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Author Topic: Trainline introduces split ticketing to help rail passengers save money  (Read 3401 times)
grahame
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« on: January 11, 2020, 02:52:15 pm »

From ITV

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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  Cheesy Cheesy
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ChrisB
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« Reply #1 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!
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IndustryInsider
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« Reply #2 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!
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grahame
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« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2020, 07:44:33 pm »

Now on the BBC

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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."
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bignosemac
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« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2020, 08:55:28 pm »

The more 'mainstream' split ticketing becomes the more the RDG will look to close it down.
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ellendune
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« Reply #5 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".
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bignosemac
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« Reply #6 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.
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grahame
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« Reply #7 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.
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stuving
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« Reply #8 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.
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grahame
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« Reply #9 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. 
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TaplowGreen
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« Reply #10 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!)
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grahame
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« Reply #11 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? - 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
« Last Edit: January 12, 2020, 04:16:18 pm by grahame » Logged

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Robin Summerhill
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« Reply #12 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 Grin

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... Wink
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Robin Summerhill
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« Reply #13 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..." Wink
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bignosemac
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« Reply #14 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.
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