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Author Topic: Changes to train times and to fares - Bedwyn and Pewsey to London from 16.12.19  (Read 1209 times)
grahame
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« on: October 19, 2019, 09:29:48 am »

I have been passed (and cleared to share) statements from GWR on fares from the Kennet Valley into London from 19th December, and I'll post both the Bedwyn and the Pewsey data below.   I'm making this a new, sticky thread as we may have a number of guests arriving at the forum here - better a new thread than burying it pages down.   If you are a new reader, you can find our more about our forum at http://www.passenger.chat/1761 - that's the main intro thread.

For Bedwyn (similar will apply for Kintbury and Hungerford, I believe) from a senior GWR contact - I quote

"For some time, we have had an easement in the Kennet Valley that has allowed off peak fares at peak time for Bedwyn services.  This relates back to the days of Thames Trains and the decision to differentiate between turbo stopping services and faster high speed trains to Reading.

"In December TfL Rail will take over 50% of GWR services through to Reading and will continue to offer off peak fares on the stopping trains, our remaining fast and semi fast services, including those for Bedwyn will operate on peak fares.  This brings services in line with fares already being paid elsewhere.

"This does not affect season ticket holders who can already travel on peak services for no extra charge.

"We do recognise however that this is a significant change for customers who do not travel regularly enough to benefit from a season ticket.   We have therefore recently introduced Advance tickets on the route. These are heavily discounted, and are quota controlled. They can therefore sell out, and we would not normally offer these on peak time services.  However, given that we are no longer offering a fares easement on peak services we have ensured that there are good quotas on both peak and off peak services.

"In addition to this from December 15th customers buying Advance tickets will be given a specific seat reservation, this will also apply to any ticket type bought more than two hours before travel. This will guarantee them a seat for their journey. If this is not provided and they have to stand we will refund their journey leg in full.

"These tickets go on sale 12 weeks before travel and are now on sale for December and having looked on our website, gwr.com, yesterday (16 October) for a journey on 16 December, there is a £25.00 single Advance ticket available from Bedwyn on the 0831, and a £19.50 ticket on the 1708 return. A total cost of £44.50.

"As I noted above Advance tickets do sell out and we recommend customers purchase as far ahead as possible, but these tickets are on sale now.

"I do understand that there will be customers who prefer not to book in advance, and who would like all of the existing easements to continue.  We did look at this very closely, but is no longer justification for us to allow off peak tickets at peak time for these stations.  That said, we have reviewed the list of services included in peak restrictions and are making changes to allow off peak tickets on the 1907 service from London Paddington to Bedwyn.  This change will take around 72hrs to process into the relevant systems.

"To help I have set out below a “When can I travel” table showing Off Peak services for Bedwyn.



For Pewsey (again, from a senior GWR contact and cleared for sharing) I quote

"In the past we have given Pewsey an ‘exception’ allowing off peak fares on peak time trains because we had a limited off peak service. This started in 2004, when the concession was offered on the 08:25, arriving 09:38 and this transferred to the 0810 more recently.

"From Sunday 15 December we introduce an improved timetable, and the weekday departure pattern becomes 08:17 (Peak), 09:30 (Off-Peak), 11:02 (Super Off-Peak), instead of the current 08:10 (Off-Peak – as a concession) and 10:18 (Super Off-Peak).

" 08:17 from Pewsey arrives into Paddington at 09:19.   The first off peak arrival on any other GWR service is at 10:07, almost an hour later.    The 08:17 is a peak time service, and with the new improved off peak service, we can no longer offer off peak travel from Pewsey at peak time.  

"Customers will be able to travel off peak on the 0930 service arriving at 10:29. This is in line with other GWR services, and indeed with other Train Operators including those from neighbouring station Andover where the first off-peak arrival at Waterloo is a comparable 10:19.  

"It is also worth noting that offering an off peak ticket on a peak time service creates an anomaly that impacts other services. For instance, the 08:31 from Bedwyn is a peak time service costing £63.10 to London and £59.90 from Newbury.  If off peak fares were offered on the 08:17 from Pewsey, it would be mean the shorter journey was more expensive.   We could justify this in the past by pointing to the service pattern from Pewsey, that is no longer the case, and travel on the 08:17 will require a peak ticket.

"For information I have set out below the full changes to the timetable in December, which includes two additional services for Pewsey (one in each direction), faster journeys and a far better spread of services, closing the long gaps during the day.  All services will be operated by our brand new Intercity Express Trains, and the addition of extra services means Pewsey gains over 600 extra seats every day. 



(end of quotations)



Please feel free to share a link to this thread on social media - http://www.passenger.chat/22330 is a short permanent link

Please feel free to register / comment as you wish, subject to our forum guidelines - see http://www.passenger.chat/1761

Please note that all regular GWR and third party enquiry and feedback mechanisms are available for passengers, potential passengers and other interested parties - I note in particular the Pewsey Vale Rail User Group and Bedwyn trains, and GWR's social media accounts and customer relations departments.   Also please note that this forum has a number of rather good fare experts floating around who will be happy to make suggestions as to what may be the most economic way for you to make your journeys in future, being in mind the changed train times and validity of certain fares - http://www.passenger.chat/b4 .   This forum is run by passengers, for passengers - and many of us, too, are looking at changes to both times and fares that include bad news for us as well as good, and looking to optimise our own journeys.

Further threads discussing these fare and timetable changes may be found at http://www.passenger.chat/22247

Edited to add links to other threads and data sources
« Last Edit: October 19, 2019, 09:46:17 am by grahame » Logged

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Richard Fairhurst
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« Reply #1 on: October 19, 2019, 11:14:29 am »

"We do recognise however that this is a significant change for customers who do not travel regularly enough to benefit from a season ticket.   We have therefore recently introduced Advance tickets on the route. These are heavily discounted, and are quota controlled. They can therefore sell out, and we would not normally offer these on peak time services.  However, given that we are no longer offering a fares easement on peak services we have ensured that there are good quotas on both peak and off peak services.

Anecdotal evidence from our part of the world, where the same sweetener was offered, is that this is a limited-time benefit, and the Advance tickets are rarer and rarer a few years on. (I don't buy Advances myself but a few people who relied on them post-fare change have made the observation to me.)
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bignosemac
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« Reply #2 on: October 19, 2019, 06:39:17 pm »

Yes, don't expect the quotas and fare tiers to be anything like as generous a year or so down the line.

Comparing headline Advance Purchase fares with soon to be withdrawn Off Peak Returns is disingenuous at best, contemptuous at worst. The flexibility to return at a time (or even day) of one's choosing is lost.

Also saying that these were historic fares 'easements' (they're not easements - they are fares that have been around for a decade or more. Not a temporary sop) that don't fit with today's other peak fares into London is, frankly, poppycock.

Mention of forthcoming TfL services is interesting. It's worth noting that  GWR will be sharing revenue with them on the walk-up Off Peak Any Permitted fares on journeys via Reading. They currently, and will continue to, share revenue with SWR. The headline grabbing limited quota Advance Purchase revenue all goes to GWR of course. And they get more money from you when your plans change. Which can and does happen, and from which there is some protection with the walk-up Off Peak fares.

The 'Senior GWR Contact' (un-named I note) responsible for this real life fares increase for many users of services along the Berks & Hants should hang their head in shame. In reality they will no doubt please their bosses. Fares Implementation Manager is one of the least customer friendly positions at GWR. These passenger unfriendly changes just highlight that. The remit is to screw the travelling public for as much money as possible. I've a very good idea where the blame lies. Certain managers have form in this area. They'll be fine though, travelling when they like for free or at a greatly reduced rate.

"Neighbouring" Andover is mentioned. I urge those used to Off Peak fares from Pewsey to switch to travelling from Andover if they have the ability to railhead there instead. Yes you'll need to buy an Anytime fare from Andover to arrive at a similar time to which you are used to, but that Anytime fare will cost you nearly £50 less than GWR want to charge you from Monday 16th December. Consider Andover for your Off Peak journeys too. They're cheaper as well.
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ellendune
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« Reply #3 on: October 19, 2019, 06:48:05 pm »

"Neighbouring" Andover is mentioned. I urge those used to Off Peak fares from Pewsey to switch to travelling from Andover if they have the ability to railhead there instead. Yes you'll need to buy an Anytime fare from Andover to arrive at a similar time to which you are used to, but that Anytime fare will cost you nearly £50 less than GWR want to charge you from Monday 16th December. Consider Andover for your Off Peak journeys too. They're cheaper as well.

I think this is the issue.  It is not the peak times that matter, but the eye-watering cost of anytime fares outside the former NSE area.  Those who argue that it is because the trains are faster forget two points:

1) Many of us do not have the choice of  a slower train, local services were axed in the 1960's.
2) The lower fares still apply to stations where faster trains run and the tickets are valid on both fast and slow trains. 
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grahame
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« Reply #4 on: October 20, 2019, 01:01:29 pm »

I added a post on our Facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/CoffeeShopCRP/posts/2489156864664751 - to this topic;  I have Facebook friends along the upper Kennet Valley and in the Vale of Pewsey, and somewhat to my surprise  we have reached 4,291 people of whom 551 have engaged in just over 24 hours.   And that's at what is normally the quietest time of the week!    Granted that Facebook tends (somehow) to produce data that's biased on the positive side, this is still very much a pointer to how interested the people are over what's not a big area.

Looking back at the follow up comments, I have to agree with most of what members have written.  Where you have a messy cake of regulated and unregulated fares (that's the UK fare system) and you add on an icing of local tuning which has give passengers established fares for decades ... and you then change it to remove the local tuning - well - what reaction do you expect?    Directing people towards other (different) products which have become more economic makes sense for GWR - though moving them from the stability of a regulated product to the commercial vagaries of an unregulated one doesn't provide for a further period of stability.   However, if the Williams review and legislation derived from it results in a completely new fare system, will anything be stable over the next 2 or 3 years anyway?    Or perhaps the lesson on the Berks and Hants (to Williams) is "meddle with fares at your peril".

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bignosemac
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« Reply #5 on: October 20, 2019, 02:35:47 pm »

Anyone making a day return from Pewsey to Paddington outward on the 0817 after 15th December 2019 want to legitimately pay less than the £120 Anytime Return GWR expect you to pay?

I can provide details of split tickets that will get you to and from London in both 'peak' periods for less than £70. Whilst that's more than the current Off Peak Return of £53.60 it does beat the Anytime Return quite considerably and allows peak travel both ways.

Returning in the evening peak on another day can also be done for under £70 in total.
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hoover50
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« Reply #6 on: October 25, 2019, 02:10:23 pm »

The local newspaper (Gazette and Herald) has now picked up on this story.
However, most of their article seems to be a copy/paste of comments that people have recently posted onto local Facebook groups!

https://www.gazetteandherald.co.uk/news/17990228.anger-gwr-hikes-train-fares-pewsey-bedwyn/

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grahame
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« Reply #7 on: October 25, 2019, 02:14:54 pm »

The local newspaper (Gazette and Herald) has now picked up on this story.
However, most of their article seems to be a copy/paste of comments that people have recently posted onto local Facebook groups!

https://www.gazetteandherald.co.uk/news/17990228.anger-gwr-hikes-train-fares-pewsey-bedwyn/



Adding to diary:

Quote
Angry people have taken to social media to complain about the huge price hike and a public meeting where GWR will be present has been organised for October 31 at the Bouverie Hall in Pewsey starting at 6.45pm.
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« Reply #8 on: October 25, 2019, 02:36:22 pm »

Quote
Angry people have taken to social media to complain about the huge price hike and a public meeting where GWR will be present has been organised for October 31 at the Bouverie Hall in Pewsey starting at 6.45pm.

It should be a very interesting meeting, I will be there!
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« Reply #9 on: October 25, 2019, 04:03:53 pm »

However, most of their article seems to be a copy/paste of comments that people have recently posted onto local Facebook groups!

That’s modern journalism for you!
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bobm
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« Reply #10 on: October 25, 2019, 08:02:20 pm »

Well it’s modern.  Not sure it is journalism.
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