The price of train tickets is a topical subject now that we know the average price rise for train tickets will be just over 6% in January 2013. However who has stopped to consider the premium involved in buying a high speed rail ticket?
Assuming you want to travel the following day (on a weekday) leaving your starting station in the region of 08:00 to 10:00 prices have been compared for a single journey on both “classic” rail and high speed rail.
Fare premium for high speed rail
|Ashford (International) – London||20%||48% at non peak times|
|Paris – Lyon||13% to 46%|
|Florence – Rome||43% to 123%|
|Frankfurt – Dusseldorf||53% to 90%|
|Madrid – Barcelona||115%|
|Amsterdam – Brussels||206%|
Imagine you need to travel regularly from Birmingham to London (or Manchester to London) and the ticket price cannot be reclaimed on expenses, would you be prepared to pay the kind of premiums listed above to travel on High Speed Two? It is recognised that there are cheaper deals if you buy your ticket several days or weeks in advance, but not everyone can plan their journeys in that way. Furthermore season ticket holders using Javelin trains (HS1) in Kent pay a 20% premium over travellers using “classic” rail to reach London.
By comparison, a 6% price rise is a storm in a tea cup.
Anyone needing a reminder of the DfT’s decision not to use a premium price ticket in their modelling of HS2 passenger numbers should see this short video of Margaret Hodge at a Public Accounts Committee meeting in April this year: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h92e6ycM48k She described their decision as “bonkers” and it was recognised that premium priced tickets would reduce the DfT passenger forecasts.
Note: analysis performed on 14th August for travel on 15th August 2012.