Londonist went on a sojourn to Manchester recently, and loved the place. Home of iconic bands, incessant rain, pretty canals, and some of Britain's most interesting modern architecture outside London, Manchester has a lot to offer. If only there were a way to get there that didn't involve spending half your life savings on an overpriced, inflexible rail ticket.
Never let it be said that Virgin Trains can't spot an opening in the market. From January 2009, they're planning to introduce a £5 fare for off-peak single tickets between London and Manchester. The bargain fares will be sold on a "yield management" price scheme, similar to that favoured by budget airlines, with the cost increasing as demand does. Virgin also plans to bring in e-tickets that can be sent to the traveler's mobile phone, and tickets that can be printed out at home.
We think these are great ideas. In a year that's seen renewed interest in Britain's rail networks, coupled with a growing consensus on the threat of global warming, it makes sense for operators to start making fares affordable and tempt people away from the packed airports and traffic-choked motorways and onto the train.
Image from Agent_bauer's Flickrstream