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Author Topic: Making fares simpler  (Read 2225 times)
didcotdean
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« Reply #15 on: May 08, 2018, 05:32:09 pm »

From what I have seen, although it is the fare structure that has the public focus, it is the TSA at the heart that will be the real centre of this consultation - references to outdated requirements, large banks of fares, principles orientated around purchase of bits of card in person from offices etc. However, I guess the consultation itself, rather than this limited forward publicity without any detail is what is needed to judge.
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Tim
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« Reply #16 on: May 08, 2018, 05:49:21 pm »

I do not see why regular travellers should not get a MODEST discount by way of a season ticket, but I feel that the present discounts are excessive for generally peak time travel.
Weekly seasons IMHO should be priced at about 4.5 times the price of a peak hour day return.
Monthly season at four times the weekly rate and annual seasons at 11 times the monthly rate.

Season ticket holders not only pay the lowest peak time fares, but also seem to expect special treatment. ISTR several calls on these forums for priority boarding or other special privileges for season ticket holders.

(I think that I enraged a season ticket holder on a busy FGW* service. They expected me to give up my reserved seat for them because they "had paid thousands of pounds". I not only declined, but also stated that in my view, that season ticket holders should be required to stand if full fare passengers wanted the seat)

*as they were known at the time.

agree with all of that.  Once we have fully moved to smart ticketing, you could abandon seasons completely and simply use the technology to allow a modest discount to frequent users. 
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paul7755
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« Reply #17 on: May 08, 2018, 06:16:39 pm »

I do not see why regular travellers should not get a MODEST discount by way of a season ticket, but I feel that the present discounts are excessive for generally peak time travel.
Weekly seasons IMHO should be priced at about 4.5 times the price of a peak hour day return.
Monthly season at four times the weekly rate and annual seasons at 11 times the monthly rate.

Season ticket holders not only pay the lowest peak time fares, but also seem to expect special treatment. ISTR several calls on these forums for priority boarding or other special privileges for season ticket holders.

(I think that I enraged a season ticket holder on a busy FGW* service. They expected me to give up my reserved seat for them because they "had paid thousands of pounds". I not only declined, but also stated that in my view, that season ticket holders should be required to stand if full fare passengers wanted the seat)

*as they were known at the time.
Southampton to Waterloo 7 day season at £142.50 is  somewhat less than twice the Anytime Day return, £84.60.
So is the season far too low, or the day ticket far too high? 

Iíve made the same point about seasons being a complete bargain.  One afternoon peak when a chap scored an own goal on a packed service out of Waterloo.  He was wondering aloud to his apparent colleague why non season ticket holders were even allowed on the service.  I really donít think they had any idea how much day ticket holders had paid...

Paul
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simonw
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« Reply #18 on: May 08, 2018, 06:26:05 pm »

Without season ticket travellers, it is doubtful the railways could survive.

The balance between walk on, peak, off-peak, season tickets is a difficult subject, but I'd suggest Ö

  • allow annual season tickets for bus and train be tax deductable
  • set all rail fairs to be fix by formula
  • have a clear sensible definition of peak/off peak

The government allow people to buy bicycles tax free to help with commuting, why not bus and rail tickets. Say to a £3000 limit?

All fairs should based on stations used start, interchange and destination and the length of journey.

All fairs should be based on train quality. A 300km journey on HST or IET is nice, but on a rickety bone shaker to Penzance is another story.

All fairs should be based on Peak,Non Peak loading.

Not an easy task, but somehow the nonsense of split tickets and comparing two journeys of the same length being vastly different costs must be eliminated.
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paul7755
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« Reply #19 on: May 08, 2018, 06:32:00 pm »

Slow, stopping, all round the houses and therefore longer distance service (eg Southampton to Victoria via Horsham), to cost more than the direct services?

So that probably rules out a purely mileage based fare. (Not Ďfairí.)

Paul
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broadgage
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« Reply #20 on: May 08, 2018, 07:23:48 pm »

I would base my "3 different fares only" between any two points LOOSELY on the mileage.

So for example Paddington to Slough, would be about the same fare per mile as Paddington to Reading.

I would not prohibit split ticketing, but in most cases nothing would be gained thereby.
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"When customers say that they want a seat, they dont mean they want to sit with their knees behind their ears so that 4 more can sit down. They mean that they want an extra coach so that 74 more can sit down"
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grahame
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« Reply #21 on: May 08, 2018, 07:29:20 pm »

Some fundamental issues

1. While a high proportion of tickets are paper and issued at stations, you need multiple tickets (seasons?) to keep the number of staff or machines to sell tickets at a sensible level.

2. Where you have a ticket that's a bulk buy and valid for as many journeys as you like at any time of day, mixed with other tickets that are for one or two journeys each and vary in price depending on time of day, you're going to create anomolies.

3. Why are return tickets always issued for the same time of day (peak, off peak, super off peak) in both directions when many people want to travel out and back at different busyness times?

4. Why have tickets that are peak all the way when people can set off in the peak but arrive at their destination long after the train has been abandoned by most people?

5. Why change a system to something different that's overall income neutral?  You'll upset a lot of people (those the price goes up for) for a long time, but only get brief thanks for those for whom you make a saving, and you're likely to distort the industry loading "calculations" that have years of experience behnd them an have been tuned - with services stregthened where possible based on that experience, and fare break points set to help smooth out those peaks?

I do like the idea of a simpler system, based on the travel distance by the shortest land method from start to finish, plus a fixed ticketing and station use charge, and allowing for any reasonable route to be taken. And I suspect that a system could be produced with railcard / loyalty levels that encourage those who use public transport a number of times to be encouraged to keep using it, even on other routes.  Whether it would be managable when it takes 2 minutes 30 seconds to buy a "quick ticket" from the machines at Chippenham, and nearly 4 mnutes to collect an online order (we have timed it!) is another matter ...
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Bob_Blakey
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« Reply #22 on: May 08, 2018, 09:54:28 pm »

I will be contributing to the public consultation along the following lines (but have no great expectation that anything much will change):

1) All National Rail fares should be priced using the same base Off-Peak pence per mile multiplier so that the cost of a journey is entirely related to the distance travelled. These distances should be measured along the course of the existing railway so no mucking about with discounts for unavoidable 'doubling back', etc. (which if the rail industry has analysed their extensive 'actual journeys made' data properly shouldn't be required very often any way). The brand new ticketing system will be programmed to select the most direct (i.e. shortest & therefore cheapest) route.

2) Passengers purchasing tickets will be asked:
i) From which station are you departing?
ii) At which station are you leaving the train?
iii) Are you travelling First or Standard class?
iv) On what date are you starting your journey?
v) At what time are you starting your journey or at what time do you wish to arrive at your destination? (Ticketing system will produce a selectable list of services based on the response. Once the outward service is selected the passenger will be asked if a 'return' ticket is required and if so will run through the same script again.

Because all fares are solely distance related the nonsense around whether a break of journey is permitted ceases - the passenger just buys two single tickets covering A>B & B>C as appropriate. They would obviously be able to do the same on the return journey.

3) The railway system would be divided into wholly Peak (if deemed appropriate), partially (TOD limited) Peak and wholly Off-Peak segments. During the ticket purchasing process the system would calculate the total cost of the journey by adding together Peak and Off-Peak segments. The system would warn/advise passengers if any part of their proposed journey was priced at Peak rate and give them the opportunity to reselect the service. The prospect of having to pay £260 for a return journey between DIG & PAD when only the outward RDG>PAD segment was actually classified as a 'Peak' service would cease.

4) There would be only one basic ticket type and, where possible, reservations would be provided/available via a clickable train seating diagram. Each ticket would only be valid on the initially selected service(s).  Passengers would be warned if they would have to stand. 'Advance Purchase' and other discounted tickets would not be available because the price for a particular point-to-point journey would be the same regardless of how far before the date of travel a purchase was made. In the event of a passenger missing a booked service through their error the itinerary could be changed for a small fee; obviously messed up itineraries due to late running connections could be changed for free.

5) Season tickets would obviously still be available - under the same general terms as currently exist but also priced on the basis of distance travelled.

6) Railcards subject to a thorough review with a probable reduction in the range available and ALL cards requiring photo ID.

There are probably loads of other things I will think of later but I have to say that the main reason I don't think significant changes will happen is because the ticketing system I would like to see would require the support of very good IT and history tells us that the government are absolutely cr*p at that sort of thing. 
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bignosemac
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« Reply #23 on: May 08, 2018, 11:33:03 pm »

There seems to be a fair consensus here already that Season Tickets are too cheap.

It's a dangerous assumption. Increasing the price of Season Tickets has wider economic and political implications. Commuters could be priced off the railways and into their cars. Higher Season Ticket prices, but less people paying them could mean a lower overall revenue, seriously affect the finances of the railways, This could mean greater government subsidy, cuts in services, or fares increases for all.

A government, particularly of the blue hue, is unlikely to countenance even a modest rise (beyond the annual RPI+n formula) in Season Ticket prices. Far too many of their natural electorate live in commuter land.
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ellendune
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« Reply #24 on: May 08, 2018, 11:41:30 pm »

There seems to be a fair consensus here already that Season Tickets are too cheap.

It's a dangerous assumption. Increasing the price of Season Tickets has wider economic and political implications. Commuters could be priced off the railways and into their cars. Higher Season Ticket prices, but less people paying them could mean a lower overall revenue, seriously affect the finances of the railways, This could mean greater government subsidy, cuts in services, or fares increases for all.

A government, particularly of the blue hue, is unlikely to countenance even a modest rise (beyond the annual RPI+n formula) in Season Ticket prices. Far too many of their natural electorate live in commuter land.

I agree with your analysis.  Perhaps if we look at it another way.  Compared to season ticket prices anytime fares are too high. After all it is the season ticket prices that have been fixed most firmly to RPI. It is other fares that are not regulated (Anytime Tickets) that have got out of hand. If government will not support raising season ticket prices then the other way is to bring other fares more into line with them.  Of course then they will not be able to make it revenue neutral, but then why should I subsidise other people's long distance commute?
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broadgage
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« Reply #25 on: May 09, 2018, 01:41:07 am »

On general social grounds, I see no harm in subsidising commuting by rail or other public transport, but only up to relatively modest distances.

If someone commutes from Lewisham into central London, then a subsidy is reasonable IMHO, to discourage driving which carries significant costs to society in general.
If however someone commutes from Taunton to central London, then that is a lifestyle choice and should be less subsidised.

Ideally people should live within walking or cycling distance of work, but that is simply impossible for most in London, hence the need for the state to provide affordable public transport. It is part of a major city, just like paved streets, litter bins, a police force and so on.
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"When customers say that they want a seat, they dont mean they want to sit with their knees behind their ears so that 4 more can sit down. They mean that they want an extra coach so that 74 more can sit down"
"Capacity on intercity routes should be about number of vehicles, not compressing people"
TaplowGreen
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« Reply #26 on: May 09, 2018, 07:39:13 am »

There seems to be a fair consensus here already that Season Tickets are too cheap.

It's a dangerous assumption. Increasing the price of Season Tickets has wider economic and political implications. Commuters could be priced off the railways and into their cars. Higher Season Ticket prices, but less people paying them could mean a lower overall revenue, seriously affect the finances of the railways, This could mean greater government subsidy, cuts in services, or fares increases for all.

A government, particularly of the blue hue, is unlikely to countenance even a modest rise (beyond the annual RPI+n formula) in Season Ticket prices. Far too many of their natural electorate live in commuter land.

Hear Hear.

There seems to be an antipathy from certain quarters in the Rail "Community" towards their most bread and butter and reliable customers who travel daily on season tickets for which they shell out many thousands of £ per year.

In virtually every area of life, if you buy in bulk and/or up front, that will attract a discount - be it a season ticket for a football club or a pallet load of widgets - this is distinct from a "subsidy", the suppliers margin is slightly lowered however he has the certainty of the funds immediately for his use, rather than a trickle throughout a given period, and the customer is (or feels) obliged to use the service or product.

By all means if you wish to reduce rail revenue, increase traffic on the roads, and reduce even further the supply and efficiency of essential workers in the Capital, with the consequences for services and the economy, make this suggestion the plank of your response to the consultation, however the elephant in the room is fares that are already sky high for a poor, unreliable and ridiculously overcrowded service.

...................of course in the interests of consistency, I am sure that those advocating the removal/reduction of "subsidised" fares will be starting closest to home by setting an example, and demanding that rail industry employees lose their subsidised free travel?  Wink
« Last Edit: May 09, 2018, 07:53:39 am by TaplowGreen » Logged
didcotdean
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« Reply #27 on: May 09, 2018, 08:20:12 am »

Maybe traditional season tickets for longer journeys could be replaced by extended carnets, eg instead of selling an annual, sell 500 single either way journeys, with the appropriate discount. The argument would be that these are not currently used by most outside of working time apart from occasionally, and if they had a two year rather than one year validity this would also take care of the 'part-time' season concept. They could if desirable also have entitlement to discounts on other trips etc as at present.

Totally impractical in a paper-ticket orientated environment; perfectly possible in an electronic personal account one.
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ellendune
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« Reply #28 on: May 09, 2018, 08:57:06 am »

There seems to be an antipathy from certain quarters in the Rail "Community" towards their most bread and butter and reliable customers who travel daily on season tickets for which they shell out many thousands of £ per year.

Might look a good argument from places like Taplow and Maidenhead (where the discount is from 41p a mile to 25p a mile - 40% discount). But from Swindon where the Anytime fare is 86p per mile reducing to the same 25p per mile with an annual season (a 70% discount) it sounds like someone is having a laugh at our expense. That's even a 30% discount on the Super Off Peak fare (36p per mile). 

Its not as if even the shoulder of peak trains from Swindon are running empty as those trying to board at Didcot and Reading will attest. The major traffic from Swindon in the peak is not daily commuters but those like me who are visiting London occasionally (often several times a month - I will be doing it twice this week) for meetings. 

So lets make the per mile peak fare 41p per mile with a 40% discount and base all the other fares on that.  Then we are all equal to you!
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Bmblbzzz
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« Reply #29 on: May 09, 2018, 09:11:42 am »

The government allow people to buy bicycles tax free to help with commuting, why not bus and rail tickets. Say to a £3000 limit?
Just addressing this one, perhaps rather minor, point: It's not quite as simple as that! You can't just buy a bike and claim it as an expense against tax. You have to get it through your employer, who has to be signed up to the relevant scheme. Most employers will not be, though probably most large ones are. You can then buy a bike up to £1000 and claim against your income tax. (You can buy a more expensive bike but that's the claim limit.) Legally the bike then belongs to your employer and after a certain time (I think it's 3 years) you are theoretically supposed to return it to your employer, to do with as they want (eg sell it back to you). In practice most do not want to have to deal with secondhand bikes (they aren't worth much, pain to sell, etc) so treat them as belonging to the employee.
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