Fare hike blamed on'temporary fault'

REGIONAL train operator One has blamed an apparent 100%-plus increase in a rail fare on a temporary fault. Saxmundham town councillor Richard Smith was incensed after he went to book up an advance return ticket from Saxmundham to Cardiff with One to find the price had shot up from £36 to £80.

REGIONAL train operator One has blamed an apparent 100%-plus increase in a rail fare on a temporary fault.

Saxmundham town councillor Richard Smith was incensed after he went to book up an advance return ticket from Saxmundham to Cardiff with One to find the price had shot up from £36 to £80.

He had previously checked the prices and had found an Apex ticket priced £36 which he felt was “very reasonable”.

However, he had to wait until the meeting he was due to attend on Monday, July 10, was confirmed before he could go ahead and book.

When he returned to the One website, he discovered that the ticket type had vanished and the cheapest return he could get was £80.

The EADT contacted National Rail Inquiries, and they quoted the cheapest fare at £38 or two singles at £19 with First Great Western. The cheapest they could quote with One was £80.

Most Read

However, a spokesman for One said the discrepancy was due to a temporary fault which should be fixed within the next few days.

One has launched a new range of advance purchase train fares on the company's mainline route between Norwich and London, with prices as low as £5 for some passengers across Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex, which apply from June 11.

However, the new range of Advance Purchase tickets will replace all existing advance purchase type fares, including Leisure Advance, Apex and London Day Out.

“The new fares structure implemented by One will benefit the majority of our customers. There will be very occasional instances where tickets are priced higher than before the scheme was introduced,” One communications manager Nick Jarrold said.

“For this particular journey, Saxmundham-Cardiff, the customer can purchase two tickets, one from Saxmundham to London from as little as £10, and one from London to Cardiff with South West trains temporarily whilst the error is being addressed.

“A ticket from Saxmundham to Cardiff is temporarily unavailable due to a temporary fault in the central reservations system which is being rectified and should be fixed within the next week.

“Once the temporary fault in the system has been fixed, a ticket for this journey can be purchased for as little as £38. All prices quoted are minimum fares, and ticket prices are based on the date and time of travel as well as availability.”

Mr Smith, who was planning to abandon his plans to travel by train due to the hike in price, said he would now try to get a ticket. “I just wonder whether they'll fix it in time for me to book it in advance,” he said. “If I can get down there for £38 I'll go by train.”

n One reported yesterday that a programme of engineering work on the mainline between Norwich and Liverpool Street has now come to an end, meaning largely non-interrupted travel for customers at weekends through the summer.

All-day engineering work on the line on Sundays has now finished until September 23.

The only exceptions will be Sundays June 24 and September 16 (bus service between Diss and Norwich until 8.45am); Sunday, July 1 (buses between Colchester and Chelmsford until 6.50am); Sunday, July 16 (buses Ipswich/Manningtree-Marks Tey and Colchester-Marks Tey); and Sunday, September 16 (buses Colchester-Marks Tey until 9am).

Andrew Goodrum, One's mainline route director, said: “The end of the engineering works programme means our customers will experience a non-interrupted weekend service over the coming months.

“It also means that we can offer a more consistent and seamless service, without the need for passengers to transfer from a train and on to a bus.”