So’s everyone else!
In 2010 Merseyrail abolished their Off Peak (Cheap Day) tickets, introducing the Day Saver instead which is a Day Ranger/Rover valid from 0930. Thus, from Chester the Anytime Return to Liverpool is £6.45, but the Day Saver valid for all Wirral Line services as a “runabout” from 0930 is a great value £4.50 (£3.20 senior), not that you know this from the National Rail website as it doesn’t even show it as a fare option!
But the Day Saver has “Single” printed on it …. TWICE! This causes lots of confusion. I’ve seen passengers at James Street asking barrier staff why they were only given a single ticket when they paid for a return. The first time I used one, I waited until the end of the queue in case the barriers gobbled my ticket up – they didn’t.
If buying your ticket at Chester be careful of the ATMs (Automatic Ticket Machines). If you go to the machine and enter your destination as Liverpool, buying the Day Saver is not presented as an option, only the Anytime tickets via Birkenhead, or the more expensive “Any Reasonable Route” tickets which are also valid via Runcorn on the “Parliamentary” service and via Warrington. How many people are paying £2.05 more than they should be and also not getting the added value of the runabout? There are small notices sellotaped to each machine saying for Liverpool tickets after 0930 select destination “Northwirrallines”, but I bet many people don’t notice these. What are the “North Wirral Lines”?
If coming from the Mid Cheshire Line think about the option of buying a ticket to Chester, then a Merseyrail Day Saver from Chester, rather than a through ticket. This gives you the option of a run around the Wirral Lines as well as your trip to wherever you were going anyway. The only downside is if you miss the connection up the Mid Cheshire Line on the way back because Merseyrail is late (rare), you’ll not be entitled to any compensation, as you’ve two separate tickets. You can buy the tickets from our conductors, though many of them don’t know this! Ask them to look in their machine (AVantix) for a ticket from Chester to (all one word) Northwirrallines. No spaces, otherwise the machine won’t find it!
I asked Merseyrail at their big Corporate “bash” in January why they’ve done it this confusing way. They told me the ticket is selling very well, but agreed it was confusing and said they’d let me know. Despite a few prompts from me, I’ve still not heard the answer, only the suggestion that runabout tickets have to have a photocard, which I pointed out is not so for day tickets. I’ll give them another “prod” and let you know if I get a response.
Meanwhile, happy Day Saving. It’s great value!