Overpriced trains

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thelawnet
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Overpriced trains

Postby thelawnet » 6 Jan 2012, 1:41pm

We live in Woking, and have a good service into London less thsn half-an-hour to Waterloo and trains every 5-10 minutes. However by the time you've gone door-to-door it does take one hour.

We went out last night for dinner in London, two super-off-peak returns cost £32.20, we arrived at our destination at around 7pm and left around 10:45. We also got a taxi, which cost £5, so our total spend was £37.20.

My wife pointed out that crushing onto two tubes each way is not much fun and next time we should drive.

The parking cost works out at £14.40 for 4 hours, and the round-trip distance is 60 miles, so at 25p/mile, a cost of around £29.40 for the same journey, in greater comfort.

The train, even relatively empty in the evening, is less than attractive.

Moodyman1

Re: Overpriced trains

Postby Moodyman1 » 6 Jan 2012, 2:33pm

It'd be free if you both cycled there.

And you'd work up a nice appetite for your dinner.
:D

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Si
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Re: Overpriced trains

Postby Si » 6 Jan 2012, 3:17pm

For a number of my trips I find that the train would be more expensive than driving (although I don't factor in cost of depreciation on the car plus cost of increased insurance if I go over my agreed yearly mileage, etc). However, I tend to write this extra off as the premium to be paid for not having to undergo the hassle and unpleasantness of driving. Of course, you can also get hassle and unpleasantness on the train from cancellations, strange smells in the carriage (and even stranger people etc), but that the moment the train is still proving to be a little less unpleasant than the car. Plus I guess that you can feel smug about the green issues too, if you are that way inclined, and aren't about to have your local idyllic countryside raped and pillaged by the pointless HS2 white elephant.

Of course, if the journey can be done by bike then that is much more preferable.

Hector's House
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Re: Overpriced trains

Postby Hector's House » 6 Jan 2012, 3:33pm

I agree that trains can be ridiculous. For instance, with my railcard, I recently very nearly bough some train tickets (leaving throughout the day) from Edinburgh to Leeds at £7*.
On the other (serious, empathetic) hand, my friend paid once paid £60 to get from Aberdeen to Oxford; I was travelling from Edinburgh on the same journey... booked two weeks before her, and also paid £60. That was in the days before I cracked the secret of getting good deals on tickets...

When and how did you book?
Booking for a train near to or on the day tickets are always ridiculously overpriced. I generally look at my diary and bulk buy my tickets for three months in advance on eastcoast.co.uk (because that site shows all the journeys on one page). Sometimes you need to be flexible with time (plus or minus an hour), but I'd rather flex time than money.

Also, two singles can very often cost less than returns. If I'm very lucky I can get to Dundee for £3.25ish. The only drawback is that you have to spend more than five quid... so you need to find another journey!

*The only reason I didn't book then, but a week later, (£14 for a single; same price as a single to Dundee) was that I hadn't actually booked the conference I was going to, so it felt a bit pre-emptive to spend £14 on travel.


Regarding driving vs train, my battle is often "train vs bus", as I don't have a car.
si wrote:However, I tend to write this extra off as the premium to be paid for not having to undergo the hassle and unpleasantness of driving

This is the same reason that train would always win over the bus (apart from Edinburgh to London, usually) for me. more comfort, more space to work, more people watching [same reason that first class is less fun than standard class. You may get tea on tap, but it's not as FUN!] and conversation. And most importantly, space for bike, too!
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thelawnet
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Re: Overpriced trains

Postby thelawnet » 6 Jan 2012, 5:05pm

Hector's House wrote:I agree that trains can be ridiculous. For instance, with my railcard, I recently very nearly bough some train tickets (leaving throughout the day) from Edinburgh to Leeds at £7*.
On the other (serious, empathetic) hand, my friend paid once paid £60 to get from Aberdeen to Oxford; I was travelling from Edinburgh on the same journey... booked two weeks before her, and also paid £60. That was in the days before I cracked the secret of getting good deals on tickets...

When and how did you book?
Booking for a train near to or on the day tickets are always ridiculously overpriced. I generally look at my diary and bulk buy my tickets for three months in advance on eastcoast.co.uk (because that site shows all the journeys on one page). Sometimes you need to be flexible with time (plus or minus an hour), but I'd rather flex time than money.


Here in commuterland, discounts are hard to come by. You can get a Network Railcard for £28 for a year, it is valid after 10am, and it gives you a 34% discount for adults, 60% for children. HOWEVER, the minimum fare is £13 on weekdays, so that saves £6.40/journey (for 2 adults), which means it would pay for itself after five trips. Don't think I made that many trips last year though.

There is a 'groupsave' discount, whereby 3 or 4 can travel for the price of 2, which is not much use with 2 travelling, but works if we go out en famille at weekends (£32.20 instead of £48.30; the cost with a railcard would be £27.69). It's not possible to get groupsave from the machine, so that means 15 minutes queuing up at the ticket office.

Just to confuse matters, there's something called a 'Family and Friends' railcard. This also costs £28 and has no minimum fare, but you must bring a child with you.

There are no super-discounted tickets at all - these are reserved for long-distance journeys like London-Exeter, which can work out cheaper than a short 30 minute journey like Woking-London.

None of this goes very far to make casual train travel attractive.

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MikewsMITH2
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Re: Overpriced trains

Postby MikewsMITH2 » 6 Jan 2012, 9:38pm

IME the train is never cheaper for two. They seem to calculate it so the train fare is about the same as the petrol. With my railcard it is cheaper than the petrol and as I travel on business it's cheaper than driving and saves wear on the car. Also I can do some work on the way and relax and listen to my iPod on the way back. Some inconsiderate clients locate their business too far from a train station though.
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gbnz
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Re: Overpriced trains

Postby gbnz » 6 Jan 2012, 10:43pm

MikewsMITH2 wrote:. Also I can do some work on the way and relax
.


I've always found a core benefit of using the train for work, is the core benefit it offers of requiring a definate depature time from meaningless meetings. In this world of 21st century SMART working, as a SMART employee,working in an environmentally friendly manner, I've always taken advantage of cheap advance tickets and found myself being congratulated for working in a SMART, green and financially efficient manner :D

It's astonishing the number of meetings I've had to leave early, in order to "catch the train". Equality meetings, SMART meetings, appraisal meetings, diversity meetings, green working meetings, ethnic minority meetings. Even a meeting about cutting grass in a "green manner", which required me to travel from the North of England to Central London for the day :roll:

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MikewsMITH2
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Re: Overpriced trains

Postby MikewsMITH2 » 6 Jan 2012, 10:55pm

As I am not an employee, I can't afford to waste my time on meaningless or even low value meetings, so I don't do meetings I don't get paid for or aren't likely to lead to revenue. This means I am very "green". It is true that an efficient business is a green business. Saving money and minimising waste comes naturally when it's your own money :)
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1980 Peugeot Tandem
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gilesjuk
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Re: Overpriced trains

Postby gilesjuk » 7 Jan 2012, 9:19am

Well I doubt the train service is going to improve much in price or capacity. The government seem determined to press ahead with HS2 which is effectively a 1st class only service for impatient businessmen.

They could solve a lot of issues by reducing 1st class capacity on trains and certainly on Virgin Trains there's often an entire carriage dedicated to a coffee bar which could fit in another 30 passengers.

TonyR
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Re: Overpriced trains

Postby TonyR » 7 Jan 2012, 10:01am

thelawnet wrote:We live in Woking, and have a good service into London less thsn half-an-hour to Waterloo and trains every 5-10 minutes. However by the time you've gone door-to-door it does take one hour.

We went out last night for dinner in London, two super-off-peak returns cost £32.20, we arrived at our destination at around 7pm and left around 10:45. We also got a taxi, which cost £5, so our total spend was £37.20.

My wife pointed out that crushing onto two tubes each way is not much fun and next time we should drive.

The parking cost works out at £14.40 for 4 hours, and the round-trip distance is 60 miles, so at 25p/mile, a cost of around £29.40 for the same journey, in greater comfort.

The train, even relatively empty in the evening, is less than attractive.


If you got yourself a Network Railcard your train tickets would have come down to £26 making the costs much closer. And if you can park easily close to the restaurant in central London on a Friday night you were very lucky. You could easily spend 20 minutes driving round looking for a place to park at that time. Which means you need to set off earlier to have enough time to get there, park and then walk to the restaurant. In theory driving may sound much better but in practice I think you would find it a long slow journey in from Woking at that time and you would arrive stressed rather than relaxed for your meal.