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Author Topic: Timetable changes affecting availability of off peak fares (Qn.5 5/11/2019)  (Read 1100 times)
Red Squirrel
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« on: November 05, 2019, 05:34:57 pm »

Some concerns have recently been raised on the forum about changes to Anytime / Off Peak validity of certain services due to timetable changes.

Are these changes by design? If so, will GWR allow an amnesty while passengers get used to the new validities?

Background examples ... Berks and Hants line stations and Cotswold line stations to London. Someone from Pewsey travelling to London once a week on the train around 08:15 and back later the same day as to earn an extra £3000 a year ...

Also some non-London cases which have appeared.   e.g.  Swindon to Southampton day return.  Until 13th December £25.20 on the 08:53.  From 16th December £44.90 on what is in effect the same train as it runs at 08:44 (arrival at 11:02 rather than 11:04 in Southampton) and off peak starts at 08:49.  First available train at £25.20 becomes the 11:05 which gets you to Southampton at 13:02.
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MarkHopwood
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« Reply #1 on: November 05, 2019, 05:38:10 pm »

We have carefully looked at the timetable and in line with Rail Delivery Groupís (RDG) fares simplification programme we have taken the opportunity to try and standardise the offering within certain areas of the network.  This has included certain parts of the network where there are historical easements dating back to times when other TOCs operated.  I am quite clear, for example, that a train heading to London at 0800 in the morning is not off peak. I appreciate change is not always welcome but we need to have ticket restrictions that are fair and easy to understand.

Those easements were removed to create a simple fares structure across these parts of the network.  In addition, we have also increased the quotas for cheaper advance tickets where possible on the services that are affected.  While we appreciate this will be a significant change for customers, we are working to address some of the concerns raised. 

Both examples given are receiving additional capacity with a more frequent service at certain parts of the day.  Where the new trains have been put in it means we have been able to create a structured restriction period where we go from Peak to Off Peak to Super Off Peak.  Amendments have been made where it is possible i.e. in the evening peak returning from London bearing in mind capacity and formation of rolling stock planned to operate the service.
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Richard Fairhurst
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« Reply #2 on: November 05, 2019, 05:44:57 pm »

Around here, off-peak fares were favoured by people who work part-time - say, three days a week in London - and who had the ability to vary their working hours to suit.

Since the Cotswold Line moved to the new regime of "more peak restrictions, more advance tickets available" in 2015, part-time workers have taken to timing when the advance tickets come onstream, and then spending all evening planning their commute for the coming months and booking seats on them. This does not seem an efficient way to run a fares system! (It also leads to a thriving black market in advance tickets when people's journey plans change...)

For such part-time workers who can't benefit from the discount offered by all-week season tickets, and who now face this advance seat lottery, can you give serious consideration to introducing part-time season tickets? The scheme GWR runs in Cornwall and Devon, where tickets are available with restrictions such as "MON/WED/THU ONLY", is excellent and could be rolled out across the network.

(I'm slightly surprised no-one has launched an equalities case based on this - part-time workers are disproportionately female.)
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MarkHopwood
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« Reply #3 on: November 05, 2019, 05:47:50 pm »

Iíve noted your points Richard. I think the challenge with part time season tickets is that a season ticket holder is being given a discount for buying in bulk but if you arenít travelling regularly itís harder to do that. Smart ticketing offers some answers here and we will continue to explore how we can innovate in this area.
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grahame
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« Reply #4 on: November 05, 2019, 05:55:31 pm »

Quote
Both examples given are receiving additional capacity with a more frequent service at certain parts of the day.

Err - Swindon to Southampton via Melksham, service reduced from 9 to 8 a day. Sure, it's more frequent after 20:30 because a train moves later - and that is very welcome.  Fare rise being queried is to a fare GWR introduce in around 2016 (I may be a year out) and not a historic easement ...

Granted additonal capacity in early 2018 when 153s were swapped for something longer, and not a minute too soon (in fact about 2 years too late!)

Off peak ticket with a first arrival now at 13:05 rather than 11:05 for a travel time of about 2 hours won't sell for day trips.
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MarkHopwood
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« Reply #5 on: November 05, 2019, 06:04:05 pm »

The examples I had in mind with both was North Cotswolds and Berks & Hants.

I will take your points away and look at TransWilts again with fares to Southampton.
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grahame
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« Reply #6 on: November 06, 2019, 09:32:38 am »

The examples I had in mind with both was North Cotswolds and Berks & Hants.

I will take your points away and look at TransWilts again with fares to Southampton.

I look forward to hearing on that, Mark

With regards Berks and Hants to London, I appreciate that the off peak hours have been exceptionally generous compared to other lines for many years - a precedent / easement set by a very thin service. And there's no easy way to regularise the fare and timing offerings at current overall income levels, and not bring very expensive to some people.

Last year, the people of Pewsey lost their train service for around 50 days - buses and much longer journeys were reluctantly accepted, with a promise of new, faster, more (1 or 2per day?) trains this year - all of which are welcome. But whilst being told about the changes to the trains, why was the change to fares not flagged up even to those of us working with GWR on the publicity.   Was this negative element intentionally not mentioned, or is it something the GWR hadn't planned for at that point?  I will admit to personally feeling a bit "used" over this.

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PhilWakely
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« Reply #7 on: November 06, 2019, 03:22:14 pm »

A slight digression, but on a similar principle. Next week sees major disruption of Westcountry services with journey times significantly extended. The 7.30am Newton Abbot to Paddington requires a change at Exeter with an eventual arrival into Paddington after 11am. Why is this still regarded as a Peak time service?
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stuving
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« Reply #8 on: November 06, 2019, 04:15:14 pm »

A slight digression, but on a similar principle. Next week sees major disruption of Westcountry services with journey times significantly extended. The 7.30am Newton Abbot to Paddington requires a change at Exeter with an eventual arrival into Paddington after 11am. Why is this still regarded as a Peak time service?

Because that's how the system "works". At least, if it's not been told there's a new timetable fro those days. And it could be worse - according to the OJP if you get the 6:29 from NTA next Wednesday, you'll get to PAD at 11:39 - and that's not off-peak either.

But this another one where the restriction code is ... well, plain wrong. Like not agreeing with itself. For an SVR NTA-PAD, code LD says currently:

Text:  Not valid for travel on trains timed to depart after 04:29 and before the times shown from the following stations:    07:30 from Newton Abbot; also valid on 07:06, 07:17 and 08:03 CrossCountry services, changing at Bristol Temple Meads or Parkway;

Coded feed for JPs: (two parts both applying)
Not valid to depart   NEWTON ABBOT   0718Ė0759   on any TOC
Not valid to depart   NEWTON ABBOT   0230Ė0702   on any TOC


So the 7:31 is valid ...  but not in the OJP now (it will be after the 15th). The XC 7:17 and 7:04 (and change, so slow) are valid in the OJP, but not offered unless bullied (it should with that box not ticked but for some reason often doesn't). They will not be valid after the 15th. What the words will be them we don't know, as those applying to future (but still reservable) trains are not available.

It's called "simplification".
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Robin Summerhill
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« Reply #9 on: November 09, 2019, 07:41:47 pm »

I think the challenge with part time season tickets is that a season ticket holder is being given a discount for buying in bulk but if you arenít travelling regularly itís harder to do that. Smart ticketing offers some answers here and we will continue to explore how we can innovate in this area.

Im not sure what is "challenging" here.

If we accept the probably justifiable premis that a discount is being given to a season ticket purchaser for bulk buying, it is not necessarily set in tablets of stone that that bulk purchase has to be used consecurively. There are plenty of rail rovers around that, for example, are valid for 3 days in 7, or 7 days in 15. or whatever. Users are given a supplementary ticket enabling them to mark off the days they actually use it.

A variation of what I had in mind is in use on Faresaver buses with their 11 day tickets. From their website:

"Faresaver Eleven tickets offer reduced travel for eleven single journeys on the section of route for which they are valid. They have no expiry date and can be used at any time of day. Adult and Child/Student tickets are available and price depends on points travelling from/to. These tickets are bought on bus and are not available on mobile ticketing."

Therefore as I see it there should be no problem in principle with issuing a season ticket for, for example, 5 days in 15, or "for 5 separeta journeys.". Passengers still get their discount, the TOCs still get their bulk purchases, and season ticket holders can be more flexible in their travel arrangements.

Am I missing something?
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broadgage
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« Reply #10 on: November 09, 2019, 11:35:24 pm »

I think that you might be missing something.
If the ticket is not reliably checked or examined, then many extra journeys beyond those paid for could be made.

An ordinary season ticket expires on the date stated and can not be used after that date. A ticket valid for 11 journeys, but with no expiry date, or a very long date, would in practice be valid for 11 ticket checks, plus numerous extra uses when not checked.
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A proper intercity train has a minimum of 8 coaches, gangwayed throughout, with first at one end, and a full sized buffet car between first and standard.
It has space for cycles, surfboards,luggage etc.
A 5 car DMU is not a proper inter-city train. The 5+5 and 9 car DMUs are almost as bad.
stuving
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« Reply #11 on: November 10, 2019, 12:16:31 am »

I think that you might be missing something.
If the ticket is not reliably checked or examined, then many extra journeys beyond those paid for could be made.

An ordinary season ticket expires on the date stated and can not be used after that date. A ticket valid for 11 journeys, but with no expiry date, or a very long date, would in practice be valid for 11 ticket checks, plus numerous extra uses when not checked.

With old technology you could do this - stick a ticket in a machine that clips a bit off the edge and can stamp a date too (I've had them, but can't remember where). With the new cards the same kind of thing is possible, though no doubt the TOCs would like a high level of gating before doing it - as for TfL with Oyster. So maybe such part-time seasons or bulk-buy discounted returns or whatever will be offered first on card only, and for certain journey only. Come to think of it, that's how the cards have been introduced, isn't it?
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Robin Summerhill
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« Reply #12 on: November 10, 2019, 11:47:30 am »

I think that you might be missing something.
If the ticket is not reliably checked or examined, then many extra journeys beyond those paid for could be made.

An ordinary season ticket expires on the date stated and can not be used after that date. A ticket valid for 11 journeys, but with no expiry date, or a very long date, would in practice be valid for 11 ticket checks, plus numerous extra uses when not checked.

Hmmmmm.....

Whilst I can see where you are coming from, you might be suggesting a scenario of: "You part timers can't have more flexible season tickets because we don't check tickets well enough"

I can see where that sort of argument would end up if the media picked up on it Wink
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mjones
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« Reply #13 on: November 10, 2019, 02:53:02 pm »

It isn't insurmountable even with paper tickets.  With the Inter Rail ticket that gives you a  fixed number of days travel in a defined time period you have to write in the journey details and date before you start each trip. I think they can confiscate the ticket if they  catch you travelling without recording your journey.  You are taking a big risk if you tried getting free days.
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stuving
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« Reply #14 on: November 10, 2019, 02:54:06 pm »

I think that you might be missing something.
If the ticket is not reliably checked or examined, then many extra journeys beyond those paid for could be made.

An ordinary season ticket expires on the date stated and can not be used after that date. A ticket valid for 11 journeys, but with no expiry date, or a very long date, would in practice be valid for 11 ticket checks, plus numerous extra uses when not checked.

Hmmmmm.....

Whilst I can see where you are coming from, you might be suggesting a scenario of: "You part timers can't have more flexible season tickets because we don't check tickets well enough"

I can see where that sort of argument would end up if the media picked up on it Wink

Where would that be? The media have been very rude about the incoherence and absurd complexity of ticketing for years, and it hasn't changed anything. All we have is a half-baked scheme from the TOCs that suits themselves and not passengers, and may well be rubber-stamped by Williams.
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