Is third class rail travel now sneaking back?
Last November, the Department for Transport confirmed that their rail franchising agreement (the document that they use to beat companies like First Great Western with) allows bidders to introduce a third passenger class on our trains.
Not many of us are familiar with third-class rail travel, but it existed until 1956.
Rather shockingly, until 1844, there were no covered rail carriages for third-class rail passengers. Before then, they were exposed to freezing temperatures, rain and wind.
Thankfully, third-class rail travel has been consigned to history, but perhaps it is sneaking back in another form.
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Using trains to get to work in the mornings, and home again in the evenings, it is sometimes difficult to get a seat. When there are no seats, we have to stand.
We have first-class, we have standard-class, and then we have passengers who have paid for a ticket and who have to stand for their train journey. Is this the new third-class?
Unfortunately, we are probably going to be stuck with overcrowded trains for some time to come.
Not good, but we need to be realistic.
So here's an idea. How about giving discounts for passengers who cannot find a seat?
I am pretty sure that passengers who have to stand are not counted in the train companies' revenue forecasts for the year ahead (they are of course included in their sales figures).
Assuming that train companies do not include standing passengers in their revenue forecasts (as they cannot predict the future), this would mean these passengers are an additional revenue.
The train companies can surely only make their revenue forecasts for the year ahead on the numbers of seats that are filled.
A well-earned discount for passengers who cannot find a seat. How about it?
Brook Whelan Widcombe Bath