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Yet more Irrational Pricing.

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Envoy

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Just checked for a journey (for a friend) from Blackpool to Cardiff on Wednesday 7 September. By going via Manchester and then ATW via the Marches, the one way fare is £22. However, this journey takes 4 hours 45 minutes. A quicker journey comes up by going from Blackpool to Preston and then going with Virgin direct to Crewe in order to pick up the ATW service. By doing this routing, the trip is only 4 hours BUT THE PRICE is a whopping £99. This is completely disproportionate to the distance travelled. Furthermore, one way tickets on the very same Virgin between Preston & Crewe can be had for £9.

So, then I checked the prices from Preston to Cardiff. The cheapest was £36 and the dearest = £89. So, anyone thinking of going from Preston to Cardiff for the cheapest price (£22) should in fact purchase a ticket from Blackpool to Cardiff (Via Manchester) and simply ignore the short hop between Blackpool & Preston. How crazy is that?
 
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yorkie

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Can you provide more information about the exact itineraries and fare types offered please?
 

AlterEgo

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Just checked for a journey (for a friend) from Blackpool to Cardiff on Wednesday 7 September. By going via Manchester and then ATW via the Marches, the one way fare is £22. However, this journey takes 4 hours 45 minutes. A quicker journey comes up by going from Blackpool to Preston and then going with Virgin direct to Crewe in order to pick up the ATW service. By doing this routing, the trip is only 4 hours BUT THE PRICE is a whopping £99. This is completely disproportionate to the distance travelled. Furthermore, one way tickets on the very same Virgin between Preston & Crewe can be had for £9.

So, then I checked the prices from Preston to Cardiff. The cheapest was £36 and the dearest = £89. So, anyone thinking of going from Preston to Cardiff for the cheapest price (£22) should in fact purchase a ticket from Blackpool to Cardiff (Via Manchester) and simply ignore the short hop between Blackpool & Preston. How crazy is that?

This is just demand-based pricing based on what the market will tolerate. I mentioned in your other thread about over distance fares, and this would be an example.

"Mad" pricing happens in other markets too. You can easily take advantage of either internal accounting nuances or market demand pricing in the airline industry for example. Did you know that if you want to fly in Business to New York, it's cheaper to fly Dublin-London-NY than just London-NY? Sometimes it's nearly 50% cheaper. Or, you can tag meaningless single journeys onto the end of an itinerary to bring fuel surcharges down.

Welcome to the world of studying fares. Use it to your advantage!
 

LNW-GW Joint

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I think you are mixing up Advance (booked train only) and Off Peak (any off-peak train) fares.
The £22 Advance is a one-time-only offer.
The £99 Off Peak is a much more flexible ticket (with many routing options).

There are £20 ATW Advance fares from Crewe to Cardiff on that day, which you could combine with the £9 Advance Preston-Crewe to save the trek via Manchester.
And if you buy the £22 Advance Blackpool-Cardiff, you can't start at Preston (break of journey not allowed).
Caveat Emptor!
 

Paul Kelly

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There are plenty of £22 fares (priced by ATW) from Preston to Cardiff on that day too, if you go via Manchester. Also fares around £30 (priced by CrossCountry) via Manchester and Birmingham. The funny thing about this flow (Blackpool to Cardiff) is that the walk-up fares are priced by Virgin yet they don't set any advances of their own - the advance fares are all from ATW and CrossCountry. I agree that it's a bit irrational.
 

LNW-GW Joint

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The funny thing about this flow (Blackpool to Cardiff) is that the walk-up fares are priced by Virgin yet they don't set any advances of their own - the advance fares are all from ATW and CrossCountry. I agree that it's a bit irrational.

Some of this is because of the BR fares structure, which tended to separate "Intercity" fares from "Regional" fares.
ATW and Northern were "Regional" and cooperated in ways that didn't apply to Intercity services, hence the cheaper "via Manchester" fares.
As it happens, ATW and Northern are both now under the Arriva umbrella so you might expect more cooperation between them in the future.
On the other hand XC is also Arriva, and was once Intercity, but seems to obey no rules at all!
 

Envoy

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Can you provide more information about the exact itineraries and fare types offered please?

The cheaper fares quoted are specific trains ‘Advance’ booked fares.
The expensive ones are ‘Anytime’.
 

AlterEgo

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The cheaper fares quoted are specific trains ‘Advance’ booked fares.
The expensive ones are ‘Anytime’.

Yes, so of course there is a difference in price. One is fully refundable and flexible, one is completely inflexible. Again, what the market will support is generally what will be provided.
 

Envoy

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There are plenty of £22 fares (priced by ATW) from Preston to Cardiff on that day too, if you go via Manchester. Also fares around £30 (priced by CrossCountry) via Manchester and Birmingham. The funny thing about this flow (Blackpool to Cardiff) is that the walk-up fares are priced by Virgin yet they don't set any advances of their own - the advance fares are all from ATW and CrossCountry. I agree that it's a bit irrational.

Right, so anybody wanting to get from Preston to Cardiff for £22 can do it by specifying ‘via Manchester’. I wonder how many people would think about doing that when purchasing the ticket?
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Some of this is because of the BR fares structure, which tended to separate "Intercity" fares from "Regional" fares.
ATW and Northern were "Regional" and cooperated in ways that didn't apply to Intercity services, hence the cheaper "via Manchester" fares.
As it happens, ATW and Northern are both now under the Arriva umbrella so you might expect more cooperation between them in the future.
On the other hand XC is also Arriva, and was once Intercity, but seems to obey no rules at all!

This just goes to show how archaic this left over from BR days is in pricing. Goodness knows why some connections between cities should be regarded as ‘Inter City’ yet other connections - such as those between Cardiff & Manchester, Liverpool & Norwich or Cardiff & Southampton are classified as ‘Regional’. At least the good thing about the ‘regional' connection between Cardiff & Manchester is that you have Coradia trains (175’s) which are in my opinion better than the awful Voyagers used on the so called Inter City routes. What’s more, the regional services appear to have lower pricing.
 

LNW-GW Joint

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This just goes to show how archaic this left over from BR days is in pricing. Goodness knows why some connections between cities should be regarded as ‘Inter City’ yet other connections - such as those between Cardiff & Manchester, Liverpool & Norwich or Cardiff & Southampton are classified as ‘Regional’. At least the good thing about the ‘regional' connection between Cardiff & Manchester is that you have Coradia trains (175’s) which are in my opinion better than the awful Voyagers used on the so called Inter City routes. What’s more, the regional services appear to have lower pricing.

It's because of demand pricing, most often practised by Intercity TOCs (VTWC, VTEC, GWR and EMT) who want higher prices on newer, faster trains.
It was invented by BR after WCML electrification in the 1960s and has been taken to extremes by modern TOCs.
It's become more blurred as "regional" TOCs have got new stock and can often compete on journey times.
It's also called "competition".

Some fares are regulated (which is why reference back to the BR fare of 1994 is made), many are not (eg Advances).

ATW's 175s are fine, except on the days you get a 2-car on the Manchester-Cardiff run (or even a 150 on a bad day). Blackpool-Cardiff on a pair of 150s? No thanks.
You will also find the £22 Blackpool-Cardiff fares disappear just when you want them (Fridays, Sundays, peak hours etc).
Northern/ATW will quite happily carry you on the £99 flexible fare (£106 Off Peak return by the way, often the best value flexible fare).
 
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Envoy

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Two words. Supply and demand.

Yes, and the public have been paying through the nose to use Cross Country due to the massive goof up by Virgin & the then Government who ordered a fleet of Voyagers that were clearly too short for the passenger flows. Throw in the fact that they are also narrow bodied - to cope with tilt - and you have trains that are not fit for long distance travel. (The narrow bodies turned out to be a complete waste for those now on XC routes where no tilt is employed).

Regarding ATW; yes, they clearly are desperately short of rolling stock and could ideally perhaps do with Adelante’s on many of their longer services.
 
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AlterEgo

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Yes, and the public have been paying through the nose to use Cross Country due to the massive goof up by Virgin & the then Government who ordered a fleet of Voyagers that were clearly too short for the passenger flows. Throw in the fact that they are also narrow bodied - to cope with tilt - and you have trains that are not fit for long distance travel. (The narrow bodies turned out to be a complete waste for those now on XC routes where no tilt is employed).

Regarding ATW; yes, they clearly are desperately short of rolling stock and could ideally perhaps do with Adelante’s on many of their longer services.

But the pricing is not irrational.

XC, as you've correctly identified, have a supply/demand problem.
 

Paul Kelly

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But the pricing is not irrational.
The CrossCountry pricing is indeed very reasonable and not irrational at all (advances from Blackpool to Cardiff via Manchester and Bristol for around £30). What I agreed with the OP was irrational was the fact that there are no advances available that include travel on a Virgin service between Preston and Crewe, despite Virgin being the overall fare setter for walk-up fares between Blackpool and Cardiff.
 

6Gman

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Yes, and the public have been paying through the nose to use Cross Country due to the massive goof up by Virgin & the then Government who ordered a fleet of Voyagers that were clearly too short for the passenger flows.

And presumably they'd be paying even more if they had to fund 6, 7 or 8 car Voyagers?
 
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