LNER not so wonderful

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  • Commuterco
    Participant

    The Sep/Oct UK edition describes LNER trains as some kind of magic. Alas, the reality is anything but that. The fares structure is so complex that not only is one likely to pay more than is necessary for the journey, many end up with tickets which aren’t valid. The super-of freak-advance-Ricky-dink-pensioner ticket should have had an extra adjective, or perhaps one less to be valid on this train, even though the details of this train are printed on the ticket. The awful fact is that the ticket inspector will then rant and rave, seeking to cause maximum humiliation and portray you to fellow passengers as a criminal. I have seen this just too many times. It doesn’t happen on other Uk rail lines.


    AMcWhirter
    Participant

    Have you any specific examples of this situation ?

    As for rail fares note that these are unusual times.

    Under ’emergency measures’ all TOCs’ fares revenue is handed to the government.

    In turn the government is spending billions on subsidising the present rail network.

    Did you see our previous piece ?

    Great British Railways to oversee rail timetables and pricing


    DannyBoy
    Participant

    The LNER website is not great when booking tickets and really needs a proper overhaul. I tend to find the journey I need through the National rail website then click on the buy button which will divert you to that ticket option. National Rail will also give a clearer indication of the rules on the ticket.

    As for the poor treatment by staff, this can happen on all operators sadly and is pot luck with who get on the day. I find closer to London you get the worse it gets and reminds me of a terrible altercation between barrier staff at the station on a South Western railway service. My ticket wouldn’t let me through the barrier and the inspector said it was not valid because of the time of the use of the tickets and wanted to fine me. The issue was because the train was delayed and proved it to them but he or his cronies would not budge so I caused a big scene and demanded to speak to someone in higher authority including the MD, this went on for almost 20 mins when they eventually got tired and let me through. I lodged an official complaint when I got home on their website and had received a personal response from a senior customer manager by the next working day. Interestingly I have never seen any of those staff since.


    MartynSinclair
    Participant

    As for rail fares note that these are unusual times.

    Enough of the covid excuses for UK travel. Friday I needed to make a day trip to Manchester.

    Options:

    Drive – cant risk it, with the current demo’s blocking London motorways. Already this week I lost a meeting on Monday when caught by eco warriors (boneheads) blocking M25

    Flying – can get up to Manchester easily by air, but no return flights on Friday afternoon to London

    Rail – An open day return anything between £369 and £510, depending on class !!!!

    Solution – stay at home and use Microsoft Teams

    So much for UK travel assisting business travel!!!

    Just for our overseas friends, the distance between London and Manchester is ca. 220 miles each way…

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    AMcWhirter
    Participant

    Hello MartynSinclair,

    I realise you will be pressed for time …

    But this example which we published some months ago shows just how zany UK rail fares can be.

    Although the headline price quoted refers to off-peak travel I did mention at the end that peak travel was allowed at the higher rate of £120 (still a huge saving on Avanti peak fare).

    Manchester-London by train for £35 return

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    Tom Otley
    Keymaster

    Hello Martyn,
    You are right about the roads / motorways at the moment. Even when there are no protesters lying in the fast lane, it’s a lucky dip as to what time you get there.
    I’ve had several recent trips to Heathrow and the surrounding area, and what would previously have been a comfortable 75 minute drive is anything up to 120-140 minutes at the moment (depending on time of the day).
    I have to visit again next week (a hotel near to the airport) and will be leaving the hotel after the meeting to drive home at around 5pm. I do not expect to be home in time for dinner!
    Tom


    MartynSinclair
    Participant

    Hi Tom

    I am finding the roads around London worse than pre covid. My most frequent journey is north London to Marlow, M1, M25, M40. Pre lockdown, 1 in 5 journey would be a nightmare (over 1 hour). Now it’s virtually every trip and its not just because of the protesters. Just continual heavy traffic, even on weekends.

    As for trains and aeroplanes, the schedules are not reliable plus it really is hit and miss at Heathrow at the moment.

    The Government is trying to encourage us all to get back to an office environment – however, until travel has joined up writing – it is only going to get worse.

    The only reliable transport I use, is the London underground and my two feet.

    Otherwise I have no choice but to continue on the impersonal video conferencing, which I despise because of the lack of human ‘togetherness’….

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    Jmur
    Participant

    ‘I have seen this just too many times’

    I have been commuting weekly between Newark Northgate and Edinburgh for my work using LNER for 3 years now, so I guess I’ve now made something over 120 return journeys.

    Whilst not perfect all the time, I’ve never witnessed any ranting or raving from the staff. Many times from passengers yes – usually drunk ones or people who apparently can’t understand letters and numbers well enough in order to find their reserved seat.

    As for ticketing, I’ve found it no better or worse than any of the other train companies. The usual mantra of book early, and travel off peak when possible applies.

    Overall, I’ve found LNER prices more reasonable than using the West Coast alternative route to Glasgow.

    2 users thanked author for this post.

    TimFitzgeraldTC
    Participant

    I think UK trains are pretty reliable at the moment (though some timetables are reduced – understandably). Not to say on some days things go a bit awry but this happens all over Europe / The World (even in Japan – though a bit more rarely!).

    Manchester can be done from London for under £120 on Avanti if you time your meeting for the afternoon to avoid crazy peak fares (surely this will change going forward if any common sense applied in post pandemic world).

    Looking at pricing a trip to North Wales in 2 weeks though and way fares were advertised on Avanti website very unclear and almost designed to make you pay considerably more than the cheapest return fare. This kind of mischievous / deviant presentation needs to be immediately stopped by the authorities. I know my way around these sites – but the average customer could easily in my case have paid £160 instead of £105 for tickets in question (and been more restricted!).

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    AMcWhirter
    Participant

    Manchester can be done from London for under £120 on Avanti if you time your meeting for the afternoon to avoid crazy peak fares (surely this will change going forward if any common sense applied in post pandemic world).

    That is why I posted our previous report (see second posting) re fares reform.

    In the case of Manchester we have this crazy situation where the flexible peak fare is £369 yet the flexible off-peak fare is £94.50.

    No wonder then that trains either side of the peak period are so crowded.

    But as I noted above the cost of a London-Manchester (or v.v.) return fare can be reduced to as little as £35 if one is prepared to travel via Crewe using a slower train for the London-Crewe sector.


    AMcWhirter
    Participant

    I feel we can have some sympathy with both train staff (who have to clear the rubbish) and passengers when you get such a passenger.


    Chris
    Participant

    Speak as you find. I travel at least 8 times a month with LNER and have done so before lockdown through lockdown and after! In general I find the website very simple and whilst the lowest fares have risen quite substantially I sadly understand why. Staff have been excellent throughout on board trains and train managers are proactive and accepting of reasoned approaches.


    Commuterco
    Participant

    My original post here was about the attitude and behaviour of staff when things MAY not be right.
    Mr McWhirter asks for a specific example.
    I recently bought an advance ticket for a specific train and travelled on it. I had used my railcard, not realising that it had expired whilst not being used during Covid times. Entirely my fault, which I admitted immediately. I was then shouted at, accused of deliberately trying to avoid paying the fare and further subjected to racial abuse. Shouting at me to the consternation of other passengers (of whom there were not many).
    I then declined to pay the excess on board and offered my details, with identity proof. Inspector demanded (not asked) for my photo driving licence which I have never had. Then accused of being a liar. When reaching home I paid the excess ticket in full (some four times the original fare paid) and wrote a letter of complaint addressed personally to Mr Horne, the MD and sent this by recorded delivery.
    It was signed for the following day and to date, over six weeks later, I have not received an acknowledgement, let alone a substantive reply…..and you wonder why I am not impressed!


    jjlasne
    Participant

    220 miles at 70mph would take you about 3hrs outside of road delays. That would be my default option in America.

    But there is another one. A private flight shared with other business people. It has become quite popular in America with some companies offering scheduled routes at interesting fares on small jets from executive terminals. Biggest drawback has been that they do not offer parking like regular passenger terminals would.


    Tom Otley
    Keymaster

    Commuterco, it sounds a very upsetting and unnecessary encounter. I hope you get a reply from LNER.

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