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Advance train ticket price "scam"

Boston, MA
Level Contributor
103 posts
36 reviews
Advance train ticket price "scam"

So i thought that Advance train tickets were supposed to be cheaper than a day-of-travel purchase, but apparently not.

Bought a GWR ticket for about £20, two months in advance. But guess what, on the day of travel when I obtain the ticket from the machine, out of curiosity I check to see what the same ticket would be bought on the spot: £10! So much for buying in advance!

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21 replies to this topic
Hampshire, United...
Destination Expert
for Amesbury, London, Windsor
Level Contributor
8,056 posts
63 reviews
1. Re: Advance train ticket price "scam"

Where did you go from and to which station? Not all train journeys have cheaper advance tickets, and there's no difference as you've found out from buying beforehand and on the day (assuming an off-peak ticket). It's not a scam, but I'll agree our ticketing system can be very confusing.

Boston, MA
Level Contributor
103 posts
36 reviews
2. Re: Advance train ticket price "scam"

Brighton - Salisbury.

And yes, there was a price difference. The advance ticket was £10 more.

Edited: 15 July 2018, 01:50
Lancashire, United...
Level Contributor
19,992 posts
76 reviews
3. Re: Advance train ticket price "scam"

Who did you buy your ticket from!?

Hampshire, United...
Destination Expert
for Amesbury, London, Windsor
Level Contributor
8,056 posts
63 reviews
4. Re: Advance train ticket price "scam"

Ok, looking at tomorrow (and just as examples), I can see the 08.57 costs £46.60 off-peak; the 09.00 off-peak costs £26.50. There is no 'advance' ticket. Ok tomorrow's Sunday. So just looked at a Thursday in August. Again, prices vary (off-peak or anytime) throughout the day. So it's possible you had a ticket for a dearer time, and then checked a different time which happened to be cheaper?

Otherwise I don't know. But it does seem they don't offer 'Advance' tickets unless you and I are using terminology differently. 'Advance fare' is a specific type of ticket which not every route uses.

Boston, MA
Level Contributor
103 posts
36 reviews
5. Re: Advance train ticket price "scam"

With "advance" I mean buying literally a month before departure.

Dresden, Germany
Level Contributor
1,675 posts
23 reviews
6. Re: Advance train ticket price "scam"

The GWR service from Brighton to Salisbury that departs 8.59am shows tickets for £10 one way booking in advance. I used this coming Monday as an 1example, checking through the National Rail App. All later trains on that route require using Southern/South West services and cost £26.40 one way. No rip off unless you booked through a third party booking portal.

Edited: 15 July 2018, 02:16
Boston, MA
Level Contributor
103 posts
36 reviews
7. Re: Advance train ticket price "scam"

Check the second week of September. Prices are £27.

Cobham, United...
Level Contributor
1,853 posts
31 reviews
8. Re: Advance train ticket price "scam"

It's confusing, but I suspect you may not have been comparing like with like. Fare reductions on advance tickets work on a quota system. That is, the cheaper fares are limited to a specific number of tickets released for each train leaving on a particular day at a particular time by a particular route.

At time of booking, you will usually see a range of prices which depend on the departure time of the train on the day you want to travel. The cheaper fares disappear gradually as the quotas get used up or may then only apply to the least popular departure times/slower routings/most number of changes etc. The journey you made currently shows advance booking fares of £10 or £27 approx depending on the exact time of departure from Brighton. If you look at trains on this coming Monday that £10 fare is actually still available, but only on one train. If you look at Sunday morning, it’s no longer available... probably because advance fare discounts only apply up to 18:00 on the day before you travel.

Note also that if someone has made a group booking in advance and then cancelled it, those seats may become available again to other customers. So (rarely) a cheaper advance fare than you may have paid may become available closer to the time of travel.

Edited: 15 July 2018, 02:31
Boston, MA
Level Contributor
103 posts
36 reviews
9. Re: Advance train ticket price "scam"

You still haven't explained to me why the ONLY ticket I could buy back in May was a £27 for the 8:59 AM train of July 2nd, while on the day of travel (July 2nd) I could have bought a £10 ticket for the same train.

Edited: 15 July 2018, 02:33
United Kingdom
Level Contributor
2,628 posts
18 reviews
10. Re: Advance train ticket price "scam"

Check what fare type you bought, I think what you originally bought was an off-peak single fare @£26.40, this is not a discounted Advance ticket, off - peak tickets don't sell out or increase in price (apart from the annual January price changes)

It's terminology really, buying ahead of time isn't the same thing as an Advance fare type (discounted/non flexible) ticket.

Edited: 15 July 2018, 02:36
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