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Author Topic: Fare's not so Fair!!  (Read 2991 times)
ReWind
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« on: September 17, 2011, 09:03:33 AM »

I'm no expert in the fares and retail side of train travel, I'm more interested in the operational and geographical nature of the railways, so apologies of this is already well known!!

One simple question.........

Why does a SDR from Yate to Bath Spa cost £7.60 but a SDR from Bristol Parkway to Bath Spa costs £8.50?

Yesterday, I paid more to travel a shorter distance than the person opposite me!!
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grahame
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« Reply #1 on: September 17, 2011, 10:17:00 AM »

One simple question.........
Why does a SDR from Yate to Bath Spa cost £7.60 but a SDR from Bristol Parkway to Bath Spa costs £8.50?

Possible answers:
1. For historic reasons.
2. Fares are set on what the market will bear.
3. Different companies set the fare.
4. The different cost of handling passengers at different stations.
5. Higher fares per mile for "intercity" journeys (i.e. at faster average speed)
6. Fares sometimes lower at stations with fewer trains

Look also at:
Westbury to Paddington v Castle Cary to Paddington
Melksham to Weymouth v Swindon to Weymouth
Shirehampton to Waterloo v Trowbridge to Waterloo
and you'll probably find equivalent issues of longer journey / less expensive fare for at least some ticket types.
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Btline
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« Reply #2 on: September 18, 2011, 01:02:51 AM »

Rip off Britain - it disgusts me, and doesn't do the railways any favours.
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bignosemac
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« Reply #3 on: September 18, 2011, 02:28:19 AM »

I'd like to think it is market forces, supply and demand and the effects of competition, rather than the tired cliché of 'Rip-off Britain'.

There are anomalies in the system but they aren't there to rip people off, they are just the product of a complex fares system that has been been tinkered with, rather than overhauled, down the years.

And for every anomaly that can be regarded as benefiting the TOCs there will be another that benefits the passenger. One thing the Fares and Pricing Managers must hate is split ticketing. A great cost saving benefit for the passenger (enshrined in the Conditions of Carriage) but a headache for TOCs when they are trying to accurately forecast revenue and demand. A popular 'split' point like Didcot Parkway must have seriously skewed statistics, for example.
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Worcester_Passenger
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« Reply #4 on: September 18, 2011, 02:48:18 AM »

One simple question.........
Why does a SDR from Yate to Bath Spa cost £7.60 but a SDR from Bristol Parkway to Bath Spa costs £8.50?
Possible answers:
1. For historic reasons.
2. Fares are set on what the market will bear.
3. Different companies set the fare.
4. The different cost of handling passengers at different stations.
5. Higher fares per mile for "intercity" journeys (i.e. at faster average speed)
6. Fares sometimes lower at stations with fewer trains
It would be straightforward if fares were indeed set on what the market will bear. However, the restrictions on fares changes means that it's those changes that are the controlling influence about "what the market will bear". And what that results in is BNM's description of a system that has been tinkered with.

Meanwhile, is it possible that what we have here is an anomaly which has survived over the years - that Yate-Bath fares were originally set on the basis of the old route via Mangotsfield, and have never been increased to bring them into line with the Parkway ones?
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Btline
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« Reply #5 on: September 18, 2011, 03:18:12 AM »

I respect the opinion of others regarding this and acknowledge the wider picture.

However, I stick to the "cliche" - it is obvious to me that in certain cases, TOCs have used the "complex" fare system to screw the passenger over BIG TIME:

*The very fact that Swindon fares have gone up so much is purely to maximise revenue. I am delighted that savvy commuters are sticking two fingers up at the system by splitting at Didcot, and hopefully over the years the difference in price will be reduced to prevent this. NSE was axed years ago - I'm SICK of this being used as the excuse (I understand the difference in regulated fares that caused this - still no excuse for such a discrepancy).

*I think the DISGUSTING tactic used by certain TOCs of introducing a new fare level, whilst racking up the price and restrictions on the existing fare is nothing short of daylight robbery and should be challenged in the courts. As normal, it is hard working middle class families that are forced to fork out the extra.

*The price of a SOR Manchester to London is ridiculous. This, combined with peak lasting until 11.30 (not to mention the bungled introduction of restrictions + eye watering price increase on the ALR when fleeced commuters attempted to save money), is again a blatant shot in the arm of the passenger. After HS2, I will expect this fare to be lowered DRAMATICALLY and restructions on the ALR to be AXED.
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bignosemac
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« Reply #6 on: September 18, 2011, 03:36:49 AM »

Yate to Bath Spa is an interesting one and one I wasn't previously aware of - so thanks go to ReWind for that. I note that the fares; Filton Abbey Wood <-> Bath Spa are also set at the same prices as those; Bristol Parkway <-> Bath Spa.

Would anyone care to memo the MoD at Abbey Wood and let all those staff with season tickets to/from Bath know that there is an option that would save them a few bob?

*I think the DISGUSTING tactic used by certain TOCs of introducing a new fare level, whilst racking up the price and restrictions on the existing fare is nothing short of daylight robbery and should be challenged in the courts.

Unfortunately anyone attempting a legal challenge is likely on a hiding to nothing. A regulated fare for the majority of flows (be that Off Peak, Super Off Peak or commuter season) and peak time hours are written into the franchise agreements. So It'd have to be the DfT and/or the ORR that you'd need to take to court. Good luck with that!
« Last Edit: September 18, 2011, 03:53:28 AM by bignosemac » Logged

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TerminalJunkie
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« Reply #7 on: September 18, 2011, 08:13:29 AM »

shot in the arm

I would suggest you look that phrase up to discover what it actually means...
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ChrisB
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« Reply #8 on: September 18, 2011, 09:15:14 AM »

Stations, with some exceptions, are in fare groups, hence Abbeywood & Yate having the same fare to Bath.

Didcot is being sorted slowly, but unfairly (to Didcot users particulary) by raising fares into/out of there hugely. Thus making going anywhere from there hugely expensive, in comparison to other journeys of a similar distance.

It's no fault of the Didcot users, and its completely unfair
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bobm
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« Reply #9 on: September 18, 2011, 10:08:48 AM »

save them a few bob?

Somebody call?   Grin Grin

Seriously though did these sort of fare anomolies exist before BR was broken up into sectors? 
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Btline
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« Reply #10 on: September 18, 2011, 10:35:28 AM »

I would suggest you look that phrase up to discover what it actually means...

Fair play - note the time I wrote the post! Replace with "slap in the face". Or simply treat the phrase literally...
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grahame
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« Reply #11 on: September 18, 2011, 12:24:39 PM »

Didcot is being sorted slowly, but unfairly (to Didcot users particulary) by raising fares into/out of there hugely. Thus making going anywhere from there hugely expensive, in comparison to other journeys of a similar distance.

It's no fault of the Didcot users, and its completely unfair

Hmmm ... Chris, I think many of us would regard "fair" in terms of balance between places along a line as paying the same pence per mile for any journey, or perhaps paying a certain number of pence per mile plus a certain amount per ticket.

So on the current Bristol to London service (all based on single peak tickets):

Bristol to London 120 miles 84.50 fare 70.4 pence per mile
Bath to London 116 miles 79.50 fare 68.5 pence per mile
Chippenham to London 100 miles 69.50 fare 69.5 pence per mile
Swindon to London 82 miles 54.50 fare 66.5 pence per mile
Didcot to London 73 miles 26.00 fare 35.6 pence per mile
Reading to London 42 miles 19.50 fare 46.4 pence per mile

A total basket - 1 of each - is 533 miles, 343.50 fare, 64.4 pence per mile.
With a fixed amount of 5 pounds per ticket plus 58.8 pence per mile, that would also bring in 343.50 for the basket.

So fare's fairer would be:
Bristol to London 77.30 or 75.60
Bath to London 74.70 or 73.20
Chippenham to London 64.40 or 63.80
Swindon to London 52.80 or 53.20
Didcot to London 47.00 or 47.95
Reading to London 27.05 or 29.70

I've used the AA's road mileage for this (I'm not sure that rail fares should be based on the rail distance, especially for journeys that the DfT / TOC choose not to provide a direct route, even though there has been one in the past), and I haven't weighted the figures based on the proportion of passengers from each station. But unless people travelling to / from Didcot were promised lower fares in perpituity at some point, then I really don't see how setting fares on a level playing field is unfair to them.  Unwelcome, yes, which is probably why no politician would dare do it ...
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bobm
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« Reply #12 on: September 18, 2011, 12:29:05 PM »

I stand to be corrected - but isn't Didcot 53 miles to Paddington not 73?  I seem to remember it is the same distance from London as Newbury.  I think rail mileages are more representative.  After all some journeys are greatly exadurated by road as they cannot take the same route as rail.  On a smaller scale the Henley Branch.  You can't get from Wargrave to Shiplake without a lengthy detour by road.
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grahame
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« Reply #13 on: September 18, 2011, 01:16:29 PM »

Didcot to London by road sends you nearly down to Newbury ... but all the other mileages are higher too.  I would suspect that a "lower of road and rail" would be fairer and in the case of the journeys on this corridor.   I would go for "crow flies" stuff, except I can see a distortion in everyone buying Sheerness to Shoeburyness tickets and getting off somewhere short like in London.

Wargrave to Shiplake by Road?   Try Culrain to Inveshin, or Morfa Mawddach to Barmouth  Wink

Bob - you are very welcome to play with algorithms and distances - I would find other comparative tables beyond my very rough one to be very informative as to where a level playing field might take us (depending on various types of levelling!)
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TerminalJunkie
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« Reply #14 on: September 18, 2011, 01:38:01 PM »

A total basket - 1 of each - is 533 miles, 343.50 fare, 64.4 pence per mile.
With a fixed amount of 5 pounds per ticket plus 58.8 pence per mile, that would also bring in 343.50 for the basket.

Hmm. Since you appear to be trying to set fares so that the operator doesn't lose revenue, you need to factor in the number of tickets sold for each of those journeys. You can't average averages!
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