06 October 2010

Comeback Kid

Remember Splitfare? The revolutionary website devoted to unraveling the complexities surrounding the pricing policy of our railway network? Well the website has since had a new lease of life and a very encouraging "New App Coming Soon" is printed where there was once a paragraph on how the excellent search engine was being withdrawn after ATOC increased its prices for the company to use the fares data.

When the new app will be up and running is not made known, though a regular return to the site is on the cards for us.

Splitfare aims to show how money can be saved by legitimately purchasing two tickets for the same train journey, even on a direct service. The example given is a Leeds-London return fare of £100 can be reduced to just £62 for travel on the same train, provided two tickets are purchased: Leeds-Doncaster and Doncaster-London. We didn't get chance to use the site to the full the first time round, so cannot say just how comprehensive its search results are.

The tabe shows how Leeds-Doncaster costs £14, while Doncaster-London costs £48. Add the two together and £62 return is the cheapest. A split at Wakefield provides a £17 saving. That at Peterborough provides no saving at all

The site's potential rejuvenation has come with support from The Trainline, it would seem, in which we believe Virgin has a financial stake. After the cheapest fare has been shown, it can be purchased through thetrainline.com - which then reduces your saving by charging you a processing fee. There is nothing to stop you making a note of the tickets and fares quoted and then visiting the TOC(s) in question and purchasing from them directly.

A word of warning though. We've done split fares of our own before and with Advance tickets a seat reservation is usually made whether you want one or not. Consequently, at the point in the journey where the second ticket comes into play, you will almost certainly have to move seats.

*UPDATE* From Virgin Trains - Virgin's interests in The Trainline were sold several years ago.

1 comment:

realitycheck said...

As you mention, it's the seat reservations that complicate life when trying to combine split fares. And there are few if any of the cheapest fares that come without one.

But don't get me started on unclaimed seat reservations on busy trains! Why can't the gripper (or one of his seemingly numerous assistants judging by the endless announcements by different people on EC) simply go through the train on departure from The Cross or wherever and remove them?