Archive for February 26th, 2011

February 26, 2011

And now the buses play the same game

by backpackingbongos

Following on from my last post……….

I fear that a blood vessel is going to burst in my head.  I posted on the TGO forum that the bus ticket I purchased from Glasgow to Shiel Bridge was on the expensive side at £34 for a single.  I got a reply asking what company I brought it from as they can often be got at half that price.  The trick is to split the same ticket and buy two singles for the same journey.  I went back on Citylinks website and found that I could have got a single to Fort William for £5 then another single to Shiel Bridge for £16.20, a fair bit less than the £34 that I paid!

So now it is not only the train companies playing this game, you have to split your ticket on one bus journey to get a cheap fare!!  At the end of the day I know that it is only £12.80 but it is money that I drag my sorry arse out of bed to go to work for in the mornings.  A complaint has gone to Citylink but I feel that I already know their response.

Is it me or is nothing simple these days?

Going back to the subject of trains I often think back to the many months that I spent travelling around India on their rather splendid state-owned railway system.  There you pay a set fare for each kilometre that you travel, this being as little as a penny per kilometre.  Ok so each train may have several different classes from hard wooden benches where you are packed in like sardines to sumptuous first class.  The thing is everyone can afford to travel, from the very poorest to the richest.  Then there is the fabulous catering, you order when you board then a stunning curry is delivered to you at meal times all for a few pence.  Ok so the trains do have an alarming tendency to crash killing hundreds at a time but any form of transport carries a certain amount of risk and clenched buttocks over there.

I just want a simple life.

Normal service will resume shortly!

February 26, 2011

The complexities of booking a train ticket

by backpackingbongos

Over the last couple of weeks it has felt like I have spent too much time trying to purchase cheap train fares to Scotland.  At the end of March I will be travelling to the Isle of Rum with Pete from Writes of way, followed by the TGO challenge in May.  When attempting to purchase a ticket to Mallaig to get the ferry to Rum I initially did a search to see what the fare would be from Nottingham.  The result was the fact that I would need to remortgage the house!  I therefore sat at the laptop for hours one evening trying to work out every single permutation of train routes, the result being that I purchased six singles to get me there and back!  In the end it has cost me £48 return to Glasgow where I will spend the night, followed by £43 return to Mallaig.  Not too extortionate.

What really got my goat (where does that expression come from?) is whilst searching for Glasgow to Mallaig I spotted fares of £14 each way, bargain I thought.  I then went and had a bath to celebrate before actually making a booking.  Less than half an hour later I went back and one of the fares had already increased to £29!  How can something double in price in less than thirty minutes?!

Anyway the whole painful experience has been repeated this afternoon as I attempted to get tickets to the start of my challenge route.  Feeling rather chuffed this time as I have managed to get to Glasgow for £32 and travelling first class.  I have never travelled first class and am hoping that it is all decadence and luxury with uniformed staff catering for my every whim.  At the very least free tea and coffee!

With the cost of diesel becoming ridiculous I think that train travel may have to become more of a feature of travelling long distances to the hills.  It’s just a shame that you have to book three months in advance to get a half decent fare.