Train Graphic
Great Western Passengers' Forum Great Western Coffee Shop - [home] and [about]
Read about the forum [here].
Register and contribute [here] - it's free.
 today - Bus consultation closes
today - RCTS / Windsor & Maidenhead
26/09/2018 - Bristol transport strategy .
28/09/2018 - Ask a stupid question day
29/09/2018 - IWA AGM Stonehouse
01/10/2018 - Access for all bids close
Random Image
Train Running @GWR Twitter Acronyms/Abbreviations Station Comparator Rail News GWR co. site Site Style 1 2 3 4 Chat on off
September 24, 2018, 10:47:53 am *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
Forgotten your username or password? - get a reminder
Most liked recent subjects
[103] Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling ...
[95] Approaches to looking after your customers - a contrast in phi...
[77] For an important meeting - what would be the mode of your choi...
[50] Major disruption Bristol Newport 22/9/2018
[34] Six of the worst
[32] Intercity Express Train (IET) failure, near Exeter, 13 Septemb...
News: A forum for passengers ... with input from rail professionals welcomed too
 
   Home   Help Search Calendar Login Register  
Pages: [1]
  Print  
Author Topic: Should TOC improve its first class offering to subsidise standard class fares?  (Read 327 times)
devonexpress
Sr. Member
****
Posts: 294


View Profile
« on: September 05, 2018, 11:40:59 pm »

As the question says really, Should TOC's improve its First Class offering and prices, and use the higher revenue to subsidise the lowering standard class rail fares, as airlines do.
Logged
bignosemac
Transport Scholar
Hero Member
******
Posts: 15945


Question everything.


View Profile
« Reply #1 on: September 06, 2018, 03:33:36 am »

Improving the offering means increasing the costs. That has to be weighed against any increase in 1st Class revenues. There's a finite number of 1st Class seats and, unlike Standard Class, you can't really retain 1st Class passengers if their accommodation is regularly over-subscribed.

Covering the increased costs of an improved offering, presumably such things as catering, ambience, lounges, staffing, etc. with 1st Class fares increases may not leave any surplus revenue to subsidise Standard Class fares. Do you increase the ratio of 1st to Standard seating in an attempt to get more 1st revenue? What if you don't sell those additional 1st Class tickets because the price has increased to pay for the 'extras'?

The question is an interesting one. I'm not sure the maths would add up though. 1st Class fares can already be eye-wateringly expensive. Many would, I'd hazard to guess, say they'd like more for what they're paying now. Ask them if they'd pay more to subsidise those in the cheap seats and I think you'd not get a favourable response.

1st Class rail travel is far more elective than Standard Class. It's revenues can, I suspect, be very fluid. Far more likely to be affected by the economy. What happens in lean times when 1st Class revenues are down? Do the Standard Class fares need to rise or do the operators and DfT take the hit?

Logged

Former FGW/GWR regular passenger. No more. Despicable company.
grahame
Administrator
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 21845



View Profile WWW Email
« Reply #2 on: September 06, 2018, 05:52:51 am »

Putting up first class prices beyond a certain point will loose so many passengers from that part of the train that the profit in that sector of the business will go down.  Lowering them to make them closer to standard class will also lower the profit in that sector as extra services / space above standard have to be provided on less income. 

There's probably not much room to change the first class differentials to increase profit - I suspect the product has been pretty well tuned already!
Logged

Coffee Shop Admin, Member of Melksham Rail User Group, on the board of TravelWatch SouthWest and some more things besides
Phantom
Sr. Member
****
Posts: 131



View Profile Email
« Reply #3 on: September 06, 2018, 09:43:08 am »

Putting up first class prices beyond a certain point will loose so many passengers from that part of the train that the profit in that sector of the business will go down.
Always assumed the majority of people that travel first class, are those that claim the money back on expenses, they'll keep paying regardless
Logged
Oxonhutch
Transport Scholar
Hero Member
******
Posts: 489



View Profile
« Reply #4 on: September 06, 2018, 10:18:31 am »

I will say as a very reluctant commuter for the last eight years (and who pays with post-tax money) that it was only the provision of first class accommodation that allowed me to consider taking a London based job even though the price differential between standard and first is huge on FGW/GWR in the Thames Valley. Over those eight years there has been a steady, but very noticeable, decrease in the quality of the product.

So what did I get in 2010 for my two and a quarter standard class seats that I purchased every time I travelled? I got a very nice single seat, with table and a full uninterrupted window beside me in one of two and a half first class coaches, almost always, at the front of the train. I swear that in those days the coaches were labelled the other way around and I would always choose Coach B which was the quiet coach an island of peaceful solitude on the way home from work. I also had a first class compartment, with sliding doors, on my class 165 connection and two on their class 166 cousins. In general, those Turbo compartments were respected. The trolley was fully stocked remember those lovely curry flavoured lentil crisps? And a full bar selection was always available for purchase.

At weekends, I could buy a standard class ticket at a significant discount to anywhere in the NSE area and upgrade to first class for a fiver.  Not only that, I could take my then children along for a day out with dad for the princely sum of one pound and upgrade them to first class for 2.50 each good for both ways on a day return.

In 2018 I am still buying two and a quarter standard class seats the prices of both are regulated and linked but I now have one and a half coaches on an HST and my beloved quiet coach has gone. The new leather seats on the HST are superb a single glimmer of improvement in those eight years but sadly now extinguished in the puritan offering that graces the new IETs. Even on the HSTs, my view from the aircraft style single seats is blocked by the person in front hanging their jacket/coat on the hook provided for them in the middle of the window over the corner of my much reduced table who thought of that idea? First class on the IETs has been a serious retrograde step both in provision and comfort. There is no longer a bar service on the first class trolley. Where first class situated on an IET is a random number generator and very often does not bear any resemblance to the indications on the platform.

The class 378 are standard only, but one can see the half coach partitions that will become Business First on the replacement Heathrow Express.  My Turbos were stripped of their first class and the brand so badly depreciated that when GWR started a limited reintroduction with non-working partition doors they are no longer recognised as first class by the majority of their occupants. Although the Gold Card area has increased in size, the withdrawal of the 5 upgrade made weekend outings unlikely.

So, to answer the OP question, would I pay more for an enhanced service? No. I would want to see my previous benefits restored first and even then, I doubt I would.

I look in envy at the Virgin West Coast with their free anywhere on Virgin pairs of weekend first class tickets, dedicated seating, hot meals served at table and a network of lounges. In addition, an annual first class season ticket from Milton Keynes to London a comparable journey is 1230 cheaper! Compared to Didcot Parkway, it is 3016 cheaper !!
« Last Edit: September 06, 2018, 01:28:14 pm by Oxonhutch » Logged
martyjon
Transport Scholar
Hero Member
******
Posts: 1085


View Profile
« Reply #5 on: September 06, 2018, 10:32:39 am »

In addition, an annual first class season ticket from Milton Keynes to London a comparable journey is 1230 cheaper! From Didcot Parkway, it is 3016 cheaper !!

I can't get my head around that last sentence, please elaborate.
Logged
Jason
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 486


View Profile
« Reply #6 on: September 06, 2018, 11:19:18 am »

As another non-expensed and long-term first class season ticket holder I would agree with every point that Oxenhutch so eloquently made about the HST vs. IET experience over the past decade.
With the present situation of regular short formed services in the evening peak I'm grateful to even see a trolley between Paddington and Reading. I will proactively select a HST over an IET if the choice is available.

My comparable experience using East Coast extensively between 2012 - 2016 was of a much superior first class offering in all areas, from quality of catering to speed of service to comfort.
Logged
Oxonhutch
Transport Scholar
Hero Member
******
Posts: 489



View Profile
« Reply #7 on: September 06, 2018, 11:21:56 am »

I can't get my head around that last sentence, please elaborate.

Milton Keynes Central to London Euston 12 month first class season (49 mi 65 ch; 80.2 km): 8076
Didcot Parkway to London Paddington 12 month first class season (53 mi 10 ch; 85.5 km): 11092

From Season Ticket Calculator
« Last Edit: September 06, 2018, 11:37:37 am by Oxonhutch » Logged
martyjon
Transport Scholar
Hero Member
******
Posts: 1085


View Profile
« Reply #8 on: September 06, 2018, 11:43:38 am »

In addition, an annual first class season ticket from Milton Keynes to London a comparable journey is 1230 cheaper! From Didcot Parkway, it is 3016 cheaper !!
I can't get my head around that last sentence, please elaborate.

I do now, cheaper should read dearer, right
Logged
Oxonhutch
Transport Scholar
Hero Member
******
Posts: 489



View Profile
« Reply #9 on: September 06, 2018, 12:07:58 pm »

In addition, an annual first class season ticket from Milton Keynes to London a comparable journey is 1230 cheaper! From Didcot Parkway, it is 3016 cheaper !!
I can't get my head around that last sentence, please elaborate.

I do now, cheaper should read dearer, right

I could have been clearer, I admit but I was (trying) to say, that a comparable Milton Keynes commute was cheaper than mine
Logged
Sixty3Closure
Sr. Member
****
Posts: 191


View Profile
« Reply #10 on: September 07, 2018, 07:06:43 pm »

My only regular experience of travelling first class has been London to Scotland. I'm sold on it and hope East Coast doesn't change it. For me the main advantage is a much better seat and a bit more space. Means my back hasn't seized up on arrival. I try book the solitary airline seat and then I'm not bothered by other passengers and can stretch if needed. The food and drink is an added bonus but one I've come to appreciate. Not having to walk the length of train to find the buffet or wait for the trolley is great.

I do tend to book in advance and wouldn't think about it for shorter journeys. One point that is slightly confusing is that only certain types of first class tickets get you into the lounge at Kings Cross. Slightly awkward moment as I'm denied entry for having a first super advance rather than a first advance super (or something like that).

However, if costs increased significantly, to say Virgin London to Manchester prices, I'd probably have to reconsider. I'm not sure what more I'd want on my Scottish trips or what could be offered? Food - tick, drinks - tick, wifi - tick, better seats - tick, peace and quiet - generally.
Logged
bignosemac
Transport Scholar
Hero Member
******
Posts: 15945


Question everything.


View Profile
« Reply #11 on: September 07, 2018, 07:28:37 pm »


I do tend to book in advance and wouldn't think about it for shorter journeys. One point that is slightly confusing is that only certain types of first class tickets get you into the lounge at Kings Cross. Slightly awkward moment as I'm denied entry for having a first super advance rather than a first advance super (or something like that).

Not sure why you were denied entry to the lounge at King's Cross. Pretty much any 1st Class ticket, valid for travel with LNER (and VTEC before them) should allow access.

1st Class Advance (there's no Advance Super or Super Advance products) have always allowed lounge access provided the fare is at least 10. There aren't any London to Scotland 1st Advances below that price, even with any Railcard discount.

Only back to the days of East Coast and National Express East Coast were 1st Advance holders not entitled to lounge access. Even then a 10 supplement could be purchased.
« Last Edit: September 07, 2018, 07:38:43 pm by bignosemac » Logged

Former FGW/GWR regular passenger. No more. Despicable company.
Sixty3Closure
Sr. Member
****
Posts: 191


View Profile
« Reply #12 on: September 07, 2018, 08:25:16 pm »

No idea and i didn't question it too much as I was only trying to save 20p on the assumption there would be free toilets included  Cheesy

The sign that was pointed out to me did did highlight just how many combinations of tickets were available at the time. Maybe it was a hangover from East Coast days and I was just unlucky.

Executive lounges aren't a great benefit for me anyway as I don't tend to have a long waiting time for trips up North.

One other advantage is that I sometimes get a free paper but not always. Again not enough to pay a premium but makes it better experience.
Logged
Do you have something you would like to add to this thread, or would you like to raise a new question at the Coffee Shop? Please [register] (it is free) if you have not done so before, or login (at the top of this page) if you already have an account - we would love to read what you have to say!

You can find out more about how this forum works [here] - that will link you to a copy of the forum agreement that you can read before you join, and tell you very much more about how we operate. We are an independent forum, provided and run by customers of Great Western Railway, for customers of Great Western Railway and we welcome railway professionals as members too, in either a personal or official capacity. Views expressed in posts are not necessarily the views of the operators of the forum.

As well as posting messages onto existing threads, and starting new subjects, members can communicate with each other through personal messages if they wish. And once members have made a certain number of posts, they will automatically be admitted to the "frequent posters club", where subjects not-for-public-domain are discussed; anything from the occasional rant to meetups we may be having ...

 
Pages: [1]
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.2 | SMF © 2006-2007, Simple Machines LLC Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!
This forum is provided by a customer of Great Western Railway (formerly First Great Western), and the views expressed are those of the individual posters concerned. Visit www.gwr.com for the official Great Western Railway website. Please contact the administrators of this site if you feel that the content provided by one of our posters contravenes our posting rules (email link). Forum hosted by Well House Consultants