View the article online at http://citywire.co.uk/money/article/a426154
Train companies charge evening peak train fares from 3pm
Train operators make peak times 'very confusing' for passengers, with some operators charging evening peak fares from as early as three in the afternoon, research has revealed.
Train operators Virgin and East Coast charge passengers peak fares from as early as 3pm, an investigation has found.
This means East Coast’s evening peak now lasts four hours, compared to other train operators such as Chiltern and Merseyrail which do not have an evening peak at all, according to consumer group Which?
With no consistency between train operators with regards to peak times, train companies are making it ‘very confusing’ for passengers, Which? claims.
For example, while some train companies have a set morning peak time ending at 9.30, East Coast’s morning peak in London ends at 10.05am - unless the passenger is travelling first class, using an off-peak day return, travelcard or super off-peak in which case the time varies. Peak times can also vary according to where you depart from.
Which? said: ‘You’d be forgiven for not knowing if you’re coming or going, yet Atoc claims ‘four out of five passengers are happy with their journey’.
Colin Foxall, Passenger Focus chairman, said: ‘Passenger Focus has been critical of those train companies’ which have tinkered with off-peak ticket restrictions and have effectively forced passengers into buying more expensive tickets.
‘With less than half of all passengers satisfied with value for money, train companies have a long way to go to address concerns,’ he added.
Earlier this month Passenger Focus said some train fares had nearly quadrupled since last year and that by redesignating trains as ‘peak’, rail companies had been able to increase fares without the regulator’s permission. Train companies however claimed that the changes only affected a tiny amount of people.
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