I think your right - I remember looking at the site and it was only £2-3 difference and thinking 'why the hassle' for that little saving and a schedule of only 2 per hour.
It also seems that if there are delays the service will get held at a station such as Hayes & Harlington whilst the HEX goes sailing through.
One thought and something I hadn't thought about before - At Heathrow, rather than purchase your ticket from the ticket hall, can you go down to the platforms and then buy a ticket for the Connect service should there by a train about to depart?
It has decreased by quite a lot - it used to be the normal fare to Hayes and Harlington plus £6 for the Heathrow segment, the prices seem much simpler too, as the fares from all the intermediate stations are the same.
Rail passengers in the capital, usually accustomed to delays, overcrowding and rising fares are in for a pleasant, seasonal surprise.
Heathrow Connect has announced substantial fare cuts and to promote the changes it will be giving away chocolates to its passengers. The service - companion to the non-stop Heathrow Express service - provides west Londoners with a vital local link from the airport to the tube at Ealing Broadway and on to central London.
The new fares structure comes in to effect on 1 November 2006. On the same day Heathrow Connect will dole out free Ferrero Rocher chocolates at London’s Paddington station from 08h00 – 10h00 and 16h00 – 18h00.
Brian Raven, managing director at Heathrow Connect, said: "After considerable research and analysis into the market for travel to Heathrow airport, Heathrow Connect has cut its prices to create an attractive new set of fares to encourage both Londoners going out to Heathrow airport and visitors coming to London from Heathrow airport to use our service."
"We chose 1 November as the date to launch our new fares because this day is positioned after the festivals of Diwali, Eid and before the celebrations of Thanksgiving and Christmas and our new fares give our customers even more to celebrate.”
The fares have been reduced by up to a third in some cases; for example a day single from Ealing Broadway to Heathrow Airport is reduced from £8.90 to £5.50 and an open return will reduce from £17.80 to £9.90.
Brian Raven added:"Heathrow Connect is a half hourly train service which connects people in the London area directly with Heathrow Airport and provides one of the most convenient ways to get to the airport. The service offers customers brand new trains which are clean, comfortable and promote safety onboard with close circuit TV throughout the carriages. For added convenience tickets can be bought from the ticket office at each station along the route or onboard the train.
Heathrow Connect also links to the London Underground via Ealing Broadway so whether you are travelling to Heathrow airport or just visiting London for a family day out, the Heathrow Connect service will change the way you travel to Heathrow Airport."
It's hilarious that it took Heathrow Connect bosses "considerable research and analysis" to figure out that more people might use the service if they cut the fares. For anyone else it would have been a total no-brainer.
One wonders if the "rip off express" will be tempted to respond...
Not sure if its a coincidence but National Express have also brought down the Heathrow to Victoria Coach fare down to £4, same fare as the London Underground cash fare.
Underground beginning to look poor value on this run.
Unless you are a business executive earning thousands an hour and putting the Heathrow Express on expenses its hard to see given the relative information about Heathrow Express and Heathrow Connect why anyone would choose the Heathrow Express now.
I guess 'given the relative information' is the key words here.
Its now being marketed to Londoners on radio etc on the basis you'd be a fool not to use it - I wonder if the same effort is being put into educating overseas visitors
Ten years ago, I flew midweek from Dublin to Brussels on Aer Lingus for IR£ 640 (or approximately Euro 800). This week I flew from Dublin to Brussels on Aer Lingus for Euro 170 (inclusive of taxes), a reduction in price of nearly 80% when compared to the price in operation way back in 1996.
Why did this happen ? Partially because Ryanair introduced competition on the Dublin to Brussels route (albeit to Charleroi as opposed to Brussels Airport). This forced Aer Lingus to bring their prices down.
Similar developments will happen at Heathrow. Although HEX may niot reduce its fares as dramatically as Aer Lingus, there is now doubt that they will have to come up with new and innovative fares in a bid to compete effectively with Heathrow Connect. It's almost a truism, but competition is always good for consumers.
Incidentally, two simplistic questions. Where do you buy a Heathrow Connect ticket at the airport ? Does the train use the same platforms as HEX or does it run on different tracks for some of the journey into London ? What is the average Heathrow Connect journey time ? Your replies to these questions would be much appreciated.