When buying a car costs less than your train journey....

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farci

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https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0646j62

One Londoner decided to BUY a car for his journey to Bristol, instead of taking the train – and it turned out cheaper.

27-year-old Tom Church’s return ticket from London to Bristol would have cost £218 so he looked for a cheaper option and bought a second-hand car online for just £80. The road tax cost £81.38, petrol was £25 and insurance for the day came in at £20.43, which meant a total spend of £206.81.
Another example of price gouging? It would be interesting to know what percentage of tickets are sold at these premium rates
 
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IanD

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London to Bristol is "only" £211.40.

Not sure how he only spent £25 on petrol either unless he never came back. Doubt a 1997 Honda civic would do the return trip on 5 gallons.
 
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WelshBluebird

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Of course, he could have left after 08.30, in which case the cost comes down to £80 for a walk up ticket.
Or he could have booked in advance and got it slightly cheaper.
Or he could have got the coach which would have cost even less.
 

asharpe

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Great work by this young man; walking up to a car dealer (or someone selling a car) and immediately getting taxed, insured and a tank of fuel for less than the price of a walk up train ticket for the journey he wanted to make.

But that wasn't quite what he did. Walk up flexible tickets are expensive but cheaper advance fares are available.
 

Domh245

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I think we've discussed this before. I think it had also been established that the chap in question is actually a second hand car dealer!
 

yorkie

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He makes a good point that long distance through fares are too expensive.

But the solution isn't to buy a second hand car to immediately throw away after use.

So, we can assume he needed to be in London very early (otherwise an Off Peak fare would suffice), but was not able to book the day before, otherwise he could have got an Advance ticket.

In which case he did very well to get all this organised at a very early hour in the morning.

But he could have done the journey for less. It would have taken just a minute or so to use an accredited ticket splitting website; even if fully flexible walk-up fares were purchased, arriving into Paddington for 8am, and departing at 5pm, the maximum flexible fare quoted was £118.97 and that's inclusive of a fee based on a share of the saving. Departing a little later from Paddington and the cost drops even further.

There is never any need to buy a £200+ ticket for a journey that can be done cheaper by splitting, and using a split ticketing website is much, much easier than buying a second hand car.

The highest priced Anytime fares are effectively a bit of a tax on people who don't either do their own research or use a good value website; no-one on this forum would ever pay such prices (at least not if they're paying themselves, not counting expense claims)
 

jon0844

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https://www.independent.co.uk/trave...fe-hacker-overspends-tom-church-a8302521.html

A London man who helps run a “money saving community” spent more than £200 buying an old car and driving it to Bristol and back for the day, apparently unaware of the price of a flexible day trip by high-speed rail: just £140 return, with slower trains available at barely half as much.

Tom Church, from Crouch End in north London, says he bought a 1997 Honda Civic for £80, taxed it for six months and insured it for a day. He then filled it with £25 in petrol, which he claims was enough to travel the 250-mile round trip. In total he says spent £206.81.

Mr Church told BBC 5 Live: “When you go up and buy a train ticket on the day from London to Bristol as a return it’s £218.

“This is really just to show how crazy train ticket prices have become. Just buying one car for one trip was cheaper.”

“You know guys, we’ve got to do something about these train tickets because it’s crazy.”

The rail fare Mr Church quoted is based on a one-day Travelcard which also allows unlimited travel within all travel zones in Greater London.

An Anytime ticket on a GWR high-speed train from London Paddington to Bristol Temple Meads is £211.40. But no-one travelling from London to Bristol for any meaningful length of time would ever pay that amount.

While a £105.70 one-way fare applies for westbound journeys on trains up to 8.30am, all departures from Temple Meads to Paddington from 10am onwards for the remainder of the day are classed as Super Off Peak with a one-way fare of £34.30. So the most expensive realistic rail fare is £140 return.
 

Bantamzen

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He did a good job of getting himself noticed, which may have been the whole point of the exercise...
And we have a winner! Its another "look at me I'm so clever" stunts, instantly shot down even by using basic walk up prices (i.e. peak single to Bristol, off peak back).

As for the problems of massively overpriced walk on fares, lets be blunt here few people pay those these days. The market is literally saturated with sites offering ticket price searching, you really only need watch commerical TV to be at least aware of them. And Britain loves it's comparison sites, they are almost cult like thanks to some very clever marketing. Where the problem lies is with company bookings. Many companies and wide parts of the public sector either use expenses cards or third party booking agents to order and pay for rail travel.

I do a fair bit of business travel myself, and use the provider that my employer has a contract with & regularly balk at the price. So much so that every time I order a ticket I make a complaint to the provider, and to our finance department showing details of how much cheaper my journey could have been. Maybe one day someone will sit up and take notice, but it is only when the companies and organisations start being smarter with their expenses & stop allowing the most expensive walk on tickets to be bought that TOC will be forced by market pressures to change.
 

GB

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As said above, very doubtful he did one trip on £25 of petrol let alone a return trip. Even if his £206.81 figure is accurate, for the sake of 12 quid he has had to drive himself, take longer and not have any chance of compensation should he get stuck in traffic.

Also doesn't factor in the cost of a drivers license and associated costs.

Not saying some train fares aren't ridiculous, but comparisons like this never show the full picture.
 

yorksrob

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It was a stunt, but it does highlight the fact that a £218 is a silly price for a standard return - so why have it in the first place !

First class is there to part the upper echelons with their money. Standard should be competitive with other modes of transport and be seen to be competitive.
 

hooverboy

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It was a stunt, but it does highlight the fact that a £218 is a silly price for a standard return - so why have it in the first place !

First class is there to part the upper echelons with their money. Standard should be competitive with other modes of transport and be seen to be competitive.
It may be a stunt, but I have done pretty much the same thing before some years ago. It is actually do-able.

The trick is purchase the car in question from car auction or ebay. I have had a couple of cars this way; one at £102 (12 month MOT!), and one at £30 (3 month MOT). Old and tatty it may be but if it starts, stops and steers that's all you need.
 
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jon0844

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it may be a stunt,but I have done pretty much the same thing before some years ago. it is actually do-able.
the trick is purchase the car in question from car auction or ebay.I have had a couple of cars this way one at £102(12 month MOT!), and one at £30(3 month MOT)..old and tatty it may be but if it starts,stops and steers that's all you need.
Is it? What if it breaks down? How safe is an old banger in the event of an accident? How comfortable is it in traffic on a hot day (does it have aircon?)? And when it finally gives up, how much does it cost to scrap it? Or do you just keep them piled up on your front lawn?

Of course it's fun to do these sorts of comparisons but they almost never do real world, like for like, comparisons.
 

jon0844

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Doesn't take into account those of us who use public transport because we can't/don't drive.
Or can drive but would rather not. If I don't need a car the other end, I'll use the train and relax on my phone (or tablet, or laptop) and let someone else do the driving.
 

JohnR

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On the morning I saw this story, I checked the GW website, and found a return ticket from Paddington to Bristol for £140 departing on the next available train and returning later in the afternoon.
 

al78

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Is it? What if it breaks down? How safe is an old banger in the event of an accident? How comfortable is it in traffic on a hot day (does it have aircon?)? And when it finally gives up, how much does it cost to scrap it? Or do you just keep them piled up on your front lawn?

Of course it's fun to do these sorts of comparisons but they almost never do real world, like for like, comparisons.
Any car can break down, even with an old car what is the chance it will break down on one journey?
An accident is very unlikely to happen on a single trip, provided you observe as far as you can see along the road rather than two meters in front of your bonnet, and react accordingly (i.e. if you drive with care and consideration).
We have had about four hot days in the first four months this year (and that is in the tropical SE), so unlikely it was uncomfortably hot for his trip.
I don't know, how much do you have to pay to take a car to a scrap yard? You don't even have to scrap it, just sell it for a very low price so someone else can do the same thing.

The other advantage of the car is that you are not tied to the railway timetable, you leave when you want, and in the event of delays on the motorway you can try diverting on the smaller roads.
 

DarloRich

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it is clear many posters miss the point, as they often do, with these kind of stories. The media narrative is not that cheaper fares are available or that the journey could have been cheaper by using the ticketing system or avoiding peak hours but that trains are expensive for those without flexibility ( and knowledge) and that such expense leads to ridiculous cheaper options. That and publicity.
 

LAX54

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Any car can break down, even with an old car what is the chance it will break down on one journey?
An accident is very unlikely to happen on a single trip, provided you observe as far as you can see along the road rather than two meters in front of your bonnet, and react accordingly (i.e. if you drive with care and consideration).
We have had about four hot days in the first four months this year (and that is in the tropical SE), so unlikely it was uncomfortably hot for his trip.
I don't know, how much do you have to pay to take a car to a scrap yard? You don't even have to scrap it, just sell it for a very low price so someone else can do the same thing.

The other advantage of the car is that you are not tied to the railway timetable, you leave when you want, and in the event of delays on the motorway you can try diverting on the smaller roads.

Chance is 50/50 :) or with an older car 80/20 !
 

yorksrob

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It may be a stunt, but I have done pretty much the same thing before some years ago. It is actually do-able.

The trick is purchase the car in question from car auction or ebay. I have had a couple of cars this way; one at £102 (12 month MOT!), and one at £30 (3 month MOT). Old and tatty it may be but if it starts, stops and steers that's all you need.
Indeed. The railway industry opens itself upto these sorts of headlines.
 

squizzler

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Chap sounds like a bit of a numpty. Not only were cheaper train fares available, but also coach fares. Also £200 have brought a better used touring bike that could take you round the world, not just to Bristol (gods willing with the £80 motorcar)
 

paul1609

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A one day car hire (Vauxhall Astra) from Bristol would cost me £98 hiring same day. A modern car would easily do Bristol to London for £25 return petrol.
My 3 litre Toyota hi Lux pick-up truck does Kent to Garelochead (513 miles) on around £75 diesel.
 

LAX54

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It may be a stunt, but I have done pretty much the same thing before some years ago. It is actually do-able.

The trick is purchase the car in question from car auction or ebay. I have had a couple of cars this way; one at £102 (12 month MOT!), and one at £30 (3 month MOT). Old and tatty it may be but if it starts, stops and steers that's all you need.

But the 'complaint' was about turn up and go prices in the 'peak' ? so buying a car on ebay or an auction is not exactly turn up and go on the spur of the moment, and is not that fleixible , and no doubt it takes longer to drive, so catch the first train after the peak time and booked in advance (even 2 hours) would have been no where as much as buying a clapped out car, where really an MOT means nothing ! (apart from it passed on the the date and time on the certificate)

He also had a zones 1 to 6 travelcard included in the price of the ticket

Train ticket leaving at 0900 £55 return
 

LAX54

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That's because he had a ticket FROM Bristol TO London. Probably to get him back after his clapped out car wouldn't start for the return journey :)
Sorry thought it was London to Bristol, even so a return ticket is still only £82, still cheaper and easier than 'the' car :)
 

IanD

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Sorry thought it was London to Bristol, even so a return ticket is still only £82, still cheaper and easier than 'the' car :)
The story is about getting from London to Bristol but for some reason the ticket quoted was for the reverse journey (and with a travelcard to bump the price up a bit).
 

Redonian

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The ticket is actually Bristol Parkway to London with a Travelcard add on bought at 06:14 on the day of travel. The story says he didn't buy the ticket so how is it The BBC can show a picture of it?
 
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