure it is under this.

There's no "slightly" about it, it's been slashed! In NFM14 (January 2013), Hatton - Lapworth was £13.70 a week (£548 for the year). Doing some digging on the forums gives last year's price as £588 (so £14.70 a week), where it's now £4.00 a week (£160 for the year).
 

Hadders

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I seem to remember reading about the price of Lichfield Gold Card prices a year or so ago in Rail Magazine.

The price was £108 and hadn't been increased for years [I wonder if this was a way of manipulating the fares basket - no increase on a little used flow so a larger increase could be applied to a more popular one]. London Midland then realised that Lichfield would be the cheapest Gold Card and hiked the price to £144 (claiming that a price increase had been 'overlooked' in previous years), still the cheapest Gold Card though.

Fast track a year and greedy LM added another £20 to the price. On the other hand, Chiltern decided to cut the cost of the Lapworth Gold Card as detailed above. Now, was this a ploy on Chiltern's part to 'out fox' LM and make a bit of money for minimum effort? To be fair they'd lose out on any genuine Hatton-Lapworth season tickets (but I guess there are very few of those) but make easy money on anyone wanting the cheapest Gold Card.

It will be interesting to see what happens next year.
 

Bletchleyite

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I'd imagine there are no Hatton-Lapworth annuals that are not purchased for the Gold Card. People making shorter journeys tend to purchase monthlies or weeklies - and that assumes there are any actual *season tickets* sold for that flow! :)
 

Hadders

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I'd imagine there are no Hatton-Lapworth annuals that are not purchased for the Gold Card. People making shorter journeys tend to purchase monthlies or weeklies - and that assumes there are any actual *season tickets* sold for that flow! :)

So it becomes a defacto railcard. I wonder how many of these Gold Cards are sold as 'railcards' rather than as season tickets. I suppose a price war could break out on little used flows:

GTR could use Pevensey & Westerham - Pevensey Bay
c2c could try Tilbury Town - Tilbury Riverside
Abellio - how about Shippea Hill - Lakenheath (there can't be any genuine season ticket holders between those stations)
SWT could reprice the Ryde season ticket
GWR could try Worcester Foregate Street to Worcester Shrub Hill
Southeastern - Stone Crossing - Greenhithe

There might be better candidates, I guess the key thing is to pick flows that are already quite low in price so that the revenue lost by cutting the annual ticket price for existing users would be more than offset by additional Gold Card sales to people requiring it for 'railcard' purposes.
 

jon0844

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Though if it bothers them that much, they will simply impose a minimum price for said season ticket, say £1000, which would make it not worth bothering with.

That would go down well with people buying seasons and working locally, perhaps one or two stops away.

Why should they lose out on the benefits? It's either in the area, or it isn't.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Are SWT still doing the 6 free weekend tickets if you buy an annual on any SWT route? It would work out cheaper (an extra £12 for 6 free travel days) especially if you live around the SWT network.

Although I've read that some people got them, some didn't, and some had to chase SWT for their weekend tickets!

I never got them. I was told it didn't apply to the Island Line, but I never protested or followed anything up.

And of course now I buy the LM one (and maybe next year Chiltern) where I don't think you get anything?

SWT must have lost revenue. There must have been loads of people buying seasons, as it was well documented on many forums (rail and money saving/financial sites) and in newspapers.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
There might be better candidates, I guess the key thing is to pick flows that are already quite low in price so that the revenue lost by cutting the annual ticket price for existing users would be more than offset by additional Gold Card sales to people requiring it for 'railcard' purposes.

Or ATOC ruin everything by deciding to further reduce the benefits (like the first class supplements and cheaper child tickets) and introduce a minimum fare or something. Maybe revert the usage to 1000 from 0930 and so on.

Wouldn't surprise me.
 

Hadders

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Or ATOC ruin everything by deciding to further reduce the benefits (like the first class supplements and cheaper child tickets) and introduce a minimum fare or something. Maybe revert the usage to 1000 from 0930 and so on.

Wouldn't surprise me.

Well, nothing would surprise me either but given that the Gold Card conditions were revised only 18 months ago one would hope it'll be little while before they feel the need to change them again.
 

jon0844

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Well, nothing would surprise me either but given that the Gold Card conditions were revised only 18 months ago one would hope it'll be little while before they feel the need to change them again.

Well, ATOC doesn't do things quickly but I am sure there will be tweaks. I miss the first class upgrades and think it was mad to ditch them, as it was nice extra profit - but, hey, TOCs don't seem to care about cheap off-peak first class fares or anything like that.. even if many non IC trains go around with empty first class sections, or people chancing it with standard class tickets.

I could see a minimum fare to try and stop people getting a real saving after 0930 for short journeys, which may be made quite regularly over longer ones. Then the Gold Card will really be little more than an extended area over a Network Railcard.

I hope I am wrong, but I'll be watching intently every year to see if we see changes. The chance of a national railcard for everyone seems like it will never happen either.
 

RJ

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I'm working in the ticket office today. Hatton to Dorridge is available to buy at the £160 rate. The TiS does have these registered as in the NGC area, but if it didn't, I'd put Gold Card stock in the machine.

It doesn't take the brains of Britain to find a Gold Card area map to see if the stations are in the area, then make sure the ticket is printed on Gold Card stock. The railways seem to have a chronic issue with testing for and training on very basic fact finding skills which are necessary to provide a reasonable level of customer service. I really wish they'd stop dumping unsuitable people behind windows and leaving them unsupervised.

Just last week I went to an office to buy a ticket routed via Norwich. The clerk was adamant the ticket didn't exist, because he was using a journey planner which only offered tickets via the quicker Cambridge route. I had to go to a different office to get the ticket I wanted, which isn't the way it should be.

The railways should strive to do better than using people who can't work out how to sell a point to point ticket, or meet requests like the OP's.
 
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Hadders

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I'm working in the ticket office today. Hatton to Dorridge is available to buy at the £160 rate. The TiS does have these registered as in the NGC area, but if it didn't, I'd put Gold Card stock in the machine.

It doesn't take the brains of Britain to find a Gold Card area map to see if the stations are in the area, then make sure the ticket is printed on Gold Card stock. The railways seem to have a chronic issue with testing for and training on very basic fact finding skills which are necessary to provide a reasonable level of customer service. I really wish they'd stop dumping unsuitable people behind windows and leaving them unsupervised.

Just last week I went to an office to buy a ticket routed via Norwich. The clerk was adamant the ticket didn't exist, because he was using a journey planner which only offered tickets via the quicker Cambridge route. I had to go to a different office to get the ticket I wanted, which isn't the way it should be.

The railways should strive to do better than using people who can't work out how to sell a point to point ticket, or meet requests like the OP's.

Hatton to Dorridge? Lapworth surely?

I totally agree about TOCs putting unsuitable people behind ticket windows. It's a combination of a couple of things in my opinion:

1. TOCs cutting back on training to the bare minimum.
2. Staff not having the correct behaviour to do the right thing for the passenger. This goes back to the recruitment process but it is also a wider issue with TOCs management not empowering staff to do the right thing for passengers.
 

kieron

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Fast track a year and greedy LM added another £20 to the price. On the other hand, Chiltern decided to cut the cost of the Lapworth Gold Card as detailed above. Now, was this a ploy on Chiltern's part to 'out fox' LM and make a bit of money for minimum effort?
In that case, they would probably have made even more money if they'd used a flow for which they don't share the revenue with London Midland, such as Hatton-Claverdon.

There's probably a good reason why they acted as they did, and the reason is probably a commercial secret.
 

Starmill

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I wondered exactly the same thing. Why not choose a flow where they run the only services. Perhaps they did an analysis of existing one-step season tickets and chose the cheapest flow with none (or the fewest, if there were already some).

I'm surprised they slashed it by so very much though!
 

greatkingrat

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There aren't that many Hatton - Lapworth trains run by LM and most of them run at odd times so I suspect Chiltern will still get the vast majority of the ORCATS share.
 

bb21

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So you'd basically end the benefit for most people who genuinely have it? A zones 1-9 annual travelcard season is only £3368. Going off you a little ;)

Allow me to expand a little more.

Essentially we have two types of benefits in play, one is that of a season ticket, and the other that of a discount card which ideally should be available to all and valid nationwide. They actually have quite different characteristics and serve different purposes.

For the season ticket element, it makes commercial sense for companies to reward their most valuable customers (in simplistic terms those spending the most amount) the most, hence my quick example of a graduated/tiered model. It was only for illustration purposes and does not mean that those spending the least amount get nothing, just comparatively less. There may however be specific reasons to target those not spending the most amount with certain special offers, but that then starts to get into more complex territory, and does not fundamentally change the underlying reward structure.

As for the nationwide discount card, we do have regional ones, just need the TOCs to work together on one that is valid over a wider region, although my understanding is that some TOCs are all for it while some others vehemently against. The concept is fairly simple and has been discussed in numerous threads, hence I didn't really bother mentioning it specifically.

These two elements can overlap but should not be combined imo. My current opinion is that the Gold Card in its existing format is trying to play both roles and not doing either job very well. Politics between different TOCs are also causing unnecessary complexity in its usage, and does nothing to help project a positive image of the industry.
 

Bletchleyite

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The sensible option strikes me as being that (a) we have a National Railcard sold for about £150-£200 per annum (I'd buy one, and I'd use trains more as a result), and (b) if you have an annual Season Ticket over a particular value you get one free. (Perhaps a lower value would allow a free £30 Railcard if relevant).
 
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bb21

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The sensible option strikes me as being that (a) we have a National Railcard sold for about £150-£200 per annum (I'd buy one), and (b) if you have an annual Season Ticket over a particular value you get one free.

That is essentially what I mean by the "overlap". It is one of the sensible ideas I would not be against, pricing aside as I am not in the best position to judge the pricing of such a product.
 

Doctor Fegg

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The sensible option strikes me as being that (a) we have a National Railcard sold for about £150-£200 per annum (I'd buy one, and I'd use trains more as a result).

At the very least, I'd like to see the current railcards which aren't restricted by age or disability - i.e. the Two Together Railcard, the Family & Friends Railcard, and the Network Card - able to "act as each other".

In other words, if you have a Network Card, you should be able to use it as an F&F railcard or a TT railcard, and so on. (You could also bring local railcards without a residence requirement, such as the Cotswold Line Railcard, into such an arrangement - but since these are cheaper, only as "the £30 cards can be used as a local card", not the other way round.)

The number of people who buy two £30 railcards must be vanishingly small and bring negligible income to the railway, but for some of us it's a real factor in ticket purchase. And it would be a good first step towards a National Railcard.
 
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