diamond geezer

 Sunday, November 23, 2008

Let's take a closer look at the train fare rip-off. Yesterday I looked at off-peak prices, and today it's rush hour travel. What if you have to travel at breakfast time, how exploited are you? Very, in some cases...

Cost of a return rail ticket from London
 50 MILESRush hour
  8)Milton Keynes£32.40£14.50£17.90

Stay close-ish to London and fares don't tend to rise hugely at peak times. A few pounds extra, nothing more... unless you intend to travel northwest, that is. Head to Milton Keynes, Bedford or Oxford and your rail fare more than doubles, which is appalling geographical bias. And what of longer distances?

Cost of a return rail ticket from London
 100 MILESRush hour

Ouch. Only two of these peak time fare rises could be described as minor - one to Bournemouth and one to Worcester. Both towns lie within the old Network Southeast area, which may explain why ticket prices are restricted. Travel anywhere else, however, and your wallet's in danger. You'll need to find an extra forty, sixty, even eighty quid for the privilege of sitting in exactly the same seat to go to exactly the same place, just slightly earlier. Again it's rail passengers heading west or northwest who have to stump up the most.

But what if you're able to plan your journey in advance? For my final analysis I've searched for the cheapest Advance fare available next Monday morning, 1st December, departing around 8am and returning around 6pm. And then I've compared these with the turn up and go fares. In some cases the difference is extreme.

Cost of a return rail ticket from London
 100 MILESAdvance
(turn up & go)

OK, I take it back about Norwich. It is possible to get there relatively cheaply, saving two-thirds off the usual rush hour fare, if you don't mind catching a specific train. Advance booking to Grantham saves nearly three-quarters, which is phenomenal. Even taking the fast Virgin train to Birmingham, extortionate as it is, can be done at half price.

So yes, forward planning can save you a packet, although it can also be damned inconvenient. Timed tickets force you to arrive at the station really early, both on the way out and on the way back, because you absolutely definitely daren't miss your bargain train. Advance fares are perfect for those who don't want to waste money and don't mind wasting time. I have to say, that's not usually me.

My commenters recommend booking your rail travel in advance via the National Express East Coast website, which they assure me (unlike the trainline) incurs no nasty booking fee. There are further useful (if farcical) hints here. Oh, and as for impromptu day trips to France... just don't. Not unless work's paying.

<< click for Newer posts

click for Older Posts >>

click to return to the main page

...or read more in my monthly archives
Jan20  Feb20  Mar20  Apr20  May20
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