Two Together Railcard / peak time fares policy

Discussion in 'Fares Advice & Policy' started by Oscar, 29 Jul 2014.

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  1. Oscar

    Oscar Member Fares Advisor

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    I can see that if the Railcard discount were given during these hours that people might start to use it for commuting. However, there are a lot of trains which are quiet before 0930 and starter longer day trips after 0930 can mean not arriving until lunchtime, which makes the train less competitive with the car. The different restrictions for different Railcards must also be highly confusing for most passengers. Passengers often don't seem to understand why they're charged the amount they're charged which creates a negative impression of the railway which I think the industry severely underestimates. Ideally I think a season ticket could cost perhaps 3.3 times the Anytime (Day) Return fare so that the Railcard discount before 09:30 would be useless for commuters. You could still potentially charge people about 13/14 times the Anytime (Day) Return fare for a month which I think would be fair.

    An imperfect proposal for peak time fares which I think people would perceive as fairer and easier to understand:
    - peak time would be defined as arriving at (morning) or departing (evening) a station (such as a specific London Terminal, Birmingham New Street, Manchester Piccadilly, Bristol Temple Meads etc.) within a specific time window.
    - to prevent people from getting off one station before the central station to avoid the restriction, all stations within the urban areas would normally need to be included. There would have to be a substantial gap in distance between the last non-restricted and the first restricted station. In most cases the restriction would be valid in one direction only. This is probably where the proposal falls down.
    - if certain trains arriving within this time window are not busy, there could form a small number of exceptions.
    - Railcard usage could be restricted at peak times.
    - season tickets / Travelcard or regional or PTE passes could be cheaper if avoiding these stations at these times.

    Even if a radical new proposal is not workable (I don't imagine anyone would take it on anyway), it would be sensible to remove Off-Peak/Anytime differentials on flows where they are very small and there is no obvious peak e.g. York to Scarborough, York to Harrogate, York to Sheffield. There are also flows where there are Off-Peak Day and Off-Peak or there are Super Off-Peak (Day) and Off-Peak (Day) fares with very little difference in price or time restriction. This can also be counterproductive.

    I appreciate that there is little appetite in the industry for serious reconsideration of such matters. However, as I've stated before, this has a big impact on how passengers perceive the railway as well as how attractive they find its offer financially, so I'd be interested to hear your views.
     
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  3. Tetchytyke

    Tetchytyke Established Member

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    I don't think ATOC wanted to bring the Two Together railcard out at all, but had to because of pressure from Government. As a compromise the conditions are very onerous. It's not just the 0930 issue, for me the worst thing is that both named cardholders must travel, meaning you can't occasionally use the card with a friend- even the Family Railcard only requires one cardholder to be present.

    Useless as it is for many people, we're lucky to have the Two Together railcard at all. I give it a couple of years before ATOC try and claim that the card isn't popular and should be abolished.
     
  4. 185

    185 Established Member

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    Minimum fare should be the key, same as the YP, far more easier to introduce.

    Perhaps set one which is much higher than the YP, to ensure commuting is impractical.
     
  5. Solent&Wessex

    Solent&Wessex Established Member

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    I have seen a lot of 2GETH discounted tickets and railcards in the past month or so. People of all ages and nationalities and backgrounds have them, which is pleasing to see, and a roughly equal split between online and office issued ones.

    I understand the point about the time restriction - it is a blanket ban in much the same way as the rather silly blanket ban on the use of the All Line Rover on certain TOCs and certain stations in the morning - which has stopped one of my retired friends from using one each year as he always used to set of from home in London most mornings early doors on one of the main lines in First Class.

    Perhaps something like the Y-P minimum fare would be more appropriate, or - I know it would be complicated - something like not being valid until the CDR (or equivalent) for the journey becomes valid, which would help out on many flows.
     
  6. bb21

    bb21 Forum Staff Staff Member Global Moderator

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    I guess with the differing rules on Railcards already complicated enough as they are, adding another is not going to change much.

    Perhaps it would be good when an overhaul of the Railcard system takes place which brings a uniform set of terms into existence.
     
  7. jon0844

    jon0844 Veteran Member

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    There was a time when my wife also commuted into London, but she worked in Victoria and I worked in Farringdon. So I can't see many commuters using them, especially as I often got the train at a different time even on the section we both used.

    So, I'm not sure a time restriction serves that much of a purpose. But then I don't think the £13 minimum on a Network Railcard is particularly fair either. At the very least bring it down to, say, £10. It renders the railcard near useless in the week for anyone living very close to London (hence me purchasing an IOW Gold Card). Bar essential travel, the £13 minimum did put me off some trips by train in the last couple of years.

    I'm yet to get a Two Together railcard, but expect I will do just before doing a family trip to somewhere outside the NSE area. With a child under 5, there's no point getting the family railcard yet.
     
    Last edited: 29 Jul 2014
  8. John @ home

    John @ home Established Member Fares Advisor

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    This appears to be unlikely. ATOC's Commercial Director appears to have drafted this Press Release for the Rail Delivery Group.
     
  9. RT4038

    RT4038 Member

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    I don't think it is commuting that is the issue - with the peak time return fare from my local station to London being £128 - two business passengers from my work travelling together would save a large sum just using the card once. And this from a station an hour's journey from London. Imagine the saving for Manchester-London (Peak time return £321 for one). Too much risk of revenue loss!!!
     
    Last edited: 29 Jul 2014
  10. furryfeet

    furryfeet Member

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    Is this ever likely to occur, unless a new government with a radically different set of policies comes into existence ?
    I agree with the previous post which advocates a minimum fare, like the student railcard, in the interim.
     
    Last edited: 29 Jul 2014
  11. bb21

    bb21 Forum Staff Staff Member Global Moderator

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    No, it is not likely to occur.

    I only mentioned it because tbh I don't see how much difference it makes to the amount of confusion between different Railcards as things stand whether the Two Together uses a minimum fare mechanism or time restrictions, or both.
     
  12. yorkie

    yorkie Forum Staff Staff Member Administrator

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    There is, as you both get two thirds off, admittedly there is the child ticket cost but it's so reduced you still make a saving, and either - or both - of you can travel. You also get a seat for the child, which could be particularly important on longer distance services. If you travel with extended family & friends it could prove useful as the maximum group size is 4+4.
     
  13. LexyBoy

    LexyBoy Established Member Fares Advisor

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    Also no time restrictions on the F&F compared to not before 0930 for TT. Great for groups though, and the ability for just one of you + child to use it is useful too - it's about a 16% saving over full fare adult so not to be scoffed at.
     
  14. Oscar

    Oscar Member Fares Advisor

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    The Family and Friends Railcard can't be used to buy Anytime tickets for journeys wholly within the Network Area, so there is effectively a time restriction for many journeys, though it's much more generous that the Two Together Railcard.
     
  15. Tetchytyke

    Tetchytyke Established Member

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    The other big difference is that you can use Two Together for first class rail travel, but the F&F railcard is only valid in standard class.

    It's swings and roundabouts between the two, but if I were travelling with a child under five I'd probably still use the F&F railcard.
     
  16. IanXC

    IanXC Emeritus Moderator

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    My understanding is that a couple of TOCs were very against, and that ATOCs commercial team were one of the main proponents - having done the calculations they could see the revenue benefits for their members.
     
  17. Moonshot

    Moonshot Established Member

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    Absolutely , and in fact I ve mentioned this before.
     
  18. MikeWh

    MikeWh Established Member Senior Fares Advisor

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    That's not quite right because otherwise you wouldn't be able to use it within the Travelcard area at all as there are only Anytime fares there. The restriction is that you can't buy any tickets during the morning peak. Within the travelcard area that means before 0930 but further out it has other meanings.
     
  19. phil8715

    phil8715 Member

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    To be honest it's a farce. I want to buy a Rail & Sail tickets for myself and my partner but I don't get a discount on that type of ticket, as we want to go from Preston to Belfast via Cainryan but other traditional railcards such as Senior Citizen, disabled, friends & family and Young persons offer the discount. I would have to set off half an hour before the railcard would normally be valid because we need to be on the 1530 ferry from Cainryan to Belfast. It seems harsh that all other railcards are valid but not on this ticket.
     
  20. Oscar

    Oscar Member Fares Advisor

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    Sorry, is this better?: you can't buy Anytime tickets with the Family and Friends Railcard except where only Anytime tickets are available, in which case you can buy them with the Railcard after 0930. I understand the same is the case for GroupSave. "You can't buy any tickets during the morning peak" is surely not sufficient as a definition as the railway has not generic definition of a "morning peak" for ticketing purposes.
     
  21. CharlieSpotted

    CharlieSpotted Member

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    With the Two Together railcard, will the ticketing sites allow you to purchase a railcard-discounted ticket for the peak journeys for which the railcard is not valid? If this "peak time" condition is only for this type of railcard, have they been programmed to handle it?

    I can foresee some very difficult situations if they haven't!
     
  22. Oscar

    Oscar Member Fares Advisor

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    No, the booking engines won't allow you to purchase a ticket with the discount for peak journeys for which it is invalid, unless an error occurs of course.
     
  23. Mutant Lemming

    Mutant Lemming Established Member

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    The Two Together railcard practically pays for itself after one first class journey of moderate distance.
    I wonder how many people now hold a variety of railcards, passes and other documents in order to extract the best value from our tangled fares structure?
    I now hold three differing ones - but I'm sure there are some of you out there with many more.
     
  24. jon0844

    jon0844 Veteran Member

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    Can you get ticket wallets with about 8 windows for all the different railcards, tickets and IDs?!
     
  25. Tetchytyke

    Tetchytyke Established Member

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    No, it will not apply the railcard discount for journeys that start before 0930.
     
  26. phil8715

    phil8715 Member

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    The problem is it's not good for long distance day trips. If I want to go to somewhere like Preston to London Euston. The earliest train I can get would be the 0958 arriving into Euston at 1213. That's half the day gone. I live 15 miles from Preston and I would have to be on the last bus from Preston Bus Station at 2100, I'd have to be on the 1830 out of Euston arriving at 2038 which is pushing it, to be safe I'd probably have to be on the 1757 arriving at 2014.

    Because you can't use it before 0930 Two Together railcard users should be given a better discount or lift the 0930 restriction altogether.

    It's just not designed for long distance travel day trips.
     
  27. Richard1960

    Richard1960 Member

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    Well its better then nothing as a single person myself there is no railcard for us nationally(unless you are of retirement age).

    Though interestingly there is a network rail one that will take you as far as Ely and down to the south coast but no national one,even with onerous conditions.

    If they can offer one to single people in the south east why not nationally i wonder.?
     
  28. phil8715

    phil8715 Member

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    You don't have to be in a relationship to qualify you just get a mate who travels with you regularly go half with them, name them on the card and you qualify.
     
  29. David Goddard

    David Goddard Member

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    We bought one in early July and immediately used it to buy two First Class All Line Rovers - saving us £492.30 so we are £462 in credit already!

    When my wife and I are both travelling, it offers an improvement on the Network Card as we can use it on the first off peak services from Reading to London (0934) and Birmingham (0940) instead of waiting until after 1000. Although only half an hour difference, it still helps. We are also now more likely to upgrade to First Class now we have the Two Together card.

    I still have a Network card for when I go to London on my own.
     
  30. RT4038

    RT4038 Member

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    It is fine for long distance trips on weekends. It has already been discussed in the thread as to why the 0930 restriction cannot be abolished altogether without a risk of significant revenue loss. Taking your example - two Anytime returns for 0656 Preston--London & 1730 return [the sort of journey those travelling on business might take] would cost £664, buy a £30 Two Together railcard just for that trip onlyand a whopping £192 saving would be had - the railways cannot afford this possibility. Whether we like it or not, travelling for business makes a massive contribution to revenue.
     
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