Stupid fares

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sarahj

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When selling tickets on trains you come across some stupid fares.

Tonight a punter asked for Seaford to Hove, single, with a senior railcard. With the discount the fare was £5.60, which even I thought a tad OTT. However, doing two tickets, Seaford to Brighton and Brighton to Hove, £4.50. I only happened to look as the train (a 313) was dead (5 passengers) and I was bored. I printed off the two tickets, swapped them for the one ticket and handed him back £1.10. To say he was surprised was an understatement. :)

All I can say on the whole thing is : :roll:
 
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causton

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We used to have a season ticket that was cheaper in one direction than the other. People still ask for it the "wrong way round" to this day even when we tell them the prices were changed* over a year ago!

*to the lower price, no, really!
 

Alex C.

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I found yesterday that for an off peak Birmingham to Liverpool journey...

Birmingham International -> Liverpool first class is £133.40 return
Birmingham New Street -> Liverpool first class is £57 return

even excluding the fact that there is no off peak fare from BHI to LIV, the anytime return fare from BHM to Liverpool is £82 - £51.40 cheaper.

A first class return between BHI and BHM is £8.30

At off peak times, that means that you can save over 50% just by splitting at one station 6 minutes down the line.

It's absurd - the stations are part of the same station group which is even more confusing (I always assumed that pricing from stations in a station group to another station group would be the same).

I realise this is the entire crux of how split ticketing works, but for the vast majority of the travelling public, they assume the fare presented is the best one.

Luckily, I booked the BHM->LIV ticket before I realised I was travelling from BHI.
 

Clip

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319321

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It shouldn't have to be the passengers responsibility though, and it's arguable as to whether or not it is the passengers responsibility in the first place.
 

James Wake

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When selling tickets on trains you come across some stupid fares.

Tonight a punter asked for Seaford to Hove, single, with a senior railcard. With the discount the fare was £5.60, which even I thought a tad OTT. However, doing two tickets, Seaford to Brighton and Brighton to Hove, £4.50. I only happened to look as the train (a 313) was dead (5 passengers) and I was bored. I printed off the two tickets, swapped them for the one ticket and handed him back £1.10. To say he was surprised was an understatement. :)

All I can say on the whole thing is : :roll:
That's what you call excellent customer service. If he had a concession pass he could have changed at Brighton and caught the number 7 from outside the station, takes about 10 mins to Hove.
 

father_jack

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When selling tickets on trains you come across some stupid fares.

Tonight a punter asked for Seaford to Hove, single, with a senior railcard. With the discount the fare was £5.60, which even I thought a tad OTT. However, doing two tickets, Seaford to Brighton and Brighton to Hove, £4.50. I only happened to look as the train (a 313) was dead (5 passengers) and I was bored. I printed off the two tickets, swapped them for the one ticket and handed him back £1.10. To say he was surprised was an understatement. :)

All I can say on the whole thing is : :roll:
So if you earn £560 a week do you hand £150 back to the company when you do things like sell unrequested lower price spilt tickets ?

Pay is based on the price of tickets.

What if bert gets on the train next week and when asked for £5.60 says "the lovely woman last week charged me £4.10......".

The retail manual clearly says that a combination of tickets should only be sold if requested and then should cover the entire journey.
 

crehld

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First Great Western would have you disciplined for doing that:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3105625/First-Great-Western-trainer-told-staff-NOT-offer-cheapest-tickets.html

although I would argue that knowingly selling customers higher priced tickets than they needed is a 'misleading omission'.
We dont have to offer split tickets - that is the passengers responsibility. You ask for something then you get what you ask for.
It seems such a shame that that rather than addressing the dysfunctionalities of the fares system, the response of railway companies is to either blame passengers for not being clever or savvy enough to find the cheapest ticket(s), or to discipline their dedicated and hard working professional staff who want to offer a good service, which can only serve to improve the profile of the companies in question.
 

EssexGonzo

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So if you earn £560 a week do you hand £150 back to the company when you do things like sell unrequested lower price spilt tickets ?

Pay is based on the price of tickets.

What if bert gets on the train next week and when asked for £5.60 says "the lovely woman last week charged me £4.10......".

The retail manual clearly says that a combination of tickets should only be sold if requested and then should cover the entire journey.
Then the price should either be £4.10 or £5.60, not both. The presence of a lower, "hidden" price smells of dishonesty.

In my (regulated) industry, knowingly charging a customer a higher fee when a lower priced alternative (from the same provider for the same end product) would lead to regulatory censure, a fine for the firm and disciplinary action for the staff member concerned.

We (the wider "we" including some of the rules laid down not any specific individual) do seem to occasionally forget that customers are at the end of all processes and behaviours - and in the case of the railways, some of those behaviours come across as monopolistic and self-serving. This would be one of those.
 

Bletchleyite

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In BR (or early privatisation) days it was cheaper to split a Merseyrail Northern Line to Preston journey (or any station on that line) at Ormskirk. I always theorised this was because you could go via Liverpool on a Sunday, but that is no longer a Permitted Route (it was just considered "reasonable" because it was the only option, but itself created an anomaly because Wigan cost more) and so requires a split.

Is there anything additional you can do with Hove to Seaford that might justify it?
 

Tetchytyke

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Pay is based on the price of tickets.
I would ask how you reached that conclusion, but on second thoughts, I don't really want to know.

I've seen some corkers in my time, but this one takes some beating.

Clip said:
We don't have to offer split tickets - that is the passengers responsibility. You ask for something then you get what you ask for.
I agree, ticketing staff don't have to offer split tickets and, given the complexity of the ticketing system, there's no way you could ever make it an obligation. You ask for a ticket from A to B, you get a ticket from A to B.

That said, disciplining staff who know that tickets from A to Z and Z to B are cheaper and offer these for sale is completely wrong.
 

NSEFAN

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319321 said:
It shouldn't have to be the passengers responsibility though, and it's arguable as to whether or not it is the passengers responsibility in the first place.
I disagree. The passenger should make some effort to understand the fares. I am not clued up on airline fares for example, but I'm sure if I did my homework I could find cheaper ways of making a particular journey by plane. Heck there are websites which will probably do this for me quite well, just as there are websites now which try to work out the best split ticketing options. In both cases, the onus is on me to go and find this information, not for the companies to bend over backwards to hand me the best deal on a plate. In fact I'd rather not have the companies required to do this, as all it will do is add cost to them, which will in turn be transferred to the customers, defeating the point of it somewhat!
 

Bletchleyite

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That said, disciplining staff who know that tickets from A to Z and Z to B are cheaper and offer these for sale is completely wrong.
Agreed. Staff should perhaps upsell like in other businesses (have you considered First Class? It's only £1000 more expensive! :) ) but I don't see a problem with this, particularly as the passenger can now legitimately request it next time.
 

EM2

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I disagree. The passenger should make some effort to understand the fares. I am not clued up on airline fares for example, but I'm sure if I did my homework I could find cheaper ways of making a particular journey by plane.
But would you expect there to be two fares for exactly the same journey made by the same airline?
Let's say you're flying from Robin Hood to Inverness, and there are no direct flights, but if you change planes in Glasgow, SuperCheapoAir say it will cost £40 for a through ticket.
Would you think it right that if you buy two separate tickets with SuperCheapoAir from Robin Hood to Glasgow, and from Glasgow to Inverness, for exactly the same flights, it'll be £30?
Would you not think that if that is the cheapest way to make that journey, then SuperCheapoAir should tell you?
 

Tetchytyke

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Would you not think that if that is the cheapest way to make that journey, then SuperCheapoAir should tell you?
It's a poor comparison, but no, I don't think they are under any obligation. If you ask for a ticket from A to B they have to tell you the cheapest ticket with A as the origin and B as the destination. That isn't the same as running through all combinations of tickets that will get you from A to B.

In fact, you'll often find it cheaper to book two single legs on an airline rather than a through ticket; I was looking at flying to Hamburg recently on BA and it was over £100 cheaper to "split" at Heathrow.
 

OwlMan

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I found yesterday that for an off peak Birmingham to Liverpool journey...

Birmingham International -> Liverpool first class is £133.40 return
Birmingham New Street -> Liverpool first class is £57 return

even excluding the fact that there is no off peak fare from BHI to LIV, the anytime return fare from BHM to Liverpool is £82 - £51.40 cheaper.

A first class return between BHI and BHM is £8.30

At off peak times, that means that you can save over 50% just by splitting at one station 6 minutes down the line.

It's absurd - the stations are part of the same station group which is even more confusing (I always assumed that pricing from stations in a station group to another station group would be the same).

I realise this is the entire crux of how split ticketing works, but for the vast majority of the travelling public, they assume the fare presented is the best one.

Luckily, I booked the BHM->LIV ticket before I realised I was travelling from BHI.
Birmingham International and Birmingham New Street are not part of the same station group. Birmingham Stations only consists of New Street, Moor Street & Snow Hill
 

reb0118

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Pay is based on the price of tickets.
I would ask how you reached that conclusion, but on second thoughts, I don't really want to know.
If a guard issues split tickets to save a passenger money (s)he is also cutting the amount of commission that (s)he receives for the transaction. I assume that the young Miss sahraJ can afford the £0.075 drop in pay but I know that her colleagues up here in the flooded north rely on these pennies to feed their bairns. It is hard enough not seeing the sun for six months of the year and all the extra fuel bills to cover the colder weather (I used to be able to supplement my coal rations by scavenging loose stock that had blown off the wagons but even that source has dried up! <() without losing valuable commission to the scourge of split ticketing..........

........or maybe by offering split ticketing, where known & more appropriately where appropriate, we can offer good customer service and encourage repeat business? This will result in more sales and more commission! (Maybe?)
 
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Alex C.

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I disagree. The passenger should make some effort to understand the fares. I am not clued up on airline fares for example, but I'm sure if I did my homework I could find cheaper ways of making a particular journey by plane. Heck there are websites which will probably do this for me quite well, just as there are websites now which try to work out the best split ticketing options. In both cases, the onus is on me to go and find this information, not for the companies to bend over backwards to hand me the best deal on a plate. In fact I'd rather not have the companies required to do this, as all it will do is add cost to them, which will in turn be transferred to the customers, defeating the point of it somewhat!
I'm quite comfortable with researching fares and getting the best deals, although I value convenience as well so often pay over the odds - but how about elderly people without access to the internet (or knowledge of how to use it)? or adults with learning disabilities? or many categories of vulnerable people who don't have the ability or the time to research how to get a cheaper fare.

As someone above alluded to, you have a very different view (generally) when you work in a regulated industry. I work in financial services and we have to put the customer at the centre of what we do. We are required to treat our customers fairly and demonstrate that we do not make things difficult for customers.

To do otherwise (e.g selling PPI when it is not necessarily suitable) would mean that customers receive compensation and the company is fined. How many times have we seen train companies selling inappropriate products (e.g anytime fares when an off-peak would be suitable) with absolutely no comeback.
 

Bletchleyite

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the scourge of split ticketing..........
The only thing that is a scourge of split ticketing is the fact that the fares system is so broken that it even exists.

My advice in early privatisation days used to be to "buy past your destination" in order to get a good value longer distance fare for something like a Y shaped return journey.
 

CaptainHaddock

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The problem is that if the split ticketing issues were ever resolved by the TOCs, it wouldn't result in cheaper fares for everyone, instead it's most likely that everything would be standardised to the higher fare.

If the through fare from A to C via B is, say, £50 but by splitting at B you can bring it down to £30, all that will happen is that the TOCs will put up the fares from A to B and B to C so they're the same level as the A to C fare!
 

talldave

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........or maybe by offering split ticketing, where known & more appropriately appropriate, we can offer good customer service and encourage repeat business? This will result in more sales and more commission! (Maybe?)
Exactly, the potential gains from the customer recounting their positive experience to others are what counts. SarahJ needs promoting far higher within GTR because a customer focused mentality is sadly lacking within the company!!
 

Phil.

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It seems such a shame that that rather than addressing the dysfunctionalities of the fares system, the response of railway companies is to either blame passengers for not being clever or savvy enough to find the cheapest ticket(s), or to discipline their dedicated and hard working professional staff who want to offer a good service, which can only serve to improve the profile of the companies in question.
Yep, absolutely.
 

FenMan

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Exactly, the potential gains from the customer recounting their positive experience to others are what counts. SarahJ needs promoting far higher within GTR because a customer focused mentality is sadly lacking within the company!!
It was a light hearted post from sarahj. Good for her!
 

martinsh

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I found yesterday that for an off peak Birmingham to Liverpool journey...

Birmingham International -> Liverpool first class is £133.40 return
Birmingham New Street -> Liverpool first class is £57 return

even excluding the fact that there is no off peak fare from BHI to LIV, the anytime return fare from BHM to Liverpool is £82 - £51.40 cheaper.

A first class return between BHI and BHM is £8.30
And there are no through trains Birmingham International -> Liverpool anyway, so you would have to change (though not necessarily at New Street).
 

OwlMan

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The fares have been published for the new Bermuda Park Station (between Bedworth & Nuneaton). Consider Bermuda Park to Hinckley.
To Hinckley
Fares will be (for Standard Class)
7 Day Season £34.70
Anytime Day Return £7.60
Anytime Day Single £7.20
Off Peak Day Return (Not valid 0430-0929 & 1531-1815) 6.50
Off Peak Day Single (Not valid 0430-0929 & 1531-1815) 6.40

If you buy tickets from Bedworth (1 stop further away)
the fares are
7 Day Season £25.90
Anytime Day Return £5.60
Anytime Day Single £4.80
there are no off peak fares.
 

sarahj

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That's what you call excellent customer service. If he had a concession pass he could have changed at Brighton and caught the number 7 from outside the station, takes about 10 mins to Hove.
Well he was deciding about the bus, but when he found there was a train to Hove 4 mins after arrival into Brighton, and it was past 9 when buses run a bit less, he decided to buy all the way to Hove. We arrived on time and he easily caught the train to Hove. So next time do I say, 'ahhh save yourself £1.80, go and stand and wait in the heavy rain for a bus, not sure when the next one is, but you will save the £1.80?
 

Statto

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I found yesterday that for an off peak Birmingham to Liverpool journey...

Birmingham International -> Liverpool first class is £133.40 return
Birmingham New Street -> Liverpool first class is £57 return

even excluding the fact that there is no off peak fare from BHI to LIV, the anytime return fare from BHM to Liverpool is £82 - £51.40 cheaper.

A first class return between BHI and BHM is £8.30

At off peak times, that means that you can save over 50% just by splitting at one station 6 minutes down the line.

It's absurd - the stations are part of the same station group which is even more confusing (I always assumed that pricing from stations in a station group to another station group would be the same).

I realise this is the entire crux of how split ticketing works, but for the vast majority of the travelling public, they assume the fare presented is the best one.

Luckily, I booked the BHM->LIV ticket before I realised I was travelling from BHI.
Given BHM to BHI is only a 10 minute journey i'd most likely save the extra £5 go standard for £3.00 return.

Even barmier Liverpool-Coventry changing at BHM First Class Anytime return fare is £91.
 

Starmill

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In BR (or early privatisation) days it was cheaper to split a Merseyrail Northern Line to Preston journey (or any station on that line) at Ormskirk. I always theorised this was because you could go via Liverpool on a Sunday, but that is no longer a Permitted Route (it was just considered "reasonable" because it was the only option, but itself created an anomaly because Wigan cost more) and so requires a split.
You do love to crank that can opener don't you Neil!
 
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