Rail tick­et­ing makes no sense

The Herald - - OPINION -

HELP me please. I just don’t un­der­stand rail­ing tick­et­ing in Scot­land. With a Rail­card, I’m booked for £33.90 on Thurs­day May 31 for a First-class re­turn jour­ney Stone­haven-ed­in­burgh (out 0810, re­turn 1833). This is Virgin Trains East Coast (VTEC), with lug­gage space, bikes space, legroom, meals, cof­fee and re­fresh­ments at seat, with two toi­lets per coach.

Out of in­ter­est, I tried com­pa­ra­ble times Abel­lio Scotrail (ASR), and my com­puter sug­gests that the cheap­est Sec­ond-class re­turn fare is £33.20 – lit­tle lug­gage space, bikes with a grudge, re­fresh­ments ex­tra, and two toi­lets per three coaches.

The unasked-for ASR bonus is a noisy rat­tly train out of the Ark, with vi­bra­tory un­der­floor en­gines, toi­lets that open di­rectly into pas­sen­ger ac­com­mo­da­tion, and nowhere to plug in an elec­tronic de­vice.

Don’t even think on trav­el­ling First by ASR. The price is a whop­ping £84.50, with no lug­gage space at all, all of a cof­fee and a bis­cuit gratis, and sin­gle toi­let at the farther end of the car­riage.

In look­ing at dif­fer­ences be­tween 1st class in VTEC and ASR, we’re not com­par­ing ap­ples and pears: we’re look­ing di­rectly at the difference be­tween a VTEC state­room and ASR steer­age.

These ticket dis­par­i­ties – not to men­tion the yawn­ing chasm in qual­ity of trains – have ex­isted for decades. Why does Trans­port Scot­land, the ul­ti­mate head hon­cho of ASR, al­lows this to con­tinue? Gor­don Casely,

Wester­ton Cot­tage, Crathes.

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