Silly Off Peak Restrictions

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DaveB10780

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I was looking at a journey from Chinley to Derby. A Off Peak day return with railcard is £13.45. However it has crazy restrictions not before 0930 or between 1530-1815 both ways. The first train allowed from Chinley is 1123 (0923 is ruled out) and the planners seem to apply the time back to both legs so you could return at 1325 or 1825. Completely crackers.

Luckily I checked splitting at Sheffield where for £14.95 I can travel Off Peak after 0859 with no further restrictions.

How can this situation be allowed?
 
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yorkie

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I was looking at a journey from Chinley to Derby. A Off Peak day return with railcard is £13.45. However it has crazy restrictions not before 0930 or between 1530-1815 both ways. The first train allowed from Chinley is 1123 (0923 is ruled out) and the planners seem to apply the time back to both legs so you could return at 1325 or 1825. Completely crackers.
This Off Peak Day (CDR) fare is set by CrossCountry (XC). It is entirely consistent with their pricing strategy, which is to inconvenience customers and maximise their own revenues at any cost.

If you travelled between 1530-1815 in practice non-XC Guards may not realise the restriction and may not charge the excess, but an XC Guard probably would realise. A Guard (or ticket inspector) of any company would be entitled to inform you that your Off Peak Day Return is not valid between those times, as for that particular fare it is considered to be peak time, however the excess is £3.40 to upgrade it to an Off Peak Return which is valid at that time.

Yes, it is crackers, but that's the way XC want it.

I know of a former XC Guard (now an LM driver, I believe) who was very keen to check tickets and issue excess fares where appropriate, but even he admitted that he wouldn't issue an excess fare in that circumstances as it doesn't make sense to do so. But that won't stop some of them, I'm sure.
Luckily I checked splitting at Sheffield where for £14.95 I can travel Off Peak after 0859 with no further restrictions.
Trainsplit will sell fares for £14.65, but a Derbyshire Wayfarer would be even cheaper at £12.65

How can this situation be allowed?
The CDR is not a regulated fare, so XC can make it as anti-passenger as they deem fit. No-one can stop them.

National Rail Enquiries (the "definitive" source of fares information) say that fares are "simple" and that a cheaper fare with more restrictions "will be named Super Off Peak", however there is no ombudsman (yet) and Transport Focus are absolutely toothless, so train companies can just do whatever they want with unregulated fares, going completely against the rail industry's principles and no-one can stop them. XC have been doing this for years, and they are not planning to change their ways anytime soon.


http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/times_fares/46442.aspx


key extracts from NRE said:
The new names describe when you can buy or use a ticket making, it easier for you to buy the best value ticket for your journey....


Off-Peak fares are cheaper tickets for travelling on trains that are less busy. Where there is more than one Off-Peak fare for a journey, the cheaper fare with more restrictions will be named Super Off-Peak.

The new fare names simplify the choice, allowing you to choose your rail ticket with confidence.

The new fare names describe when you can buy or use your ticket, making it easier for you to decide what ticket suits your journey

I am not recommending anyone does this, but I'd love it if one day, someone with plenty of cash to take such matters to court, could successfully challenge an excess fare on the basis of the misleading information on the NRE website. However I do not know for certain if such a case could be won or not and it could be costly.
 
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