Wolverhampton via Stafford, 'extra £30' ??

Discussion in 'Fares Advice & Policy' started by ic250, 18 Apr 2015.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. ic250

    ic250 Member

    Messages:
    49
    Joined:
    3 Apr 2014
    Hi there,

    I bought an off-peak single from London Euston to Wolverhampton, and this morning tried to get on the 0907 train to Stafford, whereafter National Rail said I should catch a local train to Wolverhampton. When I got to the manned barriers at Euston, the inspector said that if I wanted to go via Stafford, it would cost me and extra £30, as 'it's quicker via Stafford and therefore more expensive'. Yet my ticket says 'via any permitted route', and National Rail enquiries website recommends that as one viable route to Wolverhampton.

    Was he correct to say that my off-peak ticket wouldn't allow me to go via Stafford?
     
  2. Hadders

    Hadders Established Member

    Messages:
    3,781
    Joined:
    27 Apr 2011
    The via Stafford fare is more expensive because if it wasn't anyone travelling from Stafford to London would buy a Wolverhampton ticket and start short.

    I can't check at the moment as I'm out and about but a change of route excess is half the difference for one leg.
     
  3. Merseysider

    Merseysider Established Member Fares Advisor

    Messages:
    3,613
    Joined:
    22 Jan 2014
    Location:
    North West
    Did the ticket you held cost £26.80, £52.60, or something different?

    London - Stafford - Wolverhampton is not a permitted route by virtue of the Routeing Guide having no mapped routes that way. Therefore an Any Permitted ticket can only be used via Stafford if the equivalently time-valid ticket "Via Stafford" is the same price or cheaper.

    The £30 figure doesn't look right to me at all; the change of route excess would by my reckoning have been less than £10.
     
  4. ic250

    ic250 Member

    Messages:
    49
    Joined:
    3 Apr 2014
    The ticket cost me £26.80.

    Luckily the man stopped me at the barriers and I got on a train to Birmingham instead - otherwise I could have well been fined by an unsympathetic ticket inspector for the mistake.

    What amazes me is the complete inability to discern these technicalities from the ticket you have in your hand. If the website says off-peak tickets can get you to from London to Wolverhampton via Stafford, then why can some off-peak tickets allow it but not others? How am I supposed to know this when I get a ticket at the station? It says 'any permitted route', on the ticket, so it seems misleading.

    Back in the day there wasn't this problem, when you could only get the inter city service!
     
  5. Hadders

    Hadders Established Member

    Messages:
    3,781
    Joined:
    27 Apr 2011
    £26.80 is the price of an SVH off peak single which is purchased on-line with an Advance ticket in the other direction.

    The appropriate ticket to excess it to would be the SVS off peak single via Stafford which is £60.70 so a difference of £33.90.
     
  6. Merseysider

    Merseysider Established Member Fares Advisor

    Messages:
    3,613
    Joined:
    22 Jan 2014
    Location:
    North West
    I would argue that the appropiate excess in this case would be the SVH via Stafford at £30.85. However, this would depend on whether the machine used allows it.
     
  7. Hadders

    Hadders Established Member

    Messages:
    3,781
    Joined:
    27 Apr 2011
    That would be sensible but the SVH is only available on-line so I don't think a guard or anyone in a ticket office would be able to do it.

    Even telesales can't/won't deal with SVH's. I had an issue when trying to change the date and time of travel on an Advance+SVH which I was unable to do. Telesales/Customer Relations were unable to assist although it did eventually result in a 'fob off' letter and £50 in RTV's :D
     
  8. 30907

    30907 Established Member

    Messages:
    4,172
    Joined:
    30 Sep 2012
    Location:
    North Lancs Loop
    The website makes it clear that the fare via Stafford is higher than the fare on the direct trains. I agree that, as the difference isn't huge, Any Permitted isn't an ideal routing.

    It has always been possible to go to WVH that way, the problem is that it is now a quick option.
     
    Last edited: 19 Apr 2015
  9. Merseysider

    Merseysider Established Member Fares Advisor

    Messages:
    3,613
    Joined:
    22 Jan 2014
    Location:
    North West
    Whiston? ;)

    /pedant mode
     
  10. Hadders

    Hadders Established Member

    Messages:
    3,781
    Joined:
    27 Apr 2011
    You could change the via Stafford to Any Permitted and rename the existing Any Permitted as via Birmingham.

    This would provide better clarity but I suspect many passengers would end up erroneously buying Any Permitted fares to travel via Birmingham.
     
  11. bb21

    bb21 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    21,482
    Joined:
    4 Feb 2010
    I have never seen Wolves being abbreviated like that so yes, please use the correct CRS code if you must, or a sensible abbreviation.

    I would like to think that the excess could be to the correct SVH, but I agree that it is not possible to carry out this excess procedure. Can an online-only fare be an appropriate fare to excess to at the station? I suspect the answer is not, in which case the £33 excess sounds about right.
     
  12. LNW-GW Joint

    LNW-GW Joint Established Member

    Messages:
    10,184
    Joined:
    22 Feb 2011
    Location:
    Mold, Clwyd
    I imagine you were on a Wolverhampton-London return trip booked on line.
    If you had bought a Shrewsbury-London Off Peak Return (SVR), that is valid via Wolverhampton/Stafford.
    The fare is £70.70, or £35.35 for the SVH, or £8.55 more than the fare you paid from Wolves.
    It has restriction 2C so you can start/end short.
    This does not work at places like Telford and Wellington, only Shrewsbury (which also has the option of going via Crewe at the same fare).

    Or better still you could try Penkridge (SVH £30.85, valid either way, same restrictions).

    I guess you might not get the same cheap Advance options going towards Euston though.
     
  13. hairyhandedfool

    hairyhandedfool Established Member

    Messages:
    8,838
    Joined:
    14 Apr 2008
    The excess is to "the cheapest available fare" that is valid for travel on the route being taken and at the time it is used. Since the SVH can only be bought online, this will not be available from the ticket office, the barrier staff or the guard on the train. It is therefore unlikely to ever be used for the purposes of an Excess Fare.
     
  14. ic250

    ic250 Member

    Messages:
    49
    Joined:
    3 Apr 2014
    What do SVS and SVH mean?

    Your presumption is not entirely correct - I bought two single tickets online, both were off-peak.

    Also, what does 'super off-peak' mean on this route?

    All very confusing!
     
  15. bb21

    bb21 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    21,482
    Joined:
    4 Feb 2010
    SVS is the regular walk-on Off-Peak Single fare. SVH is the online-only Off-Peak Single fare. Of course, before "simplification", they were called Saver Single and Saver Half (since it were half the price of a Saver Return) respectively and everyone understood that they were different products with their own terms. Then government forced through "simplification" (supposedly "benefiting" passengers) without really checking what effects it had in reality and the rest is history.

    The "Saver Half" can only be bought online with another single ticket in the opposite direction. They were initially introduced as a special offer by Virgin West Coast to allow passengers to mix and match their outward and return portions depending on how much flexibility they required (eg. with a Virgin Value Advance in the other direction typically). The same concept now also exists for Super Off-Peak fares priced by Virgin West Coast.

    There is no such thing as super off-peak for a "route", or a "train". Time restrictions are attached to each fare. Assuming that you are asking the time restrictions on a London Terminals - Wolverhampton Route Any Permitted Super Off-Peak Single (so not valid via Stafford as we established previously) priced at £34.90, the restriction text is as follows:

    The same restrictions apply on what is effectively the "SuperSaver Half", a.k.a. (online-only) Super Off-Peak Single, priced at £17.95 for this flow, and can only be purchased with a single ticket in the opposite direction in the same transaction.

    There are also two other Super Off-Peak Single fares available for travelling London - Wolverhampton, but neither are valid for use via the WCML so I have omitted them from the discussion.
     
  16. LNW-GW Joint

    LNW-GW Joint Established Member

    Messages:
    10,184
    Joined:
    22 Feb 2011
    Location:
    Mold, Clwyd
    They are off-peak tickets and used to be called Saver tickets.
    The technical nomenclature has stayed the same, even though they are all called "Off peak" tickets now.
    SVR is/was the Saver Return.
    SVS is the Saver Single, illogically priced just below the SVR.
    SVH is the Saver Half which is 50% of the SVR; however it is only available on VTWC's web site and in conjunction with another ticket for the other direction.
    It's so you can book cheaper Advance and SVH combinations rather than paying the higher SVS which applies at a ticket office/on the train.

    Super off-peak (SSR, OPR), if available on a particular route, will be cheaper but have more time restrictions than the SVR family.
     
    Last edited: 19 Apr 2015
  17. Hadders

    Hadders Established Member

    Messages:
    3,781
    Joined:
    27 Apr 2011
    It would be interesting to know exactly what tickets you had. Can you upload a scan?

    I thought that if you purchased two off-peak singles then it would be isued as an off-peak return which is more flexible when it comes to when you can travel and excesses.
     
  18. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

    Messages:
    34,935
    Joined:
    6 Jun 2005
    Location:
    Yorkshire
    SVH and SVS are both named "Off Peak Single" these days, but are not the same product!

    The SVS is available singly. But the SVH is not available singly!

    The SVH is only available online as half of a return journey. It used to be called a "Saver Half", as was half a Saver Return.

    But that was deemed too complex for passengers to understand, and it was "simplified" in 2008, causing confusion.

    Having different products have the same name as each other is considered "simple" by the Department for Transport and the Train Companies (on whatever planet they're on) :s
     
  19. Merseysider

    Merseysider Established Member Fares Advisor

    Messages:
    3,613
    Joined:
    22 Jan 2014
    Location:
    North West
    Hmm. I have to agree with you.
     
  20. causton

    causton Established Member

    Messages:
    4,700
    Joined:
    4 Aug 2010
    Location:
    Cashier five, please
    Could confirm that even if the SVH shows up (it does not sometimes) - it is greyed out and I could not possibly issue an excess fare to that ticket even if I wanted to!
     
  21. Wolfie

    Wolfie Established Member

    Messages:
    1,773
    Joined:
    17 Aug 2010
    Now this thread is fascinating. I have been advised at different times in the past (most recently a fortnight ago) by Euston information centre (staffed by both Virgin and LM) and/or Virgin and LM staff to travel via Stafford to Wolvo (normally when I'm on my way to Shropshire) and at times given printed itineraries to do so....

    This has been using both LM and Virgin services and I was never told that to do so could incur additional charges....
     
  22. hairyhandedfool

    hairyhandedfool Established Member

    Messages:
    8,838
    Joined:
    14 Apr 2008
    I guess it depends on staff knowledge and systems available to them at the time of enquiry. If the staff are unsure, or don't know otherwise, and the system in use doesn't link timetable enquiries to the Routeing Guide then itineraries are quite possible to get without them actually being valid. I have seen this kind of thing being the case from the 'Information Centre' at Manchester Piccadilly in the past.
     
  23. Wolfie

    Wolfie Established Member

    Messages:
    1,773
    Joined:
    17 Aug 2010
    I understand how it can happen BUT the consequences for the passenger are damned unfunny...
     
  24. ic250

    ic250 Member

    Messages:
    49
    Joined:
    3 Apr 2014
    Afraid I've chucked the tickets now. I had actually got the price wrong, here are the tickets I bought (from the e-mail they sent).

    1x Off-peak single (online), @ £17.70 (with Railcard)

    Return:

    1x Super off-peak single (online), @ £11.85

    --

    The thing which baffled me most was that the man at the gate seemed to know in an instant that I couldn't go via Stafford. He barely even looked at the ticket! Either he has some incredible knowledge of the plethora of Virgin tickets (and that may be possible), or he's working off dubiously accurate information (?)
     
  25. bb21

    bb21 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    21,482
    Joined:
    4 Feb 2010
    Yup, you had a "Saver Half" and a "SuperSaver Half". See what I said about flexibility? ;)
     
  26. Hadders

    Hadders Established Member

    Messages:
    3,781
    Joined:
    27 Apr 2011
    I'm not railway staff but I used to travel this route frequently and know there's a more expensive via Stafford fare.

    While we like to moan about the lack of training and knowledge of railway staff many are extremely knowledgeable and would know this sort of stuff, particularly if they spend their working lives travelling up and down the route.
     
  27. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

    Messages:
    34,935
    Joined:
    6 Jun 2005
    Location:
    Yorkshire
    It is possible.

    But I was already aware of this, and I don't think I have an incredible knowledge of the plethora of Virgin Trains tickets.

    I'd expect an RPI to know the routeings & restrictions of tickets on their patch more than me (though in practice those expectations are not always met!)
     
  28. hairyhandedfool

    hairyhandedfool Established Member

    Messages:
    8,838
    Joined:
    14 Apr 2008
    You'd be very surprised what some people know. I used to work with a chap who knew the NRT inside-out (he probably still does), I'm sure he could tell you which page your chosen train was on, without looking, if he really wanted to.
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page