Gatwick Express fares lunacyBack to Forum
I was looking at fares on Gatwick Express for next month. Return fare (Gatwick to Victoria) for Mrs. J & I was £63.20. Quite a bit more expensive than Southern Trains, but with more space for luggage, I would be prepared to pay a premium.
So I decided to make the booking this evening, and was delighted to find the fare was now £45.50….and just before paying, I found I had made the mistake of putting the wrong direction in my journey search (Victoria to Gatwick)
This begs the question (as an infrequent UK rail passenger) of how the direction of travel can justify a fare differential of 39%?
Methinks the best option is to use Southern Railways, suffer the additional few minutes travel time and have a small libation with the money saved!
That said, if anybody knows of a cheaper was to use Gatwick Express, I would welcome any advice.
Safe travels to one and all.17 Oct 2017
I read somewhere once the trick is to buy the ticket from Haywards Heath to Victoria, then board at LGW. I can’t vouch for the legality though.
For some reason tickets to London are cheaper than from London and there are websites dedicated to ticket splitting which can save you a small fortune.17 Oct 2017
I asked Gatwick Express the very same question and they said that some routes are subject to ‘promotional fares’. There is no real justification for the difference in price except that the trains are full at whatever price they decide to charge (btw Southern Railway and Gatwick Express are the same company).
The Gatwick Express trains are new, but now with a much smaller interior that offers very limited luggage space. On busy departures you can hardly move for the mountains of luggage piled up throughout the train.
There is a small saving taking a Southern service and it takes 10 mins longer but I doubt that purchasing a ticket at Haywards Heath would allow you through the automated barrier. Tha majority of tickets prevent you from making a break in your journey.18 Oct 2017
Just use an Oyster card [if you have one] and use Southern Rail. It charged me 9 quid LGW-Clapham, probably allow another couple of quid to take you into London Zone1.18 Oct 2017
There have been plenty of cases where a passenger has purchased a ticket to or from a more distant point and had problems. The classic was a man who bought a London-Newcastle and decided to get off at Durham (for the benefit if those not familiar with UK geography, Durham is a slightly shorter journey on the same line). The ticket barrier or the hi-viz clipboard-carrying jobsworth refused to let him through the barrier and he was eventually forced to pay a substantial amount, I forget the exact details. I believe he went to court and the courts found against him, absurd as it is.18 Oct 2017
@LP fares are actually cheaper on “normal” trains ex-London. If you use a ticket from Haywards Heath you will not get through the auto barrier at LGW. It’s worth looking at a split ticket on Southern LGW-Redhill-Victoria.
It’s also worth buying a Railcard if UK train travel is planned over the next year. For an outlay of £30 you get a 30% discount on all rail tickets…it can save a fortune.18 Oct 2017
Great tip about the Railcards. If there are two of you and you are under 60, you can get the “2 together” card. The two people named on the photocard have to travel together for the entire journey, and get 1/3rd off all travel, with the exception (I think) of travelling into London before 0930, but who on earth would want to do that anyway!18 Oct 2017
Or for Senior Railcard holders. Many over 60s continue to work either full or as part-time consultants. Tickets are for use by individuals, for any class of travel and there are no time restrictions (as with certain other railcards).18 Oct 2017
If contactless payments are being made available in future one wonders what fare will be charged ? And if passengers would qualify for a refund should they swipe for a LGW Express ticket but later, perhaps in error or maybe through service disruption, then board a cheaper fare Southern/Thameslink service ?
These are questions which need to be answered. (And I tried the link above but it does not work)18 Oct 2017
Sorry to hear you got caught within the hell circle that is Gatwick Express, Pat. Having been burned by them before (an Express trip taking about an hour due to issues on the line and costing me 23 quid for the privilege), may I suggest taking the coach from Victoria to Gatwick instead? Not as quick as the train I admit but the fare’s are pretty good (plus you can usually get cash back), the coaches are comfortable and I usually arrive feeling relaxed.
1F18 Oct 2017
1nfrequent – You didn’t say when you took LGW Express but I hoped you would have claimed for the delay. Compensation is paid when the delay exceeds 15 mins.
If delayed by 60+ mins it’s a full refund.18 Oct 2017
I believe that, when using contactless, you are charged the Gatwick Express fare if you go through the Gatwick Express ticket barrier at Victoria. If your Gatwick Express happens to use the wrong platform, you’re charged the ordinary fare.19 Oct 2017