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Author Topic: Off peak fares in South Wales  (Read 1129 times)
grahame
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« on: May 27, 2021, 07:22:43 am »

From Wales Online

Quote
No off peak train fares on Transport for Wales with fewer cheap tickets available

Rail passengers are having to pay the highest possible fares to travel on Transport for Wales trains after the Welsh Government-owned operator decided not to offer cheaper off-peak tickets on many routes.

Opposition parties were strongly critical of the change in policy, which appears to fly in the face of the administration’s aim to get people out of cars and on to public transport.

For many years, off-peak fares have been substantially lower than the “anytime” tickets that enable passengers to board trains during the morning rush hour, when fares have traditionally been higher..

But off-peak fares are no longer an option on routes like the Valleys lines or on the line that goes from south Wales to Manchester.

A single ticket from Cardiff Central to Manchester Piccadilly costs £81 at any time of the day, while for anyone travelling the entire length of the route from Milford Haven to Manchester a single ticket sells for £96.60.

While it is notionally possible to buy cheaper “Advance” tickets, their availability is restricted and they are not as readily available as they were before the pandemic.

In February this year the Welsh Government nationalised the Wales and Borders rail franchise, continuing to market its services as run by Transport for Wales.
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jamestheredengine
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« Reply #1 on: May 27, 2021, 12:00:41 pm »

The Valley Lines have historically not had off-peak fares – but the peak fares are anomalously extremely low already (e.g. Ebbw Vale Town being £7.70 return peak for a 30-mile journey to Cardiff, vs £14.40 peak and £11.50 off-peak at Chepstow, a similar distance on the main line). That sounds a bit naughty on the Marches Line though – it could be interpreted as a devolved administration targeting those who can't vote them out.
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Trowres
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« Reply #2 on: May 27, 2021, 11:56:38 pm »

There is still a TfW-set off-peak return from Cardiff-Manchester at £93.80. The lack of an off-peak single is an issue common with other TOCs (Train Operating Company) (although GWR (Great Western Railway) are somewhat better on this).

Incidentally, in our anomaly-ridden fares structure, there are no off-peak tickets between West Wilts and stations west of Cardiff. However, the anytime returns are priced a bit more reasonably than is often the case.

Example:
Trowbridge-Swansea Anytime Return £57.90 - set by GWR
Bath-Swansea Off-peak Return £51.50 (but this is an off-peak return that you can use any time!!  Roll Eyes - Set by TfW
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grahame
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« Reply #3 on: May 28, 2021, 09:18:56 am »

As this has come up on Wales Online and not other sources (yet?) I wonder how much of a story there is / how many fares were / are actually being removed.  The lack of off peak singles has been noted before, as has the availability of anytime fares only from West Wilts to South Wales. Also noted before, the price differential per mile on the Valley Lines compared to the Marches line also from Cardiff.

Any train operating company, as I understand it, is (or was) free to offer (or not offer) unregulated fare alternatives to the regulated fares, and at whatever price they choose.  Regulated fares - I think - typically include season tickets, any time singles, and off peak returns, with the off peak returns having minimum hours that they must be available; complications come in that this is only typical, and the types of fares in the basket vary by route and distance.

With the emergency measures / move away from and relinquishing of franchising, the teams who typically set the fares and came up with ideas are still in place, but have an extra set of hurdles for any changes they think would be good ideas, and an extra set of masters giving them instructions.  Further complicated for Wales because I'm not sure whether the extra seat of masters is the DfT» (Department for Transport - about) or the Welsh Government or both.

There is sense in simplifying (reducing) the wide range of tickets available; it's become too complex to understand, and there are so many oddities that it's not really fit for purpose.   But this news article shows how the removal of an element of ticketing, even if relatively minor (if it is, I don't know) can raise an unholy storm.



There are interesting asides on this one ...

... is The Welsh Government setting fares for pure English journeys such as Hereford to Shrewsbury and if so what is the democratic / voter comeback? There is no member of the Welsh Parliament for Shropshire

... Noting Advance tickets still seem to be favoured in places. Came in a marketing exercise and to level out loads but have conveniently given the entire income to a single TOC (Train Operating Company) rather than going through ORCATS (Operational Research Computerised Allocation of Tickets to Services) - has that benefit gone away?

... What is all of this, including where people are suddenly having to pay more, doing for getting people back on trains?
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TonyK
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« Reply #4 on: June 02, 2021, 11:56:08 pm »

The people asked for a state-run, nationalised railway. This is it, and I hope they like it.
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infoman
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« Reply #5 on: June 03, 2021, 05:11:19 am »

Maybe they should concentrate on installing ticket gates at Port Talbot
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jamestheredengine
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« Reply #6 on: June 03, 2021, 12:15:55 pm »

There is still a TfW-set off-peak return from Cardiff-Manchester at £93.80.
With a non-restriction restriction code of 8A.

It's a bit more obvious what they've done if you look at the First Class fares:

FOR  ANYTIME 1R          ◊    1ST  RETURN   ADULT: £140.70   CHILD: £70.35
FSR (First Scot Rail)  OFF-PEAK 1R   8A    ◊    1ST  RETURN   ADULT: £140.70   CHILD: £70.35
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jamestheredengine
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« Reply #7 on: June 03, 2021, 12:27:12 pm »

Maybe they should concentrate on installing ticket gates at Port Talbot
Among several others. Cardiff Bay, the busiest unstaffed station in Britain, has to be the most absurd bit of station facilities not being adjusted in line with ridership (and there the failures extend to not developing the obvious retail opportunities as well). But they've got gaping revenue holes galore out there – Trefforest, Heath High Level, Pontyclun, and so on.
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grahame
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« Reply #8 on: June 03, 2021, 03:27:44 pm »

Maybe they should concentrate on installing ticket gates at Port Talbot
Among several others. Cardiff Bay, the busiest unstaffed station in Britain, has to be the most absurd bit of station facilities not being adjusted in line with ridership (and there the failures extend to not developing the obvious retail opportunities as well). But they've got gaping revenue holes galore out there – Trefforest, Heath High Level, Pontyclun, and so on.

Aren't the plans for Cardiff Bay to replace it with something like a tram train?   In which case, any adjustment of the station facilities might have a short shelf life. 

Big success story though - 97,000 ticketed journeys 1997/8 has increased to 1,531,000 in the year to March 2020.
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