Up to 55% fare increase on Cotswold line

Discussion in 'Fares Advice & Policy' started by SickyNicky, 20 Apr 2015.

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  1. SickyNicky

    SickyNicky Verified Rep

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    In the fare increase scheduled for May 17th, I have come across an increase that I would like to highlight. That’s the case of the Cotswolds line which links London, Reading and Oxford with Moreton-in-Marsh, Evesham, Worcester, Malvern and Hereford.

    Let’s take a through journey from Hereford to London, returning on the same day.

    At the moment, you can take the up Cathedrals Express at 06:42 and return on the down Cathedrals Express at 18:22 for £55. But that’s going to change on the 17th May as follows:

    1. The “Off-Peak Return” ticket that currently costs £55 is going to increase to £68.10.
    2. But the new £68.10 ticket won’t be valid any more on the down Cathedrals Express (the 18:22 from Paddington). Instead you’ll need a more expensive return, costing £86. So that’s a fare increase, by stealth, from £55 to £86.
    3. A new “Super Off-Peak Return” ticket priced at £54.50 (essentially the same price as the old one) will be available, but can’t be used on many of the through trains, meaning that you’ll probably have to change trains and travel at inconvenient times.
    4. Some “Off-Peak Day Returns” for intermediate journeys (such as Reading to Worcester) have been abolished completely, forcing the passenger to buy the “Anytime Day Return”, a stealth increase from £27.40 to £32.80
    So for passengers that need a day in London, arriving before 10am and departing around 6pm, that’s a fare rise of over 55%.

    Ouch. What's happened to the recent Tory promise of
     
  2. Doctor Fegg

    Doctor Fegg Member

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    Ow. Have you got a link/other document for these changes, please?
     
  3. SickyNicky

    SickyNicky Verified Rep

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    Not as yet. However, the fares are all available in National Rail Enquiries now so you can confirm it there.
     
  4. Doctor Fegg

    Doctor Fegg Member

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    Just checked on fgw.co.uk and a return on the Cathedrals Express from Charlbury to Paddington is now priced at £62.40 vs £33.30 previously. Yeeouch.

    I know FGW have erred in the past by not updating the restrictions when the timetable is changed (so the restrictions still say "valid on the 18.22" when the train has moved to 18.23, for example) but your suggestion of a Super Off-Peak makes it sound like it's deliberate this time.
     
    Last edited: 20 Apr 2015
  5. Chris B

    Chris B Member

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    There will be Advance fares available on the Cotswold Line soon for travel May 17 onwards
     
  6. bignosemac

    bignosemac Established Member

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    Anyone contacting the local press in the areas affected by these price hikes?

    Might at least force FGW into making a statement in justification. Might also put a little heat on election candidates in those areas. Especially those whose party has promised a fares freeze...
     
  7. LNW-GW Joint

    LNW-GW Joint Established Member

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    Doesn't it merely bring the Cotswold route more into line with other peak fares/restrictions out of Paddington?
    It has hitherto been an unusually cheap/unrestricted route.
    I presume the Network Card benefits as far as Worcester remain? Something not enjoyed by the likes of Swindon or Leamington, for instance (closer to London).
    The DfT will probably have supported the change (if they are regulated fares).
    It will help pay for IEP.
     
  8. bb21

    bb21 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I see that FGW are up to their old tricks circa 2005/6.
     
  9. Be3G

    Be3G Established Member

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    Even if it does, one big consideration with the Network Railcard is that it isn't valid for the purchasing of Advance tickets. So if a couple of Advances end up being close to the old cost of the off-peak returns, not only will Network holders have to contend with the loss of flexibility, but also the loss of their railcard discount.
     
  10. Doctor Fegg

    Doctor Fegg Member

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    Which might be ok if the service were brought into line with other lines out of Paddington, too.

    Historically Cotswold restrictions have been a little laxer because the line is broadly 1tph, so you don't have the flexibility to wait for a train 10 minutes after the peak ends, or (as with Oxford/Reading) to get a stopping train instead. (Indeed, one of the services being restricted, the 17.52, started life as a Thames Trains service.)
     
  11. Unixman

    Unixman Member

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    And the exodus of Worcester and surroundings people to Warwick Parkway will continue to grow ....
     
  12. Starmill

    Starmill Established Member

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    And I would say Leamington and Swindon have a much better London service than Charlbruy!

    I'm surprised more people from the Malverns, Worcester and Hereford don't travel via Birmingham. Cheap as chips on London Midland, still cheaper than FGW on LM & VT.

    Ditching Off-Peak Day Returns is just the first step - if they can the Anytime Day Return will be gone too, and a ludicrously expensive Off-Peak Return will be the cheapest avaialble (see Swindon - Reading) without ridiculous restrictions.
     
    Last edited: 20 Apr 2015
  13. bignosemac

    bignosemac Established Member

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    Justification appears to be, "well, other people pay more".

    Other people get a much better service too. :roll:
     
  14. Doctor Fegg

    Doctor Fegg Member

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    Fortunately for FGW, they have a captive market at the eastern end of the line with no readily available Chiltern alternative.

    Oh, wait.
     
  15. LexyBoy

    LexyBoy Established Member Fares Advisor

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    Ah, much-loved trick of TOCs and ministers of using “cheap” Advance fares to disguise hikes in regulated / walk-up fares. Conveniently glossing over the fact that Advances can be offered, or not, at any price the TOC chooses with no need for consultation or approval.
     
  16. Starmill

    Starmill Established Member

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    Where's Neil Williams? Here's one way I could look at this, should I be so inclined:

    "These changes are a good thing. I've gone out of my way to book my ticket a whole 3 months in advance, and will doubtless be paying £40, £50 or more even with a railcard given the way FGW price advances [on other routes]. What I then certainly don't want is someone who turns up at the station a whole 10 minutes before the train taking up space on the train with their cheap Off-Peak return on my 'prime time' Cathedrals Express service to London! No no no, the train will already be full of conscientious people who've done their planning and bought an Advance - we can't allow cheapo Off-Peaks on these trains."

    <:D
     
  17. bignosemac

    bignosemac Established Member

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    The press are taking an interest, although I'd like to see some of the local newspapers in the area run with the story (I've done my bit by contacting them ;)):

    From the guardian:

    Trebles all round at FGW Towers. :roll:
     
  18. Starmill

    Starmill Established Member

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    Looks like they have taken the route as a whole and know that, at times, the trains are full. They got rid of advances beyond Oxford because they thought they didn't need them given the fares from there on are historically lower. Now there are more trains, and they are full again. But maybe FGW have decied that as this route's revenue potential grows, they don't wanna risk having to share any with London Midland (who provide most hour's connection Hereford - Worcester) and I wonder if XC are snagging any revenue for Oxford - Reading? Not sure on that though. But whatever the weather they might have decied 'GREAT WESTN ONLY' sings sweeter music to their ears than VIA EVESHAM. As such they do a back-door jacking up of the walk-ups by the sneakiest tricks in the book, and replace those bums with AP ticket holders. Easy, and lucrative. :p PS once you're on an Advance they don't have to accommodate you breaking your journey, travelling back another day or using an Off-Peak ticket not valid on that train but it is so full nobody can get around to excess you. Oh, and missed your train? That'll be another full-price Anytime ticket then!
     
    Last edited: 21 Apr 2015
  19. Hadders

    Hadders Established Member

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    I wonder if this was part of the franchise negotiations, in a similar way to Northern's evening peak restrictions?

    A disgraceful state of affairs.
     
  20. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Get back under your bridge :P :)
     
  21. Starmill

    Starmill Established Member

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    As long as the Government that I think I am right in saying most of the people on this line voted for lets the Train Companies off the hook with ripping us off, continue rip us off they jolly well shall. Why wouldn't they? Easy solution the way I see it, but is anyone in politics really even talking about transport?
     
  22. Indigo2

    Indigo2 Established Member

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    When the new Chiltern route from Marylebone to Oxford opens, it's quite likely that it will become part of a permitted route from London to the Cotswold line. Maybe FGW are putting the prices up now to pre-empt the ORCATS revenue they're going to have to share with Chiltern? I'm not sure about that either though.
     
  23. bignosemac

    bignosemac Established Member

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    A drive to Warwick Parkway is going to look even more tempting for many in the Cotswolds...
     
  24. Starmill

    Starmill Established Member

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    Entirely possible. I wonder if the flow will then be renamed 'EVESHAM READING' or similar! Watch this space :p
     
  25. SickyNicky

    SickyNicky Verified Rep

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    The new fares increases are now available on the "Fare Rise Calculator" on trainsplit.com. This lets you search the entire database based on origin and/or destination and sort in based on increase or decrease.

    Note that you need to use physical stations (e.g. London Paddington) rather than group stations (like London Terminals). I'm sure the latter will come in due course.
     
  26. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    I do wonder if it's more likely that we will end up with all fares from/beyond Oxford being routed, so you have to choose between the two.
     
  27. Doctor Fegg

    Doctor Fegg Member

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    If that's the case, it'll backfire badly. Off-Peak Returns aren't restricted in the evening peak out of Marylebone, so Cotswold travellers will learn that they can take a Chiltern service and change at Oxford. (Or, indeed, just travel from Oxford Parkway or Warwick Parkway.)
     
  28. Clip

    Clip Established Member

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    Ooh I bet they wished this was kept a lot quieter than it has been :)
     
  29. Indigo2

    Indigo2 Established Member

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    Surely FGW are free to impose an evening peak restriction out of Marylebone if they want, seeing they are the lead operator for the fares?
     
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