Thames Valley Experts

Jul 30th, 2008, 12:52 AM
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Thames Valley Experts

My parents are coming to stay with us for the month of September. Obviously, they would like to go into London while they are here. When we catch the train from our little market village into London Waterloo it costs 15 pounds and that includes our all day travelcard. We are paid in pounds and haven't had too much exposure to public transportation so we haven't really balked at the price. However, my older (somewhat cheaper) parents are shocked. In their defense -- that does work out to $60 just to get to London. Is there any way to do this cheaper?

* My dad qualifies for the senior discount -- which costs 24 pounds and saves him 1/3 but that will only really be a deal if they use the train often.

* They could buy a season pass. For this route it would be 70 pounds but in order for that to save them any money they would have to go at least 5 times in 7 days.

* I could drop them off at Heathrow and they could take the tube in from there -- for less than 7 pounds, but that does add time.

* I could drive them even farther into London to cut down on the number of Tube zones they would need -- but again that adds time (and I haven't actually driven in London yet so it does scare me a bit).

So -- is there a secret cheaper option that I just don't know? A bus? Teleporter? Thanks for your help!
BKP is offline  
Jul 30th, 2008, 01:14 AM
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Public transport here in the UK is generally pretty expensive and anything around London is even more so.
But really £15 for return transport and an all day rail card (presumably includes the tube) seems reasonable to me in the great scheme of things.

However there is a bus company that you may have heard of called Megabus.

The prices are from £1 depending upon where you start from.
You don't say where you are specifically but look down the list on the website and find the closest major town. Drop them off and meet them there.
It may work out to be cheaper if you book in advance.

You can safely book on line too.

Good Luck

Mucky is offline  
Jul 30th, 2008, 01:32 AM
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Muck -- thanks for the quick reply! I didn't know about Megabus. Pricing it out it doesn't look any cheaper. It would be about 5 pounds each way plus they would still have to pay for their tube journeys once in London -- about 15 pounds altogether.

I agree that the train is not overpriced. It's so convenient and not having to drive/park in London is priceless to me!

Thanks again for your help.
BKP is offline  
Jul 30th, 2008, 02:00 AM
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A day return by train to London will be cheaper than the travelcard. If your train arrives at Waterloo, you can travel on to Charing Cross or London Bridge from Waterloo East on the same ticket, or walk from Waterloo.
There is also the Network rail card which costs £20 and gives a one-third discount for up to four people (of any age). On Mondays to Fridays, the discount is only available after ten o'clock, and the minimum fare (after discounting) is £10; at weekends, you can travel at any time and get the discount even for short journeys.
GeoffHamer is offline  
Jul 30th, 2008, 02:51 AM
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It's not $60 "just to go to London". It's actually $40 with a Network Railcard (which allows a 33% saving for up to four adults travelling together) and that's for them both to get into London AND spend the whole day travelling as much as they like within zones 1 & 2. The Card gives them £10 a time discount, meaning after 3 trips they're quids in. There are some restrictions on its peak hour usage.

If they only plan on going into London precisely twice, what's the whine? That they're going to have to fork out thirty quid each over the whole of the holiday? For crying out loud...

There IS one cheaper way: for you to drive them into town - at God knows what cost in time, fuel, congestion charge and inevitably parking. Or, as you say, you could go to all the hassle of driving them to Heathrow - thus saving them the princely amount of £3 over the train.

But £10 each on the Railcard is an absurdly cheap bargain. You won't find cheaper, and you need to educate your parents in the reality of a big city.
flanneruk is offline  
Jul 30th, 2008, 03:08 AM
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One thing that might be worth explaining to them is how expansive the underground system is so they can better appreciate why the cost is somewhat higher than other cities. I've been to cities where there are just one or two lines in operation of 20-odd stops each - the tube network takes a couple of hours to travel from one side to the other and is vast.

True, they may not want to visit every last remote outpost(!) but the possibility is there - and if there are delays or problems it is a distinct advantage having an all-zones travel card rather than a point to point ticket, so that you can change your route at will.

I know is ours is one of the more costly transport systems, but I do think the combined rail/tube/bus travelcards are one of the few areas where we do get fairly decent value for money.
RM67 is offline  
Jul 30th, 2008, 03:35 AM
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Would it be cheaper if they travel after the rush hour?
PatrickLondon is offline  
Jul 30th, 2008, 03:57 AM
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If you are travelling with them, Groupsave is a good way to save money on train tickets, 3 or 4 tickets for the price of 2. Everyone must travel together. I have used this often.
optimystic is offline  
Jul 30th, 2008, 04:55 AM
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Patrick - that might be the off-peak price already - I don't think you can use the mainline + tube travelcards for peak periods.
RM67 is offline  
Jul 30th, 2008, 04:59 AM
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Thanks for all the replies! I saw the discount rail card for seniors but for some reason I missed the network rail card. That will definitely help. The 4 for 2 discount will also be great. We are hoping to go into the city together and that will be perfect.

I agree with all of you that this is a good system and I'm grateful for it. I just wanted to make sure I was using it in the most efficient cost-effective manner.

I'm even grateful for the sarcasm because although not helpful in any way, at least it was accompanied with useful information.

Thanks again!
BKP is offline  
Jul 30th, 2008, 10:07 AM
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I must amdit the prices don;t sound high to me.

(Granted with seniors they tend do have a living in the past attitude towards prices - but things are what they are - and incomes have gone up as well as prices.)

I would just figure what's most convenient and then let them bite the bullet. It doenst make sense to trek all over hall and gone to save a few pounds twice.
nytraveler is offline  
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