The latest organisation within the transport industry to change their phone number is Transport for London. Its 0207 222 1234 timetable and travel information line has been replaced with the following: 0843 222 1234. Now 0843 numbers aren't considered 'premium' as they only cost between 3-5p per minute to call, so there's no huge hike in price provided you call from a landline in the middle of the day. Calls between 020 numbers (i.e. residents of Greater London to the former TfL timetable line) are free for many landline packages; calling 0843 is never free.
Mobile phone calls to 0843 (or indeed any other 08xx) number cost more than 5p/min. The cost largely depends on your network provider. Calls to FreeFone numbers also cost when using a mobile phone.
That's why we use the excellent SayNoTo0870.com website. The site requests a company name or an existing 08xx number be typed in and then a search can be done to find alternate numbers. For TfL's 0843 222 1234 number, an alternative is the main TfL switchboard (0207 222 5600) from where you can be directed to the timetable information department. It's a little long-winded but the call is being made to a geographical number and thus conforms to many call packages for both landlines and mobiles.
The railway industry's timetable information line - 08457 48 49 50 charges callers a similar rate to TfL's 0843. Typing this number into saynoto0870.com provides a number of alternatives; the one that appears most likely is 0207 068 0503. We've not called this number so cannot say how accurate it is.
There may be some reading this that are outraged by attempts made by operators to charge more for making calls to them. While it's true that some phone numbers do generate nice revenue streams (easyJet was recently chastised on BBC's Watchdog for keeping a passenger on the line to their premium 090x number for so long that the call almost cost as much as the flight she was calling to amend), but very little if any is generated from 0870/0845 numbers. Often companies do it to show they are more national than local, which can instill a little more confidence in callers' eyes. Others do it to enable them to introduce a memorable number.
Whatever your opinion, saynoto0870.com seems to us to be the only way around this for the time being. It's a must to be bookmarked - especially in these financially challenging times. Why pay 5p/min for a call when you could make it for nothing?