Each year it seems like travelling on the train gets more and more expensive. Actually, there is no ‘seems’ about it. Train fares rose by 3.1 percent as recently as January 2019, which adds a significant amount of money to the annual commute for people up and down Great Britain.
However, while we’re all used to – well, perhaps not used to – paying for train tickets being akin to being held up menacingly by a man in a stripy jumper and a mask, one commuter was particularly shocked to see what he could have won for the price of his ticket between Stockport and London Euston.
BBC wildlife journalist Ben Hoare paid a massive £287 for a standard class return ticket between Greater Manchester and our nation’s capital on a Virgin Train.
He was shocked to find out that it was that much, but also shocked to discover that the train was basically empty.
Hoare took to Twitter to express his dismay, tweeting: “Given how much my Stockport-Euston day return (booked a week ago) cost, is it any wonder this @VirginTrains is half empty? Something’s v wrong with our railways.”
Ben claims that he bought the ‘cheapest ticket available’ just a week before setting off and that he could see no less than 320 empty seats on the 17:20 Virgin Pendolino service back from London.
A Virgin Pendolino. Credit: PA
Virgin Trains responded to him to let him know that open return tickets are higher in price as a result of the ‘flexibility’ on offer.
That didn’t stop a load of angry Twitter users piling on to let the train company know what they could get for the same price of a 207.2 mile train journey with Virgin Trains.
To start with, that’s basically anywhere in Europe. On top of that, Air Canada offer flights to New York for £286 as early as October.
That would mean stopping off somewhere on the way back, but direct flights wouldn’t be too much more.
In fact, direct flights in the first week of October would be £297. Would you rather go to London Euston or Grand Central station?
Let’s meet in New York instead. Credit: PA
Oh, and if you’re in London, you can get to New York next March for just £255.
Closer to home, there aren’t many places in Europe that you can’t get to for less. In fact, you could fly to European capitals such as Amsterdam tomorrow for less – just £191.
Chuck in a taxi to the airport and a pre-flight beer, you’re still cheaper.
Time to rearrange those meetings, folks.
LADbible has reached out to Virgin Trains for comment.