Transport for Wales to remove off peak fares

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Haywain

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It's being reported that TfW are removing or abolishing off peak fares across parts of their network. Reports in Wales Online here.

No off peak train fares on Transport for Wales with fewer cheap tickets available​

“Scrapping the crucially important off-peak fares from many trips will hit many people in Wales, and there is no justification for this short-sighted decision"

For many years, off-peak fares have been substantially lower than the “anytime” tickets that enable passengers to board trains during the morning rush hour, when fares have traditionally been higher..

But off-peak fares are no longer an option on routes like the Valleys lines or on the line that goes from south Wales to Manchester.


A single ticket from Cardiff Central to Manchester Piccadilly costs £81 at any time of the day, while for anyone travelling the entire length of the route from Milford Haven to Manchester a single ticket sells for £96.60.


While it is notionally possible to buy cheaper “Advance” tickets, their availability is restricted and they are not as readily available as they were before the pandemic.



In February this year the Welsh Government nationalised the Wales and Borders rail franchise, continuing to market its services as run by Transport for Wales.


In contrast to the policy of Transport for Wales, off-peak fares remain available on the London to south Wales main line, with single fares between Cardiff Central and Paddington costing £49.90.

https://omaze.co.uk/pages/cotswolds...Hb-R8TcrKWSST6JmIjeF4Wc_AhCDDwU8ojtXtnZu3qsUl
This line is run by the privately-owned Great Western Railway.


Montgomeryshire MS Russell George, the Welsh Conservatives’ Shadow Minister for Transport, said: “When the Welsh Labour Government nationalised the train industry last year, I warned that its track record did not fill me with much hope – and the latest saga, concerning off-peak fares, shows my concern was warranted.


“Scrapping the crucially important off-peak fares from many trips will hit many people in Wales, and there is no justification for this short-sighted decision and an explanation needs to be urgently provided by the Welsh Labour Government.


“The people of Wales have been failed by Labour’s mismanagement of our creaking transport system for too long. I urge Ministers to reconsider their mistake, before even further damage is caused.”


Plaid Cymru’s Transport spokeswoman Delyth Jewell, a regional MS for South Wales East, said: “People should be incentivised to use public transport, which is why this news is concerning.


“The Welsh Government has stated its aim of reducing our reliance on cars and other forms of transport that are bad for the environment: if we’re to do that, then surely public transport options should be both practical and – crucially – affordable.


“It would be deeply concerning if cheaper ways to travel by train were limited, particularly when the public have been encouraged to consider travelling at off-peak times, so as to reduce overcrowding during the pandemic.


“At the very least, the Welsh Government should be working to make public transport networks better connected and more affordable.


“At most, responsibility for railways should be fully devolved to Wales, as it is in Scotland and Northern Ireland, which would give Wales a say on rail infrastructure, not just the rail franchise.”


A spokesman for Transport for Wales said: “We’re committed to ensuring our services are as affordable as possible, and regularly review our fares.


“Due to the on-going impact of the coronavirus pandemic, we are currently operating a reduced timetable and have only been able to offer our cheaper ‘Advance’ fares seven days in advance of travel.


“In addition to this, due to the reduced capacity of services to enable social distancing measures the number of Advance tickets available are currently lower than usual.


“We are currently working towards extending this booking window to six weeks in advance of travel.”


The spokesman added: “Saver Return (Off-Peak Return) tickets remain available for the same routes as before the pandemic.




“Cheap Day Returns on the Cardiff to Rhymney and Cardiff to Barry Island routes were trialled in summer 2019 (June and July) but Transport for Wales didn’t pursue these permanently.”



We asked the Welsh Government what involvement it has when Transport for Wales is making decisions about fares, and whether it approved the scrapping of off-peak fares.


The Welsh Government said it did not wish to add to the Transport for Wales statement.
 
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JonathanH

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It's being reported that TfW are removing or abolishing off peak fares across parts of their network. Reports in Wales Online here.
Already abolished on a sizeable part of the network - eg Valley Lines and other routes around Cardiff - and in North Wales.

Cardiff to Manchester has an 'any train' off-peak return - the single is an 'anytime', the return is 'off-peak', similarly Chester to Holyhead.

Still this sort of simplification is what people want, no?

One thing that I don't think the story quite recognises is whether the anytime ticket is comparable in price with an off-peak ticket elsewhere.
 
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Starmill

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Something has become very lost. Most "off peak" ticket types were abolished years ago on the Valley lines, and in 2020 a lot of Valleys fares went down. Going back to the days of the Saver Return there was probably only ever one flexible fare from Cardiff to Manchester.

I agree with the suggestion that a Cardiff to Manchester single at £81 is badly overpriced given the journey time on offer, but it has always been relatively expensive unless you can get an Advance ticket (or do several splits - the single is also badly overpriced compared to the return).
 

JonathanH

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Going back to the days of the Saver Return there was probably only ever one flexible fare from Cardiff to Manchester.
Indeed, Wales is home to most of the last '8A' off-peak return tickets which are unrestricted time wise.
 

LNW-GW Joint

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Indeed, Wales is home to most of the last '8A' off-peak return tickets which are unrestricted time wise.
But they slipped in a "no break of journey" clause at the same time.
There are still cheap Advances on some Avanti flows in North Wales (but next to no services or availability).

An example: Flint-Holyhead is £25 Anytime Day Single, and £29.80 Off-Peak Return (8A).
Not exactly enticing.
 

Randomer

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I can't see them removing the only available return fares for a journey like Cardiff to Manchester. Unless the article has its wires completely crossed and the goal is to do something like removing the Off Peak Return and reduce the Anytime fare to something the 2/3 of its current price?

Or has somebody taken a look at some possible ground work for the implementation of a PAYG system in the Valleys or North Wales Metro area and seen this as the significant headline? I'm pretty sure the price examples lifted from the article are just the writer of the article looking up the current fare to pad the article text out a bit. The Bristol PAYG scheme changes talked about elsewhere here remove the period return fares in a way that is actually pretty fair (i.e. the cost is actually neutral for the majority of passengers) but anyone just reading that Off Peak period returns are no longer for sale could come to the same conclusions as in the article?

I'd also point out that anybody actually paying the CDF-MAN Anytime fare and intending to travel using the TfW route is missing some significant savings by looking further east across the Pennines....

Edit: I think I might have missed something, are they talking about Off Peak single fares being removed from CDF-MAN? I thought that one hasn't been available for a while, certainly before this months fare round?
 

Meole

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Something has become very lost. Most "off peak" ticket types were abolished years ago on the Valley lines, and in 2020 a lot of Valleys fares went down. Going back to the days of the Saver Return there was probably only ever one flexible fare from Cardiff to Manchester.

I agree with the suggestion that a Cardiff to Manchester single at £81 is badly overpriced given the journey time on offer, but it has always been relatively expensive unless you can get an Advance ticket (or do several splits - the single is also badly overpriced compared to the return).
Cwmbran is a useful split ticket on that route.
 

LNW-GW Joint

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On BRfares Cardiff-Manchester is £93.80 SVR Return (8A).
The Anytime Return fare from Bristol TM or Parkway to Manchester (via Hereford) is £93.60 SOR (with no break of journey restriction).
The same ticket is even cheaper at £91.20 from Bath...

No route is specified on the TfW Cardiff-Manchester fare; presumably it is Any Permitted (ie also via Birmingham on XC)
 

kieron

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Has something happened? The TfW spokesman mentions some temporary fares between Rhymney, Cardiff and Barry Island, but says they've been gone for over 9 months. The article doesn't name any specific tickets which have been removed recently. Is there more going on here than an opposition politician who'd like to give the impression that he's doing something for people?

Incidentally (as it is the Montgomeryshire MS), Newtown-Cardiff Central does have off peak day returns. As the first off peak train of the day gets in at 13:42, I doubt they sell very many.
 

sonic2009

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Has something happened? The TfW spokesman mentions some temporary fares between Rhymney, Cardiff and Barry Island, but says they've been gone for over 9 months. The article doesn't name any specific tickets which have been removed recently. Is there more going on here than an opposition politician who'd like to give the impression that he's doing something for people?

Incidentally (as it is the Montgomeryshire MS), Newtown-Cardiff Central does have off peak day returns. As the first off peak train of the day gets in at 13:42, I doubt they sell very many.
I suspect anyone wishing for a return to Cardiff could possibly use the T4 bus? Must be quicker?
 

Watershed

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Regulated fare simply means very little given the current structure of the industry.
True, although the Williams Report does alllude to the 'turn up and go' railway being protected (e.g. page 70). I suppose that could be achieved by alternative means to the current system of regulating specific fare types.
 

Starmill

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True, although the Williams Report does alllude to the 'turn up and go' railway being protected (e.g. page 70). I suppose that could be achieved by alternative means to the current system of regulating specific fare types.
That's a subjective commitment. So-called regulated prices could rise by 15-20% over the next three years and that commitment could be considered to have been kept by the government.

Of course, most people would argue that putting another 20% onto the price of a Super Off Peak Return from York to London for example would be an outrageous price. Today it's £119.70, so it would be in the order of £145-150 at today's prices.
 
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