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2012 Games ticket holders need to book rail travel quickly, operators warn

London 2012 spectators could find themselves paying more than they need to for travel to and from Games events unless they arrange their train tickets within the next few weeks, according to rail operators and the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA).

The warning comes as new figures, published today by the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC), show that nine out of ten Games spectators who were expected to book their train tickets in advance are yet to do so, despite the fact that special rail fares have been on sale since June 2011. Of the million people train companies were expecting to book ahead, just 85,000 have so far arranged their rail travel.

The tickets are available exclusively to Olympic and Paralympic Games event ticket holders and allow them flexibility should the Games event they are attending over-run or be rescheduled unexpectedly. Good value Advance tickets are offered for longer distance journeys and Games Day tickets are offered for shorter distance journeys.

From early May, normal Advance tickets will go on sale for August, meaning that Olympic spectators who leave it too late to book may find that all the cheap tickets have already gone. This would leave them paying more than they should for a ticket without the added flexibility offered by the special 2012 Games Train Tickets. Booking in advance also helps spectators to avoid the possibility of lengthy queues on the day and help to ensure that people get to their event on time.

With London 2012 advertised as the ‘public transport Games’ the lack of people planning their travel in advance is a concern. Public advertising campaigns are already encouraging people to plan their travel during the Games period and spectators making their travel arrangements as early as possible is an important element of making sure that the Games run smoothly.

The exclusive 2012 Games Train Tickets are available to buy from a dedicated National Rail Games Travel website, and call centre.

David Mapp, Commercial Director at ATOC, said: “It is a real concern that so many 2012 Games ticket holders are yet to book their rail travel to and from Olympic and Paralympic events. Just one in ten of these good value, flexible tickets have been sold and there are only four months until the Olympics start.

“We want to make sure that everyone going to the Games gets the right ticket for their journey. Anyone who has a 2012 Games ticket should log onto the dedicated website to book rail travel and take advantage of some of the great deals that are available.”

ODA Director of Transport, Hugh Sumner, said: “We have worked hard alongside the nation’s train companies to get the message out there that spectators can buy their rail tickets a year out from the Games. Unfortunately, the response has not been as good as we would have liked. While it is unusual to book so far ahead, spectators who leave it to the last minute will unfortunately miss out on a range of special offers and benefits.

“Leaving it late not only risks people having to pay more for their travel but also means far less flexibility with their travel plans and potentially not being able to get a seat on the train that will get them, their friends and families, to the Games on time this summer.”

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