Anyone who lives in Leeds and wants to travel by train to Sheffield will find that there are two options when it comes to using the ticket machines at Leeds station for a standard anytime open return ticket (more on that jargon later!). These options are either via Doncaster or ‘Any Permitted Route’. One is £17.10 and the other is £13.30. How many people in a rush pick the any route permitted ticket at £17.10 just in case they get stung and find that they are stuck? In reality I believe there is about one (maybe two) trains a day that go ‘via Doncaster’, meaning that the train companies can essentially cash in on your lack of knowledge rather than doing their duty and helping you to buy the best value ticket.
This philosophy from the train companies has been compounded by an email from First Great Western stating that they don’t have to inform or advise passengers how to get the cheapest tickets as customers should already be turning up at the ticket desk well informed! When you consider how much jargon there is when it comes to ticket types, and the fact that different train companies can choose to operate different rules, you can see why, even for an educated consumer (I used to book rail tickets as part of my job as a travel agent so would consider myself amongst this group), it is very difficult to identify the best deals.
With this in mind, I personally think regulation or at least strict guidelines should be in place to give heavy fines to rail operators who do not go out of their way to ensure that people who are using trains, including tourists visiting the UK, are not being ripped off by companies that already need to up their game when it comes to convincing people that travel by train is a financially viable option.
Categories: Travel News