The Anonymous Widower

Should High Speed Two Use Contactless Ticketing?

Ask Londoners what they think of contactless ticketing and the views, will generally be positive.

Londoners are also increasingly travelling with their credit and debit cards instead of London’s Oyster Card.

Other city’s like New York, are also going London’s way and are basing ticketing around bank cards.

High Speed Two’s Phase One Network

IWhen Phase One hopefully opens in 2025, according to this section in Wikipedia, this could be the service pattern in trains per hour (tph)

  • 3 tph – Birmingham Curzon Street calling at Old Oak Common (OOC) and Birmingham Interchange
  • 3 tph – Birmingham Interchange calling at OOC
  • 2 tph – Liverpool Lime Steet calling at OOC, Stafford (1tph), Crewe (1tph) and Runcorn
  • 3 tph – Manchester Piccadilly calling at OOC, Wilmslow (1tph) amd Stockport
  • 1 tph – Preston calling at OOC, Crewe, Warrington Bank Quay and Wigan North Western
  • 1 tph – Glasgow calling at OOC and Preston

This is a very simple network and consists of the following stations.

  • 3 tph – Birmingham Curzon Street
  • 5 tph – Birmingham Interchange
  • 2 tph – Crewe
  • 2 tph – Liverpool Lime Street
  • 3 – tph – Manchester Piccadilly
  • 13 tph – Old Oak Common
  • 2 tph – Preston
  • 2 tph – Runcorn
  • 1 tph – Stafford
  • 3 tph – Stockport
  • 1 tph – Warrington Bank Quay
  • 1 tph – Wigan North Western
  • 1 tph – Wilmslow

This is just thirteen stations..

Fitting these large and medium-sized stations with ticket barriers able to accept all forms of ticketing, that can handle hundreds of passengers is the sort of operation, that Transport for London has been doing for years.

High Speed Two’s Phase Two Stations

After completion of Phase Two, these stations will be added to the High Speed Two Network.

  • Carlisle
  • Carstairs
  • Chesterfield
  • East Midlands Parkway
  • Edinburgh
  • Edinburgh Haymarket
  • Leeds
  • Manchester Airport
  • Newcastle
  • Sheffield
  • York

This is another eleven stations.

Fares On High Speed Two

Wikipedia has a Section called Fares in their entry for High Speed Two.

This is said.

There has been no announcement about how HS2 tickets will be priced, although the government said that it would “assume a fares structure in line with that of the existing railway” and that HS2 should attract sufficient passengers to not have to charge premium fares. Paul Chapman, in charge of HS2’s public relations strategy, suggested that there could be last minute tickets sold at discount rates. He said, “when you have got a train departing on a regular basis, maybe every five or ten minutes, in that last half hour before the train leaves and you have got empty seats…you can start selling tickets for £5 and £10 at a standby rate.

I also have my views.

Capacity

I will look at current and future capacity to Birmingham, Liverpool and Manchester

Note the following capacities of the various trains.

  • Class 390/0 – 9 cars – 469 seats
  • Class 390/1 – 11 cars  589 seats
  • High Speed Two – 1000 seats.

I am not making any class distinction.

Capacity To Birmingham

Currently, Virgin run three tph to Birmingham, which if they were all eleven car trains, which they aren’t would be a capacity of 1,767 seats per hour.

Phase One of High Speed Two will have six tph to the two Birmingham stations, which would be a capacity of 6,000 seats per hour.

This will be an increase in capacity of over three times.

Capacity to Liverpool

Currently, Virgin run one tph to Liverpool, which if it is an eleven car train, this would be a capacity of 589 seats per hour.

Phase One of High Speed Two will have two tph to Liverpool, which would be a capacity of 2,000 seats per hour.

This will be an increase in capacity of over three times.

Capacity to Manchester

Currently, Virgin run three tph to Manchester, which if they were all eleven car trains, it would be a capacity of 1,767 seats per hour.

Phase One of High Speed Two will have three tph to Manchester, which would be a capacity of 3,000 seats per hour.

This will be an increase in capacity of nearly twice.

Is Manchester Missing Out?

Mancunians will probably say they are being short-changed as their capacity increase is less than Birmingham and Liverpool.

But it should also be noted that Preston will have a High Speed Two service of two tph from London and Warrington Bank Quay and Wigan North Western, will each have one tph.

So travellers will be able to use High Speed Two without going to Manchester Piccadilly.

Fares And Ticketing

If I want to buy an Off Peak Return ticket on Virgin between Euston and Birmingham for a few days in the future, it will cost me £56.70 without a railcard.

Off Peak Returns to Liverpool and Manchester are £89.60 without a railcard.

Paper And E-Tickets

The current ticketing systems will probably still be available and just as you do with airlines, you will probably be able to buy tickets over the Internet and douwnload to your phone or print a paper ticket.

Contactless Cards

I would think, that it would be very likely that an Off Peak Single ticket to Birmingham will be under the contactless payment limit.

We don’t know how contactless is going to advance in the next few years, but, I suspect certain companies will be allowed a higher limit, if they take some of the risk.

I also think systems will get more sophisticated, so your bank might allow a railcard to be associated with your bank card.

This would reduce your Liverpool/Manchester fare to £59.15, which means each way is under the current contatless limit.

The longest Off Peak Return journey from Euston to Glasgow is only £98.00 with a raiicard.

Given these current ticket prices, I believe that contactless ticketing could be used to sell tickets on High Speed Two.

What Advantages Would Contactless Tickets Have For Passengers?

Convenience would be at a high level. You would do the following.

  • Turn up at the gate, where a display might say, that the current Single fare to Birmingham is £20 and the train leaves at 10:20.
  • Touch in at the gate.
  • Go through the gate, after your bank card had been checked.
  • Get on the train and find your seat.
  • Travel to Birmingham
  • Get off the train.
  • Touch out at the gate.
  • Go through the gate, after your bank card has been successfully debited with the fare.

What could be simpler?

Earlier, I indicated that Wikipedia says that standby fares will be available.

But imagine, if High Speed Two’s computer, adjusted the fares, so that the trains attracted a high level of passengers. Ryanair and EasyJet have been doing something similar for years.

So I think, that if High Speed Two get this right, they will do that difficult trick of making money and giving passengers low prices.

But the biggest advantages for passengers, is that they won’t have to plan their journeys in advance.

So supposing you work for a software company and one of the company’s clients in Birmingham, needs an urgent visit.

You can just go and know you’ll get the cheapest fare.

What Advantages Would Contactless Tickets Have For High Speed Two?

Contactless ticketing is so much more affordable than using paper or e-tickets.

IIt should also attract more passengers to use the train.

Conclusion

There are winners all round.

 

 

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February 3, 2019 - Posted by | Transport | ,

2 Comments »

  1. Tickets at £5 and £10 for trips that cost hundreds at walk on fares – get real!

    OTOH one could use modern technology (as in Dutch flower auctions – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wn5drMPkECA) to get the highest price passengers were prepared to pay for each ticket and fill the train*. Some sort of limit on loading would be required, but also fairly obviously last minute travellers without reservations, would be the most likely to have to stand.

    * savvy passenger could probably judge went there aren’t enough people to fill the train and just wait until the fare drops to the reserve.

    Comment by Mark Clayton | February 4, 2019 | Reply

    • It would more likely be a version of Ryanair’s algorithm, where prices would start at the cost of moving the passengers, if you booked a couple of weeks before travel.

      The actual sales for a particular train would enable the computer to predict when all seats would be sold.

      Prices would then be adjusted continuously, so that the train filled up perhaps half-an-hour before departure. The very cheap fares would be last minute ones on trains, that weren’t full.

      But consider a day when it was raining in heavily in Manchester. Many who hadn’t bought a ticket and were going to walk up, might abandon their trip, when they saw the actual weather.

      I do think for marketing reasons, you must be able to walk up and use a credit card to get on the train. But a big display would tell you the cost first.

      Comment by AnonW | February 4, 2019 | Reply


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