One ticket or several tickets? It can make a big difference …

When travelling beyond London, it is always worth comparing the prices of different options for tickets from Bat & Ball/Sevenoaks  to your ultimate destination. It’s particularly important to compare the cost of one ticket to the final destination against the costs of tickets from London to your final destination plus the cost of the necessary tickets to travel from Bat & Ball/Sevenoaks to your departure station in London. Sometimes the savings can be significant.

On a recent journey to Liverpool I bought single tickets from Euston to Liverpool and Liverpool to Euston at £11 each. To cover my early morning journey from Bat & Ball to Euston the cheapest option was an Any Time Day single at £15.50. For the return from Euston to Bat & Ball at about 18.00 the cheapest option was an Any Time Day single at £10.25, (with Senior Railcard). On this occasion this combination of tickets was cheaper than booking from Bat & Ball to Liverpool and return. (It does not seem justifiable that from London to Liverpool and back, a journey of just under four hundred miles, the fare was £22, when Bat & Ball to Euston and return, about forty-five miles, cost £25.75.)

Conversely, I have recently booked tickets for a journey from Bat & Ball to Bristol Temple Meads departing during the morning peak for £13.70 and the return journey for £11.95. On this occasion it was cheaper to book all the way through to/from my final destination.

There seems to be no logic in when it is cheaper to buy one ticket for the end-to-end journey and when it is cheaper to buy tickets for each stage.

The Rail Delivery Group say that they are shortly to launch a public consultation on simplifying the ticket system. It’s well overdue!



One ticket or several tickets? It can make a big difference … — 2 Comments

  1. It’s the result of years of inflation to take advantage of commuters that has distorted the picture countrywide. The fare from Euston to Liverpool is a fair reflection of the value of the journey. Unfortunately most other journeys now are wildly too expensive. We don’t just need simpler. We need cheaper.

  2. I have been told through fares are set by the TOC which has the largest share of the journey (I don’t remember if this is measured by distance). They are not automatically set by adding up the components.

    What we see is that some TOCs see a business advantage by setting low through fares while others see no advantage from discounting a fare. They are at liberty to cherry pick by promoting some routings and discouraging others.

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