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First class tickets sold where no first class service exists


Train companies accused of selling 'fake' first-class tickets

By Victoria Bischoff | 11:05:33 | 27 May 2010


Train companies are selling passengers first-tickets for lines that do not offer first-class services, according to consumer group Which?

Which? researchers found Southeastern Railways charge customers an extra 30% for a first class ticket on the high speed London-to-Dover Priory line when the train does not have any first class seating.

First Capital Connect charges passengers 63% more for single first-class fare between Luton Airport Parkway and Wimbledon, despite only providing de-classified first-class carriages where anyone can sit.

When asked to explain why this is, Southeastern said passengers had the option of travelling first class, but would need to switch from the high-speed service to a train that is 40 minutes slower. 

First Capital Connect on the other hand claimed passengers can travel first class for parts of their journey. But Which? found this involved getting off the train, paying for a 12 minute tube ride, before getting back on the train again.

When commenting on the mis-selling of first class tickets to passengers, Sarah Dennis, spokesperson for Which?, said rail companies had really 'excelled themselves this time'.

'All people want to know is that in true confidence they are getting the best deal', Dennis added and urged train companies to act quickly for the benefit of their customers.

Ashwin Kumar, rail director of watchdog Passenger Focus, said passengers regularly complain they find the fares system complicated and confusing, and that people need to be better informed by the industry.

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