Tuesday, November 28, 2006

FFS Doctor Beeching!

And so we continue the tale of woe of trying to buy my train tickets for Transpocalypse.

Last time on The 12 Tasks of Pandora I was told Central Trains were fannying about switching from return fares to singles only. The incredibly helpful girl at Norwich station gave me a timetable with *new single fares* scribbled on, and the advice to leave it for a couple of weeks. So I did.

I was about to ring the ticket sales line when I noticed the warning “Please note this telephone service is for ticket sales only. If you wish to enquire about times or prices please call National Rail Enquiries on…”

After a bit of negotiation, where it is clear I have access to better information than the National Rail Enquiries helpdesk, I am told that Central are still selling return tickets. Thanks. Bloody helpful you’ve been!

So I call the sales line after all. And it’s an automated voice recognition system. First off I’m invited to take part in a customer service survey. With hindsight I wish I’d said yes. I then go through all the palaver of calling out the trains, times and stations I want in a clear voice. And then I get “Please wait while I transfer you to our partner service” and I’m on the line to a young girl, who asks for all the details again as their system isn’t playing. After a brief mix up (because anybody could confuse LIVERPOOL with CHESTERFIELD) I am offered an advance saver for over £100.

“No thanks,” I say. “I want a Value 7.”
“Not available,” is the reply.
“Why?” I ask.
“Sold out,” says she.
“Already? For the end of January 2007?”
“Or not available…”
“And how do I find out?”
“I’ll check.”
Five minutes later.
“They’re not available yet. Try again in a week or two.”

Stunning!

So I’m still without travel yet and it’s getting closer.

3 comments:

Chrissy said...

All I'm gonna say is, try www.virgintrains.co.uk ... that's where I get all my rail travel from.
Using this post as an example, they'll do you a single ticket, Norwich - Liverpool, for about £19. That's as cheap as it'll get.

You need to keep checking the website to find out when the cheap tickets are released, though- the standard return trip is £69!!

It's also a lot cheaper to get two singles than a return ticket, for some reason.

Me? I can get there... but haven't found a room yet...

Pandora Caitiff said...

Virgin use tha same cheap tickets as Central: the Value 7 (£19.00), but the've been buggering me about for weeks, and no-one know if they are not available yet, or sold out or what. I've given up and I'm going to drive. I feel much more relaxed already!

Anonymous said...

Woo-hoo! Road trip!!