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Author Topic: Unfair pricing system for Swindon commuters  (Read 16443 times)
SusanW
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« on: November 01, 2007, 01:24:43 pm »

Hi there,

I have recently moved from Oxford to Swindon and still commute into London Paddington most days. From Oxford, the journey takes roughly an hour, usually with two stops and generally fairly unrealiable. From Swindon, the journey takes roughly an hour, usually with two stops and gerenally fairly unrealiable. What is the difference you may ask? Well, a Swindon to London monthly season ticket costs nearly twice as much (^560 with 5% discount) as from Oxford (^330 with 5% discount)!

Why is there this enormous discrepancy in fares? I realise that the journey is further in miles, and would even be prepared to pay, perhaps ^100 more per month, for this luxury of speedy travel (not). But nearly twice as much? It is making me question the sanity of having a London-based job which I love.

I have complained to FGW (First Great Western) but their response was that the the fares are set by Network Rail and its nothing to do with them - is this true? Does anyone know why the fares are so much higher or tried to find out?

I would love to hear from anyone who has thought of a way round them. For about ^30 less a month you can get separate season tickets to and from didcot parkway but it's not that much difference. I have heard that some people drive from Swindon to Didcot and get the train there rather than paying the higher fare price, but seeing as it is a good hours drive to Didcot this can't be a solution for regular commuters.

Any help would be much appreciated!

Susan
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Tickets Please
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« Reply #1 on: November 01, 2007, 03:34:39 pm »

you can do that but just make sure that the train you get on at Swindon calls at Didcot Parkway (most do) as the National Conditions of Carriage stipulate that if you use two season tickets for one journey the train MUST call at the station where the two season tickets 'seperate'

If you use one season ticket and one ticket then there is no requirement but two seasons or two tickets for the same journey (with a few exceptions) the train must.

Regards

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grahame
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« Reply #2 on: November 01, 2007, 03:51:37 pm »

I understand that ticket prices from Chippenham / Swindon to London are the most expensive  anywhere in Europe on a main line, mile for mile on a regular train. The are "long distance" fares which were allowed to rise to a very much higher level per mile than more local ("commuter") fares many years ago, especially on services that were very fast and very high  quality compared to what was general at the time.   So that's really "when the HSTs (High Speed Train) were brought in".     As a result, it's often much cheaper to buy two tickets for two parts of the journey which you are allowed to do provided that the trains you use stop at the swap over point.  So if you buy separate Swindon - Didcot and Didcot-Paddington, you can't use a train that goes nonestop from Reading to Swindon.

FGW (First Great Western) are right that these fares are controlled - i.e. not set by them.  They could (if they wanted to boost traffic) offer special fares at a lower rate and indeed they do so in off peak times with a bewildering array of conditions designed to stop them being useful to peak hour commuters.  But I thing their feeling is "why should we reduce fares on that service in the peak when the train is full anyway - it's more money to pay for our franchise and shareholders" and in a commercial world they're right.

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devon_metro
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« Reply #3 on: November 01, 2007, 04:27:20 pm »

1 Hour @ ^560

Think of the poor sods in Exeter:

2 hours @ ^1994.20
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vacman
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« Reply #4 on: November 01, 2007, 06:20:42 pm »

Yet in the far west season tickets are a bargain Penzance to truro (40 mins) ^25 for 7 days, Penzance-Plymouth (2 hours) ^45 for 7 days Truro-Falmouth ^11.70 for 7 days!
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Jim
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« Reply #5 on: November 01, 2007, 06:59:13 pm »

Yet in the far west season tickets are a bargain Penzance to truro (40 mins) ^25 for 7 days, Penzance-Plymouth (2 hours) ^45 for 7 days Truro-Falmouth ^11.70 for 7 days!

Same with lines like Severn Beach.

In Cornwall though, they are brilliant prices
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simonw
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« Reply #6 on: November 01, 2007, 08:09:57 pm »

I think you might find that BPW» (Bristol Parkway - next trains) to Reading is the most expensive at over ^570 per month for 1 hour travel!

This is the same price as BTM (Bristol Temple Meads (strictly, it should be BRI)) to Reading which is 1 hour 20 minutes!

I believe that train prices should be less that than cost of driving, and driving 150 miles for 20 days, will probably cost  approximately ^450 (AA assumes cost of driving at 15p per mile over the life of the car (http://www.theaa.com/allaboutcars/advice/advice_rcosts_diesel_table.jsp)).

If Network Rail /FGW (First Great Western) use the argument that they are using price to control demand, it certainly is not working!
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John R
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« Reply #7 on: November 01, 2007, 08:32:52 pm »

The argument measuring cost per hour of travel is a bit spurious. I'm sure those who spend an hour crawling 20 miles each morning wouldn't complain if their journey time halved and their "cost per hour" accordingly doubled. Indeed, you might then argue that they should pay a bit more because their average speed has halved.

I don't believe Network Rail set any ticket prices. It has to be the TOC (Train Operating Company).
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martyjon
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« Reply #8 on: November 01, 2007, 09:20:45 pm »

I don't believe Network Rail set any ticket prices. It has to be the TOC (Train Operating Company).

I too didn't think Network Rail had anything to do with the pricing of rail fares unless you consider the track access charges having a contributory factor in the level of fares charged.

I may be wrong but is it not a fact that certain fares are regulated and are set by the Rail Regulator, perhaps the experts can provide a post on this thread to outline generally what fares are regulated and what fares are not.

Where two operators run between two stations one of them, the prime operator, sets fares but the second operator can undercut the prime operators fares by offering fares on XYZ services only.

A case of this was the fares between major stations in South Wales, ATW (Arriva Trains Wales (former TOC)) sets the fares but FGW (First Great Western) came in with lower fares available on FGW services only. This prompted, if I recall a price war, with ATW undercutting the FGW fares by reducing the fares they (ATW) set.

Again anyone elaborate on this.

Rail fares have come alongway in my lifetime, I can remember the days when ordinary rail fares were set by rate per mile whether the journey was from Penzance to Truro, Reading to Paddington or Inverness to Invergordon. There were, I think, only Singles, Period Returns, Day Returns and Workmans / Cheap Day / Half Day Returns.

My grandfather used to work as a superintendant crane driver at the Royal Edward Docks, Avonmouth and very often he would get a pass to take me and my brother to the docks on a Sunday morning when he was on duty and he would buy a Workmans Return for himself and Child Cheap Day Returns for my brother and myself. Yes those WERE the days when the Severn Beach line was double track all the way to Hallen Marsh Junction, the line carried on to Severn Beach with a some services continuing to Pilning and Bristol via the circular route and also via Henbury from Hallen Marsh Junction to Bristol which was double track too.

Enough reminiscing.   
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Timmer
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« Reply #9 on: November 01, 2007, 09:24:07 pm »

I don't believe Network Rail set any ticket prices. It has to be the TOC (Train Operating Company).
First I've ever heard about Network Rail or Railtrack that went before setting fairs. Thought that was the job of the TOCs/Dft previously the SRA» (Strategic Rail Authority - about) in association with ORR» (Office of Rail and Road formerly Office of Rail Regulation - about) who govern how much Network Rail can charge the TOCs for running on their tracks.
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vacman
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« Reply #10 on: November 01, 2007, 11:46:23 pm »

I don't believe Network Rail set any ticket prices. It has to be the TOC (Train Operating Company).
First I've ever heard about Network Rail or Railtrack that went before setting fairs. Thought that was the job of the TOCs/Dft previously the SRA» (Strategic Rail Authority - about) in association with ORR» (Office of Rail and Road formerly Office of Rail Regulation - about) who govern how much Network Rail can charge the TOCs for running on their tracks.
Certain fares are regulated by the ORR, I believe these fares to be Std day singles/returns and Standard open singles/returns and 7 day seasons, although i'm not 100% sure on which ticket types are regulated.
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Mookiemoo
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« Reply #11 on: November 02, 2007, 10:11:05 am »

Then you get the silly rule on the cotswold line that caused me to have a discussion with the guard this morning.

I get a WOS» (Worcester Shrub Hill - next trains) - OXF» (Oxford - next trains) and then OXF - PAD» (Paddington (London) - next trains) season ticket. Works out about ^150 cheaper.

Except............Apparently this is only allowed if you have a tube pass on the back of the london end.  But I dont need one so I dont.

Ridiculous
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vacman
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« Reply #12 on: November 02, 2007, 10:55:56 am »

The guard was talking tripe! you can have a split season ticket as long as the train stops at Oxford!
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Mookiemoo
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« Reply #13 on: November 02, 2007, 12:11:35 pm »

Interesting - cos the train manager (I should say not guard) is one of the best known on the cotswolds line and has been around for years.
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vacman
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« Reply #14 on: November 02, 2007, 12:29:16 pm »

Interesting - cos the train manager (I should say not guard) is one of the best known on the cotswolds line and has been around for years.
I'm in that line of work myself, and i'm sure he's wrong, if there is a season avilable from Oxford to Paddington then you are allowed to buy one! Will look in my Avantix (Ticket Issuing System used on board trains) machine next time i'm at work and let you know the cheapest option for you.
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