Responding to claims that their peak-fare rules are unfair and confusing, train companies have explained that peak time is limited only to the times at which you want to use a train.
Which? magazine said operators were not providing a consistent message and gave the distinct impression that extracting as much cash as possible from travellers was the number one priority for any travel organisation.
The Association of Train Operating Companies (Atoc) said, “There would be little point putting a peak fare in the middle of the night, would there? How could we possibly fleece you with such a service.”
“No-one here is forcing you to buy a ticket to travel at a time which is convenient for you. Why not travel at a time which is convenient to us instead, and save yourself some money?”
“Yes, we know people often say that the customer is always right, but those people are rarely running a profitable rail operator, are they?”
Rail travellers have asked for further clarification from rail firms, as peak time often changes from organisation to organisation, with peak periods ranging from just a few, to several hours.
An Atoc spokesperson clarified, “There is a very simple test to find out if it’s peak time. Ask yourself, ‘do I absolutely positively HAVE to use a train right now’ – if the answer is yes, then it’s peak time.”
“If the answer is ‘no, I have absolutely no desire or need to use a train at this point in the day’, then I think you’ll find it’s officially off-peak time.”
“Me? No, I drive everywhere. I’m not mental.”