Anytime tickets are pricing people off the trains - Yorkshire Post Letters

From: Roger Backhouse, Orchard Road, Upper Poppleton, York.

It's bad enough that rail fares are going up yet again but the main operator from Yorkshire to London, state controlled LNER, is pushing through ticketing changes that makes costs even higher.

Increasingly passengers are expected to book well ahead to find affordable fares. That's not always possible. Previously there was the option of using off-peak and super off-peak fares.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

If not quite as cheap as the best advanced purchase tickets they were at least more affordable than the ‘anytime’ tickets.

A person buying a train ticket from a ticket machine. PIC: Lauren Hurley/PA WireA person buying a train ticket from a ticket machine. PIC: Lauren Hurley/PA Wire
A person buying a train ticket from a ticket machine. PIC: Lauren Hurley/PA Wire

They suited the many people who had to make journey plans at short notice or those who found advance tickets all sold - it happens even for weeks ahead.

Following changes by LNER, anytime tickets are now the only ones remaining for turn up and go passengers on the principal route of London to Edinburgh and they are often astronomically priced. Goodbye to the more sensibly priced off-peak and super off-peak tickets.

The respected railway writer Christian Wolmar reckons this change will add a whopping 121 per cent increase in prices for passengers wanting to travel at short notice, a journey previously available for £87 would now cost nearly £200.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The Government talked about reducing the complexity of rail fares. While I've some sympathy with that aim, this change has the bizarre effect of making them more complicated.

It seems that for £20 you can buy the ‘option’ of having a new ‘flex’ ticket allowing travel with 70 minutes of the original booking. Wow!

Ministers talk as if they wanted more passengers on trains. I agree. But isn't restricting ticket flexibility and forcing through a massive price rise by stealth going to have the opposite effect?

Many people make travel decisions at short notice. So why discourage sales of popular and relatively cheap tickets that allow them to do just that?

Truly, I despair of ever seeing rational thought from politicians about our railways.

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.