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First Great Western Plays Del Boy on Advance Fares

28 August 2013

The row over backdoor rail fare rises grew today when First Great Western was accused of "misleading" passengers over online cheaper offers.


The TSSA rail union made the complaint just a day after revealing that the firm dubbed "Worst Great Western" had increased its advance fares sold through its ticket offices by 11.11% - the second price rise for its passengers in just eight months.

While raising advance tickets at stations, FGW claimed on its website that it was cutting online tickets by 10%. Not so, said union general secretary Manuel Cortes. All it was doing in fact was not hiking online tickets in line with the 11.11% it was now charging passengers who bought them at the firm's 276 stations throughout the South West and West Country.

Online tickets were kept at the same level. They were only cheaper when compared to the hiked advance fares which could not be bought on line anyway.

"Del Boy himself would have been pleased with that trick in Peckham Market," said the union leader.

"It's a simple scam that Del Boy would congratulate himself on later in the Nag's Head. The punter thinks he has got a bargain when he hasn't. It's the old three card trick."

The union leader called on all rail firms to stop "misleading" advertising on its websites by clearly stating just how many tickets are available at the cheapest prices.

He believes the current practice of always trailing the lowest prices on websites is unfair, especially when all those tickets have clearly already been sold.

"It pulls passengers in thinking they can get a bargain and they then end up paying for a much more expensive ticket because only a few tickets were ever going to be sold at rock bottom prices," he added.

In its "September 2013 Fares Brief" informing station ticket office staff that advance fares are going up by 11.11% from  September 8,the company adds:

"No change to original fare when bought via the First Great Western Website."

However on its website it then claims the fare is discounted:

"Customers who book through will save 10% on First Great Western Advance tickets from August 11, 2013 to May 2, 2014 for travel dates between September 8, 2013 and May 3, 2014."


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