Why are some tickets/journeys not available on all booking sites?

Discussion in 'Fares Advice & Policy' started by trebor79, 29 Jun 2019.

  1. trebor79

    trebor79 Member

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    Example. Diss to Birmingham New Street via London and Glasgow Central to Diss via London.
    Can't remember which way round I ended up doing it, but one ticket I got from GA, and the other from Raileasy.

    I think the former one I could only get an advance from GA. Which sort of might make sense but really doesn't.
    The latter GA's site flat out said "there are no tickets available for this journey" or words to that effect. Whereas Raileasy displayed a range of options, including advances.

    Why would 2 sites show different availablity if they are working with the same source data?
     
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  3. kieron

    kieron Established Member

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    Finding a route from A to B is complicated, as is working out which tickets you can use for it. There are a few different implementations of these things online, so you shouldn't be too surprised if one site gives different tickets, or different trains, to another.

    Glasgow-Diss only appears to have "not via London" tickets, as well as advance tickets which seem to be set up for passengers who don't pass through London, so I'd be more surprised by a web site which let me book a through ticket that way than by one which didn't.
     
  4. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    In order to analyse the problem, can you say what day and time this journey is for, and what ticket(s) were unavailable? We can then give an exact answer.
     
  5. trebor79

    trebor79 Member

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    Sorry to resurrect an old thread, but here's another example.
    I do a semi regular out and back in a day commute from Attleborough to Sleaford. I save a lot of money by booking it as:
    An anytime day return from Attleborough to Spalding, and:
    An off peak day return Spalding to Sleaford (although I think the differential on this ticket Vs anytime is only 10p, but I leave early in the morning so can't use an off peak day return through ticket).

    I was at Birmingham International yesterday with time to kill so thought I'd buy my tickets for today. They could sell me the Spalding to Sleaford ticket, but only an open return for Attleborough to Spalding which is considerably more expensive, so I declined. The clerk showed me his screen, there was no day return listed.
    The TVMs at Birmingham *did* list the ticket, but there was no way of changing the date to a future date hence asking the clerk.
    This evening I attempted to buy next week's tickets from the TVM at Attleborough, but it claims "There are no fares available" for Spalding to Sleaford! It listed them a few days ago (although crashed every time I tried to proceed which I reported to GA).

    All very odd. Looks like I'm stuck with the palaver of booking online and punching a load of references into the TVM (because GA allocate reach ticket a separate reference for some reason, even if they are bought in one transaction).
     
  6. _toommm_

    _toommm_ Established Member

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    Can you not book with another TOC then? Try TPE, you get Nectar points too.
     
  7. Belperpete

    Belperpete Member

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    I have recently had a similar problem. In a few weeks time I will be travelling from Porthmadog to Luton Airport on a Monday, and back a week later. The old East Midlands Trains personal timetable site has no trouble producing me train times. However, no ticketing site that I have tried will sell me a ticket. The GWR mixer site will sell me a return to Luton Town (£65.30 for an off-peak return with a railcard), but not a ticket to Luton Parkway or Luton Airport. The national rail site only finds one train for the return journey back from the airport, with a ridiculous route via St Albans Abbey that means it tries to sell me two singles for a total cost of nearly £150! Most sites, such as TFW, just say that no tickets are available to any of the three Luton destinations.

    I know that the guard won't be able to sell me a ticket for the journey, as it requires x-London transfer between Euston and St Pancras, but I am a bit worried about what will happen when I ask for a ticket at either Machynlleth or New Street booking offices. I am certainly not paying £150!
     
  8. janb

    janb Member

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    That's weird. Porthmadog to Luton Airport Parkway comes up no problem in Journey Planner in a ticket office. No Porthmadog to Luton Airport fares exist which isn't an issue for you anyway as you can't get railcard discount on the bus leg, so you would need to get separate Porthmadog to Luton Airport Parkway / Luton Airport Parkway to Luton Airport tickets anyway. A competent booking office should be able to do both those.
     
  9. Belperpete

    Belperpete Member

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    Thanks for that, it is reassuring to know that a booking office should be able to issue the ticket to Luton. However, if the only option to get to the airport is to split-ticket, I will look into buying a Porthmadog-Euston ticket (which the guard on the train should be able to sell me), and a Euston to Luton Airport ticket which I can buy on-line (and may offer me the railcard discount even though it shouldn't!).
     
  10. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    The term "open" can have multiple meanings (it used to be the name of a specific product under British Rail but Trainline gave it a completely different meaning); in this case I assume the meaning you are referring to is a fare which is valid to return a different day (aka a "period return") which isn't the meaning BR or Trainline used to use, but is a meaning I hear from time to time.

    In which case you are saying you were sold the Off Peak Return (SVR), priced at £23?

    There is a Day return (SDR) available priced at £21.90. You should have been sold this ticket.

    The codes are clues to the old names of these products, Saver Return and Standard Day Return respectively.

    There is no SOR, which is now the code for Anytime Return and formerly known as Standard Open Return.

    Only Trainline sites do that, as far as I know. So use any site not powered by Trainline to avoid this issue.
     
  11. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    I would be purchasing a Porthmadog to Luton Airport Parkway SVR (£65.30) assuming you are travelling at times that fare is valid, and a Luton Airport Parkway to Luton Airport SOR (£3.80) for the bus.

    You are entitled to be sold this fare. If TfW are unable to sell it, they are not allowed to delay you; if they do they are required to pay you compensation. I'd absolutely be putting TfW to the test on this. Don't pay more just because they are making it difficult for people to pay the appropriate fare. If the company is found to be acting in a manner that is not compliant with consumer and contract laws, they are opening themselves up to legal action such as a class action lawsuit. It would be very unwise for TfW to treat you unfairly and if anyone from TfW is reading this, I would like to remind the company of its legal obligation to sell the appropriate fare without delaying the customer's journey.

    I suggest that any other fares queries are posted in dedicated threads to avoid confusion though.
     
  12. trebor79

    trebor79 Member

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    Correct with your supposition of what I meant by open return.
    The clerk couldn't see a Day return ticket on his machine. But the tickets he could see were much more expensive than the Off Peak Return. So I think he had input the wrong journey, indeed brfares shows me that that a query for ATTENBOROUGH to Spalding gave the same ticket options he showed me - an Anytime Return, and an off-peak Return and no day return option.

    Still doesn't explain the other part of my query, which is the Attleborough TVM no longer being able to find fares between Spalding and Sleaford. Unless they've disabled buying tickets from other stations whilst they investigate and fix whatever was causing the TVM to crash when attempting to do so.

    {multiple ticket collection references for one transaction}
    Ah, thank you. Now I just need to find a site that doesn't use trainline and doesn't charge a booking fee :)
     
  13. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    Ah yes they were looking at Attenborough not Attleborough :lol:
    Can you try looking at fares for a completely different flow? If none of them work then it would suggest the entire feature isn't working.
    Most TOC sites (e.g. Hull Trains, TPE, LNER, c2c, GWR, Chiltern and many more) and some third party sites e.g. Trainsplit
     
  14. trebor79

    trebor79 Member

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    Good job I didn't proceed with the purchase (I nearly did as there was a voice in my head saying "stuff it, work are paying anyway") as I probably wouldn't have noticed until much later.

    Yes I'll give it a try later in the week.
     
  15. Haywain

    Haywain Established Member

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    Trainsplit doesn't charge a booking fee, but will charge commission if a suitable split is identified.
     
  16. Haywain

    Haywain Established Member

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    Problems like this can happen, perhaps due to the staff not being suitably aware of all the stations on the network. Some are more surprising than others, for instance my being sold a ticket at the weekend from West Hampstead to Canonbury, when I asked for Gunnersbury! But this may really be for another thread/forum.
     

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