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3:39pm on Wednesday, 17th August, 2011:

Train Ticket Prices


I went to London yesterday for a meeting . As usual I bought an off-peak one-day travelcard (train plus underground), which is about £27 or something. I can use this between 9:04 and 16:29; at other times, it's peak.

Anyway, we spent most of the afternoon post-meeting in Rules restaurant (the oldest in London) (no, I wasn't paying or it would have been the burger joint on the other side of the street instead). This meant we got to the station at 16:20. Unfortunately, the last train I can catch before 16:29 is at like 16:00, so that meant I had to take a peak train or wait until 18:31 when off-peak comes back.

Before when this has happened, I've bought a peak-time extension for my ticket. It costs about £14. I tried to get one from a ticket machine, but the best it could do was a peak single for about £24. OK, so that meant queueing at the ticket desk.

10 minutes of queueing later, the woman on the ticket desk punched in the details and told me it would cost something like £48 to get my ticket extended. This is what it would have cost to buy a new peak-time one in the morning. After arguing that the machine outside was welling tickets for half that, she tried again and got £45 (without the underground). I complained. She said that really if I wanted to extend the ticket it had to be the same class of ticket and she shouldn't even have taken off the underground. I complained again and asked why the machine outside was cheaper. She went off and spoke to her manager.

10 minutes of waiting later, she came back and said that because it was the school holidays, I could use my off-peak one-day travelcard during evening peak times anyway. Having now missed the 16:30 fast train to Colchester, I therefore had to catch the 16:45 slow train (which is about as comfortable as a cattle truck). Needless to say, no-one checked my ticket for the whole journey.

The free newspaper I picked up said train tickets were rising by 8% next year.

It cost less than a fiver for a one-day travelcard when I was an undergraduate...

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Copyright © 2011 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).