Hooray! A new year means it’s time for train fares to increase!

To be honest it annoys me considerably less than the total anarchy that is train pricing. We can’t even decide on a nationwide definition of “off peak” apparently so trying to determine the value of an off peak return ticket requires extensive research.

More importantly than that though it is often cheaper to buy a ticket for a longer journey and then get off at the stop you’d like, long before the final destination for the ticket is reached. Apparently this is actually against the rules and can result in a fine.

A single ticket and a return often only have a few pounds between them. Sometimes buying multiple singles is cheaper. Alternatively sometimes buying multiple singles for a single train (i.e. without changes) can work out cheaper.

Does that seem sensible?

Creating a standardised pricing structure would be a good step forward, I feel. I shouldn’t need to use an automated service that tries every combination for me to get an affordable price.

I’ve no problem with booking in advance vs. buying a ticket on the train itself being cheaper (as long as the difference isn’t extortionate). That at least has some reasoning behind it (i.e. being able to anticipate demand).

I’m not quite sure what the first step for such a campaign should be but I would certainly back something like it.

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