Off peak singles and promotional returns

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bella

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5 of us intend to travel on a Monday from Bristol on 08 41 to Weymouth sometime over the next month or so. Surprisingly, for that time in the morning, off peak single fares are available on this service! Do these off peak day singles (£59 group fare) still allow us to break our journey?

We then intend to travel from Weymouth to Southampton Airport (Parkway) but will be stopping at Wareham. South West trains are offering £16 promotional Day returns (even for single journeys) but am wondering if these are like Anytime Day Singles allowing break of journey for 5 x £16 (£80) or if we need to buy Anytime Day singles (£85.50 group fare) in order to legitimately get off at Wareham?
 
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Wookiee

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I believe the promotional day returns allow journey breaks - the barriers let me off at Clapham Junction with a Fareham to Waterloo one a few months ago. Should be the same for the off peak singles, provided no restrictions are referred to on the ticket.
 

Romilly

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I agree. If on the National Rail Enquiries journey planner you ask for tickets for 5 adults from Weymouth to Southampton Airport on a Monday in July, and in the Advanced Options use the "via/avoid/change at" menu to opt to change at Wareham, you will get the promotional tickets for a journey that includes a break at Wareham.
 

bella

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Many thanks all. I think I have to buy the promotional tickets in advance though?
 

lemonic

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I think there is a cheaper option.

1. Buy Bristol to Weymouth *return*, via Yeovil outward and then excess the return portion to via Salisbury. Travel to Weymouth using the outward portion and travel from Weymouth to Southampton Central using the return portion. Break of journey is allowed.
2. Buy Southampton Central to Southampton Airport Parkway single.

All prices are for 5 people including GroupSave.

Bristol to Weymouth via Yeovil is £59.50 Off Peak Day Return
Bristol to Weymouth via Salisbury is £134.75 Off Peak Return

So pay £59.50 + half the difference = £59.50 + £37.65 = £97.15.

This will cover you to Southampton Central.

On top of that, I think you need a single Southampton Central to Southampton Airport Parkway which is £12.25.

So total cost is £97.15+12.25=£109.40.
 

John @ home

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I think there is a cheaper option.

1. Buy Bristol to Weymouth *return*, via Yeovil outward and then excess the return portion to via Salisbury. Travel to Weymouth using the outward portion and travel from Weymouth to Southampton Central using the return portion.
Yes, this is a very good idea.
On top of that, I think you need a single Southampton Central to Southampton Airport Parkway which is £12.25.
The additional ticket Southampton Central - Southampton Airport Parkway is not needed.

The National Routeing Guide shows us that mapped permitted routes between Bristol Group and Weymouth Group appear on map WD and on map combinations BW+CW, LA+XR and WR+XR.

On the outward leg, using a Bristol - Weymouth via Yeovil ticket, map WD allows Bristol Group - Bath Spa - Westbury Group - Castle Cary - Yeovil Pen Mill - Thornford - Weymouth Group.

On the return leg, having paid the excess fare to a Bristol - Weymouth via Salisbury ticket, map combination BW+CW allows:
CW: Weymouth Group - Brockenhurst - Southampton Group (includes both Southampton Central and Southampton Airport Parkway) - Eastleigh.
BW: Eastleigh - Romsey - Salisbury - Warminster - Westbury Group - Bath Spa - Bristol Group.
 
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bella

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John/Lemonic

Thanks again for your input.

You effectively say the 5 of us can save a total of £41.85 (£139.00 - 97.15) by buying an off-peak day return, as opposed to single, ticket from Bristol (B) to Weymouth (W) via Yeovil and paying additional excess fares when we reach W in order to go to Southampton Airport (SA). By so doing, we would pay an extra 50p for the return (5 @ 10p) with total fares of £59.50 and then request to pay further excess fares of £37.65 (5 @ £7.53) at W in order to theoretically return to B via Salisbury (and thus Southampton Central (SC)) but in practice choosing to end our journey at SA by passing through, instead of changing at, SC.

Before going with this advice, I have looked at Condition 13(e) of NR's current Conditions of Carriage. This states that it is applicable only where we intend to use a route not covered by (a) and (b) of those conditions. (b) has no application to our situation and neither does (a)(i) or (ii) because the route to B via Salisbury is not the shortest and there is no through train service. It would seem to me neither does (a)(iii). Although under 13(e), NR's Journey Planner states £131.25 (as opposed to the total for the lowest priced group fare ticket available at W for immediate travel (ie. a single ticket), the Salisbury route does seem to me to fall under (a)(iii), and thus liable to excess fares, because it is not a permitted route in the NRG. This is because I interpret from Step 7 of the NRG that BW + CW is the permitted route and not CW + BW. Also, all my attempts to use the Journey Planner to find a fare from W to B via SA are declined, presumably because it would involve travellers to B to double back (which is not allowed without a specific easement).

I am aware from the forum that in the past there appears to have been a methodology of the excess fare being calculated on half the difference between the £59.50 and price of the cheapest return (£134.75) but I have found nothing yet that supports the excess fare being calculated on a basis different from that under 13(e). Under 13(e), I conclude (probably wrongly, I concede) that excess fares back to B via Salisbury would cost us an extra £71.75 (£131.25 - 59.50) plus the extra 50p for the return and £12.25 from SC to SA.

However, I admit to being a newcomer to all of this so please tell me where I may have gone wrong. If the half the difference option is indeed still available, it would be very helpful if you could also tell me where I can find this in print.

Many thanks.
 

John @ home

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I have looked at Condition 13(e) of NR's current Conditions of Carriage. This states that it is applicable only where we intend to use a route not covered by (a) and (b) of those conditions.
Condition 13(e) states "If you make your journey by a route other than those referred to in (a) and (b) above, you will be liable to pay an excess fare. This excess fare will be the difference between the price paid for the ticket you hold and the price of the lowest priced ticket(s) available at a ticket office for immediate travel that would have entitled you to travel by that route", but it does not include the word "only". There are other circumstances in which an excess fare may be payable.

In this instance, both Bristol Temple M - Yeovil - Weymouth and Bristol - Salisbury - Eastleigh - Southampton Group - Weymouth are permitted routes, as shown in post #7. Fares between Bristol Temple M and Weymouth are sold with one of three routings:
  • route Not Via London. This is mostly used via Reading.
  • route Via Salisbury, and
  • route Via Yeovil.
The right to pay an excess fare if travelling outward via Yeovil and returning via Salisbury derives from page 6 of the instructions "How to use the National Routeing Guide":
CALCULATING EXCESS FARES

On occasions the Routing Guide will prevent a customer from making their preferred journey. In such circumstances and where appropriate, the customer should be offered the opportunity to purchase an excess fare ticket, prior to travel, which allows the journey to be made by their preferred route.

Where a journey is undertaken by an alternative route to that for which the ticket was originally purchased, and for which a higher fare applies, additional payment is required to enable the customer to make or complete their revised travel arrangements.

This option may not apply to customers holding Advance tickets, or tickets which are available by specified trains or endorsed for travel only by the services of a particular train operator.

DUAL ROUTE AVAILABILITY

Where two or more permitted routes are available for a specific journey, customers may wish to travel out by one route and return by another. If a higher fare applies for the return leg of the journey the customer should be issued with a ticket for the more direct route and an excess fare issued to cover the difference in fare for the return routeing. This option should be made available to customers who wish to pre-book a dual routed ticket prior to travel.

The alternative journey MUST relate to the same routeing points for the origin and destination stations.

This option may not apply to customers holding Advance tickets, or tickets which are available by specified trains or endorsed for travel only by the services of a particular train operator.
I interpret from Step 7 of the NRG that BW + CW is the permitted route and not CW + BW.
This interpretation is incorrect. Page F8 of The National Routeing Guide in Detail explains that permitted routes are the same in both directions of travel, therefore route code BW+CW is identical to route code CW+BW.
Section C (the yellow pages) lists all journeys between pairs of routeing points and the route codes for the permitted routes. Journeys are listed alphabetically by origin and destination. As the permitted routes are the same in both directions of travel it makes no difference which way round the journey is looked up. Sheffield to Inverness has exactly the same permitted routes as Inverness to Sheffield and the same is true of every other listed journey.
all my attempts to use the Journey Planner to find a fare from W to B via SA are declined, presumably because it would involve travellers to B to double back (which is not allowed without a specific easement).
This is due to an inadequacy in the journey planners, not to you. None of the journey planners have been designed to cope with a return journey where the outward leg has a different route from the return leg.

In this instance, search for Bristol Temple M to Weymouth via Yeovil to find a suitable itinerary for your outward leg. Then search for Weymouth to Bristol Temple M via Southampton Airport Parkway to find a suitable itinerary for your return leg (i.e. your onward leg to Southampton Airport Parkway). Unfortunately, internet ticket selling sites are unable to sell excess fares, so you'll have to buy these at a station or on a train.

But neither leg involves a double back. Doubling back is passing through the same station more than once on the same leg of a journey. Neither the outward nor the return legs of the journey quoted in post #7 do this. In practice, you would travel only between the stations I have shown in bold in post #7.

I am aware from the forum that in the past there appears to have been a methodology of the excess fare being calculated on half the difference between the £59.50 and price of the cheapest return (£134.75) but I have found nothing yet that supports the excess fare being calculated on a basis different from that under 13(e).
Some years ago, both a change of route excess and a change of ticket type excess were charged at half the difference if the change applied to only one leg of a return journey.

This led to anomalies with respect to changes of ticket type, and that type of excess was changed to the full difference in price. The anomalies did not occur with change of route excesses, and the calculation of this type of excess fare did not change.

On 10 May 2016, I successfully purchased an Off-Peak Day Return Bournemouth - Epsom route via Barnham together with an excess fare ticket for the outward leg only to route Not Via London. I paid the route via Barnham price plus half the difference to the route Not Via London price.
If the half the difference option is indeed still available, it would be very helpful if you could also tell me where I can find this in print.
The instructions currently appear in internal railway industry documentation only, but I think the relevant document was placed on the internet a few years ago. If I can find it using a web archive site, I'll amend this reply to include the link.

There is more detail on excess fares on this page of our Rail Fares & Ticketing Guide.
 
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bella

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Many thanks John for your most helpful and informative reply. I shall post you again in the next day or so.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
John, many thanks again for your help.

Following your last post, I now read page 6 (Dual Route Availability) of the NRG to mean that, although the £59.50 day return tickets for our outward journey will be specifically restricted to via Yeovil only, because these tickets are generally available and therefore not restricted to specified trains or endorsed for travel only by a particular operator, we have, in principle and prior to travel, the right to buy excess fares of £37.65 at any NR ticket counter in the UK to cover a notional return journey using those return tickets from W to B back via Salisbury with a change of train at SC.

This is despite the fact that, although our route will be used only as far as SC, those excess fares (calculated, as you say, on half the difference between the cheapest available returns via Salisbury - £134.75 minus £59.50) will permit us to travel on to SA (even though that is not a station on the Salisbury route) without so changing. I interpret your post to mean that because SC and SA are both stations within the Southampton Routeing Group and because our cheap day and monthly return tickets both allow for BOJ under Condition 16 of NR's Conditions of Carriage, there can thus be no dubiety that we are permitted to get off at Wareham and also terminate at SA.

From this, I logically presume, just as an example, that even if the destination of our outward tickets were to be Dorchester West or Upwey (that was in fact our original plan!) instead of W, because those stations are all in the Weymouth Routeing Group, we would still be entitled to use our tickets to travel into and back from W without additional charge (assuming always that we were returning from any destination in that Group)? Or have I misunderstood?

You should appreciate that we would wish to buy those return tickets and excess fares without hassle. Ideally, by buying the returns and/or excess fares initially at Cheltenham or perhaps the latter only just at B, probably on the day before travel. Preferably not at W. However, I know that counter staff are not all routeing specialists or always well experienced so I would ask you please are those excess fares for dual routeing computer generated nationally (eg. if we tried to buy them outwith the GWR area can we expect a problem?) or is it really a manual operation dependent on their experience or local knowledge?

I suspect, if there were to be hassle when we asked, my friends would probably opt to forego the savings and just buy the £80 group promotional tickets for the return leg unless I could convince them we really had a right to have those savings from NR.

I do really appreciate you keeping me right on this one.
 

John @ home

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I now read page 6 (Dual Route Availability) of the NRG to mean that ... we have, in principle and prior to travel, the right to buy excess fares of £37.65 at any NR ticket counter in the UK to cover a notional return journey using those return tickets from W to B back via Salisbury
Agreed.
with a change of train at SC.
those excess fares ... will permit us to travel on to SA (even though that is not a station on the Salisbury route) without so changing.
There is no need to change trains at Southampton Central. Having paid the excess fare, the return leg of the Bristol - Weymouth tickets are valid by any permittted route which passes through Salisbury. In post #7 I show that map combination BW+CW allows Weymouth - Brockenhurst - Southampton Central - Southampton Airport Parkway - Eastleigh - Chandlers Ford - Romsey - Salisbury - Warminster - Westbury - Bath Spa - Bristol Temple M. This lets you travel on direct trains between Weymouth or Wareham and Southampton Airport Parkway.
I interpret your post to mean that because SC and SA are both stations within the Southampton Routeing Group and because our cheap day and monthly return tickets both allow for BOJ under Condition 16 of NR's Conditions of Carriage, there can thus be no dubiety that we are permitted to get off at Wareham and also terminate at SA.
The fact that Southampton Central and Southampton Airport Parkway are both members of the same routeing point group is not relevant. Travel to, or via, Southampton Airport Parkway is permitted because it lies on a permitted route for an Off-Peak Return Bristol Temple M - Weymouth via Salisbury ticket.
even if the destination of our outward tickets were to be Dorchester West or Upwey (that was in fact our original plan!) instead of W, because those stations are all in the Weymouth Routeing Group, we would still be entitled to use our tickets to travel into and back from W without additional charge
Not normally. A single or return railway ticket is evidence of a right to travel from the origin to the destination shown on the ticket. If a train stops (for the purpose of setting down passengers) at the destination, then the ticket has expired and another ticket is required for onward travel.
we would wish to buy those return tickets and excess fares without hassle. Ideally, by buying the returns and/or excess fares initially at Cheltenham or perhaps the latter only just at B, probably on the day before travel. Preferably not at W. However, I know that counter staff are not all routeing specialists or always well experienced so I would ask you please are those excess fares for dual routeing computer generated nationally (eg. if we tried to buy them outwith the GWR area can we expect a problem?) or is it really a manual operation dependent on their experience or local knowledge?

I suspect, if there were to be hassle when we asked, my friends would probably opt to forego the savings and just buy the £80 group promotional tickets for the return leg unless I could convince them we really had a right to have those savings from NR.
I agree that it's best to buy excess fares at the earliest opportunity. So I would attempt to buy at Cheltenham in the first instance.

You're right that not all ticket selling staff encounter excess fares very often. Reports on this forum suggest that on-train staff are more familiar with them than ticket office staff. But I must emphasise I've never had any hassle when attempting to buy an excess fare.

When I bought one at Bristol Temple M to convert the return portion of an Off-Peak Return Kidderminster - Bristol Temple M from route Via Worcester to route Any Permitted, the first person to serve me had not previously encountered excess fares. But a more senior colleague was found, who took the opportunity to give a very professional lesson on the subject in far more detail than was needed to issue my ticket. I was impressed.

The issue of an excess fare ticket involves entering about half a dozen details into a computer. The most common mistake seems to be confusion between a single/return ticket and an excess for outward/return/both legs of the journey. It seems likely to me that, for at least some ticket issuing systems, the word "return" is used more than once in the process and does not always have the same meaning.
 

bella

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Thanks John. My confusion lay in the fact that I had overlooked your advice that the routeing map from SC to B via Salisbury also runs via Chandlers Ford and thus through SA. Sorry!
 

John @ home

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No problem. I hope your excess fare purchase and your journey both go smoothly.
 

bella

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John, I bought the Bristol to Weymouth group saver off peak day returns via Yeovil last Saturday at Temple Meads station and then asked to get Excess Fares for return via Salisbury but was told they were not available as there was "no equivalent return ticket". I knew from your advice that that answer was wrong. As we were travelling last Monday I chose however not to challenge the young booking clerk who was polite and courteous to me but nevertheless firm in his reply.

I then asked another clerk - Mark - for the Excess Fares the following day. He replied that it was good that I had got him because not many of his colleagues knew the proper rules!! I added that I had been refused there the previous day. The outcome however was quick and efficient. 5 Excess Fare tickets of £7.55 (£37.65 in total) were stapled to each day return and issued by Mark consistent with your advice.

It was also interesting to note that the Excess Fares also extended the day returns to monthly as the lowest fares on which they were based were off peak monthly. 7 September is stated on the tickets so in theory at least we still have until that date to complete our journey back to Bristol from Southampton Airport!

Thanks again John for all your advice.
 
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