Virgin - Removal of Cheap Advance Fares

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

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  1. stanthedog

    stanthedog Member

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    Hi
    Is anyone aware if Virgin have changed their advance fare ticketing policy. I've come to book tickets for my regular weekly journey, 0514 Bangor (Gwynedd) to London Euston and the lowest advance fare is now £80 irrespective of what day you book, up until 15 June 2015. I have been paying £40 for advance single tickets and these appear to have been withdrawn from every Monday-Friday 0514 service. I can split my ticket down to £60 (Bangor-Chester-Nuneaton-London Euston) but even with this, it still represents a 50% increase on my normal ticket cost.
     
  2. mikeg

    mikeg Member

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    Quite possibly they've removed the quota for the cheapest advance tickets. Unfortunately, as advances depend on supply and demand and you have no right to them, they are entitled to do this without notice.

    Maybe you should buy CDs instead of travelling by train ;)

    In all seriousness, if they can fill the trains on the more expensive advances, why should they sell the cheaper ones?
     
  3. CaptainHaddock

    CaptainHaddock Member

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    What day of the week are you travelling? I've done a quick check on Virgin's website and the £40 fare is still available on the 0618 off Bangor most weekdays but not on the 0514, apart from fridays.

    As mikeg says, it's a subject to availability fare, so if Virgin can fill the 0514 with people paying the standard fare, they can withdraw the advance purchase quota.
     
  4. stanthedog

    stanthedog Member

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    I use the 0514 each Wednesday, every week. Until two weeks ago the £40 fare was an option and it has been for years. There has been no correspondence from Virgin about the removal of the fare. This is another example of how we get penalized in Wales for rail customers who travel in England, this service also picks up at Chester, Crewe and Nuneaton
     
  5. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    I'm sure VT would operate non-stop if there was the demand - or if people would pay higher fares. So people in Chester, Crewe and Nuneaton are helping you to make the train more viable to run, not "penalising" you.
     
  6. Clip

    Clip Established Member

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    I can see that being a popular train given that it gets people into London for 9am meetings. Im guessing its the demand that has led Virgin to this decision.
     
  7. higthomas

    higthomas Member

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    Quite how?
     
  8. OwlMan

    OwlMan Established Member

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    So you travel to London without travelling in England?:D
     
  9. mikeg

    mikeg Member

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    As I said you have no right to advances as they are not regulated. They are based on supply and demand so if the TOC can fill the train with a more expensive ticket they will. If they were guaranteed to be available, that would probably mean raising walk-up fares. Personally I'd like to see less availability of advances on some routes with a reduction in on the day prices. You seem to be advocating the opposite. There is no requirement to communicate the quota available as this varies from train to train, so I don't see what you mean by no correspondence.
    There are things that make me feel the TOC s can act unfairly but this isn't one of them.
     
    Last edited: 20 Apr 2015
  10. yorksrob

    yorksrob Veteran Member

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    It would be interesting to see how "full" this train actually is with this tier of tickets removed.
     
  11. Starmill

    Starmill Established Member

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    I've observed it arrive at Crewe 2 or 3 times to await the portion from Blackpool. Neither were what I would call busy, in line with a majority of other VT arrivals in London before 1000 that I have ever seen. I imagine the Birmingham ones are quite busy, and the 0700 from Manchester loads reasonably well but...
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    Where's Neil Williams? Oh, you'll get the removal of Advances from inter-city routes alright. They'll be going up in price and down in availability from now on. But most Off-Peak Fares will also go up and restrictions will become tighter. Just like what happened on the North Cotswold line - few years back they got rid of the advances and now... http://www.railforums.co.uk/showthread.php?p=2144088#post2144088
     
  12. yorksrob

    yorksrob Veteran Member

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    Rather in line with my suspicions :lol:
     
  13. LNW-GW Joint

    LNW-GW Joint Established Member

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    Well it's not true.
    I regularly use the 0735 ex Chester (0551 ex Holyhead, doubled up with Wrexham portion at Chester).
    It is busy from Chester, full from Crewe and overflowing from Rugby.
    It's simply not true that Virgin peak services are somehow "empty".
    Services from Preston are particularly full, and the Manchester via Wilmslow too.
     
  14. OLJR

    OLJR Member

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    I have noticed this on VTEC too. Those nice GBP 44.50 1ST fares to Newcastle are much harder to find for the trains I like to take and the next level up increases the return fare by GBP 18.20.

    So for my summer trip I decided to burn 9k Avios and GBP 35 and fly BA instead!
     
  15. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Here, Sir! I thought the bit about blaming English users of the trains more worthy of comment, as my views on Advance fares being sold on busy trains (namely that they shouldn't be) are already well known and have been debated to death :)
     
  16. gordonthemoron

    gordonthemoron Established Member

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    I often travel on Virgin trains which are largely empty (e.g. 6:15 Milton Keynes-Liverpool & 6:23 Milton Keynes-Glasgow) and on which the advances are rather expensive. Seems to be Virgin's attempt to force people to buy Anytime tickets rather that trying to fill the trains.
     
  17. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Yes, it is very well known that VT's ticketing policy is designed to maximise profit, not occupancy.

    Better (as a business) to sell one ticket at £150 than four at £30 each. Only way to stop that would be by stipulating something in their franchise agreement.
     
  18. gordonthemoron

    gordonthemoron Established Member

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    another thing which is really odd, is that it is possible to buy cheapish advances on morning VT commuter services from MKC to Euston during the morning peak (and maybe LM) up to the day before travel. These services are generally packed
     
  19. Starmill

    Starmill Established Member

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    If you search even the night before for the trains that originate at Birmingham New St sort of between 1100 - 1500ish to London Euston, the ~£20 cheapest tier of First Class is usually available. 4 carriages of fresh air mostly!
     
  20. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Those fares seem generally to be around £15, which is half the VT Only Anytime Return. But the latter is of little use, because the evening peak has no VT services to MKC until the 1843. So it might be a way of selling singles for half the return without selling singles for half the return.

    There does appear (for Friday) to be one around £9 on the 0626, but this train isn't an unduly busy one.
     
  21. gordonthemoron

    gordonthemoron Established Member

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    I generally use the 6:38, 6:53 or 6:59 which are full if not standing in Standard. Never noticed the fullness of first class
     
  22. Greenback

    Greenback Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I'm sure it's done to maximise revenue rather than suppress demand. Perhaps Virgin have realised that there's a pattern of regular travellers who use this service, and have decided that these people will be able, if not happy, to pay more for their travel than they currently are.

    As has been pointed out, these fares aren't regulated so Virgin can basically do what they like.
     
  23. dzug2

    dzug2 Member

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    To whom would that correspondence go and what form would it take?
     
  24. OLJR

    OLJR Member

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    Agreed, but of course if you know with high probability that the train will not be full and the people willing to pay £30 are purchasing at different times then you can sell 1x £150 ticket and 3x £30 ticket. That's revenue management!

    To an extent. The full optimisation exercise is (or should be) maximise revenue subject to there being no overcrowding.
     
  25. northern156

    northern156 Member

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    Not just on the services mentioned above. A few weeks ago there was loads of £9.90 (with 16-25 railcard) advance singles from both Newcastle and Carlisle to London, slotting around the peak trains quite nicely. However now they've been replaced with £25+ (VTEC) or £37 (VTWC) fares for the same services; VTEC have £9.90 advances for services leaving Newcastle after 0930 but this is too late for what I'd want to go for.

    However, the only service (on VTEC) coming back that has the £9.90 fares is the 2200 off London(!)...

    Such a massive shame as I was really wanting a few days on the cheap(ish) down there. Tempted to get the coach down now or drive!
     
  26. stanthedog

    stanthedog Member

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    The latest, "unofficial", advice that I have had from a Virgin representative is that the priced the tickets incorrectly several years ago, this only came to light 4 weeks ago and the error was corrected. Therefore, this accounts for the £40 to £80 increase. This error is going to cost me £1800/year.
     
  27. HilversumNS

    HilversumNS Member

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    Surely this error has SAVED you £1800 per year to date?
     
  28. LNW-GW Joint

    LNW-GW Joint Established Member

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    It's only £91.10 off-peak return (SVR) on the 0722.
    A fare that English users for that distance can't get at that hour without a railcard.
    The only train you can't get back is the 1610.
     
  29. TUC

    TUC Established Member

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    Why would there need to be any corrospondance with anyone about the availability of the fare? It's a commercial decision.
     
  30. Qwerty133

    Qwerty133 Established Member

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    Err no...
    but as you've been benefiting from an error that has cost Virgin £1800 per year, maybe you should consider sending them a cheque for £1800 per year for however many years you have been travelling.
    Or alternatively you could accept it was an error and that you'll now have to pay the going rate
     
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