Manchester - Euston £320 ret??

Discussion in 'Fares Advice & Policy' started by Howardh, 9 May 2019.

  1. CanalWalker

    CanalWalker On Moderation

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    That is far from true. The last time I went to London I paid £52 return but I would willing have paid twice or three times that for the convenience of rail travel. So Virgin could have got away with a higher price
     
  2. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    It is never possible to charge 100% of the maximum price people are prepared to pay; yield management techniques could never achieve that because they'd have to read your mind!
     
  3. ForTheLoveOf

    ForTheLoveOf Established Member

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    The airlines have it down to a 't' in general, inasmuch as there is almost no price regulation at all, and they have an innumerable number of fare categories for different kinds of trips, e.g. same day return is the most expensive ticket type usually (as it tends to be used by business travellers), 7 day return is much cheaper (as it tends to be used by more price conscious holidaymakers). And prices are sometimes even adjusted depending on what cookies you have in your browser, with passengers who have shopped around on different airlines sometimes being offered lower fares. The railways still have a long way to go to get anywhere near that!
     
  4. anme

    anme Established Member

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    Genuine question - do you have an example which demonstrates this behaviour? I would like to find one.
     
  5. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    I think some people would prefer that; there are proposals to abolish all flexible fares and move to a system of demand-based booked trains only.

    I personally would be saddened to see that, but the problem is that those who want this system are very good at saying how airlines pricing is "simple" (booked plane only = simple to use) and that trains should go the same way, and it's difficult to argue against those claims as the people who want such a system have completely different aims to people like us who value flexibility.
     
  6. anme

    anme Established Member

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    The big argument these people have is that their system tends to maximise income and profit. So it's a question of how commercial we want our railways to be.

    (this is mostly for longer journeys - demand based pricing is not so practical for short trips)
     
  7. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    It's 2019, and most airlines now price in singles, even long-haul, so that has near enough all gone.
     
  8. ForTheLoveOf

    ForTheLoveOf Established Member

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    This Time article would appear to suggest that the price sometimes increases. Either way, it's clear that prices do vary.

    There can be no doubt that it would be a system that would lead to a reduced amount of confusion for passengers over different ticket types, but it might not necessarily be the simplest to use because of the encumbrances it inevitably means.

    I think the only way it can credibly be made to work is to categorise all services as either a local service or an Intercity service. Intercity services would have to be reservation compulsory (and Advance only) with reservations available and changeable until the minute of departure. No Advances would be available for local services - it would be a fixed Anytime fare only. Undoubtedly a simple system, but better for passengers? Highly questionable.

    Reforms to the system of permitted routes would also be required in order to enable mileage-based pricing to work - and for example all tickets would need to be priced as single legs, with break of journey barred on all tickets (but unnecessary as a result of the mileage-based pricing).
     
  9. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    It certainly is simple - but it has many downsides.

    Personally I would implement single-fare pricing (i.e. abolish returns, and take the slight increase hit on a return journey that would result in). Then in every case you have the choice of understanding the conditions of a flexible ticket or simply using a journey planner (with splits if desired) and letting that do the work.
     
  10. robbeech

    robbeech Established Member

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    I’m talking specifically about the SOR. Was the £52 fare the railcard discounted SDR that is heavily regulated?
     
  11. robbeech

    robbeech Established Member

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    I would worry it would be a massive hit for return pricing. There are a number of people who buy single walk up tickets, they likely couldn’t afford to reduce the price of these by much (and wouldn’t want to at all) so there would be no way to price it sensibly as 2 singles.
     
  12. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    There aren't that many people buying walk-up singles; most journeys are return journeys and of the single journeys left many are done on Advances. GWR reduced their walk-up Super Off Peak singles to about 60% of the returns and don't seem to have hiked the returns as a result. But that further 10% has a massive advantage in making things simple in the journey planners.
     
  13. anme

    anme Established Member

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    I'm not sure that's true. For long haul, at least, airlines still often charge more for singles. A random search on the Lufthansa website for London to Los Angeles (random long haul journey) on 24th June (random date) was over 1600 pounds for a single, but less than 600 pounds for the same outward flight with a return on 1st July.

    That was the first example I tried. I'm sure you can find more.

    Edit: I just tried London to Frankfurt (random short haul flight), also on Lufthansa's website. There was also a discount for a return compared to a single, although the difference was not so dramatic.

    Edit 2: British Airways has a similar pricing structure - London to Los Angeles on the same dates as above is over 1700 pounds single, just over 600 pounds return (same outward flight).
     
  14. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Lufty are one of the legacy airlines that still do this to some extent. Not all of them do, though for long haul it's more common. No low-costs do it, it's the wrong business model.
     
  15. anme

    anme Established Member

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    Norwegian do it. London to Los Angeles on the same dates as above is 414 pounds single, but as part of a return ticket the same flight is 344 pounds (with a total return price of 629 pounds). Not as dramatic as BA and Lufthansa, but not single pricing.

    They do it because they can - not charging extra for single tickets when all your rivals do is just leaving money on the table. Norwegian should be asking themselves why they don't charge more! No-one is going to pay 1600 pounds to fly Norwegian, but say 1200 pounds would still be a big enough saving compared to the competition to attract customers.
     
  16. Hadders

    Hadders Established Member

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    The problem with this is that in many cases the inter-city service is also the local service. For example:

    Warrington - Wigan
    Ipswich - Norwich
    Didcot - Swindon
    Market Harborough - Leicester

    That’s before we even think of Paddington - Reading or Euston - Milton Keynes and the capacity issues...
     
  17. ForTheLoveOf

    ForTheLoveOf Established Member

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    The issue is simply that you'd have to introduce new 'local' services for those routes. It isn't possible to properly reform the system if you leave remnants of old systems there (plus Ipswich to Norwich will soon have a non-Intercity service, the extension of the Ipswich stopper). You have to go for wholesale change, a paradigm shift. Understandably, no-one is keen on that unless they know what the new system is like.
     
  18. Howardh

    Howardh Established Member

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    Notice that (not exactly sure where from) but the line around MK into London is quadrupled, so local-ish services can run alongside inter-cities. That would be the answer for much of the network, but it isn't due to the cost and building and local opposition and enquiries and cost...
     
  19. Hadders

    Hadders Established Member

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    At the risk of going off topic the WCML is full. There is no capacity to run additional services which is why we need HS2. Milton Keynes isn’t really the problem here as Virgin generally don’t call there in the peak hours.

    I often use this example when demonstrating why inter-city services often double up as local services:

    Consider the 06:16 departure from Euston to Manchester Piccadilly.

    It leaves Euston carting mostly fresh air and calls at Milton Keynes at 06:46 and picks up several passengers but there’s still lots of room.

    At 08:00 it calls at Stoke on Trent where it becomes proper wedged as it is the train for Stoke commuters heading to Manchester, many of them with season tickets. The train arrives at Manchester Piccadilly at 08:28.

    If you banned Stoke commuters from this train where would they go? The slower Northern services are already full and standing by the time they reach Manchester. There’s no capacity to run additional trains to Manchester at that time of the day.

    Even if you did squeeze Stoke commuters onto other trains just imagine how it would look to Stoke passengers when a Pendolino breezes through the station at 125mph carrying mostly fresh air while they squeeze onto overcrowded Northern pacers (or their modern-day equivalents) for a slow journey to work.

    The press would have a field day.
     
  20. IceAgeComing

    IceAgeComing Member

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    I'm actually pricing a trip to from London to Manchester at the moment (for the end of July to go and see a wrestling show: trying to compare train+hostel with car rental split between three or four people and doing it in one day) and £59.10 is the price I'm consistently getting for a walk-up ticket (or £57.89 if you split at Stoke) on a weekend day with 16-25 rail card, both Off-peak returns with restrictions that seem to prohibit weekday travel?). That seems like a pretty damn good deal actually - its a flexible ticket so travel is less stressful (and you can still reverse a seat on the train you intend to catch anyway) and

    What's strange is that I'm looking through trainsplit quickly at work and I'm setting random midweek trips (for example: leaving London at 10am on Wednesday 19th June at 10am, returning Thursday 20th June at 2:15pm) and its giving me the same price and the same tickets so I'm confused as to what exactly the restriction is. I imagine its a site issue but if not then apparently travelling to Manchester shouldn't cost £320 if you're able and willing to travel slightly later in the day.
     
  21. anme

    anme Established Member

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    That's the point of the 350 pounds ticket - it lets you travel early in the day!
     
  22. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    This?

    http://www.brfares.com/#faredetail?orig=MAN&dest=EUS&grpo=0438&grpd=1072&rlc=YNG&tkt=SVR

    It is valid on weekdays.

    Not valid on trains timed to arrive:
    • London Euston after 07:19 and before 11:30;
    Not valid on trains timed to depart:
    • London Euston after 04:29 and before 09:26 or after 15:00 and before 18:45 (Afternoon restrictions do not apply on Fridays)
     
  23. anme

    anme Established Member

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    Do you have an example of a website that actually does this? I've tried it on many websites and have never managed to recreate this alleged behaviour.
     
  24. ForTheLoveOf

    ForTheLoveOf Established Member

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    The Off-Peak Return between London and Manchester is a regulated fare. It must be valid for travel any time on the weekends, or on a weekday any time after 10:30, with the exception of travelling away from London between 15:00 and 19:00 inclusive. There are a very limited number of Off-Peak fares which are only valid on the weekend, but those will be unregulated fares (typically Day Single/Returns for short distance journeys, e.g. this fare.

    As @Bletchleyite points out, Virgin set less onerous restrictions than those which they are theoretically entitled to set, including allowing evening travel at any time on Fridays.
     
  25. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    While it's not going to suit every case, you could allocate a coach to unreserved local journeys and allow local fares for only those sections of route. This was at one point (may still be) true on Thalys, and DB have done it in the past as well where a particular train might be "IC to point X, then RE thereafter". The daily IC Hamburg-Berchtesgaden (doesn't seem to exist any more?) was like that - IC "mit Zuschlag/with supplementary fare" to Freilassing, RE at base local fare thereafter, as it took up a slot in the hourly timetable on that route.

    If you are using ICWC as the example, you're basically talking the Crewe-Carlisle stretch I think, between which things are quieter than further south anyway?
     
  26. LNW-GW Joint

    LNW-GW Joint Veteran Member

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    That's how it works in Germany, with a strict split between long distance and regional/local services (or a hefty supplement to upgrade).
    Most local tickets are not valid on ICE/IC/EC services.
    Local services have PTE-type fares, long distance quite different with something like demand pricing and few stops
    You could argue that Stoke commuters, and a few other very favoured places, are getting a Pendolino service for a Northern fare, something that is not available, say, at Knutsford.
    RE-type all-stations services in Germany are often only hourly, but are long and full to bursting.

    On the WCML, the split would be (eg) VT versus LM/SN/NT.
    Life would get complicated with services like TPE and XC, even Chiltern, which occupy a slot halfway between local and long distance.
    BR started down this road with its business sectors, but in some ways the franchises, with DfT specification, have gone the other way with common user trains.
    I think pick up/set down only has declined under privatisation.

    On demand pricing, I have been entertained by the uproar about the Champions League final in Madrid, with 2 English teams involved.
    That has resulted in the quadrupling of air fares and prices of hotel rooms, as that is the market supply and demand at 2-3 weeks' notice.
    The best our TOCs can do is regulate the supply of Advance tickets, but demand pricing would have some benefits (some of the time).

    For the example of Bolton-Gatwick, I'm wondering why Virgin should offer cheap Advances in high summer?
    But they do sometimes have good First Class offers in the holidays when business travel is down.
     
  27. Haywain

    Haywain Established Member

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    Me too. Always amazed that people seem surprised by this sort of thing. However, I do have sympathy with those who are finding that they had booked accommodation and are now being told to pay extra. The advantage UK rail travellers have is that at times of peak demand there is a ceiling on prices - which means that the problem becomes overcrowding and resultant discomfort, something that air travellers don't suffer.
     
  28. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    If you're wanting Advance fares, it's too early to look at 1st August, but for 4th July as an example I am seeing a wide variety of routeings at cheap prices, e.g. 0954 via Victoria for £42.46, 1009 via Clapham Jn for £37.90, 1022 via St Pancras for £40.37 and 1054 via Victoria for £40.46 without any need for manual via points.
    Indeed.

    The likes of Virgin are keen to set that ceiling much higher for times of "peak" demand which are not regualted e.g. weekends with high demand, hence their requests to Government to abolish the current Off Peak Returns. They've been arguing this point for over 13 years, as has ATOC.

    http://www.christianwolmar.co.uk/20...-well-off-subsidies-slashed-so-savers-suffer/
    It must be extremely frustrating to Virgin - and their supporters such as the now retired David Mapp - that people are still spending their money on the products formerly known as Savers (SVRs), instead of staying at home purchasing CDs ;)

    I hope that the latest attempts to get rid of SVRs meet the same fate and get quietly forgotten again.
     
    Last edited: 13 May 2019
  29. Kite159

    Kite159 Veteran Member

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    Oh look that fully flexible £89.70 off-peak return from Manchester to London has disappeared on a weekend where Man City/Utd are playing a London team or a weekend of a large event in London (i.e. the marathon). Future West Coast operator rubs hands in glee at being able to charge £150+ for a last minute single on the forecasted busy trains

    Likewise from Edinburgh to London where if you book on the LNER website it highlights the 'super off-peak single' for £73.70 which kinda caps the price LNER can charge for advance fares, otherwise who knows how much they will try and get away with charging for fast services on a Sunday at the end of half term or on bank holiday mondays.
     
  30. IceAgeComing

    IceAgeComing Member

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    Ah I see! The "restricted days: Monday to Friday" bit was the thing that confused me.
     

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