New Northern Advance Fares Liverpool to Manchester

Discussion in 'Fares Advice & Policy' started by gray1404, 30 May 2015.

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  1. gray1404

    gray1404 Established Member

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    Since the last fare changes Northern have introducd Advance fares on the Liverpool to Mancheser route. I know that cheap £2 and up (with a railcard) fares for this route have been offered with TPE and East Midlands for a long time, but I've strugled to ever get a cheap one as I generally do not know weeks ahead when I am going across to Manchester.

    Does anyone know if Northern has good avaliablilty?
     
  2. LowLevel

    LowLevel Established Member

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    I know they've been costing people booking on the xx55 Northern stopping services some unexpected extra pounds when they get on the xx52 EMT services instead! Advances over a short distance are a pain in the arse and if I dont see them before Warrington it's costing them more than 5x what they paid to get the cheapest walkup - if I get to them before Warrington I offer them the option of getting off and waiting time.
     
    Last edited: 30 May 2015
  3. gray1404

    gray1404 Established Member

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    It is important that customers get on the right train. the xx52 is to Norwich right, where as the xx55 to a stopper to Oxford Road, so its not like there are 2 trains with identical final destinations on the board and this is what is leading to confusion.

    I hope that it will be easier to get a Northern advance compared to a EMT one. The trouble is I am always making a return Liverpool to Manchester trip same day so unless I can get 2 of the cheapest advances, it works out better getting a Off Peak Day Return. Although if I can get 2 x £2 advances i.e. 1 each way, this could work out at a 50% saving.
     
  4. Merseysider

    Merseysider Established Member Fares Advisor

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    These Northern advances have excellent availability. I've seen the lowest tier available at 12 noon the day before travel. The extra 30m time penalty compared to TPE's fasts from MCV is a fair trade off for a £2 (railcard) single. But for journeys into Wirral or beyond Manchester it's still cheaper to use a combination of tickets as there aren't any Northern & connect tiers.
     
  5. gray1404

    gray1404 Established Member

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    Thats really good to know then that you can still get them the day before at £2. NOTE: I see the booking deadline on these is 1800 the night before and you can only get them for travel off peak (which for Northern I assume means after 9.30) and for travel Monday-Friday (NOT weekends) Your right, the additional journey time is worth it for the lower price. I know the journey time on the stopper is longer on Northern but if you could get one on the Northern service to Manchester Airport (which goes via Chat Moss) then its not bad at all in terms of journey time. Will these ones be easy to bring up on the system though if I tried to book one at my local little station? :)

    I wonder why then it is so difficult to get one of the cheapest fares on East Midlands and Transpennine compared to one of these.

    Given that TPE are the fare setter on this route for the walk-ups (I am actually surprised its not Northern) it explains why its so expensive. Its a shame Northerm and/or East Midlands Trains don't start to offer their own TOC Only walk up fares too. I wonder if its worth a suggestion to them about doing this.
     
    Last edited: 30 May 2015
  6. hairyhandedfool

    hairyhandedfool Established Member

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    I think it is from 0900, the 0902 from Victoria and 0916 from Oxford Road have them for travel tomorrow.

    Should be a piece of pi...... The clerk just has to look for them on whichever reservation system they have.

    Bear in mind that the Manchester-Liverpool 'Walk-up' fares are also used for some local journeys that are shorter, and on a permitted route, and other similar journeys have similar fares. Offering a lower priced fare between the two cities may result in lower revenue being taken on those other journeys. Advance fares get round this by not allowing Break of Journey (and all it entails).
     
  7. Starmill

    Starmill Established Member

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    Walk-up tickets between Liverpool and Manchester are so cheap I'm not sure why you'd need to bother with these! It's not like Leeds - York where there are no other advances and a stranglehold on Off-Peak fares.

    By the way gray1404 EMT Advances are sometimes cheaper when booked through their own site. Be careful what you wish for from EMT if it's an EMIDSTRAINS.ONLY walk-up you want.... (OK I think I can guess their intention there, because there appears to be a negative easement on Lincoln - London via Nottingham, but that was the wrong way to approach it if that was what they wanted to do! Talk about cowboys.)

    The reason availability is so much greater on Northern than it is on EMT and especially TPE is because the Northern services don't go beyond Manchester (to anywhere except Manchester Airport) so you are only competing against people on thinks like Broad Green - Manchester or Irlam - Liverpool Advances (and lets face it, people who live in those places probably have no idea they can get an Advance yet). On the long-distance services you are competing for quota with people joining the train at Liverpool and every station before Manchester who is then going beyond Manchester. e.g. Warrington - Sheffield people will take up quota that you need between Warrington and Manchester. OK that particular flow is probably not that busy but I think you get the point as it goes for everyone going from Liverpool to east of Manchester too.

    Lastly I should imagine that TPE particularly want to be careful about the quota they are offering to Advance buyers between Manchester and Liverpool as they are most likely to be targeted by people booking tickets at the station on the day for offering the fastest services - although it has always perplexed me why so many people wait to board westbound EMT services at Piccadilly and Oxford Road when the Northern service is quicker (and now 319-operated... OK so I guess no more tables :( But much less risk of pacerification).
     
    Last edited: 1 Jun 2015
  8. gray1404

    gray1404 Established Member

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    Yeah but if you know exactly what trains your getting and to go from paying around £8 for a railcard discounted off peak day return to only £4 return is a further 50% saving. Plus, the likes of National Express offer such prices in their Funfare range so it looks like they are competing with that too. :)
     
  9. Hadders

    Hadders Established Member

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    I'm not in favour of Advance fares on a route such as Liverpool - Manchester.

    Given that there is a frequent service, over different routes, with different TOC's it's just a recipe for passengers to end up on the wrong train, either in error or deliberately.
     
  10. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Advance tickets on this route are a confusing nonsense - if it is felt that higher fares are reducing custom, how about simply reducing the CDR in price, or introducing, if more appropriate, a Super Off Peak Day Return with tighter restrictions, perhaps including weekends restrictions as LM have?

    This seems like Northern just wanting to keep revenue for themselves :)
     
  11. Merseysider

    Merseysider Established Member Fares Advisor

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    Well if they get on the wrong train that'll only be one person's fault and that'll be them! Advances have been around for years (TPE, EMT) so I'm not sure the problem you speak of will materialise with the introduction of NT advances.

    As all but one of Northern's trains per hour are overtaken they probably get close to zero revenue on the walk up fares, so this benefits them and it benefits us who want a cheap day out and are capable of planning a day ahead. :)
     
  12. Starmill

    Starmill Established Member

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    I would say that isnthe main motivation for a lot of TOCs now introducing them. They're certainly not that bothered about expanding the size of the market like Adamce tickets on long-distance routes do. A Super Off-Peak with afternoon restrictions would have been a great idea.
     
  13. Hadders

    Hadders Established Member

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    I disagree. Forum members won't have an issue in knowing the difference between Northern and EMT and booked train only etc. but many 'normal' passengers won't. Also, it adds more complification to an already complicated fares structure.

    Furthermore, how many people will think that Advance tickets always represent the cheapest way of making the journey and end up paying more than the walk on fare for far less flexibility.

    I could live with a 'route Northern only' fare but the endless drive of TOC's towards Advance fares does concern me. Heaven help us when they introduce them on GTR.
     
  14. Merseysider

    Merseysider Established Member Fares Advisor

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    But the general public not doing their homework shouldn't be a reason for prices to be higher in the name of being 'simpler'. I think things are fairly straightforward; the PIS boards at MAN/MCO/MCV/LIV all show the toc name and departure time and announcements do too (eg "Platform 14 for the 12:55 Northern service to Liverpool Lime Street"). If people aren't paying attention to those announcements, ignore the information boards, and don't see the word "Northern" on the side of each carriage then I think they have nobody to blame but themselves if they end up on the wrong train.

    Similarly, if they see 12:16 NORTHERN ONLY on their ticket and think that must be the 12:12 TPE service because the times are similar then they deserve no sympathy.

    I do however agree with your point that some may interpret low price as best value, which isn't always the case. Anything less than a 25% saving for an advance over the walkup isn't really worth bothering with.
     
  15. andrewkeith5

    andrewkeith5 Member

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    Far too many! Probably as many as assume that standard Advanced will always be cheaper than First, although that does work to my benefit remarkably frequently :P
     
  16. jcollins

    jcollins Veteran Member

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    They do depart from the same platform at Lime Street.
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    Having 3 operators running between the 2 cities is why the Advances exist.

    I don't see why Advance tickets can't be available on Liverpool-Manchester as long as they don't incentivise people to go on the busier services.
     
  17. gray1404

    gray1404 Established Member

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    I'm going to try my luck at booking one of these Liverpool to Manchester Advances with Northern at Formby station on Wednesday for travel on Thursday.
     
  18. Solent&Wessex

    Solent&Wessex Established Member

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    There are Northern advances on the xx15 to Manchester, and they keep getting on the xx12 TPE, and being charged again, but as I keep getting told, "the bloke on the station said it would be ok". Strangely I've not yet had any going towards Liverpool, only a lot coming the other way.
     
  19. Starmill

    Starmill Established Member

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    I can only assume that's because xx07 and xx55 are a long way apart kwvr45!

    As for 'the bloke on the station said it would be OK' they are possibly just asking which is the train to Manchester - or also possibly showing their ticket and the platform staff are looking at the ticket type and immediately directing people to the TPE because they think that ticket type is not available on the Northern service. Has a memo been sent to gate staff in the area about new Northern Only fares? I'll have a guess at that one...

    Remembering of course the penalty for getting the slow train when you pay more for a TPE advance is the same as for the people who do the opposite.
     
  20. gray1404

    gray1404 Established Member

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    If I really wanted to do a Northern class 319 on one of these tickets, would it be one of the fast Manchester Airport service I should book onto or is it just selected services right now? (sorry to wavier a little off topic)
     
  21. Starmill

    Starmill Established Member

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    Look at it this way: you aren't going to find a 319 on a train via Warrington...
     
  22. LowLevel

    LowLevel Established Member

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    If it was anywhere else I'd be dubious but some of the Lime St station guys are in a class of their own. They should get rid of the little boxes for starters and have a proper gate line or a more visible presence - two blokes in a pair of boxes nodding at passers by while not really paying attention doesn't really help anyone. It's rare for me to work a train out if Liverpool without selling a ticket.
     
  23. Merseysider

    Merseysider Established Member Fares Advisor

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    These Northern advance fares appear to have had a knock-on effect.

    From early January, TPE will be introducing cheaper tickets between Liverpool and Manchester, with tiers repriced at £3.50 and £4.50 (£1.75/£2.25 with a YP discount) instead of £4.10 and £5.10 respectively. Hardly groundbreaking stuff but perhaps Northern's dirt-cheap APs are winning customers over.
     
  24. Starmill

    Starmill Established Member

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    What TransPennine could have done is ditched their APs for Manchester <> Liverpool and introduced a Super Off-Peak Day Return at slightly less than the £12.40 Off-Peak Day Return. Some educated guessing I would say it would sell very well if it were £8.50 - £9.50, valid after around 1100 and not valid to depart Liverpool or Manchester stations for 90-120 mins in the evening.

    Their hegemonic position as flow owner would have allowed them in this way to stifle the price war Northern have started - to the benefit of walk-up passengers and indeed staff. It would also make life easier for people who might accidentally get on the wrong train, or whose booked train is cancelled. Instead it looks like Mr Bithell prefers ever more or cheaper tiers of Advance tickets for a half hour journey... Northern have already got more capacity than TransPennine -and they are only going to start running more trains in future. I would also be willing to bet fewer passengers making other journeys on the same trains, and have demonstrated they aren't scared of selling tickets for £2 where they're in competition with TP elsewhere.

    A trial of this would also give their (rather talented!) marketing people something substantial to actually market (think shouting new lower fares), rather than another 'win weekend break for two in Newcastle'.
     
    Last edited: 26 Dec 2015
  25. Merseysider

    Merseysider Established Member Fares Advisor

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    Yes, a Super Off Peak ticket would be nice, especially as some services in the middle of the day have a lot of seats to be filled.

    But I don't mind either way. If this carries on the prices are only going to decrease. It's like when Stagecoach had a monopoly on the Wilmslow Road bus corridor and then First came along with their £1 fares, and all of a sudden Stagecoach have to drop their fares to £1 too.

    I've never understood why TPE are flow owner. Northern operate 4tph (one fast) compared to TPE's 2tph. Most stations along the route are Northern operated anyway.
     
  26. Camden

    Camden Established Member

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    Are TPE the flow owner? If so it was of a time when they only operated one train per hour, since the Newcastle train has only been going about a year or so.

    I would contest the "lot of seats to be filled". I usually use these trains off peak when working between the two cities, and have yet to be on a train out of Lime Street which was not at the very least almost full, if not sometimes with people standing.

    I suspect that the existence of advance fares for this journey is box ticking, since I can't imagine many people would use them. Perhaps the reason for not having a super off-peak (because people would use it, and thus get a cheaper journey)?

    I can easily imagine the reasons why people might be getting on the wrong trains with the advances. And I agree with the above, I think the Lime Street barrier really needs to be changed, or just be removed and replaced with barriers. The space is inadequate at the moment for the amount of barriers that would be needed though.
     
  27. jcollins

    jcollins Veteran Member

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    Northern are also introducing cheap Advances from Stoke and Crewe to Manchester. Presumably in an attempt to get revenue lost to Virgin as a result of Virgin introducing the VT only fares a few years back. Maybe it will help with overcrowding on the peak time ATW services between Crewe and Manchester?
     
  28. LNW-GW Joint

    LNW-GW Joint Established Member

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    It's when the arriving hordes have to queue up to get off the station, with one exit line closed, and the other unmanned or with a bloke staring at the departure screen or chatting over the "fence" to his mate on the inward side...

    Then last week P2-5 were empty while we had to double park on the narrow and nasty P6, fighting with the outbound scrum and their cases.
    No such problems for LM/Virgin in their half of the station though.
    Lime St is a very odd place at times.
     
  29. Camden

    Camden Established Member

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    Think the Manchester control room determines the platforms now doesn't it?

    Having used a few late night services when the station is mostly empty, I'm finding it strange to "arrive" 5 to 10 minutes early yet be held in a tunnel just outside the station, to pull into the platform "on time". Obviously you can't complain about being on time, but the opportunity to arrive early and get back to my hotel room or apartment after a long day would be most welcome.

    As for moving about in the station as a passenger, I find platform 9 arrivals can also be awkward although there at least you don't have a blockade (not an official one anyway, just daft people standing in the wrong place).
     
  30. gray1404

    gray1404 Established Member

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    I would agree with Jake that a lot of the off peak services are not very full at all between Liverpool and Manchester. I personally think that the Off Peak Day should be cheaper and also a Super Off Peak should also be introduced.

    It would be nice if Northern - as they run so many services on that route (and also EMT if they felt like) did Route: Northern Only walk up tickets as well as Advances. At the moment you really cant get a good deal on that route unless you book an Advance.

    I too am totally baffled as to why TPE are the fare setter on that route. TPE are over priced. They operate no where near as many services on that route and I really do hope that it will change over to Northern in the near future and result in lower fares (here's hoping).....
     
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