06 October 2009


It was on 25 August that I stumbled across a new and potentially amazing site that could genuinely revolutionise the way in which the uninitiated get the most out of National Rail's haphazard fare structures.

Splitfare aimed to automatically split into relative sections each and every journey users entered, and would theoretically report back the cheapest way to book the trip. The example used quotes a London-Leeds direct single fare of £100. Their software would check out single fares between constituent parts and offer the cheapest way to fulfil that journey; in this case it was two singles: one between London-Doncaster and another from Doncaster-Leeds, offering a £38 saving (when added together these two single fares total £62). Importantly, travellers would remain on the same train, i.e. they would not need to change at Donny.

"Wow!" I hear you cry, "What a superb piece of kit". However, from the day I stumbled across it, the search facility has been down. This morning I checked and the following message is now displayed:

"We are sorry to announce that the SplitFare search engine is shutdown. We need 3000 pounds a year for the data from the ATOC. As a free service we run splitfare at a loss and cant afford such a big cost. If you'd like to donate to the cause then please dont hesitate to contact us. The site will have a forum appear soon where users can ask other people for split fare routes and cost cutting ideas."

Raising the money could be interesting. Surely no TOC would offer assistance as the site would result in them losing revenue - not something they'd contemplate in a recession; what about outside offerings from wealthy businessmen, who may make countless London-Leeds journeys and who relish the prospect of saving £38 each time? I'd like to think someone will come forward and assist in the resurrection of this potentially revolutionary site.

Unless you've got a spare three grand lying about, we can but hope. (GL)

Splitfare website