Single Leg pricing for some journeys to/from King's Cross give passengers a better deal on fares

syorksdeano

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Not sure if I like the sound of getting rid of return tickets
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/...re-passengers-get-a-better-deal-on-rail-fares
LNER will begin trials in January 2020 of a new fare system designed to make travelling on trains simpler and clearer. Return tickets will be removed on trial routes from London to Leeds, Newcastle and Edinburgh, and in their place passengers will be able to purchase cheaper single-leg tickets, which will be more in line with half the price of a return journey.

For example, passengers currently travelling between London and Edinburgh buying a ticket at the station pay £146.40 for a Super Off-Peak Single ticket or £147.40 for a Super Off-Peak Return ticket. Under this trial, the cost of a Super Off-Peak Single would be £73.70.

Secretary of State for Transport, Grant Shapps said:

These announcements are vital for providing passengers with a more convenient, flexible and fairly priced experience.

New ‘contactless’ Pay As You Go journeys at Potters Bar, Radlett and Brookmans Park will help make travel cheaper, quicker and easier, with our smart ticketing roll-out also set to benefit passengers at Luton Airport and Welwyn Garden City later this year.

We are also taking action to simplify fares as LNER begins single-leg fares trials next year. This will save many people money with substantially cheaper single tickets, boost customer confidence, and ensure passengers up and down the country get the modern transport service they expect.
 
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Camden

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So if you don't know when you need to return, you'll have to wait until the day of travel before buying your "return".

Like when food companies reduce their product sizes and keep their prices the same, telling us that it's what consumers want, there is no way that this isn't going to be a complete rip off.
 

anme

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So if you don't know when you need to return, you'll have to wait until the day of travel before buying your "return".

Like when food companies reduce their product sizes and keep their prices the same, telling us that it's what consumers want, there is no way that this isn't going to be a complete rip off.
Based on the example and the information in the press release, how is this going to be a complete rip off?
 

anme

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There will be a huge amount of whinging here about these changes, but I want to go on record as welcoming them wholeheartedly. Halving the price of singles is such a big win that it more than makes up for losing the right to overnight breaks of journey on the return.
 

Camden

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Given that breaks of journey are often forbidden on outgoing journeys, it's basically abolishing breaks of journey entirely.

It's been a very long time since any British government changed anything to benefit the people they're meant to (but don't) serve.
 

LNW-GW Joint

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Based on the example and the information in the press release, how is this going to be a complete rip off?
The example shown is 50%, but the text says single fares will be "more in line with half the return fare".
Which suggests they will not all be 50%.
Presumably we are only talking about "saver"-type fares, and possibly only long-distance ones (ie not inside the Network or PTE areas).
They had to start somewhere, and with LNER the government is able to take the risk.
 

yorkie

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Providing they are half the, price that's fine.

It will prevent overnight break of journey except for, as present, a one night stay where the journey cannot reasonably be completed (though the rules should be clarified on that, but that's for another discussion). So anyone wanting to break their journey would need to "split".
 

Bletchleyite

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There will be a huge amount of whinging here about these changes, but I want to go on record as welcoming them wholeheartedly. Halving the price of singles is such a big win that it more than makes up for losing the right to overnight breaks of journey on the return.
Given that splitting is often less expensive than a through ticket anyway (and rarely much more expensive when it is), if you on your return decide you want a break of journey overnight, simply split your tickets as you wish. You can then break for as long as you like with no conditions or restrictions on doing so whatsoever. Sorted.

The use-case of an unexpected overnight break of journey is incredibly niche. I don't think I've ever done it. Maybe once ever, I can think of one case where I might have visited family ad-hoc and stayed over, but only once.

Things like overnight BoJ and excesses are only really applicable to return tickets with no cheap singles, as they make the cost prohibitive in this kind of case.

I do however hope these tickets allow same day break of journey, as not allowing an ad-hoc stop-off to pick up lunch, say, is downright petty and unnecessary.
 

Haywain

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with LNER the government is able to take the risk.
This trial was being planned when the franchise was held by Stagecoach and has, if anything, been delayed by the ownership change. But there is no doubt that the current ownership has helped facilitate this 'trial'.
I do however hope these tickets allow same day break of journey, as not allowing an ad-hoc stop-off to pick up lunch, say, is downright petty and unnecessary.
It's difficult to see any good reason for changing what is permitted on such tickets now.
 

Bletchleyite

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It's difficult to see any good reason for changing what is permitted on such tickets now.
The SSU (half-of-return Super Off Peak Single) on LNER from London to Edinburgh presently bars break of journey (the "full fare" one doesn't). If the return is to be withdrawn, there is a VERY good case to allow it, as otherwise there is a substantial loss of flexibility.

While almost nobody makes overnight Breaks of Journey, a good many users of walk-up fares stop off for lunch, for instance, on a longer journey. Same day BoJ has long been unenforced, but TOCs are getting pettier (as are individual staff like those at Clapham Jn who have been known to enforce this) and the restrictions are getting better known.
 

Haywain

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The SSU (half-of-return Super Off Peak Single) on LNER from London to Edinburgh presently bars break of journey (the "full fare" one doesn't).
But the SSS sold by LNER does allow break of journey. And it is the SSS that will get the reduced price.
While almost nobody makes overnight Breaks of Journey, a good many users of walk-up fares stop off for lunch, for instance, on a longer journey.
A good many? Really? I would suggest that the number is very, very small especially if those actually changing trains are excluded.
 

skifans

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As long as they are actually half the price I think this represents a significant improvement, there are plenty of journeys which time was I would be better off going by bus and returning by train (or visa versa), currently though this is significantly more expensive with both the local bus and rail tickets a return is hardly any more then a single. It also allows situations like going during peak time (anytime) but returning during off-peak, currently the best fare is likely to be an anytime return ticket, but now more options are opened up.
 

LNW-GW Joint

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The Railway Gazette write up of this says that that the new cheap off-peak singles will only apply to the stations named, ie Leeds, Newcastle and Edinburgh.
So passengers for stations like Wakefield and Durham wanting off peak singles will be stumping up (as now) nearly double what will be charged to their near neighbours.
 

Haywain

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Why would you exclude those changing trains? Being able to pop out between trains (and not necessarily take the first one to turn up) is precisely the use-case.
Because I doubt that the majority of them would even realise they are breaking their journey.
The Railway Gazette write up of this says that that the new cheap off-peak singles will only apply to the stations named, ie Leeds, Newcastle and Edinburgh.
So passengers for stations like Wakefield and Durham wanting off peak singles will be stumping up (as now) nearly double what will be charged to their near neighbours.
An alternative view is that those who want to retain the advantages of a return ticket can simply buy one to a nearby station (such as Haymarket, MetroCentre or Burley Park).
 

anme

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Given that breaks of journey are often forbidden on outgoing journeys, it's basically abolishing breaks of journey entirely.

It's been a very long time since any British government changed anything to benefit the people they're meant to (but don't) serve.
This change is hugely to my benefit.
 

anme

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One assumes it will be revenue neutral, which will mean a smallish increase (most people do not make single journeys).
That would seem fair - a smallish increase in the price of returns in return (pun intended) for half price singles.
 

DynamicSpirit

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There will be a huge amount of whinging here about these changes, but I want to go on record as welcoming them wholeheartedly. Halving the price of singles is such a big win that it more than makes up for losing the right to overnight breaks of journey on the return.

Good news about Potters Bar too.
I kinda agree. I've lost count of the number of times that I've either made a journey that isn't really what I wanted to make, or just decided not to travel at all - because single fares are so expensive that it's basically uneconomic to make any rail journey that isn't a simple out-and-back one. If/when they can roll this out nationally, I'm sure I will start making a lot more rail journeys.

On the other hand, removing returns seems a bit daft because of the extra admin involved (for both customers and ticket office staff) and extra demand on ticket machines that will occur if the majority of people who do make simple return trips have to buy two different tickets. That actually seems so daft (and so obviously like a problem) to me that I wonder if there's some information missing from the announcement in that regard? I can't believe even the DfT would be so stupid as to stop people who want a return trip from being able to buy tickets for their entire trip in one single purchase at a ticket machine, so may be there is some unannounced workaround being planned?

Other than that reservation, I think this change is hugely for the good, and I can't wait for a national roll-out.
 

30907

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I presume the reason LNER is being used for this trial is that they already offer SSU for one-way journeys (on their website only?), so it is the SSS fare level that will disappear.

BTW I found it extremely difficult to determine that BoJ is forbidden on SSU - but that is another issue.
 

DynamicSpirit

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I presume the reason LNER is being used for this trial is that they already offer SSU for one-way journeys (on their website only?), so it is the SSS fare level that will disappear.

BTW I found it extremely difficult to determine that BoJ is forbidden on SSU - but that is another issue.
This thread seems to be getting very acronym-heavy. Any chance of an explanation of them? Personally I understand BoJ (break of journey), but not SSS or SSU.
 

Haywain

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I presume the reason LNER is being used for this trial is that they already offer SSU for one-way journeys (on their website only?), so it is the SSS fare level that will disappear.
LNER do not currently sell the SSU ticket, but do sell a discounted SSS and my understanding is that it is the latter which will be part of the single leg pricing trial.
This thread seems to be getting very acronym-heavy. Any chance of an explanation of them? Personally I understand BoJ (break of journey), but not SSS or SSU.
They are both variations of a Super Off Peak Single.
 

Bletchleyite

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LNER do not currently sell the SSU ticket, but do sell a discounted SSS and my understanding is that it is the latter which will be part of the single leg pricing trial.
Good. One of the reasons I buy walk-up tickets is so I can, if I wish, pop out for food at any random point during the journey. For instance on the way back from Inverness the other month I was getting peckish at Crewe so dropped back a couple of trains to have a curry (there's a good curry house just up the road). This kind of BoJ is likely to be unplanned, while an overnight BoJ is likely to be planned (because I'd have to arrange accommodation).
 

181

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Given that splitting is often less expensive than a through ticket anyway (and rarely much more expensive when it is), if you on your return decide you want a break of journey overnight, simply split your tickets as you wish. You can then break for as long as you like with no conditions or restrictions on doing so whatsoever. Sorted.
Not necessarily -- the traditional pattern of paying less per mile the longer the journey hasn't disappeared altogether. Take for example a journey that I might conceivably make: Stirling-Oxford with a couple of nights in Sheffield on the way. The current off-peak singles are:

Stirling-Oxford: £156.20 (not London), so if the new system was applied more widely it might be £80-something -- let's say £80 to keep it simple.
Stirling-Sheffield: £127.85 -- say £65 in the new system
Sheffield-Oxford: No exact equivalent -- currently there's an Any Permitted SSU at £60.50, or a not-London Anytime at £88.55. If we assume that the new fare would be just over half the £88.60 off-peak return that makes it about £45.

I.e. £110 with the break of journey vs. £80 without -- a 37.5% difference.

OK, if you include the outward (northbound) journey in the calculation the percentage increase is 'only' about 20% (£190 vs. the current off-peak return of £157.25), and making the break of journey on the outward journey would be no worse (currently it would be £216.45 with no option to return via the faster West Coast route), but it still illustrates the point that there would be significant disadvantages, not just benefits.

(I haven't investigated splits for the purposes of this post, but on past experience of similar journeys they would only bring a modest saving)

Things like overnight BoJ and excesses are only really applicable to return tickets with no cheap singles, as they make the cost prohibitive in this kind of case.
It is true that much of the need for BoJ, stopping/starting short, creative routing etc. arises from trying to fit people's actual travel needs into a system that penalises single journeys; but not all of it does.

It seems to me that the best solution might be to keep returns as they are now and introduce reasonably-priced singles in addition, not instead -- it seems to work on Great Western.
 

The Ham

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It seems to me that the best solution might be to keep returns as they are now and introduce reasonably-priced singles in addition, not instead -- it seems to work on Great Western
Indeed, for instance the option for two singles or the option of a return with the return available to use within a month (even if the latter was slightly more) would provide the simplification of the system (i.e. less fares) but retain most of the flexibility of the current system (not having to commit to a set date/train).

It could reduce the risk of overcrowding, as you can more easily see which trains are full/typically busy as there'd be fewer advance tickets for those services.

If course it could result in a lot more one way rail travel. For instance a family goes on holiday together and one leaves part way through (or even at the end to go in a different direction) to return to work/college/University.

Alternatively a group of friends go away for the weekend, due to time pressures a few of them travel by train and are picked up enroute and then all go home in the car at the end of the weekend (i.e. they all live fairly close to each other but their workplaces are spread out).

Likewise two people who work at the same place but have different start/end of day times, so as to be able to car share one way and go by train the other. Even those who go by train in the morning and cycle home in the evening (so as to have the fitness but without having to get all sweaty before work)

They may not be all that common, but others are likely to be able to think of other cases. Which as a combined effect could make rail more attractive for more people.

Chances are it would result in more people using an advanced ticket for the fixed travel element (say going to a meeting) and then having an any train off-peak ticket for the return where flexibility may be more useful.

However I wouldn't be surprised if we saw these single tickets being 51%-55% of the return ticket price and more PM off-peak restrictions. However most people are likely to pay mostly the same by being able to benefit from a few advanced/off peak tickets which they previously wouldn't have been able to use so easily/cheaply.

The area where it helps the most is being able to have "season tickets" based on a set number of journeys within a given timeframe (say 10 trips within 3 months), as these would be able to be priced more competitively than they would be currently.

Although I could see people having several, one for their daily commute for anytime travel, one for their weekly start late/finish late for off peak travel and one for their weekly/fortnightly meeting(s) that they have at a different location to their main office. For instance someone has an office in a town but semi regularly goes to Central London for business meetings/leisure trips.
 

krus_aragon

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This thread seems to be getting very acronym-heavy. Any chance of an explanation of them? Personally I understand BoJ (break of journey), but not SSS or SSU.
They are both variations of a Super Off Peak Single.
See (for example) the ticket types in the left hand column on this page. You'll have to scroll down a bit to get to the standard class single tickets, though.
 

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