Virgin on the ridiculous - train fares increase three-fold
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.