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Published on August 2nd, 2012 | by Joan Hamilton-Smith


Rant of the month: July

With summer holidays looming, I do wonder how ridiculous the cost of train fares are going to be to fleece the public out of their hard-earned cash. I travelled to Yorkshire in the autumn last year to take mum on holiday and, knowing when I was going, booked my ticket about six weeks in advance. The cost was £48 return. I went to Yorkshire again at the very end of May to be at my mum’s 90th birthday celebration and, knowing it was coming up, again booked my ticket about a month in advance. It cost £68. Quite a hike in price, but worth it to be with mum. However, during February this year, mum was suddenly taken into hospital and I was only able to book my ticket the day before I travelled. The cost then? £106.50!!! I very nearly needed hospitalisation myself with the shock…..

When I first started using the train, having travelled by coach for many years, I asked how ‘in advance’ I had to book my ‘advance’ ticket, and was told up to 24 hours. That sounded fair enough as it was prior to the day of travel. Little did I think that I was going to be caught out by only booking the day before even though it was only just over the 24 hours. How can the rail network justify such extortionate prices considering the state of the train carriages and the service they provide?

When I returned from Yorkshire it was, unfortunately, the day of the Diamond Jubilee Thames Pageant and to say London Bridge station was heaving is an understatement. Despite having an already booked ticket, I was unable to get on the relevant train to return to Tunbridge Wells and stood on a cold, wet and windy platform for an hour. Having travelled from Yorkshire, I was not in the best of moods so, as you might guess, South Eastern have had a very sharp email from me telling them of my disgust. It remains to be seen if I get a response but I’m not holding my breath!

Talking of the Diamond Jubilee earlier and my penchant for slating ridiculous adverts on television, maybe you are as disgusted as I am at the way Harvey’s furniture people have completely annihilated the National Anthem on one of their ads. I doubt that farcical rendition has done their sales any good and, as they ‘sponsor Coronation Street’ with those two ridiculous women and the chap who is a complete doormat, that won’t have helped either. Who allowed them to air such an awful advert which brought our National Anthem down to almost gutter level? Whoever it was should be thrown in the Tower and the key thrown away.


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