Preston/Lancaster pricing shenanigans

Discussion in 'Fares Advice & Policy' started by ChrisD4, 3 Jan 2017.

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  1. ChrisD4

    ChrisD4 Member

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    The 17.57 from Euston to Lancaster on the West Coast Main Line on Thursday is £46.60. But if I book to get off at Preston on the same train - some 17 minutes and one stop earlier than Lancaster - I'm asked for £145.
    So, the same train, the same line, a shorter journey, yet triple the price.
    What's to stop me booking the Lancaster ticket and getting off early? Can I suggest to staff I'm breaking the journey up?
     
    Last edited: 3 Jan 2017
  2. dave87016

    dave87016 Member

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    If it is an advance ticket then no officially your not allowed break of journey or stopping short
     
  3. snail

    snail Established Member

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    It's demand pricing. Far more people travel to Wigan and Preston than Lancaster. That price is a VT off peak half return (SVH). If this is the outward journey then you can't claim break of journey. That is blocked to prevent people doing exactly as you suggest. VT do occasional barrier checks at Preston so it would be picked up if there was one operating.

    You could legitimately book a return Lancaster-Euston for £92.20 and use just the return portion to Preston on a break of journey.
     
    Last edited: 3 Jan 2017
  4. SeanG

    SeanG Member

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    However I am sure there is a way of circumnavigating this by buying a single from the nearest station to Preston (Lostock Hall?) to be on the safe side.
     
  5. Bertie the bus

    Bertie the bus Member

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    I wouldn't give up your day job to become a professional fare dodger if I were you. There are so many holes in that plan I wouldn't know where to start.
     
  6. ChrisD4

    ChrisD4 Member

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    I don't want to dodge fares. I want to know why Virgin are charging me three times as much as people further along the line. I'm using less of their service, and getting penalised for it.
     
  7. AlterEgo

    AlterEgo Established Member

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    They're charging you the price they think you'll be prepared to pay, that's all.

    Same happens with airlines. Stuttgart-London-Singapore and return is less than half the price of London-Singapore return in BA Club World.
     
  8. tony_mac

    tony_mac Established Member

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    Most of the journeys on the West Coast main line have (severe) evening restrictions on off-peak tickets.

    (They will say it's to manage the loading better, but it's more likely to extract as much revenue as possible from business travellers from the major cities. but that's another debate...).

    For very long distance journeys, the same restrictions would make them almost impossible with an off-peak ticket (e.g., there would only be one service valid to Glasgow, and that arrives after midnight).

    So, there is a cutoff point (Lancaster), where the off-peak tickets do not have an evening restriction, which is why it is much cheaper at certain times.

    You could wait until later on the evening, or travel to Lancaster and back again, or find some other solution - the situation isn't likely to change for the better.
     
  9. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    You could buy the ticket, plus a Lancaster to Preston ticket, and ask the Train Manager (who, incidentally, would be alighting at Preston!) whether or not you are required to double-back to Lancaster in order to travel to Preston (don't mention price).

    If the TM says you are permitted to avoid the double-back, then that validates your journey, and you show the Lancaster-Preston ticket at Preston if a ticket inspection takes place (which I believe is fairly likely if using the footbridge, but rather less likely if using the underpass)
     
  10. najaB

    najaB Veteran Member

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    If anything you're being penalised (not sure I like the use of the word in this context, but let's go with it) for wanting to get to somewhere popular. Fares are set by origin/destination pairs, not by distance. Fewer people want to travel to Lancaster so it's cheaper - the fact that the train happens to pass through Preston is an artefact of geography.

    There are some who argue that the Railway should move to distance-based pricing but, while that would remove anomalies such as yours, it's far from clear that more passengers would benefit than lose out.
     
    Last edited: 3 Jan 2017
  11. Goatboy

    Goatboy Established Member

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    Quite, but either the seat's there or it isn't. If there is that much demand for Wigan and Preston then where is the room to stuff people going to Lancaster for a third of the price?

    Advance pricing needs a serious overhaul - some tickets are too cheap.

    I've just traveled from Manchester to London in 2 hours 12 minutes on a day when it would have taken 6 hours by car. The service was exceptional, it made so much more sense than driving and yet... it cost just £14.50. Rail offers a far superior service offering than either private car or air on this route, so why charge so little for it?

    Whilst personally I was over the moon to pay so little for so much I'd have made the trip had it been 50% more expensive and it seems nonsense that the cheapest possible ticket from, say, Worcester to Cheltenham, a journey of just over 20 miles, is barely any cheaper.
     
  12. ChrisD4

    ChrisD4 Member

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    I get that, but this is a bit different though - I'm using the same train, for less time. Your analogy involves a different route and different flights.
     
  13. TrainfanBen

    TrainfanBen Member

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    You could ask for a Cumbria dayranger and then use that for any Preston/Lancaster combination...
    Edit:
    Which is still overly expensive but most definitely conscience clearing...

    This reminds me of the Grand Central debarcle in another thread... It might be worth reading ;)
     
    Last edited: 3 Jan 2017
  14. ChrisD4

    ChrisD4 Member

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    It is being penalised because we are still passing THROUGH the more expensive station. If I start from Lancaster, I still have a seat on the train at the far more expensive starting point of Preston.
     
  15. najaB

    najaB Veteran Member

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    As I said, an artefact of geography. Hence the restriction on break of journey on the outward.
     
  16. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    TBH, I think it would work better if we applied a capped system and removed these anomalies. So an Anytime Single to Preston/Manchester/Liverpool might be £145, but so would be one to Lancaster, Edinburgh, or even Wick. By the time you got to the latter you wouldn't need an Off Peak.
     
  17. AlterEgo

    AlterEgo Established Member

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    I am trying to illustrate the variance in demand between two destinations.

    (And not different flights, the same ones from London!)
     
    Last edited: 3 Jan 2017
  18. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    But others would not have. So the solution is to monitor your account and see how much you are likely to travel anyway; anyone seen as a 'business' type customer could be charged extra.:lol: I'd be careful what you wish for...

    If we must use an analogy, Dublin to New York (I think) via London is cheaper than just London to New York. On the same plane from London.
     
  19. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    That's slightly different in that a direct flight is worth more than a connectional one.
     
  20. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    At over £40, I'd take my Lancaster-Preston suggestion!

    Or, for £22.70 you can get a Lancashire Day Ranger, valid from Preston to Lancaster and back (and considerably beyond) so would cover a journey from London to Preston via Lancaster but also overlaps in validity with the other ticket between Wigan at Preston.

    The train doesn't need to call at Wigan; you can switch tickets there and the second ticket allows a break of journey (and would obviously not be questioned at all at the barriers).

    The journey would therefore be London to Preston using a combination of tickets, and the journey would not have to go via Lancaster according to my interpretation of the rules.

    I know some people agree with me, I know some people disagree. But where there is doubt (I don't think there is any doubt), the law sides with the consumer!

    OK, if there is no analogy, rail fares are bonkers. Happy? ;):lol:

    (Valid analogy or not, the fare disparity being justified or not, many fares are bonkers!)
     
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