LNER season ticket including Thameslink cross London?

Discussion in 'Fares Advice & Policy' started by sc597, 6 Mar 2019.

  1. sc597

    sc597 Member

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    Hi All,

    I'm looking at buying an annual season ticket from Peterborough to London valid for LNER. Obviously this would normally be to London Terminals, but could I buy it to London Thameslink (Blackfriars specifically), so I could get to King's Cross then hop on Thameslink from St Pancras to Blackfriars?

    Using the National Rail season ticket calculator I get "Great Northern / Thameslink Only" options if I put the destination as London Blackfriars. The only "Any Permitted" ticket is London plus Zones 1-6. Using the LNER website doesn't show any valid tickets at all. Is this something where the websites won't show options that the ticket office staff may have?

    Thanks in advance for any advice.
     
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  3. Hadders

    Hadders Established Member

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    The only tickets from Peterborough to ‘London Thameslink’ are routed ‘Great Northern & Thameslink only’ so you couldn’t use an LNER train with this ticket.

    Unfortunately there isn’t an ‘Any Permitted’ or ‘LNER only’ ticket from Peterborough to London Thameslink.

    Note that a Peterborough - ‘London Terminals’ ticket is valid to Moorgate via the Underground (but unfortunately not valid to board or alight at any intermediate stations).
     
  4. Haywain

    Haywain Established Member

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    No, it's something where the website doesn't show options that don't exist. LNER do not price fares to London Thameslink.
     
  5. ForTheLoveOf

    ForTheLoveOf Established Member

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    The ticket from Peterborough to London Terminals is, of course, valid to St Pancras, King's Cross, Moorgate or Old Street. But it isn't valid through the Thameslink "core". There isn't an "Any Permitted" fare defined from Peterborough to London Thameslink, however. So you'll need to get a different ticket, or combination of tickets, to travel through to Blackfriars.

    This is correct - unfortunately there are no "Any Permitted" tickets. The small discount offered for "Great Northern / Thameslink only" tickets is really not worth it here, given the loss of ability to take the numerous fast LNER services that run in the morning and evening peaks. The ticket office staff don't, in this case, have any other through fares that aren't displayed online (though occasionally this is the case, e.g. Boundary Zone fares can't be bought online).

    I think the cheapest 'obvious' way of making this commute would, therefore, be to buy a combination of tickets - i.e. Peterborough to X, and X to London Thameslink. "Any Permitted" fares to London Thameslink are defined from all stations south of Peterborough. I've had a look at the optimal combination and it would appear that it's Arlesey in this case. A combination of a Peterborough to Arlesey season and a Arlesey to London Thameslink season would cost £184.40 per week (with the usual provisions for monthly, annual etc. tickets).

    Because you're combining a season ticket with another ticket, with the origin/destination of the tickets adjoining, Condition 14.2 of the National Rail Conditions of Travel entitle you to be considered to be making one journey, as well as to take one through service - even one that doesn't stop at the changeover station - so long as you pass through the changeover station.

    The same applies if you wanted a Zones 1-6 Travelcard (e.g. if you ever travel on the Underground or other rail services within London on a regular basis). Arlesey appears to be the optimal 'splitting' point, and the cost is £210.40 per week.

    You should be able to buy both season tickets from any ticket office at the same time, however it may be beneficial to purchase them through a website like TransPennine Express, as this will give you an itinerary. This itinerary may be useful, for example, to demonstrate the validity of your season ticket from Arlesey to London Thameslink via King's Cross (something that may be argued not to be the case).
     
  6. Hadders

    Hadders Established Member

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    Tickets from Arlesey to London Thameslink are indisputably valid to Kings Cross. Even GTR at their worst wouldn’t try to claim otherwise.

    You are far more likely to have hassle on board a LNER train using a combination of season tickets where the train doesn’t stop at the splitting point.
     
  7. sc597

    sc597 Member

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    Thanks all for your advice and help. I will look into the split season options, though I agree with Hadders that I am likely to get daily grief from the LNER on-board staff! Such is life when one is trying to save a few quid on travel costs... :)

    In particular thanks to ForTheLoveOf for your comprehensive reply.
     
    Last edited: 6 Mar 2019
  8. ForTheLoveOf

    ForTheLoveOf Established Member

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    I would like to hope that LNER's guards are well-trained enough to know the rules. If they cause grief, we have contacts through the forum (e.g. one LNER staff member who posts here, and another whose name and contact details we have), so that hopefully any issues can be quickly resolved.

    I wouldn't hold off buying a combination for fear of "hassle" myself, but then again this is a personal question, especially when you are spending the better part of a grand a month on the tickets!
     
  9. sc597

    sc597 Member

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    Thanks ForTheLoveOf, I'm going to weigh it up on the way home - it's either splitting at Arlesey, or the even more fun option as suggested on these forums previously of an annual season ticket from Peterborough to Huntingdon, then GN Carnet tickets from there to London! Break-even point seems to be around 160 days travelling in per year... plus the hassle of managing the carnet tickets... I suspect I will go double season...
     
  10. Hadders

    Hadders Established Member

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    There aren’t any carnet tickets to London Thameslink from Great Northern Stations!

    A St Pancras - Blackfriars season ticket routed ‘not underground’ is £18.30 a week could be an option.
     
  11. sc597

    sc597 Member

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    One more tip for those going down this path - don't do what I did this morning and buy both legs from Peterborough itself as they don't issue Gold Cards - can't believe I've been handed two orange bits of paper for my pound of flesh!!! :)
     
  12. ForTheLoveOf

    ForTheLoveOf Established Member

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    Unfortunately, that's the problem! You can still return one of your season tickets for a refund (provided it's monthly or longer), receiving back the difference between what you paid and what a season ticket and/or daily tickets for the time you already held the season ticket would have costed, less a £10 admin fee. You can then buy it again from a retailer that issues the ticket using the Gold Card stock - and preferably one like TransPennine Express, LNER etc. that gives you rewards for buying the season ticket through them (e.g. Nectar points).
     
  13. Hadders

    Hadders Established Member

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    I’d go to Kings Cross and ask them to re-issue the ticket on Gold Card stock.

    If one of the stations is in the Gold Card area then it should be issued on Gold Card stock. The fact that it’s purchased outside the Gold Card area shouldn’t matter. To be fair I wouldn’t expect every single station outside the area to have Gold Card stock ‘just in case’ but we’re talking about Peterborough who must issue thousands of annual season tickets to stations inside the Gold Card area every year.
     
  14. sc597

    sc597 Member

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    Thanks both. Hadders, do you think an admin fee is likely if I were to do this or should they just be able to reprint without too much fuss?
     
  15. ForTheLoveOf

    ForTheLoveOf Established Member

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    If they are reissuing it in the way they would for a failure of the mag-stripe (as might magically happen if you held your ticket near your phone or a source of magnetism), then there is no fee at all.
     
  16. Wallsendmag

    Wallsendmag Established Member

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    Actually looking at NRE I believe Peterborough were correct not to issue a Gold Card as Peterborough isn't in the Gold Card area.

    What is an Annual Gold Card?
    Annual Gold Cards are Annual Season tickets with a difference!

    When you buy an adult Annual Season ticket or Annual Travelcard online or at a station within theAnnual Gold Card area and the origin and/or destination are also in the Annual Gold Card area, you are automatically issued with an Annual Gold Card. If your Season ticket is issued on smartcard or an Oyster card, you will be eligible to automatically receive a Gold Record Card to your registered address. As well as being a Season ticket for a full year, you also get a range of discounts on other leisure rail journeys in the Annual Gold Card area for both yourself and others.
     
  17. Hadders

    Hadders Established Member

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    Given that an Annual Any Permitted Standard Class Season Ticket from Peterborough to London Terminals costs £8,000 it really ought to be issued on Gold Card stock if purchased at Peterborough.
     
  18. sc597

    sc597 Member

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    Yes and actually I split it at Arlesey so it's just the other (firmly in Gold card zone) bit I wanted Gold. I'll try an honest request at KGX and if that doesn't work I'll see how the magnetic strip holds out...
     
  19. ainsworth74

    ainsworth74 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Perhaps but they are so close to the area it would have been nice for an enterprising station manager (or whoever is in charge of the ticket office) to source a supply of Gold Card stock to issue Gold Cards with. Failing that to ensure that booking office staff warned passengers that they may wish to consider purchasing at a different station to enable them to benefit from having a Gold Card at no extra cost. The area, after all, finishes at Huntingdon which isn't exactly that far from Peterborough so it's not crackers for them to be aware of it and act accordingly! Particularly as they must issue a fairly high volume of tickets that would be eligible!!
     
  20. ForTheLoveOf

    ForTheLoveOf Established Member

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    The railway quite clearly doesn't get the concept of showing its loyal customer that it "cares" about their custom. Of course, perhaps that is because a lot of its 'loyal' customers are only 'loyal' because there is no feasible alternative. And perhaps it is because almost all franchises are ultimately limited in their liability if revenue doesn't meet expectations (and the DfT are notoriously happy to disregard agreed franchise terms when the franchisee squeals, at least in recent years). But ultimately it adds up to an attitude of "that's the rules, take it or leave it", which is clearly not an attitude that belongs into 2019, let alone this decade!
     
  21. Haywain

    Haywain Established Member

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    Rubbish. The product was created, and has been maintained, to encourage purchases at a certain range of stations. It is not poor customer service to retain such restrictions.
     
  22. ForTheLoveOf

    ForTheLoveOf Established Member

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    Why should a customer who buys a Peterborough to Arlesey season ticket, who will pay the same regardless of where they buy it, have a substantial additional 'freebie' by virtue of buying their season ticket at Arlesey, or indeed any other station on the line south of Peterborough, as opposed to buying it at Peterborough? I'm sorry but that is a totally untenable position if you just look at it from a common sense perspective. It's not as if the OP is expecting a Gold Card season ticket where the route doesn't entitle them to one, but only just (say, if they were buying a Polsloe Bridge to Exmouth season ticket vs a St James Park to Exmouth season ticket).
     
  23. Haywain

    Haywain Established Member

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    I don't agree. There is no secret about which season tickets qualify and where they must be purchased in order to be issued as a Gold Card. No one is being tricked.
     
  24. Starmill

    Starmill Events Co-ordinator

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    This is a non-event. Gold Card ticket stock is kept at stations in the area. If the ticket qualifies for a Gold Card it will be issued on one if bought at one of these stations. If it is bought at a station outside the area, such as Peterborough, it won't. Most online issues will be on Gold Card stock - ask the retailer. If you get a ticket which qualifies but it's issued on blue or orange stock, asking for an encode exchange at a station within the area will yield your Gold Card. Don't refund it, that would be utterly ridiculous.
     
  25. ForTheLoveOf

    ForTheLoveOf Established Member

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    It's hardly a widely publicised policy. You are only likely to find it out if you work in a ticket office, are interested in fares or otherwise have an unhealthy obsession with these kinds of technicalities!

    But it isn't even about it being a secret - it is just objectively unreasonable for a company to give you different benefits when you are paying the same amount of hundreds or thousands of pounds, not because there is a particular reason that it costs them more or less to give you the benefit, but merely because it is their pig-headed policy. It's just utterly, utterly ludicrous!

    I would understand somewhat if we were talking about the OP having bought the season tickets at Kyle of Lochalsh. But we are talking about Peterborough here. I would be surprised if season tickets geographically eligible for Gold Card status didn't make up the absolute majority of their season ticket sales.

    I'm not saying they can't do it. Of course they can - it's a free market (well, with certain limitations!). But what you are saying does, I'm afraid, paint you as an apologist for what is frankly utter nonsense the TOCs.
     
  26. sc597

    sc597 Member

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    Well attempt 1 at KGX was met with a 'jobsworth' "no, if you bought it at Peterborough there is nothing we can do here". I didn't have time to argue, I will try again tomorrow morning! I do notice LNER aren't listed as Gold Card participants (though KGX - Stevenage and Hitchin clearly should be within scope, and arguably Peterborough, is there any point in lobbying for change here or is there no chance?! Who 'manages' GC scheme membership?), does that mean that the King's Cross LNER ticket office would also refuse to sell Gold Card season tickets? I find it very confusing as to which tickets can be bought where, naively as a punter I assumed any National Rail ticket could be bought from anywhere regardless of usage restrictions... sigh..!
     
  27. sc597

    sc597 Member

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    Thanks Starmill, can I just check that an "encode exchange" is the right thing to ask for? As in, is this terminology that ticket staff will understand? Having been refused once asking for this in 'passenger speak' I want to have the lingo right for exactly what to say...!
     
  28. Haywain

    Haywain Established Member

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    That is applying the rules of the benefit correctly, not being "a jobsworth".
     
  29. sc597

    sc597 Member

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    Unfortunately Haywain I have no confidence that I will be given the same answer tomorrow, and having been through a right palava involving half a dozen stations and several TOCs to refund my old season ticket I don't believe the first answer given! If you can point me to the rule that says Gold Card tickets can only be *purchased* in the Gold Card area as opposed to used in the relevant area, I will stand corrected. Reading the T&C's I see nothing along those lines...
     
  30. Haywain

    Haywain Established Member

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    OK, details are found on National Rail Enquiries (as well as several TOC websites), but for simplicity are copied into Wallsendmag's post from earlier in the thread. I have highlighted in bold the specific wording about where the ticket should be purchased.
     
  31. Wallsendmag

    Wallsendmag Established Member

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    You aren't due a Gold Card having not met the criteria "When you buy an adult Annual Season ticket or Annual Travelcard online or at a station within the Annual Gold Card area". Peterborough isn't in this area.
     

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