Passenger overcharged at rural station

A TRAIN company has apologised after a customer was charged more for a ticket because he was travelling from a rural station.

Annie Davidson

A TRAIN company has apologised after a customer was charged more for a ticket because he was travelling from a rural station.

Peter Freer was charged �8.80 by National Express East Anglia for an “anytime return” ticket from the village station of Thurston, near Bury St Edmunds, when he set off to visit friends in Needham Market.

Mr Freer, who has a railcard giving him up to a third off train ticket prices, said after buying the ticket he had queried the price which he said still seemed high even with the discount.

It was only after questioning the cost he was sold a �6.50 off-peak return ticket from Bury St Edmunds to Needham Market, which is further in mileage terms.

Mr Freer said it had been impossible to buy an off-peak ticket from Thurston and only “anytime” ones were available.

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He said: “My question is, why are train passengers that board at village stations charged more for using trains?

“I have always known that there are peculiarities with the ticket pricing of the railways, even though National Express recently re-branded its prices with supposedly simpler and cheaper prices, but this example seems to charge more for passengers who board at a village station.”

He added: “The conductor said that I will have to remind the conductor in future so that they can sell me the off-peak ticket from the train's previous station stop, however train conductors are suppose to sell passengers the cheapest available ticket - something doesn't quite make sense with National Expresses' approach in this instance.”

Peter Meades, media manager for National Express, thanked Mr Freer for pointing out the discrepancy.

“It is an oversight which has got to be corrected,” he said.

“There should be an off-peak between Thurston and Needham Market and this is something we have got to put right at the earliest opportunity.”

Mr Meades said the reasons behind the problem were “quite complicated” and “historical”.

“We are doing cheap day returns for as many ticket flows as we can - there are lots of different combinations and they are structured a certain way,” he said.

“Wherever possible we are introducing off-peak tickets and it is unfortunate this one has not adjusted but we will get it changed.

“We are grateful to the customer for highlighting this, it is not a deliberate oversight and it will be corrected at the earliest opportunity.”

? Have you had to pay more for travelling from a village station? Contact the EADT newsdesk on 01473 324736 or email