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UK Scrapping Return Train Tickets


  • Registered Users Posts: 682 ✭✭✭Oscar Madison

    It's the way forward to be honest!

  • Registered Users Posts: 18,770 ✭✭✭✭Del2005

    What is the benefit of single tickets only? Most trips are return, the time and date of the return part is already known for the vast majority of trips. So now people will have to go through the booking process twice,with more chance of making a mistake, instead of clicking the return option.

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,309 ✭✭✭lawrencesummers

    Its clearly a way to increase prices.

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,199 ✭✭✭markpb

    There’s presumably nothing stopping websites offering a return trip, just not a return ticket.

  • Registered Users Posts: 618 ✭✭✭noelfirl

    There before me. In practice I'd imagine it will just mean that the matrix of ticket options displayed on the booking website will lack the ability to select a return option, only two single tickets, and it will still only be one booking process to be completed.

    From that article:

    "The idea was first presented by Boris Johnson and Grant Shapps in May 2021, but has yet to be realised amid turmoil in government and Conservative party fears of “nationalisation by the backdoor".

    It was first proposed by Keith Williams, the ex-chief executive of British Airways and chair of Royal Mail, who envisaged a “guiding mind” for the industry that he likened to the “Fat Controller” – the character from Thomas the Tank Engine children’s books."

    It's hard to know whether to laugh or cry when thinking about the quality of thought coming out of some segments of that country these days.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 6,402 ✭✭✭Allinall

    The single fares will cost half the current return fare, so no increase.

    They also don’t need to change the whole fare system to increase fares. They can just put them up anyway.

    I find train fares in the UK very good value, if you book well in advance.

  • Registered Users Posts: 996 ✭✭✭mikeybhoy

    I'm guessing the idea is you'll still be able to book a return journey either online or at a TVM but you won't a get a discount over buying a single and instead of being issued with one ticket for both the outward and return journey you'll be issued with two separate tickets for each journey.

    That's how it works in Italy could be similar in a lot of European countries I don't know.

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,309 ✭✭✭lawrencesummers

    Sure, they will cost the same for a period of time, but then the next fare increase will mean both legs are costing more.

  • Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 66,471 Mod ✭✭✭✭L1011

    Removing any liability, perceived or otherwise, for a return trip being impossible due to staff shortages or strikes has probably contributed to this.

    The UK has an absolutely incomprehensible number of fare types (something like 55 million different fares on the system) due to many operators having Operator Only versions of fares to prevent revenue sharing; considering all of them are now being paid an operational fee rather than farebox these should have been dumped first off to simply types.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,402 ✭✭✭Allinall

    Which is the same as now.

    I don’t ever recall a fare increase that didn’t affect all journeys.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 18,770 ✭✭✭✭Del2005

    So essentially no difference. If you want a return you'll still be given the option.

    Removing any liability, perceived or otherwise, for a return trip being impossible due to staff shortages or strikes has probably contributed to this.

    The same problem arises if you have a single ticket and the train doesn't run vs a return and the train not running. You have a ticket for a service not provided.

    I just can't see what difference this is going to make for the vast majority of people using the train. If you want to come back you will need to do extra steps, if you don't have to do anything extra then what has changed?

  • Registered Users Posts: 25,498 ✭✭✭✭Mrs OBumble

    Do you have evidence that the date/time of return is known - and desired to be known - in advance?

    Unless there's only a limited range of times, I find it a right PITA to have to choose in advance.

    With buses here, I usually book the latest possible time, and try my luck to use the ticket on an earlier service if there's a spare seat.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,034 ✭✭✭afatbollix

    My local journey is 50 minutes into London.

    Price of a return ticket £125.

    If I travel after 10am £40 return.

    Most trains before 10am are empty and after 10am are full.

    The system still needs fixing.

  • Registered Users Posts: 86 ✭✭Havenowt

    £125 return for a 50 minute journery.... thats mad.

  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators Posts: 11,530 Mod ✭✭✭✭devnull

    This is unlikely to result in what a lot of people here think will happen.

    Unfortunately the UK Government and the departments that make it up have been fixated with optics for some time. The golden rule has always been about making the Government look like they are doing something good on the surface to the public even if the reality is something different.

    Right now and for a number of years the UK press is obsessed with quoting the price of the most expensive walk up single tickets on any route. When you see any price comparisons in the UK media it is always this figure that the media quote despite the fact that this kind of ticket is not used by a lot of the traveling public as many are using advance tickets, off-peak tickets, railcards or season tickets.

    I imagine their primary focus will be reducing the price of the open anytime single tickets on each route, since that will allow them to present them as truly making a large price cut by showing that they have reduced the fares by a certain percentage. It is true, they would have cut the anytime fares by a decent amount

    However the devil in the detail is that all this is being talked about at the same time as 'simplification' of the fare system. This is what needs to be watched closely, as it may see many types of discounted, special tickets, rovers and Groupsave tickets disbanded as well. So whilst those who have always bought the anytime walk up fare will see a saving, it is likely that there may be some people who are now pushed to more expensive fare types (even after the reductions) than they were on previously, because their cheaper product has been withdrawn.

    This has been trialled already by the UK Government - and the above happened.

    Don't believe me it will work that way with stealth rises by the back door? A short while ago, Government owned operator LNER trialled single leg pricing.

    The company, instructed by the same department who is suggesting these reforms, withdrew all off-peak fares at the same time as they introduced single leg prices on the trial area.. The end result was the passengers who used to travel during peak paid a little bit less for singles as they were now half the price of the return ticket, but the off-peak passengers saw very substantial rises as they were now no longer benefitting from off-peak discounts. The average ticket price actually rose during this period because the number of people who saved money through the cut to the anytime fares, was less than the number of people who paid more because of the 'simplification' aspect which removed discounted tickets.

    To give you an example under the single leg trial of LNER a passenger travelling from Leeds to Kings Cross mid-morning and departing early evening is almost £90 worse off because of the idea of single legs than they were before it, since they are now forced to purchase a standard anytime ticket because their discounted off-peak ticket no longer exists, all in the name of 'simplification' of fare systems.

    Marvellous to see the Tory press cheerleading their beloved Government again, by not mentioning that previous trials included stealth rises to many. Why give people the full story and details when you can give them just the high level overview so they can't see what is really going on?

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,784 ✭✭✭thomasj

    Doesnt the TFi go app use the 2-ticket system as opposed to return tickets for the sale of tickets on their app?

  • Registered Users Posts: 17,322 ✭✭✭✭LXFlyer

    It's the same as using a LEAP card, so it is priced as single legs.

  • Registered Users Posts: 508 ✭✭✭The DayDream

    These companies don't come up with things to make it better for the user - it's to benefit the companies and I do believe it will result in people having less access to cheaper fare options like off peak

  • Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 66,471 Mod ✭✭✭✭L1011

    This is the UK Government making the changes, and they basically control the rail system now anyway - it is privatised in name only since it became clear that all the private operators would go pop early in lockdown.

    LNER, Northern and Southeastern are run by the Department of Transport through an operations company. Basically everyone else is other a tendered operating contract (similar to how Luas is done here); or a direct emergency award one done to stop them going bust in summer 2020.

  • Registered Users Posts: 996 ✭✭✭mikeybhoy

    Thought the plan was to unify all the TOCs under the name 'Great British Rail' in a similar manner to TFL or the TFI branding over here.

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