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  1. #1
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    Default First class rip-off

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/london/10170185.stm

    I was interested to read this report on first class rail travel fares, especially since it concerns Southeastern, the company I use every day. I have always maintained since they brought in the new trains that first class was a con on Southeastern, because there is no difference whatsoever between first class seating and the rest of the seating on the train. It's just that they've stuck '1st class' on the partition. In the old slam-door trains you'd have whole carriages that were 1st class, or at least sections that were properly separated with doors. They had compartments where at most 8 people could sit and shut a door. They had nicer seats, curtains on the windows, and reading lamps above each seat. You actually felt you were getting something for the extra fare. When I was in Cambridge, the WAGN trains had 1st class sections that were separated by glass doors and had more legroom and bigger tables. On Southeastern there is nothing to distinguish the 1st class section from anything else, so why on Earth would anyone pay up to 63% more for their ticket to travel in it?

  2. #2
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    It's not only a rip-off, it's a pathetic waste of space for 'normal' passengers. How often have we been crammed in because there arn't enough carriages, with a whole quarter of the train empty because no-one has paid for "first class" (which is basically a normal carriage with napkins on the seats).

    We arn't in the steam train age, and, unfortunately, a lot of trains today are like cattle trucks anyway. So the notion of "first class" carriages should be scrapped, certainly on short-journey commuter trains into London.

    Si.

  3. #3
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    I'm not sure I'd scrap it, but I'd at least want 1st class to BE 1st class, and for them to be a bit more flexible when the trains are completely packed and no-one is in the 1st class sections.

  4. #4
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    be a bit more flexible when the trains are completely packed and no-one is in the 1st class sections.
    A lot of the trains I use actually make announcements that first class is declassified on crowded trains.

    I agree with Si. It should be got rid of on shorter commuter journies. Its not fair on anyone.

  5. #5
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    First Class is great on a long train journey. The extra legroom, more comforatble seats, the free tea and coffee on demand was splendid on a four hour trip to Cornwall. I'd really recommend that as a way to travel.

    On South West Trains into London I doubt there'd be any benefits and it is just another way for the train companies to rake in the cash. I think they'd be better off doing things the Si Hunt way and scrapping them on commuter routes, especially if they're not being used.

    Si xx

    I've just got my handcuffs and my truncheon and that's enough.

  6. #6
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    Everyone should do things The Si Hunt Way! The world would be a lot tidier.

    Or the Eileen Way.

    Si.

  7. #7
    Captain Tancredi Guest

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    Chiltern (who run Marylebone-Banbury-Birmingham) did exactly that a good few years ago and it seems to have worked for them. At least one argument I've seen advanced for keeping first class on commuter routes is that most of the people using it are senior business people and (until recently) civil servants who were given a first class season ticket as part of their package of benefits. The only commuter trains in the North with first class are the Trans-Pennines and I've treated myself once or twice (though then again, at the weekend the only benefit is a wider seat).

    I completely agree with Si Hart about first class on the Great Western down to Cornwall, though.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Monk View Post
    A lot of the trains I use actually make announcements that first class is declassified on crowded trains.

    I agree with Si. It should be got rid of on shorter commuter journies. Its not fair on anyone.
    I got the police called on me because I rested my weary butt in a first class seat. I couldn't go anywhere - the train was that packed. Some guy came up yelling at me wanting my name and address, I refused and he called the police!
    Why build an engine when you have a perfectly good whale?

  9. #9
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    I know the trains I use on the Hutt line in Wellington has no first class. I think we all travel steerage some days. But then we're more of a classless society I'm told!
    Remember, just because Davros is dead doesn't mean the Dalek menace has been contained ......

  10. #10
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    People do get rather fussy about First Class seats. I'm sure some people would be happy for them to be protected by an armed guard.

    And yet. On South West Trains, it would be very annoying to think that while there were pregnant women standing up in the jam-packed carriages, a 17-year old drug dealer from Staines might be enjoying all the first class benefits. Particularly when the trains were too jammed for the ticket inspectors to walk up and down.
    Pity. I have no understanding of the word. It is not registered in my vocabulary bank. EXTERMINATE!

  11. #11
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    I'm shocked at Emma's criminal behaviour!

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by EmmaT View Post
    I got the police called on me because I rested my weary butt in a first class seat. I couldn't go anywhere - the train was that packed. Some guy came up yelling at me wanting my name and address, I refused and he called the police!
    I've twice been chucked out of First Class simply because they've not marked up the point where Second Class ends other than First Class was where the available seating began, and because the wallet needed artificial resuscitation after hearing the price of the upgrade. (Mind you, I did get a free roll the first time, before anyone, including myself, cottoned on.) The price did remind me of the line from Ronnie Barker's railway monologue, "We'll be replacing the existing fare structure with a very unfair structure."