Underselling rail

05 April 2011

On train, on the way back from Manchester. Ticket collection – always a tense time as you know some poor devil’s bought the wrong ticket. Oh no – woman says, “I had a ticket booked for the 1515 – can I pay the difference?” We are on 15:35, so this likely to be painful.

Relief – the ticket check reveals woman in question has a flexible off peak ticket – so she is safe. How many people fret, buy another ticket, think rail is rubbish value, break a leg to get on a particular train when they could wait all because the ticket validity is not clear from the…. ticket? The reservation ticket leads many to think, I am sure, that they can only travel on that train.

Virgin’s off peak singles, booked on line as part of a return journey are good value for money. Why not tell us poor passengers that? Rail undersells itself and the flexibility with ticketing it still offers. Be proud, be flexible! Off peak tickets are good – you do not have to book in advance.

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