Rail passenger charged £155 for getting off one stop early
Wave goodbye to common sense everyone – there it goes now, on a train from Birmingham to Durham. This is a story that, to be frank, boils our piss – a tale of a rail passenger being ordered to pay £155 for getting off a train one stop BEFORE his designated departure station.
That passenger is Professor Martyn Evans, who works in the philosophy department at Durham University, although he's probably still scratching his head about how this one works.
Professor Evans was recently travelling from Birmingham on an advance ticket that would take him back to Durham. But, as it was getting late, he decided to skip going back to work and got off the train one stop early, at Darlington, close to where he lives.
Which is where it all went batshit mental. When he couldn't get through the ticket machine barrier because he had a Birmingham-Durham ticket, Darlington station staff told him he would have to pay another £155 to cover the cost of a ticket from Birmingham to Darlington. No, seriously – we're doing everything we can not to punch the keyboard in its balls while we're typing this.
Professor Evans signed a form agreeing to pay it later, but has since refused and East Coast (the rail company in question) have agreed to waive the charge on this occasion but have defended their right to apply the monstrous charge for a passenger who got LESS of the journey that he'd paid for.
A spokesman for East Coast (who lest we forget, are state-owned) said: "The terms and conditions of the Advanced Purchase First Class ticket - the ticket which Professor Evans had used for his journey - clearly state that breaking a journey en route, or starting from an intermediate station, is not permitted."
Which begs the question – is ending a journey the same as breaking it? And even if it is, what is the rationale for train companies insisting that people stay on the rickety old shit-wagons for the entirety of their journey even if it isn't convenient to the passenger? How is this any different from, say, legalised kidnap?
EDIT: We thought we'd pull our fingers out and find out what the cost discrepancy would be between travelling to Durham and getting off one stop early at Darlington. Looking a month ahead, a First Class Advance Single from Birmingham to Darlington on October 28th at 4.30pm costs £144.50. To travel from Birmingham to Durham would cost you £144.50. To travel further still, from Birmingham to Newcastle would cost you £144.50. Going all the way to Edinburgh from Birmingham on that same service would cost you... £57.50.
We're confused now.