Latest train ticket deal is a con

SOUTH West Trains’ latest publicity sounds like excellent news: “Get your weekend mojo back, with our new weekend Super Off-Peak fares.

“They’re available for travel from January 2, 2017 and will be at least 15% cheaper than our Off-Peak Day fares when you travel at certain times on Saturdays, Sundays or public holidays.

“We’ve launched these fares across our network so you’ll save money whatever your journey.”

The principal ‘new’ element of these weekend tickets is that, unlike the current Super Off-Peak tickets, they will not be valid all day.

Passengers using trains arriving in London between 09.31 and 11.59, or departing between 16.09 and 18.40 will need to buy the dearer Off-Peak tickets.

For non-London journeys, Super Off-Peak tickets will no longer be available on trains departing between 04.30 and 10.59. 

So passengers will make significant savings only if they avoid the dearer fares which will apply for much of the day.

Many will face huge fare increases compared with pre-January rates.

For example, Southampton-Waterloo day return journey up 16%; Portsmouth-Waterloo up 20%.

Weekend engineering works involving slower journeys and bus replacements will make these dearer tickets even worse value for money.

However, the increased revenue should help Stagecoach offer a large premium to retain the SWT franchise, so that they can devise more money saving offers.

Denis Fryer, Co-ordinator, South Hampshire Rail Users Group.

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