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All across the Great Western territory => Fare's Fair => Topic started by: grahame on January 11, 2020, 02:52:15 pm



Title: Trainline introduces split ticketing to help rail passengers save money
Post by: grahame on January 11, 2020, 02:52:15 pm
From ITV (https://www.itv.com/news/2020-01-11/trainline-introduces-split-ticketing-to-help-rail-passengers-save-money/)

Quote
Rail passengers could make huge savings as a leading travel app will offer customers the chance to buy "split tickets".

Trainline has launched SplitSave, which will give customers the chance to split their tickets into segments on eligible routes across the UK on thousands of journeys.

It could save travellers millions of pounds collectively, the company said.

Quote
Clare Gilmartin, chief executive of Trainline, said: "We've been working closely with our industry partners on this exciting new feature, as it represents another big step in our shared goal of getting more people to pick train travel over cars and flights."

Jacqueline Starr, chief operating officer at the Rail Delivery Group, said: "We support any effort to improve how people buy tickets within the current fares structure, but ultimately these are only sticking plaster solutions on a system in need of major surgery."

I wonder what the TOCs, RDG and DfT really think of split ticketing  :D :D


Title: Re: Trainline introduces split ticketing to help rail passengers save money
Post by: ChrisB on January 11, 2020, 03:11:21 pm
There are other sites/sellers that offer exactly the same service for FREE. DO NOT pay a service fee!


Title: Re: Trainline introduces split ticketing to help rail passengers save money
Post by: IndustryInsider on January 11, 2020, 04:55:45 pm
There are other sites/sellers that offer exactly the same service for FREE. DO NOT pay a service fee!

And clearly enough people were deserting Trainline to force them to take this action!


Title: Re: Trainline introduces split ticketing to help rail passengers save money
Post by: grahame on January 11, 2020, 07:44:33 pm
Now on the BBC (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-51077807)

Quote
Travel journalist Simon Calder told BBC News "split ticketing" was not a new concept, but had previously only been carried out by a well-informed group of passengers

Quote
Mr Calder said ticket-splitting by large numbers of passengers may speed up rail fare reforms as train companies begin to lose revenue.

"The railway industry says it has been calling for reform for years and I think [ticket splitting] could accelerate that process," he said.

"We're going to see train companies saying to the government: 'We're losing all this money, you've got to help us sort this out.'

"The simple answer is fares reform."


Title: Re: Trainline introduces split ticketing to help rail passengers save money
Post by: bignosemac on January 11, 2020, 08:55:28 pm
The more 'mainstream' split ticketing becomes the more the RDG will look to close it down.


Title: Re: Trainline introduces split ticketing to help rail passengers save money
Post by: ellendune on January 11, 2020, 10:23:51 pm
The more 'mainstream' split ticketing becomes the more the RDG will look to close it down.

Or as they would probably put it "seek to remove the anomalies".


Title: Re: Trainline introduces split ticketing to help rail passengers save money
Post by: bignosemac on January 11, 2020, 10:45:05 pm
Root and branch reform of the fares system is what is needed. The William's review is said to be root and branch, but that is of the overall structure of UK Rail and I doubt it will drill right down into the byzantine fares system.

Let's get the basket case current franchise model* consigned to history first. Then fares can be looked at forensically.



*There are now more franchises struggling for various reasons than not.


Title: Re: Trainline introduces split ticketing to help rail passengers save money
Post by: grahame on January 12, 2020, 07:33:27 am
The more 'mainstream' split ticketing becomes the more the RDG will look to close it down.

Or as they would probably put it "seek to remove the anomalies".

Where else does buying more of something result in an increased price per unit?  VERY occasionally you'll see something like a box of 6 at £1 or a box of 12 at £2.50 and everyone who notices and wants 12 picks up 2 boxes of 6 and that's the split ticketing model.

Logic suggests a pence-per-mile rate, perhaps with different miles costing different numbers of pence, plus some sort of transaction charge for using stations.   Problem is that to maintain rail industry income, that means fare rises for many shorter journeys.  However, it means that split ticketing remains but as a far less frequently used facility - used for what I think the original intention was without it being an anomaly any longer.


Title: Re: Trainline introduces split ticketing to help rail passengers save money
Post by: stuving on January 12, 2020, 09:20:14 am
Where else does buying more of something result in an increased price per unit?  VERY occasionally you'll see something like a box of 6 at £1 or a box of 12 at £2.50 and everyone who notices and wants 12 picks up 2 boxes of 6 and that's the split ticketing model.

If you think you're buying so many identical miles, just packaged differently, you'd expect them to cost the same or for buying more per pack to attract a discount. But miles aren't identical - you need to buy a complete set of miles reaching from one place to another. So maybe it's more like buying a complete set of something - magazines, some part-work, or even whatever has most recently replaced cigarette cards. I think in that case you'd find a complete set priced at more per each than a nearly-complete one - though of course this is not retail, it's a dealer's or market price, ultimately set by auctions.


Title: Re: Trainline introduces split ticketing to help rail passengers save money
Post by: grahame on January 12, 2020, 12:20:09 pm
Where else does buying more of something result in an increased price per unit?  VERY occasionally you'll see something like a box of 6 at £1 or a box of 12 at £2.50 and everyone who notices and wants 12 picks up 2 boxes of 6 and that's the split ticketing model.

If you think you're buying so many identical miles, just packaged differently, you'd expect them to cost the same or for buying more per pack to attract a discount. But miles aren't identical - you need to buy a complete set of miles reaching from one place to another. So maybe it's more like buying a complete set of something - magazines, some part-work, or even whatever has most recently replaced cigarette cards. I think in that case you'd find a complete set priced at more per each than a nearly-complete one - though of course this is not retail, it's a dealer's or market price, ultimately set by auctions.

Maybe I oversimplified.  Yet if I was buying one of those Christmas gift bags containing a Dairy Milk bar, a Bounty, a Flake, a Crunchie, a Marathon and a Mars bar, I would not expect it to cost nearly twice as much as the sum of each of the six different components - especially if all the components were easily available from the same outlet with no rarity caused by a severe Flake shortage due to production problems ...

Compare.  Bristol Temple Meads to Didcot, anytime day return, £68.80.  Didcot to Paddington, anytime day return, £68.50.   Total £137.30.  Versus £224.20 anytime (granted, period) return Bristol Temple Meads to Paddington.   Now that Bristol to London is so much more a commonplace daily journey, perhaps for consistency GWR would like to introduce an anytime day return "via Didcot" priced around £130.00? As I understand it, they are at liberty to add such as an unregulated fare, and day return fares from west of Didcot would reduce ticket splitting in a way positive for the customers. 


Title: Re: Trainline introduces split ticketing to help rail passengers save money
Post by: TaplowGreen on January 12, 2020, 03:48:54 pm
Just out of interest, how/on what basis are fares currently calculated? What factors are taking into account?

(I fully appreciate that a comprehensive answer would probably dwarf the Iliad!)


Title: Re: Trainline introduces split ticketing to help rail passengers save money
Post by: grahame on January 12, 2020, 04:02:02 pm
Just out of interest, how/on what basis are fares currently calculated? What factors are taking into account?

(I fully appreciate that a comprehensive answer would probably dwarf the Iliad!)

From What do they know? (https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/the_calculation_derivation_of_ra) - a freedom of information request asking the same question, vintage 2010.

Quote
Dear Department for Transport,

I am writing to request information on how the price of railway tickets (those subject to the National Rail Conditions of Carriage) are derived / calculated. Except for small journeys, it would unfeasible to store the fare of every possible combination of origin and departure stations, therefore I understand they must be derived by an algorithm when requested.

As a specific example, please could you list all the raw data used in the derivation of the fare for an adult "Anytime Single" ticket between Penzance station and Wick station, and provide an overview of how the data is used to calculate the price of the ticket.

I thank you very much in advance for your assistance.

Yours faithfully,

Nicholas Westlake

Answer:

Quote
There is actually no process for calculation the price of fares by such a  method. It is simply for the train operator responsible for setting any  fare (and this is usually that operator who provides the most services  over the majority of the trip mileage between any two stations) to do so.  When setting regulated fares they have of course to take account of the fares regulation process [link to that in original text].  Pricing unregulated fares is a simple commercial decision.

Some thoughts on commercial pricing decisions:
https://www.thebalancesmb.com/what-to-consider-when-making-pricing-decisions-4083152
* Cost
* Perceived Value
* Competition
* Spoilage Risk
* Loss Leaders
* Economies of Scale
* Bundling
* Psychological Pricing
* Goal
To which I would add avoiding over demand for products inshort supply


Title: Re: Trainline introduces split ticketing to help rail passengers save money
Post by: Robin Summerhill on January 12, 2020, 05:05:57 pm
Just out of interest, how/on what basis are fares currently calculated? What factors are taking into account?

(I fully appreciate that a comprehensive answer would probably dwarf the Iliad!)

Whilst I was busy rattling away on my keyboard I see that Graham has beaten me to it with part of the answer. But as I've been typing out War & Peace I'll post it anyway ;D

Being old enough to remember when a flat rate pence per mile system operated throughout the BR rail network, I recall that the original idea was described as Market Pricing ie. Charging what the market would bear. But even then before that was introduced (c.1964 IIRC) there were anomalies with discounted tickets, one of which was described in Gerry Fiennes’ books when he got a complaint about it. That was a day return from Oxford to Banbury costing 7s/6d whilst a day return in the opposite direction cost 7s/9d. Quite simply, more people in Banbury wanted daytrips to Oxford than people in Oxford wanted day trips to Banbury, so the railway charged more to the Oxford-bound day trippers.

Another initiative introduced in the 1960s was intended (once again IIRC) to stagger weekend holiday peaks by offering a mid-week return between any two stations in the UK, allowing outward travel TWThO in one week, and TWThO return travel the next week, at about two-thirds of the ordinary return fare. These tickets were withdrawn when it dawned on BR that people who went to the same location week in week out could buy another mid week return going the other way and get a third off their regular fare prices.

So it is and so it will always be. Whenever, for example, HMRC come up with a new rule to plug a tax loophole, some smart Alec somewhere will think of a workaround. Rail fares are no different in principle.

On reading some of the posts in this thread I get the impression that some poster might not, perhaps, have fully thought through what they are saying or suggesting. “If you buy more of something you expect it at a cheaper price” for example – try not changing your insurance company for 10 years and then see how much more you are paying than a new customer. And you will come across plenty of examples in supermarkets where a discounted item (say normally £1.50 reduced to £1.00) makes it cheaper to buy two of those than the larger box with twice as much product that is still selling for its RRP of £2.50.


I also read “The more 'mainstream' split ticketing becomes the more the RDG will look to close it down.” And how are they going to do that, pray tell? To take Graham’s example of an anytime BRI PAD costing £224.20 whilst splitting at DID costs £137.30, a saving of £87.10. Now, “they” could say that you have to leave the station and come back in again to get the second half of your split validated and, whilst that would certainly put an obstacle in the way of splitting, I doubt that I am alone in being quite happy to wait half an hour or so at DID for the next train. But how would it go down with each party? The TOC wouldn’t like it because it didn’t increase their revenue, the passenger wouldn’t like it because it pointlessly increased their journey times, and the only people that would be happy would be those who sell tea and coffee on DID station (akin to the Swindon refreshment break if old, perhaps...)

And when I think about it, there are many pitfalls in going back to the flat rate per mile too. There are 118 miles between Bristol and Paddington. It is also 118 miles from Llangammarch to Uttoxeter, or from Severn Tunnel Junction to Fratton, or from Southport to Poppleton. Are you sure the market would bear exactly the same price for all of them? I’m not...

And I'm also glad I'm not called Keith Williams... ;)


Title: Re: Trainline introduces split ticketing to help rail passengers save money
Post by: Robin Summerhill on January 13, 2020, 03:23:01 pm
A further thought struck me after yesterday's epistle, especially over market pricing (eg day returns Oxford to Banbury and Banbury to Oxford being different even 60 years ago), and the highly worthwhile Didcot split. And in addition, on one of the Meet the Manager threads with Mark Hopwood just lately, him mentioning bouyant sales to Didcot, and someone tongue in cheek asking whether that was because people wanted to go to Didcot or if the bouyant sales were caused by split ticketing.

If split ticketing goes more mainstream and even more sales to and from Didcot take place, TOC's algorithms should pick this up (and if they haven't got any algorithms they are missing a trick..). This could easily result in the view being taken that more brass could be prised out of people's pockets going to a "popular" destination like Didcot and, for example, you may then find the price of the unregulated fares to and from that idyllic spot in the Oxfordshore countryside start to increase disproportionately.

Perhaps we should start a campaign for split ticketing to be reserved for the "well informed few..." ;)


Title: Re: Trainline introduces split ticketing to help rail passengers save money
Post by: bignosemac on January 13, 2020, 04:19:45 pm
But even then before that was introduced (c.1964 IIRC) there were anomalies with discounted tickets, one of which was described in Gerry Fiennes’ books when he got a complaint about it. That was a day return from Oxford to Banbury costing 7s/6d whilst a day return in the opposite direction cost 7s/9d. Quite simply, more people in Banbury wanted daytrips to Oxford than people in Oxford wanted day trips to Banbury, so the railway charged more to the Oxford-bound day trippers.

Such differences are still around today on some flows, particularly in the former NSE area. For example, an Off Peak Day Return from Barnham to London Terminals is £35.40. In the other direction it is £32.40.


Title: Re: Trainline introduces split ticketing to help rail passengers save money
Post by: Celestial on January 13, 2020, 09:03:04 pm
And in addition, on one of the Meet the Manager threads with Mark Hopwood just lately, him mentioning bouyant sales to Didcot, and someone tongue in cheek asking whether that was because people wanted to go to Didcot or if the bouyant sales were caused by split ticketing.

That was me, and it was a perfectly serious question, as I am sure that the figures for Didcot are considerably distorted.  Though ironically, with more fast trains, I suspect some business travellers who split tickets even when their company was paying because "it's the right thing to do", will decide not to if the time penalty of having to take a slower train, and a less frequent service too.

I'm waiting for the campaign that it is unfair that your train has to stop at the splitting station. Cue Daily Fail headline "Outrage as commuter* thrown off train/charged twice for his ticket (delete as appropriate) as rip-off rail company uses small print to stop cheaper fair loophole. "     

*  - all rail travellers are commuters to the press, even those travelling 3pm on a Sunday afternoon from St Erth to Severn Tunnel Junction.   


Title: Re: Trainline introduces split ticketing to help rail passengers save money
Post by: grahame on January 13, 2020, 09:59:45 pm
That was me, and it was a perfectly serious question, as I am sure that the figures for Didcot are considerably distorted. 

I don't know about Didcot ... but I do know that Melksham's ORR figures were distorted for years by tickets sold for journeys that didn't even pass through Melksham (Melksham to Bristol was cheaper than Trowbridge to Bristol and than Bradford-on-Avon to Bristol, even though you can travel from Melksham to Bristol via either of those stations). At the height of the distortion, tickets for real journeys to / from Melksham were only a tiny part of Melksham ticket sales.

Look at the stats from 10 years ago. 27,676 ticketed passenger journeys, 4 calls a day.  Works out at 20 passengers per train.  No - may have been 4 or 5.    Some people who made use of the figures knew and understood the distortion and others did not. Overall, the distortion from time to time effected people's views and decisions. Personally I would much have preferred to have had real journey figures rather than ticket figures.

Didcot at present is a much better know distortion than Melksham was - and I would suspect there are enough people aware of split ticketing (and an estimate of its volume, which I have heard in national terms) for it to have little influence on planning for passenger numbers at the station.  It may lead to a temptation at fare setting time to raise Didcot fares at the upper end of the margin in view of spitting rather than in view of real passengers.


Title: Re: Trainline introduces split ticketing to help rail passengers save money
Post by: Robin Summerhill on January 13, 2020, 11:45:54 pm
And in addition, on one of the Meet the Manager threads with Mark Hopwood just lately, him mentioning bouyant sales to Didcot, and someone tongue in cheek asking whether that was because people wanted to go to Didcot or if the bouyant sales were caused by split ticketing.

That was me, and it was a perfectly serious question, as I am sure that the figures for Didcot are considerably distorted.  Though ironically, with more fast trains, I suspect some business travellers who split tickets even when their company was paying because "it's the right thing to do", will decide not to if the time penalty of having to take a slower train, and a less frequent service too.

I'm waiting for the campaign that it is unfair that your train has to stop at the splitting station. Cue Daily Fail headline "Outrage as commuter* thrown off train/charged twice for his ticket (delete as appropriate) as rip-off rail company uses small print to stop cheaper fair loophole. "     

*  - all rail travellers are commuters to the press, even those travelling 3pm on a Sunday afternoon from St Erth to Severn Tunnel Junction.   

It was the exclamation mark that made me think it was tongue-in-cheek ;D

I wonder how much of the revenue attributed to Didcot is "real", and how much is due to splitting tickets. Just a thought!

You may be right about the Didcot split becoming less attractive, especially with the new fast Bristols via Parkway. Nevertheless, BRI PAD anytime £224.20 whilst splitting at DID costs £137.30, a saving of £87.10, is almost a third off the full price. And the time saving on a "fast" via BPW compared to a "slow" via CPM is about 17 minutes. Waste 17 minutes and gain £87.10? I know what my decision would be ;)



Title: Re: Trainline introduces split ticketing to help rail passengers save money
Post by: grahame on January 14, 2020, 05:29:17 am
You may be right about the Didcot split becoming less attractive, especially with the new fast Bristols via Parkway. Nevertheless, BRI PAD anytime £224.20 whilst splitting at DID costs £137.30, a saving of £87.10, is almost a third off the full price. And the time saving on a "fast" via BPW compared to a "slow" via CPM is about 17 minutes. Waste 17 minutes and gain £87.10? I know what my decision would be ;)

With the Didcot split you are shifting from period returns to day returns - so of course this saving as calculated does not apply if you're going up in the Monday peak and back in the Friday peak.  And I believe the 17 minute saving is on the journey time - you may wish to add to that the extra wait at Temple Meads for the "slow" - e.g. from 08:53 to 09:00 which puts the extra time up to 24 minutes.  Then double the figures because you have to stop at Didcot with the same extra time penalties on the way back.  So overall you have a potential fare saving (as priced in this example) of £87.10 for a time saving of up to about an hour in total.

But once you start splitting, there are other alternatives too that can save you a little more on a "classic" peak day return trip - up in the morning back in the evening, and you can even (using singles) decide to travel up one day and back another, or lash out for a super fast in one direction and then split in the opposite direction.  I wonder if Trainline (which is what this thread's about) will help with such alternatives, or will offer other options such as a weekly season if you're making 2 round trips within 7 days or even use weekly seasons for a short section of a split which can eliminate the need to stop at the changeover point.


Title: Re: Trainline introduces split ticketing to help rail passengers save money
Post by: Robin Summerhill on January 14, 2020, 11:19:54 am
You may be right about the Didcot split becoming less attractive, especially with the new fast Bristols via Parkway. Nevertheless, BRI PAD anytime £224.20 whilst splitting at DID costs £137.30, a saving of £87.10, is almost a third off the full price. And the time saving on a "fast" via BPW compared to a "slow" via CPM is about 17 minutes. Waste 17 minutes and gain £87.10? I know what my decision would be ;)

 ...And I believe the 17 minute saving is on the journey time - you may wish to add to that the extra wait at Temple Meads for the "slow" - e.g. from 08:53 to 09:00 which puts the extra time up to 24 minutes.  Then double the figures because you have to stop at Didcot with the same extra time penalties on the way back.  So overall you have a potential fare saving (as priced in this example) of £87.10 for a time saving of up to about an hour in total.

When I read this I thought you might be spending too much time talking to creative accountants or politicians ;D

A journey time is a journey time is a journey time and starts when a train pulls out of a station and ends when it pulls into another station. Taking your logic one step further, someone going through the gateline at Temple Meads at xx:25 would have a choice of the xx:30 slow or the xx:53 fast. If they went on the xx:30 slow it would take 17 minutes longer to get to Paddington but the xx:53 fast is still 6 minutes away from the stop blocks, ergo the slow train is faster ;D

Quote from: grahame
With the Didcot split you are shifting from period returns to day returns - so of course this saving as calculated does not apply if you're going up in the Monday peak and back in the Friday peak.
I take the point that in those circumstances things are a little different, but I was thinking about the sort of punter, like I used to be when I was working - under 60 so no railcard and needing to go to occasional meetings in London.

When I was in that situation, if I couldn't claim expenses out of the client I would usually drive to Hayes & Harlington and catch a local in from there. One particular day doing that I walked into PAD within a few minutes of a Bristol train departing. So I did the calculation - if I was actually on that train it would get me into CPM at x, and a 10-minute walk home would get me there by y. So I timed my actual run - a semi-slow (if there is such a thing) calling at Ealing and Southall, then car home from Hayes. I pulled into the drive a mere 12 monutes later that I would have got there on the Bristol express.

And the moral of this story is - you can make numbers prove anything if you're creative enough with them... ;)


Title: Re: Trainline introduces split ticketing to help rail passengers save money
Post by: didcotdean on January 14, 2020, 11:37:22 am
If split ticketing sites can get sophisticated enough to include such things as splitting at Cholsey with a 7-day season from Didcot to enable use of the fast trains which currently typically only shaves off a further few pence for one peak each way journey with no railcard, but can pays off well for more than one, it will no doubt cause even more trouble.


Title: Re: Trainline introduces split ticketing to help rail passengers save money
Post by: Bob_Blakey on January 14, 2020, 12:10:37 pm
I have posted in this forum, and also submitted the same opinion to the recent rail fares consultation, that the remedy for the pricing nonsense that gives genesis to split ticketing is base distance related fares (DRF) with variations only for whether Fast, SemiFast or Local services are selected where available, unavoidable 'back tracking', if travel during peak hours, defined both temporally & geographically, is involved and when season tickets are used.

On the back of responses to my original submission on this forum I now also accept DRF values should to some extent reflect regional cost of living variations.     


Title: Re: Trainline introduces split ticketing to help rail passengers save money
Post by: Robin Summerhill on January 14, 2020, 03:42:07 pm
I have posted in this forum, and also submitted the same opinion to the recent rail fares consultation, that the remedy for the pricing nonsense that gives genesis to split ticketing is base distance related fares (DRF) with variations only for whether Fast, SemiFast or Local services are selected where available, unavoidable 'back tracking', if travel during peak hours, defined both temporally & geographically, is involved and when season tickets are used.

On the back of responses to my original submission on this forum I now also accept DRF values should to some extent reflect regional cost of living variations.     

Could you expand on this a bit please. regading your definitions?

What would be a distance related fare, how would you define fast, semi fast and local, and how would you define regional cost of living variaions and indeed how they could be calculated given that this could be a moveable target as local economies go up and dowm in relation to each other?

I ask this because my initial thoughts suggest that you could end up with as many anomalies as we have at the moment (albeit perhaps different ones). But I would prefer to hold off posting my thoughts at the moment because I may have thought of things that would have already been taken into account.


Title: Re: Trainline introduces split ticketing to help rail passengers save money
Post by: Pb_devon on January 15, 2020, 08:25:53 am
Martin Lewis (aka ’Money Saving Expert’) has done a review of the split ticket websites today in his weekly news email:

https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/latesttip/#train

Trainline scores zero!



Title: Re: Trainline introduces split ticketing to help rail passengers save money
Post by: grahame on January 15, 2020, 08:39:43 am
Martin Lewis (aka ’Money Saving Expert’) has done a review of the split ticket websites today in his weekly news email:

https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/latesttip/#train

Trainline scores zero!



Alternative link which I suspect will last longer:

https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/travel/cheap-train-tickets/#splitsites




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