I recently commented on a journey I made to Egham and the fares that were available when departing at 09.21 from Bat & Ball. The first off-peak service from Bat & Ball to Egham is the 10.21 via Sevenoaks, Waterloo East, and Waterloo arriving at 11.57, fare £14.35. However, the first off-peak service from Bat & Ball to Waterloo East via Sevenoaks is at 09.21 arriving at 09.59, return fare £8.65. The connecting service from Waterloo to Egham departs at 10.20 arriving at 10.57, off-peak return fare £8.40. Why is the through off-peak return fare of £14.35 to Egham not offered on the 09.21 departure from Bat & Ball? The “Anytime return” fare for this journey is £40.40. I referred this to Southeastern Customer Services and in reply all I received was a link to the National Rail website and they advised that they could not provide any further help in this respect. I have replied asking why if their office could not answer this query why did they not forward it on to somebody who can provide the relevant answer. I have now received a response to my enquiry. The “B1” ticket restriction, (not valid for travel after 04.29 and before 09.30 hours on Monday to Friday) is applied to journeys wholly within the London & South East Network Railcard area even though a cheap day return is valid on a service from Bat & Ball or Sevenoaks to London Terminals as part of the journey you are undertaking. Accordingly, to achieve the cheapest fare for your journey two tickets may be required as in my example above. However, if you need to use a service departing before 09.30 and continue beyond the London Terminals two options are worth investigating (based on my journey to Egham): –
- Two off-peak day returns as above, total £17.05
- An off-peak day Travelcard £11.20, plus an off-peak day return from the boundary zone 6 station, Feltham, to Egham £3.95. Total cost £15.15. However, if buying the Travelcard online, enter the journey details as Bat & Ball or Sevenoaks to London Terminals then when fares are offered opt for a Travelcard. If you do not do this the railcard discount will not be applied on tickets for services departing before 09.30.
If you need to use a service departing Bat & Ball or Sevenoaks before 09.30 and continue beyond the London Terminals but remain within the Travelcard area buy your ticket online as in my example 2 above otherwise railcard discounts will not be applied. For example; Bat & Ball to Kingston via Sevenoaks, Waterloo East and Waterloo departing at 09.21. National Rail Enquiries offers the following fare: –
- Bat & Ball 09.21 – Kingston 10.55 £17.00 Off-Peak Travelcard (no railcard discount)
If departing after 09.30 an off-peak day return with a railcard discount may be cheaper than a Travelcard for some journeys.
So £40.40, £17.05 or £15.15? Unsurprisingly the train operating company websites only offer you the £40.40 option!