Trivia: Biggest difference in fares by route?

Doctor Fegg

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I travelled from Charlbury to Guildford yesterday. I changed at Reading (obviously), on an SDR routed "NOT VIA LONDON" for £36.70.

But I was startled to see on the ticket machine that there was an "ANY PERMITTED" available at £109.70 - just short of 3x the not-London price.

The discrepancy is even starker starting from Oxford: £28.20 not London, £97.50 any permitted, so 3.45x the price. (From Didcot the only fares available require changing at Reading.)

Are there any pairs of stations where the same A–B journey, on the same ticket type, has a greater difference in fares between two different routes?
 
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JonathanH

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Are there any pairs of stations where the same A–B journey, on the same ticket type, has a greater difference in fares between two different routes?
Anytime Day Return from Weymouth to Ramsgate - First Class £49.50 via Barnham, £304.50 any permitted.
 

Watershed

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I travelled from Charlbury to Guildford yesterday. I changed at Reading (obviously), on an SDR routed "NOT VIA LONDON" for £36.70.

But I was startled to see on the ticket machine that there was an "ANY PERMITTED" available at £109.70 - just short of 3x the not-London price.

The discrepancy is even starker starting from Oxford: £28.20 not London, £97.50 any permitted, so 3.45x the price. (From Didcot the only fares available require changing at Reading.)

Are there any pairs of stations where the same A–B journey, on the same ticket type, has a greater difference in fares between two different routes?
Weymouth to Ramsgate is £33 for a via Barnham SDR, or £184.70 for one routed ✠Any Permitted. A 5.60x differential!

Some of the Grand Central only fares on the ECML make for some impressive savings, too. York to Sunderland is £71.50 for an Any Permitted Anytime Short Distance :lol: Return or £24.20 for a Grand Central only Anytime Return. A differential of 2.95x - probably the biggest TOC-specific differential.
 

JB_B

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...

Are there any pairs of stations where the same A–B journey, on the same ticket type, has a greater difference in fares between two different routes?

Marston Vale line is a good place to look for these.

Highest factor I could spot was the Ridgmont to Lidlington anytime day return. Route:Via London is £103.40 whereas route:. is £3.90. So about ~ 26.5 x the price.
 

Mcr Warrior

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How about this for the journey with the largest difference in price between routes... despite both having identical validity?

Rugeley Trent Valley to Rugeley Town:

£10.40 for an Off-Peak Day Return route Any permitted
£2.70 for an Off-Peak Day Return route "dot"

That's a differential of 3.85x!
Bizarre! And what's essentially the difference between route "dot" and route "Any Permitted"? Is it to allow circuitous routes via New Street?

And why does this flow even have £20.40 Anytime Return and £18.70 Off Peak Return fares for two stations which are just a mile and a quarter from each other?
 

m00036

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Bizarre! And what's essentially the difference between route "dot" and route "Any Permitted"? Is it to allow circuitous routes via New Street?

And why does this flow even have £20.40 Anytime Return and £18.70 Off Peak Return fares for two stations which are just a mile and a quarter from each other?
The validities are identical. When ticket fares are set, they are set between two 'clusters' of stations. For example, a journey between London and Scotland might cost the same to a range of different stations, so instead of inputting it into the software as multiple different entries, it is just entered as one 'flow' between these two clusters.

In the case of these two stations, the £20.40 and £18.70 fares are between two clusters - one made up of Rugeley Trent Valley, Penkridge and Stafford, and the other made up of Rugeley Town, Cannock, Redditch amongst several others. A full list is available at https://www.brfares.com/!expert?orig=RGL&dest=RGT.

For small-distance journeys like these, typically an additional fare is set in the system that undercuts the cluster flow, here being the £2.70 mentioned. The cluster flow effectively sets a maximum cap on the journey fare, with the point-to-point fare obviously making far more sense in this instance.

Normally both fares are not displayed if the validities are the same, because if the route settings are the same, then a point-to-point fare will automatically override the cluster fare. However, unfortunately where is a cluster route with 'Any permitted', and a point-to-point route of '.', these are seen by the system as different routes and therefore both fares are offered.
 

Watershed

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The first one *does* let you travel half an hour earlier in the morning peak!
I beg its pardon. In that case substitute in the SDRs, where the differential is still 3.51x.
 

JB_B

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I beg its pardon. In that case substitute in the SDRs, where the differential is still 3.51x.

For tickets with identical validity, there's the New Cumnock to Carlisle anytime returns. (£30.80 for route: . and £124.20 for route: any permitted ) so > 4x .
 

Ken H

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For tickets with identical validity, there's the New Cumnock to Carlisle anytime returns. (£30.80 for route: . and £124.20 for route: any permitted ) so > 4x .
Does any permitted route allow via Glasgow?
 

Watershed

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For tickets with identical validity, there's the New Cumnock to Carlisle anytime returns. (£30.80 for route: . and £124.20 for route: any permitted ) so > 4x .
The Any Permitted should be routed via Glasgow, as it otherwise doesn't offer any additional validity for stations south of Kilmarnock.

Even considering the validity via Glasgow it's ludicrously overpriced.
 

kieron

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Marston Vale line is a good place to look for these.

Highest factor I could spot was the Ridgmont to Lidlington anytime day return. Route:Via London is £103.40 whereas route:. is £3.90. So about ~ 26.5 x the price.
Bicester is somewhere else where you see pricy "via London" tickets for local journeys. Bicester Village-Haddenham & Thame Parkway has the following choice of anytime day returns:
  1. Chiltern Only (00048): £7.20
  2. not via London (00700): £30.40 (4.5 times as much)
  3. via London (00200) £101.60 (15.2 times)
Ticket 2 is more flexible than ticket 1, but only in that you can excess it to ticket 3 and travel via Reading.
For tickets with identical validity, there's the New Cumnock to Carlisle anytime returns. (£30.80 for route: . and £124.20 for route: any permitted ) so > 4x .
I can see a pair of stations where there are two routes with (as far as I can tell) identical validity, but where the anytime return for one route costs more than 9 times as much as for the other one.

I haven't named them as I don't know if this is entirely deliberate.

And, it's a bit off topic, but I notice that a 1st class annual season ticket from Evesham to Worcester costs £2684. If you only want a ticket as far as Worcestershire Parkway, it's £26,888. That's more than 884 times as much as a day return.
 

Watershed

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If you only want a ticket as far as Worcestershire Parkway, it's £26,888. That's more than 884 times as much as a day return.
I think that might be an ever so slight typo! You could get an annual first class season from Totnes or Doncaster to London for that price!
 

A Challenge

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I think that might be an ever so slight typo! You could get an annual first class season from Totnes or Doncaster to London for that price!
According to the brfares season ticket calculator, that is right, there does appear to be an issue with that fare as the weekly first season is 22x the First Anytime day return, so it looks like the typo is in the fares data not @kieron's post.
 

JonathanH

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According to the brfares season ticket calculator, that is right, there does appear to be an issue with that fare as the weekly first season is 22x the First Anytime day return, so it looks like the typo is in the fares data not @kieron's post.
Yes, someone has keyed in one too many 2s when setting the fare. The weekly season should be £67.20, not £672.20 (although I think it should actually be £67.10 as that is the weekly season ticket price to Worcester Shrub Hill).
 

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