Rip-off GNER are taking the p**s

I’m a big fan of train travel. I’m based in Leeds and lots of my clients are in London and the south east but thanks to the internet and a great train service it’s not a problem.

But since January something has changed. We book our tickets on the GNER website and are used to paying between £55 to £80 for a return journey from Wakefield to London. Recently the price has rocketed so we no longer find similar journeys for under £107. Newspaper reports in January said GNER’s unregulated fares on the East Coast line were going up by 8.8%. And the rest! All that I can think is that they’ve reduced the number of discounted and saver tickets available.

But the price I’ve just had now takes the p**s. £237 for a business saver ticket on January 30! Who are they trying to kid? I could drive down the night before, stay in a London hotel (booked via Laterooms), have a decent meal with friends and still be quids in.

Even booking a month or two months in advance the cheapest I can find is £107. What I want GNER to explain is how last year I could travel at the same times for between about £55 to £80 yet they claim fare increases of less than 10%.


About Stuart Bruce

International communications consultant and PR trainer specialising in online public affairs, digital corporate communications, online PR and social media; frequent national media commentator and conference speaker.
  • Colin Cornforth

    hear hear! I used to regularly be able to get really cheap fares for my business journeys, but to be able to get to London from Leeds at a reasonable hour these fares are no longer available. It appears now to be cheaper to drive down.

  • http://profile.typekey.com/dahowlett/ dahowlett

    Faaaaaaaaarrrrk me Stuart. That really is extracting the urine.

    When I used to do the Bradford>Kings X thingy in the mid-90s, I thought it was a GNER joke that outside peak period, the return ticket was £136 (sticks in my mind as much as my craw).

    Let's hope video a la Skype takes off. I did one yesterday with a client from Amsterdam who was holed up at a hotel in Seattle. Worked like a dream. Curiously, it was the first time we'd 'seen' each other in 3 years!

    Aside: Not sure if it's still the same but if we're flying into Stansted, we can't book over the Internet – no ticket collection facility at Stansted Airport. No such problem more or less anywhere on the EU continent.

  • http://leverwealth.blogspot.com/ David Phillips

    I commute to LeedsMet from Swindon each week and now drive. I hate it but it takes less time and even at 40p per mile is cheaper.

    What killed off rail travel for me was having to stand for 2.5 hours in addition to being ripped off on price and three (sometimes four) changes over a 4 and a bit hour journey.

    This is not joined up transpert its joined up hell.

  • James Jones

    It's all very well knowing that train travel is more environmentally friendly but at the rates GNER now charge it is simply uneconomic to travel that way. At least with a car you can choose when to travel. GNER forces you to book in advance to travel as a specific time or pay even higher fares! How are you meant to be able to judge exactly how long you need to be in London? It's a shame really as the GNER staff are fantastic but I for one won't be giving these money grabbing scroundels any more business.

  • http://www.dlapiper.com Corporate Lawyer

    It's ironic that it is frequently cheaper for me to fly to offices abroad than it is to make the two hour journey to visit colleagues in London. GNER's fare increases will certainly have a negative impact on Leeds ability to compete with London.

  • GNER last fan

    Bravo! It's about time someone called GNER to account. I used to be a big fan but no more. It's no fun being stuck in a crowded carriage with screaming kids, students with music blaring out of ipods eating smelly burgers. Paying £100+ for the experience is just an insult.

  • Disgruntled Traveller

    Just to add my voice to the complaints. It is now frequently for me to fly with BMI from Leeds Bradford airport than it is to get the train. It takes a bit longer but is nearly always cheaper.