I’m on my way to London this morning, this is good, as I enjoy trips to London, and like travelling by train. Unfortunately I haven’t had a lot of warning of this trip, so I haven’t been able to pre-book cheap tickets; however I thought that the distance between Fareham and London isn’t that great, so it shouldn’t cost too much. I was wrong! The ticket price for a day return to London Waterloo and back is £66, for this amount of money I could easily drive myself in my family car to the outskirts of London, pay for day parking at a station, and catch a short distance train into the centre of London. It’s not like I even have to persuade someone else to come with me to save money!
Worse still if you buy a return ticket from Fareham to Basingstoke, and a return ticket from Basingstoke to London Waterloo then the cost of the journey drops from £66 to £53. It appears as though whoever is setting these ridicules prices seems to want to discourage people from travelling further, and giving the train company more money. I can’t imagine why else they’d make it so short journeys were proportionally cheaper than long journeys.
I guess that the real problem is that our glorious leaders have set up a system where all of the competition in the market is about who can pay the government the most money for a given rail franchise. Shockingly this creates an incentive to push up prices and screw customers. Unbelievably competition only appears to improve things in the areas that the companies are competing for (i.e. if the competition is who can make the cheapest nastiest burger you get yummy horse meat, not stake burgers. If the competition is who can pay the government more money for a rail franchise you get stupid pricing). Competition doesn’t magically improve all the things.
Anyway this blog post is all a bit pointless as David Mitchell sums it all up far more eloquently than I ever could: