Virgin on the ridiculous - train fares increase three-fold

8 December 2008

We're still three weeks away from it being three months too early for April Fools' Day, so we'll assume this is true. The Telegraph is reporting that fares on some of Virgin Train's early morning services out of London will... are you ready for you? Treble. So if you're a regular commuter on the West Coast Main Line and are used to picking up a cheap fare on a morning, you need to get organised.

Virgin is introducing a new timetable next week, that will coincide with the new fares and see three early services scrapped. New prices include a day return from London to Lancaster for an eye-watering £238 on the day, compared to £69.30 at the moment. A day return to Carlisle rockets up from £87.10 to £247 and from London to Glasgow may cause a slight sense of nausea when you're asked to part with £252.

But wait, there's more! These increases are in addition to the annual fare rises which come into force in January. You lucky, lucky commuters.

It's all part of Virgin's bid to take on the low-cost airlines, who are stealing business away from them currently. Because everyone flies from Heathrow into Carlisle International for the big power meetings, don't they? A Virgin spokesperson told the Telegraph:

"The trains have not been full in the past, but they will now because it will be a much more attractive service. These will now be business services because the trains will offer much faster journey times.

"We have to set our fare levels at a point which they are attractive but also cover our costs. We are competing against the airlines. We now have 75 per cent of the market on the London to Manchester route compared to 25 per cent which is still retained by the airlines.

"Four years ago we only carried a third of passengers. We are not going to apologise for these fares. The test will be whether we continue to grow at the expense of the airlines."

No, the test will be whether customers are willing to pay three times the price for a train ticket. It's going to be cheaper for customers to put their money in a pot and start work on developing transporter technology from Star Trek. Possibly more reliable, too.

[The Telegraph]

13 comments

  • Chris
    Basic error in this article, namely the title If the price of a £100 ticket increases by a third, that would be £133. Which is not the case inside the article
  • Paul Nikkel EDITOR
    You mean it's worse than the headline?
  • Dave
    Yes, I was just going to point that out! There is a difference between 33% (so says the telegraph) and 300%, so says this article! Haha, this place is always good if you want to laugh at the people getting it wrong!
  • Paul S.
    "Do not feed the troll, do not feed the troll, do not feed the troll..." Headline changed (although the detail in the article was correct). Thanks for pointing it out, Chris.
  • Matt S.
    This is literally going to mean some people have to quit there jobs, and try and find something local. It's a disgrace. The crazy amount of fuel tax is supposed to discourage people from driving at to find a greener alternative. So what's the purpose of destroying public transport, is everyone supposed to just work in their local McDonalds?
  • jinkssick
    i love it when companies get greedy, people who are real money savers and even exec in this current climate will look elsewhere thus losing them millions which offsets any income gained. priceless.
  • Paul
    The train fare increases in this country have got well beyond any joke. The Govt has totally failed to reign in these cowboys. Its time consumers started fighting back with boycotts and no pay days like the Great Western one. With a recession on its time to protest.
  • ODB
    So...to compete with the airlines and steal people from them, increase the amount of passengers on their trains etc...they are going to put prices UP???? Bollocks! dont believe anyones that stupid
  • Mark
    I've had friends tell me that train services in other European countries offer clean efficient trains for much longer journeys at a fraction of the cost. Bit sad when the rail services here can't even compete on price with the bloody airlines.
  • Martin
    > London to Glasgow may cause a slight sense of nausea when you’re asked to part with £252. FLY. Save the wallet. Fuck the environment.
  • Bob
    My train arrived on time for the first time in 3 months yesterday, perhaps when they increase the fares by 8% (measly by Virgin standards) it will start becoming punctual but I'm not going to hold my breath.
  • Mark
    I've had to fork out on a Taxi fare from Newcastle to Norwich because the trains aren't running on Boxing day and in total will cost me only £233. Train companies are taking the pee if it's easier and almost as cheap to pay a taxi driver.
  • Bitterwallet B.
    [...] was news that Paul S. discovered on The Telegraph reporting fares on some of Virgin Train’s early morning services costing 3x more. Surely that’s a typo on The Telegraph’s part. [...]

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