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

embers25

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Aren't only Off Peak fares regulated and so by abolishing them fares will become completely unregulated. Also the off peak is much less restrictive than a super off peak and so many off peak users will be forced to buy anytime singles at a much higher cost.
 
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yorkie

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Aren't only Off Peak fares regulated and so by abolishing them fares will become completely unregulated. Also the off peak is much less restrictive than a super off peak and so many off peak users will be forced to buy anytime singles at a much higher cost.
On these flows it's the Super Off Peak Return (SSR) that is regulated (for many other flows elsewhere, the former Saver fares became Off Peak and for some cases they became Anytime).

If the regulation stipulates that each Super Off Peak Single costs half the regulated amount, so that a return ticket holder pays no more than if this change had not occurred, then that would probably be compliant with fares regulation rules, at least from a price perspective.

Where it may not be compliant is where a customer wishes to break the return leg for more than one night... if there is no fare to allow that, this would be problematical and might be a breach of fares regulation. I am sure some people in the industry would be happy if this ceased to be regulated...
 

furlong

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Well, the return portions of period returns will need to be converted to singles that retain the month's validity with no break of journey restrictions otherwise some passengers won't be getting 'a better deal'. But technology should be more than capable of supporting that now, at least for a limited trial like this, giving passengers more flexibility than before (abolish all existing BOJ restrictions and offer an option to leave a ticket undated until use), while protecting revenue better than now by requiring undated/multi-day 'flexible' tickets to be issued as bar coded tickets that must be scanned or registered at a ticket gate or scanner, website or with a smartphone app to record initial use and any breaks of journey.
 

takno

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On these flows it's the Super Off Peak Return (SSR) that is regulated (for many other flows elsewhere, the former Saver fares became Off Peak and for some cases they became Anytime).

If the regulation stipulates that each Super Off Peak Single costs half the regulated amount, so that a return ticket holder pays no more than if this change had not occurred, then that would probably be compliant with fares regulation rules, at least from a price perspective.

Where it may not be compliant is where a customer wishes to break the return leg for more than one night... if there is no fare to allow that, this would be problematical and might be a breach of fares regulation. I am sure some people in the industry would be happy if this ceased to be regulated...
Is Off-peak in this context what used to be called Business Savers? I haven't used anything other than an Super-saver return, SSU or Advance for years...
 

Terrier

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Things like BOJ are great for those of us who know about it and wish to take advantage of it but let's be honest the vast majority of passengers just want to travel from A to B on the same day and same train. Simplifying fares is always going to be controversial as the fares system hasn't changed much in decades. It is easy for us to look at it all as train enthusiasts etc because we like things like boj and to the option to travel on different routes with tickets but as I said the average everyday traveller doesn't want that. The dft isn't going to pamper to a few hundred thousand enthusiasts they will look at the big picture if and the millions of passengers who travel each day. If we insist on keeping things from the past then fares simplification will never work it'll just be another tweak.
 

Haywain

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Is Off-peak in this context what used to be called Business Savers? I haven't used anything other than an Super-saver return, SSU or Advance for years...
As @Bletchleyite states, these are the London and Stevenage Off Peak returns, not those from stations from Peterborough northwards where there is no Super Off Peak fare.
 

furlong

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Things like BOJ are great for those of us who know about it and wish to take advantage of it but let's be honest the vast majority of passengers just want to travel from A to B on the same day and same train. Simplifying fares is always going to be controversial as the fares system hasn't changed much in decades. It is easy for us to look at it all as train enthusiasts etc because we like things like boj and to the option to travel on different routes with tickets but as I said the average everyday traveller doesn't want that. The dft isn't going to pamper to a few hundred thousand enthusiasts they will look at the big picture if and the millions of passengers who travel each day. If we insist on keeping things from the past then fares simplification will never work it'll just be another tweak.
But they ought to choose the types of simplifications that make the system simpler and less confusing for travellers while giving them more flexibility. If I've paid for travel from A to B, why does the railway care how many times I break my journey and whether I split it across multiple days depending on what the weather does? Don't forget that the main competition to rail travel, the car, is infinitely more flexible in terms of breaks of journey, times and days of travel and choice of routes! Treating people as criminals and imposing ridiculously unfair penalties when people get the complicated rules wrong or end up on the wrong train all discourage people from taking the risk of using the railway. If a restriction of any type can't be expressed succinctly and printed on the ticket then that should be a clue that it's too complicated! Your 'average everyday traveller' most likely wants to take either the simplest (e.g. no changes, or easy cross-platform ones) or alternatively the fastest services. Why does the railway still insist when defining route validity that passengers prefer to take trains that travel the shortest distance rather than ones that take the shortest time, despite dividing revenue internally on an earliest arrival basis (ORCATS)? Why doesn't it do something passenger-friendly like always offer a simple A to B ticket that's guaranteed to be valid on the fastest services between your specified origin and destination, whatever time you travel? Any overhaul should put the requirements of various categories of existing and potential passengers at its heart, rather than looking for cunning ways to disguise trying to squeeze more revenue from existing travellers.
 

thedbdiboy

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On these flows it's the Super Off Peak Return (SSR) that is regulated (for many other flows elsewhere, the former Saver fares became Off Peak and for some cases they became Anytime).

If the regulation stipulates that each Super Off Peak Single costs half the regulated amount, so that a return ticket holder pays no more than if this change had not occurred, then that would probably be compliant with fares regulation rules, at least from a price perspective.

Where it may not be compliant is where a customer wishes to break the return leg for more than one night... if there is no fare to allow that, this would be problematical and might be a breach of fares regulation. I am sure some people in the industry would be happy if this ceased to be regulated...
It's no coincidence that these changes are being permitted on a trial basis with LNER as it is not franchised (and won't be for the foreseeable future), so the definition of regulation is somewhat moot as effectively their entire fare structure is subject to DfT approval; the DfT and Treasury have to underwrite the revenue effect. A lot of the groundwork for this was done under VTEC but would have been virtually impossible to sign off during the drawn out endgame of Virgin/Stagecoach ownership.
The changes will benefit anyone making off-peak single journeys on a walk-up basis; as you note, there may be edge cases where someone who previously broke a journey on a return portion could pay more, but it is important to recognise that fare regulation was never supposed to create a rigid and unchanging structure that meant that no-one could ever under any circumstances pay more - the so-called 'winners and losers' debate. Given the poltical sensitivities, this trial has been designed to try and ensure that most people are either unaffected or pay less, with as few losers as possible. Fare regulation is not (and has never been) subject to any kind of statutory process - it is a contractual agreement, so any change permitted by the DfT is by definition compliant. The DfT has always banked the money from regulated fares changes; the TOC is just the vessel for delivery so changing it confers no benefit to the TOC.
 

PeterC

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Things like BOJ are great for those of us who know about it and wish to take advantage of it but let's be honest the vast majority of passengers just want to travel from A to B on the same day and same train. Simplifying fares is always going to be controversial as the fares system hasn't changed much in decades. It is easy for us to look at it all as train enthusiasts etc because we like things like boj and to the option to travel on different routes with tickets but as I said the average everyday traveller doesn't want that. The dft isn't going to pamper to a few hundred thousand enthusiasts they will look at the big picture if and the millions of passengers who travel each day. If we insist on keeping things from the past then fares simplification will never work it'll just be another tweak.
Now wait for the stoning of the heretic.

Personally I can live without BoJ or the ability to tour South London in an attempt to get to a terminus that could be more quickly and easily reached by changing to the tube. I just want to roll up to a station and pay a fare that is competive with driving without having to commit to a specific train weeks in advance.
 

sheff1

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Given the poltical sensitivities, this trial has been designed to try and ensure that most people are either unaffected or pay less, with as few losers as possible.
The designer(s) should have tried harder. Continuing to offer the returns, rather than withdrawing them, would ensure those using such tickets, because of the flexibility they allow, remain unaffected.

Additionally, continuing to sell returns would allow the measurement of how many people were still buying them which would surely help inform assessment of the effects of the trial.
 

yorkie

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Things like BOJ are great for those of us who know about it and wish to take advantage of it but let's be honest the vast majority of passengers just want to travel from A to B on the same day and same train. Simplifying fares is always going to be controversial as the fares system hasn't changed much in decades. It is easy for us to look at it all as train enthusiasts etc because we like things like boj and to the option to travel on different routes with tickets but as I said the average everyday traveller doesn't want that. The dft isn't going to pamper to a few hundred thousand enthusiasts they will look at the big picture if and the millions of passengers who travel each day. If we insist on keeping things from the past then fares simplification will never work it'll just be another tweak.
It's no more true to suggest that rail enthusiasts are the only people who break journeys made by train, than it would be to say only car enthusiasts break journeys made in cars.

Now wait for the stoning of the heretic.

Personally I can live without BoJ or the ability to tour South London in an attempt to get to a terminus that could be more quickly and easily reached by changing to the tube. I just want to roll up to a station and pay a fare that is competive with driving without having to commit to a specific train weeks in advance.
There are no proposals for affordable walk up fares. If you wish to post a suggestion for an alternative fare structure that would make walk up travel more affordable, please do create a thread for this purpose. I suspect that any attempts to reverse the trend towards airline style pricing will be resisted by DfT and TOCs.
 

thedbdiboy

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The designer(s) should have tried harder. Continuing to offer the returns, rather than withdrawing them, would ensure those using such tickets, because of the flexibility they allow, remain unaffected.

Additionally, continuing to sell returns would allow the measurement of how many people were still buying them which would surely help inform assessment of the effects of the trial.
They can measure the return journeys purchased using the single combinations, both for online sales and also at their stations - they use Flowbird TVMs which are one of the few with a journey planning functonality so a return combination can be purchased using the single fares.
 

Wallsendmag

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They can measure the return journeys purchased using the single combinations, both for online sales and also at their stations - they use Flowbird TVMs which are one of the few with a journey planning functonality so a return combination can be purchased using the single fares.
Indeed but only the front end is Flowbird. Remember when we had Advance returns Apex, Super Apex Super Advance ? Nobody thinks anything of Advance Singles now so why are walk up different? Obviously I know more than I am allowed to share here but there seem very few downsides to this trial.
 

sheff1

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They can measure the return journeys purchased using the single combinations, both for online sales and also at their stations - they use Flowbird TVMs which are one of the few with a journey planning functonality so a return combination can be purchased using the single fares.
Are you saying that if someone purchases a single to Leeds at Kings Cross and then that same person purchases a southbound single at Leeds a few days later then "Flowbird" will link the two as a return journey by matching the card used for purchase ? ... sounds iffy to me, unless permission is sought at the outset to use the card details for such matching. What happens if the person does not give permssion, or uses two different cards or, less likely, pays using cash or Rail Vouchers ?

None of this linking/matching would be needed anyway if the return tickets were not being withdrawn.
 

yorkie

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Are you saying that if someone purchases a single to Leeds at Kings Cross and then that same person purchases a southbound single at Leeds a few days later then "Flowbird" will link the two as a return journey by matching the card used for purchase ? ... sounds iffy to me, unless permission is sought at the outset to use the card details for such matching. What happens if the person does not give permssion, or uses two different cards or, less likely, pays using cash or Rail Vouchers ?

None of this linking/matching would be needed anyway if the return tickets were not being withdrawn.
That will count as two singles. It will only count as a return if the tickets are purchased at the same time.
 

Cdd89

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Count me among those who agree with the move to make single journeys half the price of return, but against the move to scrap return tickets entirely. The latter part is the pernicious aspect to this change, IMO.

The weirder bit is that people who are price-insensitive also often put a high value on flexibility. By making walk-up long-distance tickets less flexible, I wonder if they'll find they drive that otherwise lucrative traffic into advance tickets instead.
 

Haywain

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By making walk-up long-distance tickets less flexible, I wonder if they'll find they drive that otherwise lucrative traffic into advance tickets instead.
I can't imagine any train company would regard this as a negative. Advance tickets are often more lucrative to the TOC than the price may suggest.
 

Haywain

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I would guess it's because TOCs don't need to share the revenue from advance tickets (apart from "and connections" tickets, presumably) .

For walk-up tickets they will often have to share the revenue (via ORCATS).
Plus there's no risk of refund, and they know which train the ticket holder is going to be on.
 

Shell

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This is a massive shame - I use the super off-peak return between Edinburgh and London for holiday trips, where I'll travel to London via the ECML in one day, spend a few days there, then stop off for a couple of days at random places on the WCML on the way home. Replacing the return with a pair of singles will mean I'll have to pay significantly more, as I'll need to buy a single between each place each day I'm traveling. I'll probably stick to the megabus in future.
 

takno

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This is a massive shame - I use the super off-peak return between Edinburgh and London for holiday trips, where I'll travel to London via the ECML in one day, spend a few days there, then stop off for a couple of days at random places on the WCML on the way home. Replacing the return with a pair of singles will mean I'll have to pay significantly more, as I'll need to buy a single between each place each day I'm traveling. I'll probably stick to the megabus in future.
I do this sometimes as well, but it's a bit of a niche case. Most people wouldn't do it at all, even if they knew it was an option. When I do it myself it's perhaps one trip in 8, and as often as not I would actually prefer to break the journey on the outward leg.

It's a subsidy to a small number users by the wider population, which adds complexity to the vending system, and frankly wastes my time spending hours making sub-optimal decisions about where I want to visit based on an arbitrary series of maps. London-Scotland tickets should be tickets for travelling between London and Scotland, not some cheap proxy rover ticket.
 

sheff1

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London-Scotland tickets should be tickets for travelling between London and Scotland, not some cheap proxy rover ticket.
I realise only Edinburgh is in scope for the trial, but when returning from points much further north (or vice versa) I do not see how breaking the lengthy journey can be equated to having a rover ticket. If the flexibiity of a return ticket is to be withdrawn, then flying becomes even more attractive than it currently is.
 

Bletchleyite

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I realise only Edinburgh is in scope for the trial, but when returning from points much further north (or vice versa) I do not see how breaking the lengthy journey can be equated to having a rover ticket. If the flexibiity of a return ticket is to be withdrawn, then flying becomes even more attractive than it currently is.
How exactly do you break your journey on a flight? Got a parachute? :)
 

The Ham

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The industry could fairly easily offer a single which had the flexibility which the return now offers, in fact by offering it as a single you could see it bringing more flexibility by allowing it to be used in either direction.

However there's should be a cost associated with it, yet that cost shouldn't need to be too much. For instance if it were 10% more than an anytime ticket then a lot of people would then pair it with an advanced ticket and probably find that more often than not they could have a total journey cost either less or comparable to the existing open return tickets.

I would suggest a 30 day flexible single would look something like this:
- 10% more than an anytime single
- valid for 30 days from a given date
- allows breaks in journeys
- allows travel to be split over any dates within the 30 days
- must be used in a continuous onwards direction of travel with no overlapping (Although with other tickets travel off route travel is permitted but you must restart at the same station of later, with no reuse of missed sections)
- is likely to be a e-ticket or loaded to a smart card so that the ticket marks off where it's been used
- would be the default single type used on multi buy "season" tickets (i.e. 10 trips in either direction between A and B) although the price would be comparable to that of a single leg of season ticket (i.e. 10 trips would be similar to, but possibly 5-10% more than but no more than buying 5 of the current return tickets, a weekly season ticket)

That would provide the flexibility that people would like, yes at a cost but the current open returns generally have an extra cost in using them.

By making it clear in the conditions that they can be used over several days you are likely to see more people using them.
 

globetrotter

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I'll offer a recent experience in Spain, to alert people to the dangers of removing "Break of Journey". Having travelled in France on local trains, stopping off here and there (on the same day), I then purchased a ticket from Port Bou to Barcelona, thinking that the same would apply in Spain. The idea was to stop for lunch and continue onward.

The station chosen for the lunch break had unmanned barriers. My attempt to pass through with a ticket to Barcelona (further along the line) was rejected. I managed to attract the attention of the clerk in the ticket office, who agreed to let me through the barriers but telling me it was not permitted. He told me that he was going off duty but he would inform the next employee to let me back in. When I returned after lunch, once again my ticket did not open the barrier. The new clerk behind the window in the ticket office told me that I could not enter but must buy a new ticket from there to Barcelona. Luckily the distance and cost from there to Barcelona was small. She told me that she was not allowed to let me through the barrier with my Barcelona ticket.

If Break of Journey rights are removed in the UK that will likely bring to an end starting or ending short, having a break for lunch etc. and catching a later train, walking between stations and so on. A single ticket of any kind will simply be point to point. They'll call it "simplification of the rules". The time validity can be restricted also, so that once a ticket is purchased the journey must be completed for example within two hours.

Be careful what you wish for.
 

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