diamond geezer

 Thursday, July 06, 2017

On Tuesday I took the High Speed train from Stratford to Margate.
The bloke at the ticket office apologised for how confusing the fares were.
"Even I don't understand it," he said.

Here's how confusing the fares are.
Five High Speed trains depart Stratford International for Margate between 09:16 and 10:34.
The day return fare for each train is different.

DepartviaTicketFareRestrictionsArrive
09:16Ashford
Canterbury
Anytime Day Return£45.10 10:39
(1h23m)
09:34Gravesend
Herne Bay
Off-Peak Day Return£35.90Only valid for travel via Herne Bay.
Not valid on trains timed to depart before 09:30
10:58
(1h24m)
09:44Ashford
Dover
Off-Peak Day Return£41.40Not valid on trains timed to depart before 09:3011:30
(1h46m)
10:15Ashford
Canterbury
Super Off-Peak Day Return£32.10Not valid on trains timed to depart before 10:0011:39
(1h24m)
10:34Gravesend
Herne Bay
Super Off-Peak Day Return£25.70Only valid for travel via Herne Bay.
Not valid on trains timed to depart before 10:00
11:58
(1h24m)

I knew tickets were cheaper after 09:30, but I didn't realise the price dropped another 20% after 10am.
It's not like the trains out of London are busy on a weekday morning.

I also didn't know that Southeastern had started charging less if you travelled via Herne Bay.
It's not even a slower route.

For comparison, here are three consecutive trains from London Victoria via the non-High Speed route...

DepartviaTicketFareRestrictionsArrive
09:07Bromley
Herne Bay
Anytime Day Return£38.90Not valid on Southeastern high speed services.10:58
(1h51m)
09:37Bromley
Herne Bay
Off-Peak Day Return£35.70Not valid on Southeastern high speed services.
Not valid on trains timed to depart before 09:30
11:22
(1h45m)
10:07Bromley
Herne Bay
Super Off-Peak Day Return£23.70Not valid on Southeastern high speed services.
Not valid on trains timed to depart before 10:00
11:58
(1h51m)

The journey times are longer than the High Speed route, by about 25 minutes...
...but this doesn't actually save much money - between 09:30 and 10:00 it only saves 20p!


As another comparison, two Advance Singles from Stratford would have cost a total of £27.20.
...but I didn't know what time I'd be coming back, plus there was a cheaper option anyway.


Five consecutive trains with five different fares is ridiculous, surely?
How have we ever let the system get this complicated?
Is it only Southeastern who are toying with passengers like this?
And where will it all end?


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