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  • FIRST POST
    • robwhite44
    • By robwhite44 3rd May 19, 9:58 AM
    • 3Posts
    • 0Thanks
    robwhite44
    Massive Secret Train fare Increase by South Eastern Rail?
    • #1
    • 3rd May 19, 9:58 AM
    Massive Secret Train fare Increase by South Eastern Rail? 3rd May 19 at 9:58 AM
    Yesterday the fare on my regular off-peak train journey was trebled by South Eastern Rail.
    South Eastern defines an Off-peak train as one which arrives in London after 10 am. (link provided])
    All London-bound trains from Otford in Kent departing after 0915 arrive at 1000 or later and therefore qualify as Off-Peak.
    This means that with my Senior Rail Pass my 12 minute journey to Swanley used to cost me £3.35.
    Yesterday unilaterally and without warning these trains were reclassified by South Eastern and in defiance of their own definition, as Peak trains
    My ticket suddenly now costs £9.40—nearly THREE TIMES as much!
    Many people take advantage of the Off Peak pricing. Apart from the financial impact, the disruption which will be caused by having to delay a journey by at least 30 minutes may be drastic.
    Most crazy of all---the Train Journey Planner shows that I can travel on the early train all the way to London for the Off-Peak price of £8.65---which is cheaper than my 11 minute journey to just the next station!. I could use my normal train using the full London ticket. (link provided)
Page 1
    • Andy L
    • By Andy L 3rd May 19, 10:59 AM
    • 9,833 Posts
    • 8,877 Thanks
    Andy L
    • #2
    • 3rd May 19, 10:59 AM
    • #2
    • 3rd May 19, 10:59 AM
    What did they say when you contacted them?
    • agrinnall
    • By agrinnall 3rd May 19, 11:25 AM
    • 22,812 Posts
    • 18,813 Thanks
    agrinnall
    • #3
    • 3rd May 19, 11:25 AM
    • #3
    • 3rd May 19, 11:25 AM
    Their own FAQs say that off peak is trains arriving in London after 10 a.m., so point that out to them.


    https://www.southeasternrailway.co.uk/help-and-contact/help/faqs/planning-your-journey


    This is their compaints procedure.


    https://www.southeasternrailway.co.uk/about-us/our-policies/complaints-handling-procedure
    • stragglebod
    • By stragglebod 3rd May 19, 12:30 PM
    • 573 Posts
    • 519 Thanks
    stragglebod
    • #4
    • 3rd May 19, 12:30 PM
    • #4
    • 3rd May 19, 12:30 PM
    The restriction code on that ticket is that it's not valid on trains timed to depart after 04:29 and before 09:30.


    Count yourself lucky that you've not previously been stopped for having an invalid ticket.
    • Hasbeen
    • By Hasbeen 3rd May 19, 1:25 PM
    • 1,491 Posts
    • 1,134 Thanks
    Hasbeen
    • #5
    • 3rd May 19, 1:25 PM
    • #5
    • 3rd May 19, 1:25 PM
    Yesterday the fare on my regular off-peak train journey was trebled by South Eastern Rail.
    South Eastern defines an Off-peak train as one which arrives in London after 10 am. (link provided])
    All London-bound trains from Otford in Kent departing after 0915 arrive at 1000 or later and therefore qualify as Off-Peak.
    This means that with my Senior Rail Pass my 12 minute journey to Swanley used to cost me £3.35.
    Yesterday unilaterally and without warning these trains were reclassified by South Eastern and in defiance of their own definition, as Peak trains
    My ticket suddenly now costs £9.40—nearly THREE TIMES as much!
    Many people take advantage of the Off Peak pricing. Apart from the financial impact, the disruption which will be caused by having to delay a journey by at least 30 minutes may be drastic.
    Most crazy of all---the Train Journey Planner shows that I can travel on the early train all the way to London for the Off-Peak price of £8.65---which is cheaper than my 11 minute journey to just the next station!. I could use my normal train using the full London ticket. (link provided)
    Originally posted by robwhite44
    Except they did not? Still £3:35. What if any are the restrictions on your ticket?
    • scones
    • By scones 4th May 19, 9:45 AM
    • 49 Posts
    • 52 Thanks
    scones
    • #6
    • 4th May 19, 9:45 AM
    • #6
    • 4th May 19, 9:45 AM
    It's a common misconception that specific trains carry blanket 'off peak' or 'peak' designations - the restrictions are much more nuanced and vary from journey to journey.

    The Southeastern FAQs imply that peak fares generally apply for travel before 10am, but there will be variation on a journey by journey basis according to demand.

    What is happening here is that a short hop in Kent around 9am is understandably charged as peak, in line with traditional commuting patterns.
    Meanwhile, for longer distance travel to London, peak demand will be for trains that arrive by about 9.30am. As London is 45 minutes away from Otford, the 'peak' demand for travel to London is therefore probably over well before 9am and it makes commercial sense for Southeastern to allow off peak fares to start earlier for people traveling on the longer journey.

    It is annoying in your case, though, of course!
    • robwhite44
    • By robwhite44 5th May 19, 7:35 AM
    • 3 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    robwhite44
    • #7
    • 5th May 19, 7:35 AM
    • #7
    • 5th May 19, 7:35 AM
    Thanks to everyone for comments and suggestions:
    -- I haven't yet had a reply to my submission to SE RailS
    -- Several months ago I was assured by the on-board guard that the 0926 was the first offpeak train
    -- I understand the argument that some trains may suffer local crowding even though they arrive in London after the "peak" time. However by deciding to classify individual trains as peak presents a nightmare to both the traveller and the railway management, who surely would not be able to manage the administrative load. How would the travelling public ever know which one to use? Especially as, even now, the National Rail Journey Planner shows a different designation to the station ticket office.
    -- By the way, the 0926 Orford to Swanley is usually empty!
    • robwhite44
    • By robwhite44 5th May 19, 7:38 AM
    • 3 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    robwhite44
    • #8
    • 5th May 19, 7:38 AM
    • #8
    • 5th May 19, 7:38 AM
    Sorry for the typo: Otford not Orford
    • stragglebod
    • By stragglebod 5th May 19, 11:08 AM
    • 573 Posts
    • 519 Thanks
    stragglebod
    • #9
    • 5th May 19, 11:08 AM
    • #9
    • 5th May 19, 11:08 AM
    There's no such thing as an off peak train.

    Different tickets have different restriction codes showing on them. You go to the national rail website to look up what trains that restriction code allows you to use.

    Or just use the national rail journey planner which will show you the ticket cost based on the journey you've selected.
    • Cornucopia
    • By Cornucopia 5th May 19, 11:20 AM
    • 12,090 Posts
    • 13,579 Thanks
    Cornucopia
    The Journey Planner indicates £4.90 as an Anytime Fare - which is presumably the OP's £3.35 before discount.

    There are no peak fares shown for Otford-Swanley.

    The first train available with the Senior Railcard discount is the 09:56. That fare is £3.25.
    Last edited by Cornucopia; 05-05-2019 at 11:25 AM.
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    • scones
    • By scones 6th May 19, 9:05 AM
    • 49 Posts
    • 52 Thanks
    scones
    Several months ago I was assured by the on-board guard that the 0926 was the first offpeak train
    Originally posted by robwhite44
    Yes but as advised there is no blanket off peak that applies to every journey.
    For a journey to London 0926 sounds right, as the Off Peak Day Return for that journey is valid after 0859 on weekdays.
    For a journey to Swanley, the Off Peak Day Return is not valid until after 0929, so cannot be valid on the 0926.
    The guard was either wrong or misunderstood your destination.

    ...deciding to classify individual trains as peak presents a nightmare to both the traveller and the railway management ... How would the travelling public ever know which one to use?
    Originally posted by robwhite44
    As a couple of people have said, they do not classify individual trains as peak. They set specific restrictions for each possible journey and ticket type which define when you can travel between the two stations in question. As an extreme example, you would not be able to travel to London on the 0826 with an Off Peak ticket, but if I was using it as the first leg of the journey to Edinburgh on a through Off Peak ticket, I could. It's undeniably complex, but it's inevitable given the sheer variety of different journeys people make on the rail network needing to have appropriate restrictions applied on a case-by-case basis rather than arbitrary blanket bans.

    Ticket selling websites take all the restrictions into account and will also usually show you the validity of whichever ticket you select. Nobody expects you to know the individual restrictions yourself - but if you want to check for yourself for future reference, look for the two digit restriction code printed on your ticket. For Otford to Swanley this is 'B1' and the official definition is available at www.nre.co.uk/B1 (newer style tickets often actually have the specific weblink printed on them).
    • prowla
    • By prowla 6th May 19, 9:37 AM
    • 10,382 Posts
    • 8,855 Thanks
    prowla
    There's no such thing as an off peak train.

    Different tickets have different restriction codes showing on them. You go to the national rail website to look up what trains that restriction code allows you to use.

    Or just use the national rail journey planner which will show you the ticket cost based on the journey you've selected.
    Originally posted by stragglebod
    I think you knew that the term "off peak" refers to train journeys for which you can use an off-peak ticket.
    • scones
    • By scones 6th May 19, 10:52 AM
    • 49 Posts
    • 52 Thanks
    scones
    OK, I was getting confused trying to understand the detail so have looked it all up.

    For reference, the undiscounted day return, standard class fares from Otford to Swanley are:
    £9.40 Anytime Day Return, valid anytime
    £5.10 Off-Peak Day Return, with validity code 'B1'
    The B1 restriction, as detailed officially at www.nationalrail.co.uk/B1 prohibits use before 0930.

    The OP's situation is complicated by the use of the Senior Railcard. This theoretically reduces the fares to £6.20 anytime or £3.35 off-peak.

    However, the Senior Railcard conditions state that it is not valid during the morning peak for travel in South East England. The guidance on the Railcard website says that this peak restriction usually aligns with the validity of Off-Peak Day Return tickets. So, the options for the OP correctly appear to be an undiscounted anytime ticket for £9.40 or an off-peak, discounted fare for £3.35 with a straightforward cut-off time of 0930 on weekdays.

    Looking at an archived version of the webpage from last August shows the same 0930 cutoff against the B1 code back then. So, on balance, it looks like may have been some misunderstanding or incorrect advice regarding restrictions in the past rather than a sudden change in off peak times. However there's a slim chance that a different validity code applied for that journey in the past - only Southeastern could confirm that for sure.
    • jbuchanangb
    • By jbuchanangb 6th May 19, 4:04 PM
    • 414 Posts
    • 142 Thanks
    jbuchanangb
    I will add to this that if the OP must travel on the 09.26 then the best deal is an Anytime Day Single for £4.90, coming back with an Anytime Day Single with Railcard Discount for £3.25, giving a total cost of £8.15. Senior Railcard discounts have not been available before 9.30 in the south east for as long as I can remember, and the OP is indeed fortunate that he has not been challenged when travelling on the 09.26. As I lived in the south east I was actually astonished recently when I found that in Birmingham I could get Railcard discount before 9.30am, albeit applied to an Anytime fare!
    • NeilCr
    • By NeilCr 6th May 19, 4:48 PM
    • 3,113 Posts
    • 4,579 Thanks
    NeilCr
    I will add to this that if the OP must travel on the 09.26 then the best deal is an Anytime Day Single for £4.90, coming back with an Anytime Day Single with Railcard Discount for £3.25, giving a total cost of £8.15. Senior Railcard discounts have not been available before 9.30 in the south east for as long as I can remember, and the OP is indeed fortunate that he has not been challenged when travelling on the 09.26. As I lived in the south east I was actually astonished recently when I found that in Birmingham I could get Railcard discount before 9.30am, albeit applied to an Anytime fare!
    Originally posted by jbuchanangb
    Doesn't that depend where you live?

    I am in Ramsgate and can use my Senior Railcard for a number of trains departing before 9.30. Including the 9.03 to St Pancras (very useful).
    • tehone
    • By tehone 6th May 19, 5:23 PM
    • 246 Posts
    • 113 Thanks
    tehone
    The actuals restriction is

    Your Senior Railcard is NOT valid when travelling between two stations inside London and the South East area during morning peak time.
    • jbuchanangb
    • By jbuchanangb 6th May 19, 5:58 PM
    • 414 Posts
    • 142 Thanks
    jbuchanangb
    But according to https://www.senior-railcard.co.uk/help/faqs/135/
    The times of morning off-peak services do vary by route and are normally related to the availability of Off Peak Day tickets. It's best to check with ticket office staff before buying your tickets.
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