diamond geezer

 Friday, May 20, 2011

Yesterday saw the publication of the McNulty report on railway "value for money". The report was commissioned by the previous government, and is likely to be implemented by the present government. It recommends making rail fares fairer by balancing them out a bit, which'll be great if yours come down, but dreadful if yours go up. One particularly unsettling section recommends "reducing the coverage of Off-Peak/Saver fare regulation", which would give train operators greater opportunity to increase fares during the middle of the day and at weekends. Damn, that's when I use them.

So I thought I'd do some research to find out how much off-peak tickets cost now, for posterity, to compare with whatever future fare system we might end up with in several years time. I've investigated the price of off-peak return tickets from London to various stations across the southeast. I've started from the most appropriate mainline rail terminus. I've assumed I'm buying my ticket on the day, not in advance, because I hate being tied down to particular trains. I've chosen to travel out on Friday at noon, and return later the same evening. And I've worked out how far out of London I can go for £10 (yellow), how far for £20 (green), how far for £30 (light blue), how far for £40 (blue) and how far for £50 (purple).

Here's something I've never tried on the blog before - an embedded map...

View Rail prices from London in a larger map

£10: See the yellow ring around Greater London? That's fairly consistent pricing, that is, although with an uneven ripple to the northwest of the capital. Maidenhead scores the prize for the furthest station you can travel to (and back) for a tenner.
£20: Again the £20 ring is roughly circular, allowing Londoners to travel approximately 40 miles out of the capital. Brighton's good value, that's fifty miles, and you can travel similarly far to the north (Milton Keynes, Bedford, Sandy, Cambridge) and to the southwest (notably Basingstoke).
£30: It's at £30 that the differences between train operators really start to become visible. £30 gets you almost to Birmingham and all the way up to Peterborough. It gives you free run of southeast England, anywhere from Portsmouth to Dover. But try heading into East Anglia with National Express and you won't even leave Essex.
£40: There are relative bargains here, right the way up to Grantham and all the way out to Worcester. But the extra tenner doesn't nudge you far along the M4, nor far along the mainline into Suffolk. And pity the residents of Wellingborough in Northants. They're only one station north of Bedford (£19.50 return), but that extra station costs them an extra £19.
£50: Fifty quid will take you to Bristol or even all the way out to Somerset, past Yeovil. A similar distance from London are the north Norfolk coast and Newark, Notts. But £50 isn't enough to make Leicester, on the long-distance line that's the worst value of all for bought-on-the-day tickets. East Midlands trains, hang your head in extortionate shame.

I wonder how this week's rail report will affect these off-peak turn-up-and-go fares and their spatial distribution. I fear not well. Come back in a few years time and maybe I'll plot this map again.

<< click for Newer posts

click for Older Posts >>

click to return to the main page

...or read more in my monthly archives
Jan19  Feb19  Mar19  Apr19  May19  Jun19  Jul19  Aug19  Sep19  Oct19  Nov19  Dec19
Jan18  Feb18  Mar18  Apr18  May18  Jun18  Jul18  Aug18  Sep18  Oct18  Nov18  Dec18
Jan17  Feb17  Mar17  Apr17  May17  Jun17  Jul17  Aug17  Sep17  Oct17  Nov17  Dec17
Jan16  Feb16  Mar16  Apr16  May16  Jun16  Jul16  Aug16  Sep16  Oct16  Nov16  Dec16
Jan15  Feb15  Mar15  Apr15  May15  Jun15  Jul15  Aug15  Sep15  Oct15  Nov15  Dec15
Jan14  Feb14  Mar14  Apr14  May14  Jun14  Jul14  Aug14  Sep14  Oct14  Nov14  Dec14
Jan13  Feb13  Mar13  Apr13  May13  Jun13  Jul13  Aug13  Sep13  Oct13  Nov13  Dec13
Jan12  Feb12  Mar12  Apr12  May12  Jun12  Jul12  Aug12  Sep12  Oct12  Nov12  Dec12
Jan11  Feb11  Mar11  Apr11  May11  Jun11  Jul11  Aug11  Sep11  Oct11  Nov11  Dec11
Jan10  Feb10  Mar10  Apr10  May10  Jun10  Jul10  Aug10  Sep10  Oct10  Nov10  Dec10 
Jan09  Feb09  Mar09  Apr09  May09  Jun09  Jul09  Aug09  Sep09  Oct09  Nov09  Dec09
Jan08  Feb08  Mar08  Apr08  May08  Jun08  Jul08  Aug08  Sep08  Oct08  Nov08  Dec08
Jan07  Feb07  Mar07  Apr07  May07  Jun07  Jul07  Aug07  Sep07  Oct07  Nov07  Dec07
Jan06  Feb06  Mar06  Apr06  May06  Jun06  Jul06  Aug06  Sep06  Oct06  Nov06  Dec06
Jan05  Feb05  Mar05  Apr05  May05  Jun05  Jul05  Aug05  Sep05  Oct05  Nov05  Dec05
Jan04  Feb04  Mar04  Apr04  May04  Jun04  Jul04  Aug04  Sep04  Oct04  Nov04  Dec04
Jan03  Feb03  Mar03  Apr03  May03  Jun03  Jul03  Aug03  Sep03  Oct03  Nov03  Dec03
 Jan02  Feb02  Mar02  Apr02  May02  Jun02  Jul02 Aug02  Sep02  Oct02  Nov02  Dec02 

eXTReMe Tracker
jack of diamonds
Life viewed from London E3

» email me
» follow me on twitter
» follow the blog on Twitter
» follow the blog on RSS

my flickr photostream