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  • FIRST POST
    • snowcat53
    • By snowcat53 17th Oct 12, 9:01 PM
    • 599Posts
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    snowcat53
    Booking train tickets via Southern Rail site -beware!
    • #1
    • 17th Oct 12, 9:01 PM
    Booking train tickets via Southern Rail site -beware! 17th Oct 12 at 9:01 PM
    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?
Page 1
    • thelawnet
    • By thelawnet 17th Oct 12, 9:14 PM
    • 2,466 Posts
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    thelawnet
    • #2
    • 17th Oct 12, 9:14 PM
    • #2
    • 17th Oct 12, 9:14 PM
    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
    • #3
    • 17th Oct 12, 9:18 PM
    • #3
    • 17th Oct 12, 9:18 PM
    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!
    Originally posted by snowcat53
    It's not the same price because it's not the same ticket. Are they Advance tickets you're looking at?
    • redux
    • By redux 17th Oct 12, 10:41 PM
    • 19,785 Posts
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    redux
    • #4
    • 17th Oct 12, 10:41 PM
    • #4
    • 17th Oct 12, 10:41 PM
    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
    Last edited by redux; 17-10-2012 at 11:09 PM.
    • Jeff Bridges hair
    • By Jeff Bridges hair 18th Oct 12, 6:56 AM
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    Jeff Bridges hair
    • #5
    • 18th Oct 12, 6:56 AM
    • #5
    • 18th Oct 12, 6:56 AM
    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
    • snowcat53
    • By snowcat53 18th Oct 12, 10:04 AM
    • 599 Posts
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    snowcat53
    • #6
    • 18th Oct 12, 10:04 AM
    • #6
    • 18th Oct 12, 10:04 AM
    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.
    • Jeff Bridges hair
    • By Jeff Bridges hair 18th Oct 12, 10:51 AM
    • 5,952 Posts
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    Jeff Bridges hair
    • #7
    • 18th Oct 12, 10:51 AM
    • #7
    • 18th Oct 12, 10:51 AM
    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
    • By snowcat53 18th Oct 12, 11:03 AM
    • 599 Posts
    • 373 Thanks
    snowcat53
    • #8
    • 18th Oct 12, 11:03 AM
    • #8
    • 18th Oct 12, 11:03 AM
    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,
    Last edited by snowcat53; 18-10-2012 at 11:06 AM.
    • thelawnet
    • By thelawnet 18th Oct 12, 11:16 AM
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    thelawnet
    • #9
    • 18th Oct 12, 11:16 AM
    • #9
    • 18th Oct 12, 11:16 AM
    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.
    • Jeff Bridges hair
    • By Jeff Bridges hair 18th Oct 12, 11:24 AM
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    Jeff Bridges hair
    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.
    "If you no longer go for a gap, you are no longer a racing driver" - Ayrton Senna
    • snowcat53
    • By snowcat53 18th Oct 12, 12:06 PM
    • 599 Posts
    • 373 Thanks
    snowcat53
    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.
    Originally posted by Jeff Bridges hair
    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.
    Last edited by snowcat53; 18-10-2012 at 12:41 PM.
    • Jeff Bridges hair
    • By Jeff Bridges hair 18th Oct 12, 12:32 PM
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    Jeff Bridges hair
    I am looking at exactly the same screen as you are. The mixing desk. All the 6 buttons on the top show differing amounts for different tickets. There is one that shows a variety of prices in a price range which is the default selection. then on the bottom row of buttons there is one for 116 1st single. click that THEN go down to the times and you will see it available.

    Using someone elses computer here so cant upload any pics but if you cant find it then ill upload it later.

    Oh and the codes are the different fares structures. More info about them can be found HERE
    Last edited by Jeff Bridges hair; 18-10-2012 at 12:37 PM.
    "If you no longer go for a gap, you are no longer a racing driver" - Ayrton Senna
    • snowcat53
    • By snowcat53 18th Oct 12, 2:13 PM
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    • 373 Thanks
    snowcat53
    Thanks for your help but no, we were looking at different screens. I know because I had to click the option to see the other buttons and fares.. The initial display had 2 rows of fare buttons, with the rest (including the 116 one) hidden. As I said above I can now see the cheaper fare is there that mystery is solved. .
    • Jeff Bridges hair
    • By Jeff Bridges hair 18th Oct 12, 2:18 PM
    • 5,952 Posts
    • 7,233 Thanks
    Jeff Bridges hair
    I was looking at the mixing desk after entering the journey details and never had to click anything else except the button for 116 fare.

    All sorted now.
    "If you no longer go for a gap, you are no longer a racing driver" - Ayrton Senna
    • thelawnet
    • By thelawnet 18th Oct 12, 4:29 PM
    • 2,466 Posts
    • 1,692 Thanks
    thelawnet
    lawnet - what is LFB and BGO?
    Originally posted by snowcat53

    The fare code.

    There is a walk-up fare - 189.50, and various Advance buckets.

    These are:

    FCS 36.50
    FBS 49
    FAS 62.50

    BHO 81.50
    BGO 155.50
    BFO 180

    LFB 116


    They will sell out from cheapest to most expensive, and most trains won't have the cheapest fares available at all.

    These will stand for something FCS/FBS/FAS 'First x Service' or similar, 'BHO' is perhaps 'Business x x' and LFB perhaps 'Leisure First'

    The BHO, BGO and BFO will be the same thing just different price, but the FCS, FBS and FAS may well have different entitlements from the BHO, BHO, BFO, e.g., lounge access.
    • snowcat53
    • By snowcat53 19th Oct 12, 2:05 AM
    • 599 Posts
    • 373 Thanks
    snowcat53
    The fare code.

    These are:
    These will stand for something FCS/FBS/FAS 'First x Service' or similar, 'BHO' is perhaps 'Business x x' and LFB perhaps 'Leisure First'

    The BHO, BGO and BFO will be the same thing just different price, but the FCS, FBS and FAS may well have different entitlements from the BHO, BHO, BFO, e.g., lounge access.
    Originally posted by thelawnet
    Gordon Bennett! Is it any wonder there is confusion?
    Thanks very much for that.

    The main issue is sorted now and it is useful to know one can get the 6% cashback on any ticket via Southern , and it is probably worth putting up with their site for that. What I do not like though is the multiplicity of buttons (eg for advance 1st and standard fares) - so that clicking on one of these only gives you a subset, while others in the same category (which might be the cheaper ones) are hidden behind the 'click for more fares' link. On other sites if you go for say an Advance fare I think it only allows you to buy the cheapest one of that class available, with Southern's you could inadvertently buy a dear one when cheaper ones are still there.
    Last edited by snowcat53; 19-10-2012 at 6:28 AM.
    • Livingthedream
    • By Livingthedream 19th Oct 12, 9:26 PM
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    Livingthedream
    Gordon Bennett! Is it any wonder there is confusion?.
    Originally posted by snowcat53
    Well if Mr Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer can't get it right what chance for the rest of us?

    IMHO one need to be careful with fare codes as some are not available for public use and on a general forum like Moneysaver can cause confusion or heated debate on why one isn't entitled to PRV or PCS fares.
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