Booking train tickets via Southern Rail site -beware!

I have previously booked train tickets through the Southern Railways website using the Topcashback link to get their 6% cashback offer (successfully). Today though i noted the fares quoted on some trains were much higher than on National Rail and Virgin websites (same train/same ticket). This was 155.50 on Southern, compared with 116 on Virgin or NR!

I thought all these sites were obliged to give the same fares , and that differences were booking fees delivery charges etc.
Is this not so? or is it a problem in Southern's software. (The interface is horrible but was worth enduring to get the tcb discount) .
Anyone else noted this?
«1

Comments

  • thelawnet
    thelawnet Posts: 2,575
    Name Dropper First Post First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    Forumite
    What ticket?

    It's ALWAYS worth checking the train operator's website for lower fares, especially on higher priced tickets. Many have discounts specific to their own website.
  • Humphrey10
    Humphrey10 Posts: 1,859 Forumite
    snowcat53 wrote: »
    Today though i noted the fares quoted on some trains were much higher than on National Rail and Virgin websites (same train/same ticket). This was 155.50 on Southern, compared with 116 on Virgin or NR!
    It's not the same price because it's not the same ticket. Are they Advance tickets you're looking at?
  • redux
    redux Posts: 22,976
    Name Dropper First Anniversary First Post
    Forumite
    edited 17 October 2012 at 11:09PM
    I was looking at the Southern website earlier, for a route mainly in their area.

    One possible fare is about £20, but this was only available for 3 or 4 trains through the day.

    I searched on National Rail, with the same via station named, and that offered 4 options per hour, some leaving and arriving at the same times, but changing at different places, with prices from £10 to £23 using advance tickets for part of the way.

    So the Southern search seems not to have gone deep enough to find those. It finds the other routes ok if I don't restrict it to that way, which cost a bit more. But it did help me specify the right en route station. National Rail doesn't specify the cheaper way unless asked, as it takes longer.

    I might try looking on a couple of other sites, for interest, as some of the others look similar so might use the same engine. If I end up booking on Southern, it will be fine if I split the route in 2 or 3
  • Its impossible to give fair comment unless we actually know what journey it was. As one of the above poster says - Virgin may have applied their own discount on their site.
    "If you no longer go for a gap, you are no longer a racing driver" - Ayrton Senna
  • It was Macclesfield - Euston for a day next week, No fancy detours, direct non stop. The standard fares were the same but the difference was in the 1st Advance fares. In response to suggestion above , tt cannot just be that Virgin have the discount - the same cheaper fare (116) is there on the Nat Rail website available to buy from a wide choice of sites. I have just experimented to see what happens if you select Southern from there - and lo and behold! - they now show the 116 fare too.

    So it looks to me there is a problem with the Southern Rail searching software.
  • What may have happened is someone or even you was looking for said ticket and added it to their basket - thus taking that priced ticket away from general sale. Thus when you looked on one website there was no more ticket left at the pricing tier so you saw the next price up and vice versa. This prevents them from selling the same ticket.
    "If you no longer go for a gap, you are no longer a racing driver" - Ayrton Senna
  • snowcat53
    snowcat53 Posts: 602 Forumite
    edited 18 October 2012 at 11:06AM
    I have been playing further with this and am totally convinced there is a serious problem with Southern's software. As i said above the 116 fare is there when you go via NRE but if you mess around with filters and happen to select the train and fare in the 'wrong' order it vanishes and reverts to only displaying the 155.50 fare. I have the screenshots to show this. The fare type boxes it chooses to display often appear almost random , with no relation to the options you select.

    And no it cannot be that the last cheap ticket has gone, The cheap fare is always there today the first time you visit southerns' site provided you go via NRE having searched there, but not if you go direct to Southern and search. The inconsistency above also argues against this as an explanation.

    PS if you want to try it yourself, i have been using tues 23 oct, 0856 train,
  • thelawnet
    thelawnet Posts: 2,575
    Name Dropper First Post First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    Forumite
    £116 is LFB Advance
    £155.50 is BGO Advance

    (i.e. the next fare up)

    both are absurdly expensive IMO.

    Again, my point stands, you are buying an Advance fare on a Virgin train, so you must ALWAYS check the Virgin website to see if it's cheaper there.

    No panic necessary.
  • See the buttons at the top of the mixing desk? Click on the one that says £116 single 1st.

    Low and behold it shows the £116 fare available for that train.:money:
    "If you no longer go for a gap, you are no longer a racing driver" - Ayrton Senna
  • snowcat53
    snowcat53 Posts: 602 Forumite
    edited 18 October 2012 at 12:41PM
    See the buttons at the top of the mixing desk? Click on the one that says £116 single 1st.

    Low and behold it shows the £116 fare available for that train.:money:
    You are clearly not looking at the same screen as I am .
    I have just gone again to the site and searched. I have clicked on the 0856 train. The only buttons 'live' at the top of the mixing desk are single, 1st single and return. The fare on the 1st single is 155.50 . No 116 fare shows whatever I click..
    EDIT /CORRECTION- Right I have found it ! - I had to click on the 'click here for more fares' link below the top buttons - this brings up more live buttons including the 1st advance fare at 116, as well as another 1st advance at 130. So it was there all along just very hard to find. All I can say is what a dreadful interface.

    lawnet - what is LFB and BGO?
    No panic here, but the point is that this cheaper fare is not just available on the Virgin site but can be found through some searches on Southern but not on others. (EDIT - see above - they are there although hard to see) The absolute cost is another topic entirely !

    Can you give an example of an advance fare that is only available on the Virgin site and if such a check is necessary? My understanding was all fares would be available from a 'National rail accredited' site so that there would be no need for this.
This discussion has been closed.
Meet your Ambassadors

Categories

  • All Categories
  • 341.7K Banking & Borrowing
  • 249.7K Reduce Debt & Boost Income
  • 449.1K Spending & Discounts
  • 233.8K Work, Benefits & Business
  • 606K Mortgages, Homes & Bills
  • 172.5K Life & Family
  • 246.7K Travel & Transport
  • 1.5M Hobbies & Leisure
  • 15.8K Discuss & Feedback
  • 15.1K Coronavirus Support Boards