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The Railway - Keeping Britain on Track - Tuesdays BBC2 - 9pm


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Old 14-02-2013, 01:24
lundavra
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And there is one of the big problems with rail travel in this country.
The railway makes a nice sum by charging him for the ticket on the day (or one of their excessive penalties) and lose a potential customer because next time he will take his car.
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Old 14-02-2013, 01:29
lundavra
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Right then, I can tell you categorically that the "experienced worker" at the time the programme was filmed, had well less than a year's railway experience ,and that the "trainer" had over 26 years on the railway, working her way up from yts trainee. Just shows how gullible the viewing public are when faced with a cleverly edited "documentary"!
But many go 'corporate' as they work their way up the system and start talking the same garbage as other managers because they know that is the way they will continue to progress.
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Old 14-02-2013, 10:49
dsimiller
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Well said,im not a driver on the railways but they earn every bit of their salary as far as im concerned,they take hundreds of people at speed across our nation as safely as they can,and have to cope with suicides on the line,cars jumping level crossing barriers,youngsters throwing bricks from bridges which when smash through a drivers windscreen causes terrible injuries and put the lifes of passengers at risk!!!! I travel by train quite a lot and thank goodness we have highly paid skilled men and women up at the sharp end!!!!
Agree entirely.IMO those guys and gals earn every penny of their wages.Shame about the Management though.What a load of pillocks.
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Old 14-02-2013, 12:03
jackthom
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The railway makes a nice sum by charging him for the ticket on the day (or one of their excessive penalties) and lose a potential customer because next time he will take his car.
Yes I wonder how many other people have been stung in this way and simply learned that the best way of avoiding such stress and heartache in future is to make plans that don't involve train travel.

If ever there was something guaranteed to upset and repel their customers it would be charging them again for their ticket (at a much higher price) simply because they missed their train.
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Old 14-02-2013, 12:21
Train driver
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Yes I wonder how many other people have been stung in this way and simply learned that the best way of avoiding such stress and heartache in future is to make plans that don't involve train travel.

If ever there was something guaranteed to upset and repel their customers it would be charging them again for their ticket (at a much higher price) simply because they missed their train.
To be fair that only applies to the heavily discounted advanced fares. If you buy an advance ticket (those are the ones that can be stupidly low such as 20 first class from london - edinburgh etc) you agree to the terms and conditions of that ticket which include a clause that they are only valid on the specific train booked. That is why it is so cheap - it is to fill seats on that specific train. If you miss that train for any reason outside the railways control then it is no longer valid otherwise it removes the point of that discounted ticket.

Airlines are exactly the same, if you turn up at the airport late and miss your flight then there is a good chance you will need to buy a new ticket.
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Old 14-02-2013, 14:02
zandar
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So, suppose you are landing at Heathrow after a long haul flight. In order to get a 'cheap' ticket, you have booked your onward rail ticket 11 weeks in advance for a train departing Reading at 10am on a Tuesday = a relatively quiet time. The plane is late and you miss the 10am but catch the 10.30am instead. This train is even more off peak than the 10am but the rail company can come along and say your ticket is not valid and then request the full walk on fare or make a penalty charge. This is what makes the railways non user friendly.

Same thing applies to leisure travel. To get a 'cheap' fare, you have to book weeks in advance. Come the day of travel and the weather is terrible. Now, what do you do? Go on the trip to use the ticket or don't go and take a loss? My guess is that many leisure travellers will simply not use the trains in the first place but simply cut out all this book weeks in advance nonsense and use the car as and when they like.

Now, I can understand why the railways have to have graded fares. You clearly don't want granny making a one way long distance journey during peak commuting time. In order to make the system more user friendly yet still have a deterrent to non essential travel during commuting peaks, they could surely have 3 price bands according to projected demand? A peak price, off peak & shoulder - which could be used where a long distance train crosses demand boundaries in the course of its journey. Exceptions could be made for special event days. Hence, with trains graded in this way, we could have a turn up and go service with fares charged accordingly. (The timetables could be printed with background colours denoting the grade of fare chargeable during the course of journeys).

Such a system would also stop this ridiculous situation where passengers hang around stations to see relatively empty peak rate trains depart for their destinations only to cram aboard later trains that are in the off peak rate - or that for which their cheaper ticket is valid.

Regarding local services: we have over 60's with free bus passes. They could be filling up trains during the daytime but won't use them because the buses are free. So, government subsidies for this make rail services less able to pay their way. The Government then have to subsidise loss making rail services.
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Old 14-02-2013, 14:38
jackthom
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To be fair that only applies to the heavily discounted advanced fares. If you buy an advance ticket (those are the ones that can be stupidly low such as 20 first class from london - edinburgh etc) you agree to the terms and conditions of that ticket which include a clause that they are only valid on the specific train booked. That is why it is so cheap - it is to fill seats on that specific train. If you miss that train for any reason outside the railways control then it is no longer valid otherwise it removes the point of that discounted ticket.

Airlines are exactly the same, if you turn up at the airport late and miss your flight then there is a good chance you will need to buy a new ticket.
I do take your point but would it not make for better customer relations in that situation to allow someone to either stand or find an unoccupied seat on a later train, assuming that doesn't come into peak times?

The penalty system does look very much like a punitive revenue earner.
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Old 14-02-2013, 14:42
Mystical123
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So, suppose you are landing at Heathrow after a long haul flight. In order to get a 'cheap' ticket, you have booked your onward rail ticket 11 weeks in advance for a train departing Reading at 10am on a Tuesday = a relatively quiet time. The plane is late and you miss the 10am but catch the 10.30am instead. This train is even more off peak than the 10am but the rail company can come along and say your ticket is not valid and then request the full walk on fare or make a penalty charge. This is what makes the railways non user friendly.
Anyone with an ounce of sense would either factor in a potential delay (e.g. by buying 2 dirt cheap tickets an hour or so apart) or just buy an open ticket as something like that is always risky.

I don't think that's a fair comparison anyway though, the cheapest fares from airports are invariably anytime singles that are valid on any train, or at least any train run by a particular operator (and I've got trains to every airport in and around London at some point in the last couple of years, so I should know!).
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Old 14-02-2013, 14:44
ZiQi
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Regarding local services: we have over 60's with free bus passes. They could be filling up trains during the daytime but won't use them because the buses are free. So, government subsidies for this make rail services less able to pay their way. The Government then have to subsidise loss making rail services.
In the West Midlands 60+ also get free Metro and Train travel within the West Midlands.
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Old 14-02-2013, 16:56
Corky Duke
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Anyone with an ounce of sense would either factor in a potential delay (e.g. by buying 2 dirt cheap tickets an hour or so apart) or just buy an open ticket as something like that is always risky.
I have known passengers travelling from the north who are catching a flight from a London airport and some leave very little time for possible late running of trains and delay to their journeys.
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Old 14-02-2013, 17:20
Train driver
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But it's the same for other things-if you but a theatre ticket for the Tuesday afternoon performance and arrive late you can't just ask to watch the Tuesday night show instead at no extra cost.

Same if you buy an airline ticket for the 1230 flight from London to Rome. If you turn up late you can't ways get a free transfer onto the next flight-you will need to buy a new ticket.

Or spend a but more on a flexible 'anytime' train ticket and it dosnt matter what train you get in but you pay more for the flexibity.

As I said before, if you buy the cheap tickets you need to obey the terms and conditions which are clearly printed on the ticket (it will clearly say 'booked train only' on the ticket.
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Old 14-02-2013, 17:31
googleking
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Plus you have the option of travel insurance against late running public transport.
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Old 14-02-2013, 17:54
LostFool
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Or spend a but more on a flexible 'anytime' train ticket and it dosnt matter what train you get in but you pay more for the flexibity.

As I said before, if you buy the cheap tickets you need to obey the terms and conditions which are clearly printed on the ticket (it will clearly say 'booked train only' on the ticket.
It doesn't really encourage people to use public transport if they are told they have too book weeks in advance to get a good deal. If I have to go somewhere at short notice then I will almost always drive as it costs me the same regardless of the time of day, i provides a door to door service and I have full flexibility of when I come back.

The only time I take the train is for journeys into London because driving there is so much hassle. If I had to go anywhere else in the country I probably wouldn't;'t even consider the train as an option.
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Old 15-02-2013, 07:54
zandar
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Anyone with an ounce of sense would either factor in a potential delay (e.g. by buying 2 dirt cheap tickets an hour or so apart) or just buy an open ticket as something like that is always risky.

I don't think that's a fair comparison anyway though, the cheapest fares from airports are invariably anytime singles that are valid on any train, or at least any train run by a particular operator (and I've got trains to every airport in and around London at some point in the last couple of years, so I should know!).

Well, here are the facts for a sample journey from Heathrow to Cardiff (one way) departing after 9.30am (when 'cheaper' fares apply):>

Booking today (turn up - pay & go)
60.50 using Heathrow Express & changing at Paddington.
49.40 using Railair coach link to Reading & then train.

Booking today (15 Feb) for Thursday 18 April with the 'Advance' rule being that you must travel on a specific service. =
32.50 using Heathrow Express & changing at Paddington.
27.50 using Railair Coach link to Reading & then train.

So, no point in buying 2 'dirt' cheap tickets in Advance about 1 hour apart. Quite a difference in the prices between turn up, pay & go and book weeks in advance & be tied to specific trains.

My guess is that FGW trains from Reading to Cardiff at that time (weekday mornings after 9.30am) would have plenty of space. This is why I say the present system is so user unfriendly and that trains at specific periods of the day should have flat rate fares without the need to book in advance or be tied to a specific service. I am sure that such a system would create less grief for passengers and less hassle for staff.

I am sure that many foreigners who do not about this ridiculous system in Britain are caught out by the high turn up & go fares.

Another factor that seems to govern prices is the amount of rolling stock on specific routes. Where train capacity is well short of demand, fares tend to be higher.

BTW, using Heathrow Connect trains is cheaper than using Heathrow Express for the same route.
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Old 15-02-2013, 09:27
elfcurry
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Train travel would be my preferred option for a long-ish journey to another town or city but the fare system does seem particularly stupid.

Of course people who turn up and pay full fare or those who book for that train rightly expect their place. Someone getting a cheap advance booked fare should not EXPECT to be able to hop on a train other than the one for which their ticket directly applies. But if they turn up late and there is space, why charge them punitive amounts making them less likely to use a train again? It's stupid and self-defeating the railways.
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Old 15-02-2013, 10:45
Free as a bird
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Wonder what Cameron was hiding behind his newspaper? Razzle
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Old 15-02-2013, 10:52
brisky
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I just got round to watching this. I thought that it was pretty good and that most of the staff came across quite well. That story the poor woman told of the guy buying a ticket so that he could get through the gate to jump in front of a train did make me feel very sad.

Obviously Mr. Powerpoint manager man was annoying and verging on a David Brent parody. If he was my manager, I think I'd give him a swift kick in the nuts to wipe that grin off his face!

All the "amazing customer experience" stuff is grating and annoying though. I agreed with the old guy in that meeting. Most people want to turn up, get on a train that's on time and bugger off to where they're going. Nothing more, nothing less. Yes, if things go wrong that's where the customer service kicks in, but I don't think that we need American-Style cheese.

Laxman was a star though - I hope he enjoys his retirement
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Old 15-02-2013, 16:14
Mystical123
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I have known passengers travelling from the north who are catching a flight from a London airport and some leave very little time for possible late running of trains and delay to their journeys.
I did say anyone with an ounce of sense - people like that are clearly showing themselves to have very little sense. I have no sympathy for anyone who doesn't factor in some time.

Obviously it's different if you're delayed for hours and miss a flight, that's happened to me before - left over 2 hours' contingency but still missed a flight because of several broken down trains.

Like others have pointed out, the rules are exactly the same for flights, concerts etc - you can't just turn up late and expect to be accommodated without extra expense, no matter what (apart from complete force majeure, of course). That's life, so why should trains be any different?
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Old 15-02-2013, 16:32
Corky Duke
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Like others have pointed out, the rules are exactly the same for flights, concerts etc - you can't just turn up late and expect to be accommodated without extra expense, no matter what (apart from complete force majeure, of course). That's life, so why should trains be any different?
Thats right but people think the railway is different and it's not just passengers turning up late for trains, some will book tickets for an afternoon or evening train because it is the cheapest pre book ticket they can get.

Then turn up hours before there booked train and expect to able to travel on the first available service.
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Old 15-02-2013, 17:41
Mystical123
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Thats right but people think the railway is different and it's not just passengers turning up late for trains, some will book tickets for an afternoon or evening train because it is the cheapest pre book ticket they can get.

Then turn up hours before there booked train and expect to able to travel on the first available service.
I still don't see why they should get what they want though. If they don't read the conditions properly or plan their journey properly it's no-one's fault but their own.
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Old 15-02-2013, 18:55
MP3_4_Life
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This program is pretty true to hoe it is, like has been mentioned the average driver is on around 40k, the Average guard (like myself) 25k a year, buying standard walk on fares are expensive, HOW"EVER buying an advanced single between manchester and london can be as little as 6.50. as usual programs like this only show a small part of the picture, its like the Driver PNB's (personal needs break). if you work a shift over 6 hours you LEGALLY need a break between the 3rd and 5th hour ao it makes perfect sense that a long distance driver would need a break at the end of a trip (time constraints etc.). There is so much more than people actually see it is laughable.
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Old 16-02-2013, 02:34
Corky Duke
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I still don't see why they should get what they want though. If they don't read the conditions properly or plan their journey properly it's no-one's fault but their own.
You would think it would be simple wouldn't you, but no it's not, even though they are in the wrong they protest there innocence because they claim not understand conditions of the ticket that they have bought.
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Old 16-02-2013, 03:52
jonnyinscotland
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This program is pretty true to hoe it is, like has been mentioned the average driver is on around 40k, the Average guard (like myself) 25k a year, buying standard walk on fares are expensive, HOW"EVER buying an advanced single between manchester and london can be as little as 6.50. as usual programs like this only show a small part of the picture, its like the Driver PNB's (personal needs break). if you work a shift over 6 hours you LEGALLY need a break between the 3rd and 5th hour ao it makes perfect sense that a long distance driver would need a break at the end of a trip (time constraints etc.). There is so much more than people actually see it is laughable.
It is only a one hour so programme so not really surprising that details are often truncated or missed out.
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Old 16-02-2013, 11:38
lundavra
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I still don't see why they should get what they want though. If they don't read the conditions properly or plan their journey properly it's no-one's fault but their own.
I think people just think it is wrong to be expected to have read (what is presumably) a large book of terms and conditions before purchasing a ticket and travelling. It puts them off rail travel. I haven't used a train for several years but years ago I used them regularly, I never even thought of getting hold of a copy of the terms and conditions before going to the station, buying a ticket and making the journey.
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Old 16-02-2013, 12:58
Mystical123
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I think people just think it is wrong to be expected to have read (what is presumably) a large book of terms and conditions before purchasing a ticket and travelling. It puts them off rail travel. I haven't used a train for several years but years ago I used them regularly, I never even thought of getting hold of a copy of the terms and conditions before going to the station, buying a ticket and making the journey.
It's not a big booklet though, it's made very clear when you buy an advance single that it's valid only on the specific train you have booked and is non-refundable.

I really fail to see what's so hard to understand about that!
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