Fare deals that go off the rails
Tuesday 24 December 1996
For example, those heading for Christmas in Glasgow from London and coming back after Hogmanay may be quoted pounds 58 return. Or, if they are a bit unluckier, they will be told it is pounds 72. Or pounds 135. The same goes for a day return from Southampton to Ipswich, on which answers from the national bureau ranged from pounds 31 to pounds 77.
According to the survey, the National Rail Enquiries Bureau and the train operators gave identical information on only one of ten routes. The survey, involving 150 requests, revealed that the same operators gave different prices for identical journeys and the national bureau frequently contradicted itself.
On Leeds to Rugby, Cross Country trains quoted pounds 80.30 to pounds 120.30, but the best offer was with the national bureau which quoted pounds 64. Unfortunately, the bureau does not sell tickets. And on West Coast InterCity, no price was available since its number remained unanswered despite 25 attempts.
No one was available to answer calls yesterday at the offices of the Association of Train Operators, which runs the national enquiry service set up this year to ensure that impartial information is given out.
The Liberal Democrats blame privatisation and the failure of the rail regulator to enforce the rules. David Chidgey, the party's transport spokesman, said: "Britain's ticket-enquiry system is Britain's second lottery. The information is so inconsistent that I am writing to ask the National Rail Enquiries Bureau to answer publicly the questions we have been trying to find an answer to."
David Charlesworth, who conducted the survey, sought help from the Consumers' Association, but all they could add was that there was just one person in the country with the answers - a rail-timetable consultant called Barry Doe who lives on the south coast. And his phone number remains a secret.
elephant appealThe first 23 lots in our charity auction have now gone. But there are 22 more still up for grabs
Jennifer Lawrence attacks mass media again over body image
scienceScientists find the answer to a question that even puzzled Darwin
A very timely Great Train Robbery and a frantic 24 Hours in A&E among the highlights
scienceThe new development in bio-printing technology could be used in the future to restore lost vision - though years of research still await
Geoffrey Macnab: The Wolf of Wall Street's account of white-collar excess is A Rake’s Progress on steroids
arts + entsThe 'Friends' actor on his new role as campaigner on addiction issues
Sun will 'flip upside down' within weeks, says Nasa
Colin Farrell reveals ‘affair’ with Elizabeth Taylor: 'She was my last romantic relationship'
Children evacuated from swimming pool after prosthetic leg mistaken for paedophile
Devyani Khobragade: India-US row escalates over arrest of diplomat in New York
Peter O'Toole: Tales of the late film icon
Exclusive: Young people ‘want UK to stay in Europe’: Four in 10 adults aged 18 to 24 are ‘firmly in favour’ of membership, poll shows
Fox News presenter tells viewers it is a 'fact' that both Jesus and Santa Claus are white
You can STILL be jailed for being a republican, government confirms, and it remains illegal to even 'imagine' overthrowing the Queen
Kiss and yell: Italian protester charged with sexual assault after kissing riot police officer
Fighting back: the woman giving a voice (and 49,999 others) to the victims of sexism - by giving an airing to their horror stories
PM denies two child limit for benefits is part of Tory welfare policy
- 1 America's 'virgin births'? One in 200 mothers 'became pregnant without having sex'
- 2 Sun will 'flip upside down' within weeks, says Nasa
- 3 Christmas comes early: Justin Bieber announces he's 'retiring from music'
- 4 Children evacuated from swimming pool after prosthetic leg mistaken for paedophile
- 5 Status: Wet - Woman walks off a pier while checking Facebook on her phone
- < Previous
- Next >
£ Negotiable + Bens: Citifocus: Highly regarded Asset Manager with progressive...
£18000 - £22000 per annum + Award-Winning Benefits: FCm Travel Solutions: FCm ...
£23000 - £27000 per annum + £18K base & uncapped commission & benefits: Flight...
£22610.19 - £26378.76 per annum + Excellent Benefits: Pro-Recruitment Group: I...