- 7 Oct 2017
I suppose the problem is that the train fulfils many roles at once. For some, it's a means of long-distance travel, competing with coach or air. For others, it's about a day trip around town where they might otherwise use the bus. And for others, it's an alternative to taking the car for their commute.My family live in Scotland and I now live in London and the only time I've ever travelled on an open ticket between the two was earlier this year when I had to travel to London at very short notice to view flats for my new job; so I had to combine an Open Single with LNER on the way down (I'd like to say it might have been Super Off Peak but I can't remember the limitations on travelling from Edinburgh to London so it might have been anytime) with a First Class Advance with Virgin on the way back because that worked out the cheapest. But I think that events like this are rare and generally there's a level of planning that goes into long distance trips, and there's probably always a way to work it so that you can save at least some money: may it be travelling off peak on the out leg to save that; or doing advances on at least one leg if possible since in most cases you can plan for at least one leg, surely?
Besides if its for work generally work will expense for it and if they expect you to travel on short notice then they need to take that into account with how much they pay back. Although my only experience with this was working in Brussels where generally there's a fixed amount they expense for trips and if you can do it cheaper than that then you get to keep the rest; which is a little different and arguably might actually encourage people to seek cheaper alternatives than just generic Anytime tickets. When you think about alternative forms of long-distance public transport (the plane and the coach) then generally you have to book at a particular time anyway, so I don't see why we ought to perceive the train in a different way.