One of the more surprising things about yesterday’s trip to London was the cost of the train ticket to do the journey.
Now I wrote about it last year when National Express East Anglia decided to almost-double the cost of the trainfare overnight from £40 to £74, and ended up with a letter from NEEA telling me that oh yes, it’d been an error, and the prices would drop back down at the next revision.
Looks like that was a lie, too. Indeed, the price has now gone up, so a return ticket with travelcard cost me £80.80 That really takes the piss. I could’ve driven down, parked all day, and driven back for less than half that amount – the only reason I didn’t was that I wasn’t in the mood for navigating London and the M25.
On the (very minor) plus side, the trains are now a lot less busy than they were when I was using them on a daily basis a couple of years back. Of course, that just means that (in theory at least) NEEA will then try and gouge their remaining customers even more in order to maintain the same levels of income.
Fantastic news today that National Express are to lose their franchise on the East Anglia route three years earlier than expected.
I’ve written before about just how shit National Express are – and how shit they’ve been with their customers – with ‘under-the-table’ price rises on tickets and the like. (Which reminds me, I’ve got something to add on that score, but it can wait) So I think it’s great that their utter shitness has been recognised, and had something done about it.
Of course, this isn’t going to be a “with immediate effect” thing. The useless fuckbags still don’t lose it ’til 31st March 2011. I wonder how many nasty little fare rises and shitty tactics they’ll put in place between now and then in order to maximise their income (and thus profit) before losing the contract?
Is it very childish to be rather pleased that D4D™ now comes top in a Google search for “National Express East Anglia fare rise” ?
It also comes in fourth (currently) for “National Express fare rise”
Ah, the small things that please my tiny mind…
The sole explanation of this anywhere on the station platform was one sheet of A4 paper wrapped in plastic sticky-taped to one noticeboard, which explained (and I may be paraphrasing slightly here…)
Because we’re profiteering fuckwit bastards, the line between Norwich and Cambridge has now been deemed a ‘peak-line’ train, which means we’ll rip you the fuck off for a full-price ticket until 10am.
This is to bring this service in line with other services leaving London. In other words, live with it, and we’ll take your money. Suckers.
The excuse of ‘bringing this service in line with others leaving London’ would be almost fine, if it weren’t for one or two very fucking significant points.
Point the First
The line between Cambridge and Norwich doesn’t go anywhere near London. At all. To travel to/from London, you’ve got to change first at Cambridge or Norwich. There is NO direct service.
Point the Second
Off-Peak tickets for leaving london only apply (according to NEEA’s own T&Cs) for trains arriving in London before 10am. The 7.55am service gets in to London Kings Cross at – um – 10.15am. Leaving at 7.55, in fact, there is no fucking way I can get to London before 10am.
In most cases the off peak day travelcard is not available for travel on trains arriving in London* before 1000 or departing from London before 0930. Travel is also not permitted on services departing from London* between 1629 and 1834 Monday to Friday, except for travel to stations between Hatfield Peverel and Braintree inclusive on the 1636 departure from London.
So all told, it just looks like a massive profiteering move on NEEA‘s part to double the prices and grab as much profit as humanly possible.
In the meantime, I’ve complained to NEEA direct, although I’m willing to bet that they don’t even bother responding. I’ll add the complaint letter as a post on D4D™ sometime this week, just for fun. I’m also going to be writing properly, rather than just in email – and I suspect a copy might make it’s way to the local papers etc. too…