Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Fare Madness

It's that time of year when South West Trains send out e-mails to their registered customers about 'special' Christmas deals and 'two for one offers' at various London attractions. Just what London needs at the busiest time of the year is thousands of people arriving from the provinces but in times of austerity you can't be picky and us day visitors bring much wanted money.

Anyway I'm intending on visiting town at some point before January simply to see this years entrants in the Turner Prize so I duly clicked on the 'see fares and trains' button and was shocked (although I shouldn't have been) at the disparity in fares. Travelling on a Saturday morning before 8:30 and returning after 5 p.m were my only two criteria.

Catching the 6:50 train the First Class fare (at £18) is actually cheaper than the Standard Fare by £2 which seems like a bargain too good to be missed. However wait a mere 23 minutes and catch the 7:13 and the fare has increased to £76.20! Wait another 17 minutes and catch the 7:30 which arrives at Waterloo before the 7:13 and the fare is only £26.  Given that variation in fares why would anybody want to catch the 7:13?

The fares for the return journey are all pretty much of a muchness, the cheapest being £20 and the most expensive £26.

The fare structures, as anybody who has travelled on public transport in the U.K and Europe knows, in this country are beyond a joke and yet year on year we see record numbers of people travelling by train - presumably because the state of the roads are so piss poor. Ironically given that I drive a car that can do 70 miles to the gallon I can drive myself into town and home for £21, park at the Barbican for £7.50 and not have to worry about people's kids, the smell of the ubiquitous station coffee or people talking on their mobiles. Plus I can come and go as I please.


A Northern Bloke said...

I see your point about the cost and convenience of a car trip to London but how would journey times compare with the train? Is the legendary congestion in central Lodon as bad as people make it out to be?

Paul said...

Good point Shy. I think, in fact I know, that the train would be 45 minutes quicker, even allowing for the fact I would avoid the centre.

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