Something To Declare: South Coast trains; driving in France
Saturday 31 July 2004
As the story below demonstrates, go-as-you-please tickets are not always bargains.
Bargain of the week: South Coast trains
As the story below demonstrates, go-as-you-please tickets are not always bargains. But the train operator Southern offers an excellent £10 deal for days out in South-East England: unlimited travel along the South Coast from Southampton via Portsmouth, Brighton and Hastings, to Ashford International. It also allows travel to and from London terminals, and as far north as Watford Junction. By comparison, the cheapest day return ticket on the premier London Victoria to Brighton line is £16 on its own.
The £10 DaySave ticket is available if you book at least a week ahead on the Southern website ( www.southernrailway.com). It is even better value if you travel with three other people: the DaySave group ticket costs £20. Accompanying children are charged at £1 each. The ticket is valid at any time at weekends, but not before 10am from Monday to Friday nor on rush-hour trains out of London.
Warning of the week: driving in France
As mentioned on page 3, this weekend marks the start of the main holiday season in France. The Bison Futé ("Clever Buffalo") scheme offers specific warnings - in French only - on its website, www.bison-fute.equipement.gouv.fr. The worst jams are expected on the A7 south of Lyon. The 70-mile stretch between Vienne and Bollène should be avoided heading south on Friday afternoons and evenings, and from 6am to 5pm on Saturdays. Going north, the authorities advise that 9am-8pm on Saturdays are likely to be heavily congested.
Other pinch-points that are likely to affect British motorists are the A10 autoroute to south-west France at Tours; 9am-3pm are the hours to steer clear of when going south, noon to 5pm coming north.
And Saturdays from 9am-7pm are worth avoiding in either direction on the A9 between Perpignan and the Spanish border at Le Perthus.
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