Return 10p more than a single...why?

Silverdale

Member
Joined
14 Apr 2018
Messages
523
But that's not going to happen.
In my railway career I can remember many instances of that phrase being used. Quite often, the very thing referred to did happen.

And on one or two occasions, I was the one that made it happen*.


*In ways related to maintaining track. Nothing to do with fares.
 
Sponsor Post - registered members do not see these adverts; click here to register, or click here to log in
R

RailUK Forums

Silverdale

Member
Joined
14 Apr 2018
Messages
523
We're never going to get a situation where a passenger travelling from Bletchley to London goes to buy a ticket and a full search of the entire database is carried out for each of the itineraries their journey enquiry generates, and they end up being sold a Milton Keynes to London ticket.
Why would you need to do a search of the entire database each time a fare from Bletchley to London was requested. Surely, you do the search once, you know the results. Pop 'em in a file?

You may need to install some discipline and not tinker with the fares database on a daily basis, though.


And even if that did happen (which it won't), West Midlands Trains would put up the price of Milton Keynes to London.
They may opt to lower the price of Bletchley to London.

If that's what the market dictates. Recalling that I'm not suggesting that full disclosure of fares should be required on the current fares structure, but on any proposed new fares structure, on the basis that it's "revenue neutral".
 
Last edited:

yorkie

Forum Staff
Staff Member
Administrator
Joined
6 Jun 2005
Messages
47,530
Location
Yorkshire
Why would you need to do a search of the entire database each time a fare from Bletchley to London was requested. Surely, you do the search once, you know the results. Pop 'em in a file?
But you'd need to check every fare for every itinerary, wouldn't you?
You may need to install some discipline and not tinker with the fares database on a daily basis, though.
The fares and timetable databases do need to be checked every day, and I can't see that changing anytime soon!
They may opt to lower the price of Bletchley to London.
They will not.
If that's what the market dictates.
It isn't.

The cost of BLY-EUS fares is not unaffordable or unreasonable, and there is absolutely no viable alternative transport available that would be anywhere near as good as West Midlands Trains offering, so why should they lower the fare in a market based pricing structure?
 

sheff1

Established Member
Joined
24 Dec 2009
Messages
4,681
Location
Sheffield
The issue with this is that a ticket from A to D might be cheaper than B to C or even A to C. How can a system be designed to cope with that?

One example is Havant to Ryde Hovercrft port.

If you have a rail discount card then Havant to Ryde Hovercraft Port cheaper than Portsmouth to Ryde Hovercraft Port because within Portsmouth they are not allowed to sell hovercraft tickets and the Hovercraft alone doesn't offer rail card discounts. So what you do is buy it online, whilst stood in one of the Portsmouth Stations and collect from one of the Portsmouth stations ticket vending machines.

There are A to D examples that are solely on trains too.
There is no way you can eliminate that. People who claim it's easy don't understand how fares work.
In the specific example quoted there are various ways it could be eliminated.

a) Railcard discounts could be removed from fares which included the hovercraft.
b) Through tickets via the hovercraft could be withdrawn.
c) Portsmouth could be allowed to sell hovercraft tickets
d) Hovercraft alone could offer a railcard discount.

Of course a) would not be welcomed by railcard holders, b) would be unwelcome to most people who book through tickets, whilst c) or d) would not be welcomed by Hovertravel.


There is also a very easy (in technical terms) way to eliminate such things on UK rail-only journeys - introduce the sort of pricing structure which is used in various other countries. This would not be easy politically of course, and hence is not going to happen.

I am content that I do understand how fares work and will continue to use that understanding to undercut the fares that UK TOCs would prefer me to pay :smile:.
 

Silverdale

Member
Joined
14 Apr 2018
Messages
523
The cost of BLY-EUS fares is not unaffordable or unreasonable, and there is absolutely no viable alternative transport available that would be anywhere near as good as West Midlands Trains offering, so why should they lower the fare in a market based pricing structure?
Because as long as MKC-EUS undercuts BLY-EUS and their customers are aware of that, there will be abstraction from BLY-EUS. WM can either live with that loss of revenue, or adjust the fares accordingly. Either to the point where MKC-EUS does not undercut BLY-EUS, or to not differentiate and make the Bletchley fare the same as the Milton Keynes.

Where fares allow starting/finishing short, that... is market pricing. Keeping the fact that MKC undercuts BLY under wraps, is not.

By the way, if you were travelling tomorrow from Bletchley to London, what ticket would you be purchasing?
 

sheff1

Established Member
Joined
24 Dec 2009
Messages
4,681
Location
Sheffield
One of the principles of operation of an ideal market is that buyers and sellers have complete knowledge of all the prices. That, in essence, is all I'm suggesting in relation to fares.
Can you provide some examples of this "ideal market" in operation please - I am struggling to think of any.
 

yorkie

Forum Staff
Staff Member
Administrator
Joined
6 Jun 2005
Messages
47,530
Location
Yorkshire
Because as long as MKC-EUS undercuts BLY-EUS and their customers are aware of that, there will be abstraction from BLY-EUS. WM can either live with that loss of revenue, or adjust the fares accordingly.
As hardly anyone is going to know about it, and any price difference is negligible, any loss of revenue is very minor.

But your proposals would see far bigger problems, as there is the cost of implementing it (which would have ongoing costs due to exponential increases in computing power required in fares calculations) and the fact that everyone would be offered cheaper fares, even when the fare was priced by a different operator over which they had no control.

Either to the point where MKC-EUS does not undercut BLY-EUS, or to not differentiate and make the Bletchley fare the same as the Milton Keynes.
With a few exceptions, fares don't tend to reduce. People will always be able to find examples where they have gone down but they are very much in the minority.
Where fares allow starting/finishing short, that... is market pricing.
Market based pricing is charging more for less if people are prepared to pay for it.

This doesn't just apply to transport costs, but to tangible things like bottles of water.
Keeping the fact the fact that MKC undercuts BLY under wraps, is not.
I don't see how pricing each of these fares according to their respective markets is "not" market based pricing?!
By the way, if you were travelling tomorrow from Bletchley to London, what ticket would you be purchasing?
What time would I be travelling, and when would I be coming back?
 

krus_aragon

Established Member
Joined
10 Jun 2009
Messages
5,594
Location
North Wales
The number of fares in existence is in the tens of millions; you are basically suggesting that any itinerary that is generated has to be checked for validity against this entire list in realtime?

So a journey enquiry that may generate perhaps twenty itineraries has to have each of these checked against many millions of fares.
Would it have to be done in realtime? Or could it just be recalculated when the fares database (or routeing guide) changes?
 

yorkie

Forum Staff
Staff Member
Administrator
Joined
6 Jun 2005
Messages
47,530
Location
Yorkshire
Would it have to be done in realtime? Or could it just be recalculated when the fares database (or routeing guide) changes?
It could be done each night, but each fare has to be checked against an itinerary surely, to check that the fare is valid for that itinerary, so that's a lot of processing.

There are over two and a half thousand stations on the network, and many of them would have numerous potential journey opportunities between them. That's a lot of itineraries and a lot of fares.
 

Silverdale

Member
Joined
14 Apr 2018
Messages
523
I don't see how pricing each of these fares according to their respective markets is "not" market based pricing?!
Where a MKC ticket can be used to travel from BLY, which starting/finishing short allows, they aren't separate markets. They only behave as separate markets if you don't reveal to the potential BLY customer that they can use an MKC fare and that (having done a search of the entire fares database to check) it's cheaper.

But you are pushing me away from the main point I'm seeking to make which is that whatever system of fares exists, market priced, or set by statute, it's objectively fairer if all potential customers have access to (which means being told, when they ask) all fares available for the journey they want to make, even if they make use of a combination of tickets and/or starting/finishing short.

It just so happens that doing that in a market pricing system would also make the market itself function better.

I only asked about what ticket you would choose, so that I could then ask you how long it took to search the entire fares database to decide which was the right one. 8-)
 

Silverdale

Member
Joined
14 Apr 2018
Messages
523
Sorry, I do not know what "ideal gas" is.
In Physics, the 'gas laws' apply to an 'ideal gas'. One in which the individual molecules occupy no space and can't collide with each other. Needless to say, there is no actual gas which has such properties, but the laws still work approximately for an actual gas. Well enough.
 

Silverdale

Member
Joined
14 Apr 2018
Messages
523
Market based pricing is charging more for less if people are prepared to pay for it.
It's only market based if people have access to all of the market. Telling people that what you're offering is the cheapest fare, when you are offering an even cheaper fare - that they could use - to others, is distorting the market.

Charging people more for a through fare than for a combination of fares, by not offering the combination, is also distorting the market. Not only do you see that, in relation to split ticketing, but you don't miss any opportunity to promote the split ticketing sites which reveal the fares.

You're going to have to do more to convince me that offering fares requiring starting/finishing short would be materially different in application and effect to split ticketing. As I see it they are just different ways of slicing an dicing the fares in the database to find a solution which the customer can use. Often the best value can be found with a combination of splitting tickets and starting and/or stopping short. If one is ok, why is the other taboo?
 

Top