Should there be a peak/off peak fare

Status
Not open for further replies.

Andrew Nelson

Member
Joined
28 Jun 2010
Messages
702
Does there have to be an off peak fare?

The other week, when enquiring about a Sunday afternoon ticket from Wigan to Blackpool, I was informed that there was only an anytime single.

No off peak (Sunday p.m. is pretty much as off peak as one gets).

And the price was set by Virgin, (last time I looked, they didn't run any trains to Blackpool) even though the through trains are all Northern.
 
Sponsor Post - registered members do not see these adverts; click here to register, or click here to log in
R

RailUK Forums

bignosemac

On Moderation
Joined
12 Oct 2009
Messages
4,979
There is indeed only an Anytime Single, but there is an Off Peak Day Return.

Don't know who told you the fares for Wigan to Blackpool were set by Virgin. That's no correct. They're set by Northern.

And to answer your first point. There doesn't have to be an Off Peak fare on a relatively short distance flow such as this. The regulated fare is the Anytime Day Return. A Train Company can choose whether to offer a cheaper Off Peak ticket as well. In this case Northern offer an Off Peak Day Return but no Off Peak Day Single.
 

Oscar

Member
Fares Advisor
Joined
11 Feb 2010
Messages
1,127
Location
Switzerland
A lot of flows in the North of England only have Anytime Singles/ Anytime Day Singles but do have Off-Peak Day Returns as well as Anytime Returns / Anytime Day Returns. These tend to be minor routes in my experience.
 

Andrew Nelson

Member
Joined
28 Jun 2010
Messages
702
There is indeed only an Anytime Single, but there is an Off Peak Day Return.

Don't know who told you the fares for Wigan to Blackpool were set by Virgin. That's no correct. They're set by Northern.

And to answer your first point. There doesn't have to be an Off Peak fare on a relatively short distance flow such as this. The regulated fare is the Anytime Day Return. A Train Company can choose whether to offer a cheaper Off Peak ticket as well. In this case Northern offer an Off Peak Day Return but no Off Peak Day Single.
It was Northern that told Me who set the fares.
 

calc7

Established Member
Joined
8 Aug 2011
Messages
2,097
A lot of flows in the North of England only have Anytime Singles/ Anytime Day Singles but do have Off-Peak Day Returns as well as Anytime Returns / Anytime Day Returns. These tend to be minor routes in my experience.
With the Off-Peak Day Return derived from the Anytime Day Single, usually just a few pence more.
 

HowMuch?

Member
Joined
3 Sep 2009
Messages
159
From another thread I learned that a ticket is regulated (roughly: restrictions cannot be increased, and price rises are controlled) if an equivalent ticket existed in 2003.

So did the unavailable short-distance tickets, mentioned above, not exist in 2003? Or is there a another clause which says that tickets below a certain distance are not regulated?
 

TEW

Established Member
Joined
16 May 2008
Messages
5,330
A lot of flows in the North of England only have Anytime Singles/ Anytime Day Singles but do have Off-Peak Day Returns as well as Anytime Returns / Anytime Day Returns. These tend to be minor routes in my experience.
Most flows in the South East have a similar structure. Only Anytime Day Singles but a variety of returns, with the Anytime Day Single priced just below the cheapest return.
 

aformeruser

Veteran Member
Joined
23 Jan 2009
Messages
30,637
These tend to be minor routes in my experience.
There's probably more major routes on the west of the Pennines, if you're experience is typical east of the Pennines.

Some Northern set routes also don't have Off Peak Day Returns but have Anytime Day Returns. On one journey I was buying a ticket for the man at the ticket office thought his machine was broken when an Anytime Day Return came up but an Off Peak Day Return didn't and it was early afternoon.
 

thedbdiboy

Member
Joined
10 Sep 2011
Messages
534
From another thread I learned that a ticket is regulated (roughly: restrictions cannot be increased, and price rises are controlled) if an equivalent ticket existed in 2003.

So did the unavailable short-distance tickets, mentioned above, not exist in 2003? Or is there a another clause which says that tickets below a certain distance are not regulated?
It's a bit more complex than that. To form a Regulated Fare, a relevant fare in the eligible category for the specific train company must ordinarily have existed at the September 1995 fares setting round. The only absolute check that a fare is regulated is to find out if it is included in a particular TOC's fares basket. These have been supplied in the past in connection with FOI requests but trust me, unless you have lots of free time you don't want to trawl through one!

Going back to BR days, in general there did not use to be off peak singles as the accepted wisdom in the travel trade was that a single journey was almost always by definition less 'elastic' (i.e. optional) than a return one. As market based pricing took over from the old strict mileage based charts, the problems arose when an off-peak return fare was set below a peak single fare, meaning that some customers asking for a single were actually sold a return. Trust me, as a booking clerk at the time, this did not generally enhance BR's reputation amongst it's customers. ('What' I hear younger forum members cry 'We are always told that all the problems of today are caused by nasty privatised TOCs and that BR was a benevolent institution loved by all!').

Anyway, as a result, a 1993 enhancement to the BR fares system allowed an algorithm to be set up that created 'off-peak' single fares where the off-peak return was cheaper than the full fare single. For Savers, this was £1 less than the Saver return, and for Cheap Days, it was 10p less, so the 'off-peak' title was a bit of misnomer, but it did stop returns being sold when the passenger just wanted to go one way (and apparently curbed the trade in Glasgow pubs for the sale of unused return portions).

The prevailing philosophy has been turned on its head in the last 15 years by the rise firstly of the low-cost airlines, and then by Advance fares on TOCs. Both of these make use of real time demand management and compulsory reservations to work out yields and demands and (hopefully) set appropriate fares.

DfT fares regulation is still stuck in 1995 so hasn't really got to grips with any of this. There is currently a fares and retailing review being conducted by the DfT to examine, amongst other things, whether and how the regulatory mechanism could be updated.
 

MikeWh

Established Member
Associate Staff
Senior Fares Advisor
Joined
15 Jun 2010
Messages
6,211
Location
Crayford
Thanks for that bit of history, thedbdiboy. Whilst I'm old enough to remember that BR certainly wasn't the perfect institution that some now make it out to be, I'd forgotten some of the background to the fares system.
 

calc7

Established Member
Joined
8 Aug 2011
Messages
2,097
Northern also set the Wigan to Preston Lancs fare, so they shouldn't have even got confused with that!
 

exile

Established Member
Joined
16 Jul 2011
Messages
1,337
Off peak returns in general only exist for longer journeys, Day returns for shorter journeys.
 

aformeruser

Veteran Member
Joined
23 Jan 2009
Messages
30,637
Off peak returns in general only exist for longer journeys, Day returns for shorter journeys.
Pretty irrelevant response as no-one has mentioned Off Peak Returns (the old Savers.) The question is why are there no Off Peak Day Singles on Northern routes where Off Peak Day Returns exist.
 

bignosemac

On Moderation
Joined
12 Oct 2009
Messages
4,979
Yes, the flow is Northern's, so I was advised incorrectly. (Just checked again).

But they say they will investigate why there is no OP.
There is an Off Peak. The Day Return. Just no Off Peak Day Single. If there was one it would likely be priced, in line with most other Off Peak Day Singles, at 10p less than the return. The Anytime Day Single already beats this price point, therefore there's no need for an Off Peak Day Single.
 

aformeruser

Veteran Member
Joined
23 Jan 2009
Messages
30,637
There is an Off Peak. The Day Return. Just no Off Peak Day Single. If there was one it would likely be priced, in line with most other Off Peak Day Singles, at 10p less than the return. The Anytime Day Single already beats this price point, therefore there's no need for an Off Peak Day Single.
Just picked two similar length routes - one FGW and one Northern for comparison.

FGW: Bristol Temple Meads to Bath Spa

Anytime Day Return: £7.70
Anytime Single: £6.80
Off Peak Day Return: £6.70
Off Peak Day Single: £6.60

Northern: Chester to Cuddington

Anytime Day Return: £8.70
Anytime Single: £5.90
Off Peak Day Return: £7.10
Off Peak Day Single: N/A

So the 10p point proves to be correct. However, the fares are obviously very inconsistent as the Northern single is cheaper than both the FGW singles while both the Northern returns are more than the FGW returns.
 

Indigo2

Established Member
Joined
16 Apr 2010
Messages
3,674
Location
Reading
I have to say I find the system with only one, good-value single preferable to and less confusing than the one with the 10p cheaper off-peak single - whose only reason for being would appear to be to prevent complaints such as the one that opened this thread ;)
 

calc7

Established Member
Joined
8 Aug 2011
Messages
2,097
Yes, the flow is Northern's, so I was advised incorrectly. (Just checked again).

But they say they will investigate why there is no OP.
Surely the same reason many of their other flows only have Anytime (which is set at a price similar to Off-Peak on other journeys) - because there is no peak and off-peak for the flow?

Some routes around the West Midlands (eg Cross-City Line) only have Anytime Day Returns.

A couple of months ago I noted in one thread how some Off-Peak Day Returns in the Welsh Valleys are only a few pence less than Anytime Day Returns (which are regulated) and will so be discontinued in future I imagine.
 

aformeruser

Veteran Member
Joined
23 Jan 2009
Messages
30,637
I have to say I find the system with only one, good-value single preferable to and less confusing than the one with the 10p cheaper off-peak single - whose only reason for being would appear to be to prevent complaints such as the one that opened this thread ;)
It comes at the cost of more expensive returns though, with returns being the more commonly sold ticket.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

Top