Senior Railcard Validity Query

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barrykas

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Morning all,

A source of regular arguments this one, so I figured I'd throw it open to the floor for opinions.

As we know, within the former Network Southeast area, a Senior Railcard isn't valid until Off-Peak Day Returns and/or Day Travelcards become available (09:30 for journeys wholly within the Travelcard Zones).

Boundary Zone 5 to Banbury has fares routed High Wycombe (priced by Chiltern) and Any Permitted (priced by Great Western).

Great Western price an Off-Peak Day Return which isn't valid until 09:30, whereas Chiltern only have an Anytime Day Return.

The question, therefore, is this: Does the existence of the Off-Peak Day Return, which is inherently valid on Chiltern, preclude selling a Railcard discounted route High Wycombe ticket before 09:30?

Cheers,

Barry
 
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island

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I would say not, and that the Railcard-discounted route VIA HIGH WYCOMBE ticket is valid at any time.

What does your TIS say? :)
 

hairyhandedfool

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There are two arguments to my mind.

1) It is valid after 0930. (partly because of the other Off-Peak fare and partly because fares wholly in the zones area are valid after that (did it not originally say "if there is no Off-Peak fare..."?) because there is no Off-Peak fare)

2) You cannot get a SRN discount on working weekdays because no Off-Peak fare ever becomes valid.

The first is more reasonable, but the second adheres to the rules as written.
 

RJ

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Where no off peak ticket exists, I thought 09:30 was the default off peak time? Although I haven't looked it up for the SRN, I recall it being the case for Groupsave.
 

hairyhandedfool

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Where no off peak ticket exists, I thought 09:30 was the default off peak time?....

I thought that too, but it appears the wording is not that any more.

But is that an 0930 departure or an 0930 arrival?

If it is not valid before 0930 it is not valid for travel before 0930 and therefore neither departure nor arrival before 0930 would be allowed.

So in answer to your question.....Both!
 

globetrotter

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I believe you are wrong. I would not have said that a few days ago but just completed a long planned journey from the south coast to Bicester Town (via Oxford) on a 1 month SVR return with senior railcard discount, code 5K.

Now I'm totally familiar with all this "9:30" stuff and was a believer until I made this trip.

After staying the night in Oxford while en route I took advantage of the facility to continue my trip the next day "after 9:30" (as I had been thinking), I quickly realised that there was an 8:35 AM train from OXF to BIT. I noticed it was marked as Off Peak and the next train was not until 10:00 AM. I was travelling on a Senior Railcard so I decided to see what FGW (whose fare the SVR was) had to say.

The wording referenced against my through fare was quite unambiguous, "any offpeak train". I printed that out and took it with me, but although my ticket was checked at the Oxford barrier and again on the 8:35 train, nothing was said.

I then went online just now and tried to book a single ticket on the 8:35 train with my Senior Railcard discount. That was successful.

So what I can suggest, and it's quite important ... the 9:30 "rule" is a generalisation so where there are earlier offpeak trains they can be used with senior railcard discounts.

If you doubt me, try going on Chiltern Railways website and booking the ticket; you'll see that the 8:35 AM is on the list and one can buy a ticket at the senior railcard discounted fare.
 

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CosherB

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What's this about peak and off peak with a Senior Rail card? Surely it has no time restrictions - just 33% off any fare. That's 33% off a peak or an off-peak fare.

In fact Virgin allow off-peak fares for SRC on ANY train! So I can travel Wilmslow to Euston at 07:00am for £40 or so instead of hundreds of pounds! Are you saying some TOCs impose limits for use of SRC?
 

yorkie

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What's this about peak and off peak with a Senior Rail card? Surely it has no time restrictions - just 33% off any fare. That's 33% off a peak or an off-peak fare.

In fact Virgin allow off-peak fares for SRC on ANY train! So I can travel Wilmslow to Euston at 07:00am for £40 or so instead of hundreds of pounds! Are you saying some TOCs impose limits for use of SRC?
Allow me to explain in simple-ATOC speak.

It's quite "simple"; there is a "negative easement" that states that if travel is wholly within the "Network (former NSE) area" then you cannot get a discount on any ticket until such time as the Off Peak fare for the flow in question becomes valid. For some flows there are only Anytime fares, therefore causing slight confusion of this otherwise "simple" rule.

This is quite different to the 16-25 Railcard which does not have any such restriction in the Network Area, but does have a £12 minimum fare before 1000.

Each railcard has it's own rules, this is to ensure you can "buy with confidence" and you "know exactly where you stand" ;)

It could be worse - ATOC could have made it Complicated.:lol:
 

dzug2

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I thought that too, but it appears the wording is not that any more.



If it is not valid before 0930 it is not valid for travel before 0930 and therefore neither departure nor arrival before 0930 would be allowed.

So in answer to your question.....Both!


???? I don't follow. Mine was a general query/comment, not directly related to the particular journey OP asked about. If the 'default' restriction is 'not arriving in X before 0930' then I can leave Y at 0800 as long as the arrival in X is late enough. If it's 'departing after 0930' then I can't.

I can accept that there may not be a default restriction - but both the above are particular restrictions that do exist.
 

hairyhandedfool

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....After staying the night in Oxford while en route I took advantage of the facility to continue my trip the next day "after 9:30" (as I had been thinking), I quickly realised that there was an 8:35 AM train from OXF to BIT. I noticed it was marked as Off Peak and the next train was not until 10:00 AM. I was travelling on a Senior Railcard so I decided to see what FGW (whose fare the SVR was) had to say.

The wording referenced against my through fare was quite unambiguous, "any offpeak train". I printed that out and took it with me, but although my ticket was checked at the Oxford barrier and again on the 8:35 train, nothing was said.

I then went online just now and tried to book a single ticket on the 8:35 train with my Senior Railcard discount. That was successful.

So what I can suggest, and it's quite important ... the 9:30 "rule" is a generalisation so where there are earlier offpeak trains they can be used with senior railcard discounts.

If you doubt me, try going on Chiltern Railways website and booking the ticket; you'll see that the 8:35 AM is on the list and one can buy a ticket at the senior railcard discounted fare.

The Off Peak Day Single from Oxford to Bicester Town is valid "after 0829" so ofcourse they will sell that ticket for the 0835 train as that is after 0829.:roll:

Since you haven't stated where you are travelling from I can't say what the restriction for your ticket is/was.

Some companies have been noted to wrongly announce or display trains as either "peak" or "off-peak". I am sure even Yorkie would agree with me when I say there is no such thing as an "off-peak train" or a "peak train", but there are trains for which Off-Peak fares are valid and trains for which Off-Peak fares are not valid.

A slightly off tangent example would be the 0839 Manchester Victoria-Liverpool Lime Street service, for which a Manchester-Liverpool Off-Peak Return is valid (valid on trains timed to arrive in Liverpool after 0930 Mon-Fri) but a Manchester-Liverpool Off-Peak Day Return is not (valid on trains timed to depart after 0930 Mon-Fri).

???? I don't follow. Mine was a general query/comment, not directly related to the particular journey OP asked about. If the 'default' restriction is 'not arriving in X before 0930' then I can leave Y at 0800 as long as the arrival in X is late enough. If it's 'departing after 0930' then I can't.

I can accept that there may not be a default restriction - but both the above are particular restrictions that do exist.

I'm sorry if I mis-read your post, it looked like you were asking if "after 0930" meant a departing or arriving restriction.

If a restriction is "by trains timed to arrive at [station] after [time]", then the restriction is for arrival time at the named place at a set time.

If the restriction is "by trains timed to depart [station] after [time]", then the restriction is for departure from the named place at a set time.

If the restriction is "valid after [time]" then it is not valid to arrive at, depart from, or travel through any station at or before the stated time.
 

yorkie

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Some companies have been noted to wrongly announce or display trains as either "peak" or "off-peak". I am sure even Yorkie would agree with me when I say there is no such thing as an "off-peak train" or a "peak train", but there are trains for which Off-Peak fares are valid and trains for which Off-Peak fares are not valid.

A slightly off tangent example would be the 0839 Manchester Victoria-Liverpool Lime Street service, for which a Manchester-Liverpool Off-Peak Return is valid (valid on trains timed to arrive in Liverpool after 0930 Mon-Fri) but a Manchester-Liverpool Off-Peak Day Return is not (valid on trains timed to depart after 0930 Mon-Fri).
Yes, this is very true :) The trains themselves do not bar off peak tickets, but it is the ticket restriction that bars the use of certain trains.

The 1527 Manchester - Bournemouth may not be considered a "peak train" (if such a concept exists) in the eyes of the public, but some off peak tickets will not be valid for certain portions of the journey (e.g. an Off Peak Day ticket from Birmingham Stns to Leamington Spa). On the other hand, many people may view the 1730 London - Newcastle as a "peak" train, however the return portion of any Off Peak ticket (providing it does not have the Day suffix) is valid on this train, and in addition to return portions being valid, outward portions are also valid for journeys starting at Peterborough and beyond.
 

globetrotter

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The point I was trying to make was that on the one hand my off peak SVR return was clearly accepted as valid by two operators (GWR wording, using the words "any off peak train") and Chiltern Railways (willing to sell me a Senior Railcard discounted ticket for an 8:35 departure) yet the conditions of my ticket had the restriction 8X, worded as follows:

Tickets are valid on all trains timed to depart at or later than 09:30.

On day 2, restrictions as above apply and journey must recommence before 12:00.


[Interesting to note the omission of the word 'only', so with some experience of all this now and re-reading it closely, to me they are not in fact saying that travel on earlier trains is never permitted. But that's what one would think at first sight.]


I'm getting "off topic" here and it's a bit tedious but:

If I simply give National Rail Enquiries or First Great Western's websites my departure station (destined to remain anonymous) and the Bicester Town destination, both tell me that no tickets are available. If with First Great Western I try to use the 3-letter station codes it either does not recognise them or chooses the wrong station. If however I type in the whole station name, it then suffixes it with the correct 3-digit code that I was trying to type in. How's that for stupidity? Also if I select Senior Railcard, having selected it, the site assumes a quantity of zero (not 1).

National Rail Enquiries resolutely refuses to offer me the fare I travelled on or the routing requested until I have given it 2 'via' options and one 'avoid' option. Without having the maps and Avantix I would never have known of the lower fare and routing possibilities. NRE did offer me a routing that required 7 changes.

I was actually traveling to Saunderton (near High Wycombe) and the best way to do that, on my chosen routing, was to buy the ticket to Bicester Town, walk to Bicester North and buy a further ticket to Saunderton.

Had I wanted to buy a through ticket, instead of a one month SVR at £30.35 plus two single tickets to & from Saunderton from Bicester North I was offered by the journey planner separate tickets (no return available) for £73.30. 8 changes on the way and 7 coming back. With single tickets each way, of course I could not break my journey overnight on the way back as I wanted.

Except for those as dedicated and dogged as me in ploughing through all this, as well as with a bunch of tools at their disposal like Avantix, a journey such as the one I just completed is quite impossible to make. No one can hope to understand the journey planners (which are not properly programmed), the fare options, the routing options and the time of day restrictions.
 

yorkie

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8X is a XC Restriction: "By any train except those scheduled to depart before 0500." this contrasts with the XC Restriction 2V : "By any train except those scheduled to depart before 0930"
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Except for those as dedicated and dogged as me in ploughing through all this, as well as with a bunch of tools at their disposal like Avantix, a journey such as the one I just completed is quite impossible to make. No one can hope to understand the journey planners (which are not properly programmed), the fare options, the routing options and the time of day restrictions.
You're quite right. Some people will learn the system to make sense of it, some people will ask on here, but most will just have to trust whatever the ticket office says, and in many cases the ticket office will simply offer an Anytime fare for the through journey, and the customer will be asked for an extortionate amount of money, and if the railway thinks that all these customers will happily pay and not take their business elsewhere, then they're wrong!
 

hairyhandedfool

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The point I was trying to make was that on the one hand my off peak SVR return was clearly accepted as valid by two operators (GWR wording, using the words "any off peak train") and Chiltern Railways (willing to sell me a Senior Railcard discounted ticket for an 8:35 departure)....

I don't know exactly where you picked up that wording from "GWR" (for which I presume you mean First Great Western (FGW)), but Off-Peak is defined by the ticket restriction for the ticket held.

The evidence I have seen from you of anyone offering an Off-Peak fare for the 0835 is the page print of a much shorter journey, which, seemingly, has a different restriction code.

....yet the conditions of my ticket had the restriction 8X, worded as follows:

Tickets are valid on all trains timed to depart at or later than 09:30.

On day 2, restrictions as above apply and journey must recommence before 12:00.
....


That is not the 8X restriction. Either your ticket has another restriction code or you have confused yourself/mis-read something somewhere.

....[Interesting to note the omission of the word 'only', so with some experience of all this now and re-reading it closely, to me they are not in fact saying that travel on earlier trains is never permitted. But that's what one would think at first sight.] ....

So, if I read you right, you think that if a restriction says valid at or after 0930, it is still valid before 0930? You really should look more closely!

Off-Peak tickets, for example, are valid by the restriction shown in the restriction code, so if the restriction code says valid at or after 0930, it is valid at or after 0930.

....Except for those as dedicated and dogged as me in ploughing through all this, as well as with a bunch of tools at their disposal like Avantix, a journey such as the one I just completed is quite impossible to make. No one can hope to understand the journey planners (which are not properly programmed), the fare options, the routing options and the time of day restrictions.

There is no simple solution to the problem of the fares structure (you're welcome to suggest something if you think there is). Journey planners are fairly basic tools for people to use, they are not perfect, but then most people just want the quickest, cheapest train journeys with the fewest changes of train possible, and that is actually quite hard to do in some cases.

....and in many cases the ticket office will simply offer an Anytime fare for the through journey, and the customer will be asked for an extortionate amount of money, and if the railway thinks that all these customers will happily pay and not take their business elsewhere, then they're wrong!

There will, ofcourse, be people who think they can get tickets cheaper elsewhere (and many will end up on thetrainline!:roll:), but I'm sure many more people will pay and be happy not to suffer in queues of people waiting whilst clerks find the cheapest split for the people in front, or would prefer to speak to someone face to face.

There is a reason comparison websites exist and it is not because everything in life is simple!
 

globetrotter

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So, if I read you right, you think that if a restriction says valid at or after 0930, it is still valid before 0930? You really should look more closely!

I did look more closely. The problem was that in my recent searches for valid trains at the fare I had travelled on I was using departures after Christmas and before New Year (when the fares rose), completely unaware that FGW had relaxed peak travel restrictions during this period. So all fare planners showed me earlier departures before 9:30 as being valid (subject to connections). I had mistakenly quoted restriction 8X instead of the one that applies, 5K.

If I try Brighton BTN to Bicester using NRE, it is unable to offer me any off-peak returns starting out before 10:34 AM unless I feed it routeing options that unless I had travelled that route or researched all the maps I might not know. RedSpottedHanky does better but does not offer a lower "not London" fare although the journey time is similar, unless I request that option. And once I've ticked the box for Not London it seems happy to sell me a ticket for the higher price via London without offering me any via London trains. If I go via London at the higher fare, I face a 30 minute walk from Bicester North to Bicester Town (yes I know trains from Oxford are not frequent). The same routing is offered with a disabled railcard, out of interest. When you choose an option, if you "hide options" the option - unknown to you - is still selected and that may cause it to offer no fares at all leaving you wondering why. I chose a valid 'via' Option that it could not handle, it needed a second 'via' Option but that's not possible.

It's all very unsatisfactory.

As to the point,
There is no simple solution to the problem of the fares structure (you're welcome to suggest something if you think there is). Journey planners are fairly basic tools for people to use, they are not perfect, but then most people just want the quickest, cheapest train journeys with the fewest changes of train possible, and that is actually quite hard to do in some cases.
I simply do not agree. Yes it's obviously hard for the existing computer software to do, that is abundantly clear.

Everything is rule based, with the exception of split tickets (a huge problem to program) and lends itself to an automated process. I am using highly sophisticated search tools to find fares, routes and stopovers on multiple airlines. By comparison, rail search facilities are primitive. They can and should be improved so that we can all stop wasting huge amounts of time searching for trains, routes, fares and restrictions. Then more people would travel. It can take longer to find one's way through this maze than to make the journey. Also, as I've seen, it's so easy to make mistakes along the way as the system is so uninformative and unintuitive.

In the case of the routeing on my ticket, the lowest fare is often not offered unless I insert at least two 'via' options. Most rail ticketing sites allow only one option. Requiring that I must compulsorily insert options (like 'via' stations that I might not know about) to find the cheapest fare I find absurd, yet I also want to be able to insert options of my choice like "avoid London" or "not via Clapham Junction". Yet if I am not familiar with the journey, why should I be expected to know the routes trains take in order to find the lowest fare?

I want to know the lowest fare to my destination and see if I’m happy or not with the restrictions or routeings it imposes. Isn't that what the search engines should be offering me - suggesting different routeings yet allowing me (if I want) to select my own routeings or test if certain routeings are valid?

What we need is a system that is simple to use for those that just want to get from A to B while at the same time addressing the needs of people who want to go e.g. via Birmingham or break a journey en route perhaps for lunch, shopping or a short meeting. That's why Advanced options need to be powerful, offer multiple choices and work properly. Of course that requires investment, the usual UK obstacle.

As we have seen with Brighton to Bicester Town, it does a simply terrible job of helping me "simply get from A to B" or if I don't want that then it does an equally terrible job of exploring options like different routes and fares.
 
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