Could ticket splitting be banned?

Discussion in 'Fares Advice & Policy' started by 30mog, 29 Apr 2015.

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  1. 30mog

    30mog Member

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    I was told a story recently of how in the US there was a website set up. It was like Raileasy's link to split ticketing but for domestic air journeys in the US. It led to weird things like passengers boarding a plane in say Atlanta, that was routed to say LA with an intermediate stop in Dallas perhaps, where the passenger would have to briefly disembark and re-board to a different seat. Because, they had used this website to find a split ticketing option to make the journey cheaper overall. How familiar does this sound?

    Last I heard the airlines were clubbing together to get this website closed down on the basis it was illegal competition. Much closer to home, am I right in thinking the Scottish Assembley have acted to close ticket splitting options on rail journeys wholly in Scotland?

    How safe is the future for ticket splitting savings here do you all think?
     
  2. Greenback

    Greenback Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    As I understand it, in Scotland the intention has been to reduce the number of anomalies rather than ban split ticketing.

    It would be very difficult to ban split tickets anyway, and I don't think that there is much of a parallel between the US domestic air travel industry and the rail industry here in the UK. I've moved the thread into the Fares forum by the way, as you've probably noticed.
     
  3. tsr

    tsr Established Member

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    Boarding and alighting a train is a much easier process than the same with an aircraft. Even if it became mandatory for ticket holders to alight at their destinations (something that, with certain tickets, would be impossible to enforce anyway - eg. zonal fares), you'd have a significant struggle to prevent those people from immediately re-boarding with a valid ticket, especially if lots of people had boarded and revenue staff couldn't remember who had previously held which ticket! Also, if you have such a restriction on splitting tickets, it may become a common argument that seeing as a through journey is not permitted, each ticket is the record of a specific separate contract between the TOCs (et al) and the passenger, so one contract may have little or no relevance to another... and thus you're free to make separate contracts in advance for future travelling, even if it is most convenient to remain on the same train!
     
  4. crehld

    crehld Established Member Senior Fares Advisor

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    I can't see how it can be banned.
     
  5. andrewkeith5

    andrewkeith5 Member

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    I honestly don't understand how it could be banned in it's entirety - you can't stop someone from only travelling part of the way on a train journey, so even if split ticketing were banned all you would have to do would be to step off the train and step on again!

    If American airlines want to run the shuttle-type services they do, then they have the same problem as well, if anything it's their own fault for creating the fare anomalies.
     
  6. greatkingrat

    greatkingrat Established Member

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    As all journeys inside Scotland are priced by Scotrail there isn't much scope for split ticketing anyway.
     
  7. crehld

    crehld Established Member Senior Fares Advisor

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    Not quite "all" ;)
     
  8. Bob Ames

    Bob Ames Member

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    Yes, under current rules, it could not be banned; you would have to change the NRCoC to something like the conditions that Iarnród Éireann have:

    "11. Re-booking at intermediate stations
    11.1 Except where specially authorised, passengers are not permitted to re-book at
    an intermediate station for the purpose of continuing their journey by the
    same train. Two or more tickets covering different portions of one journey are
    not available unless the fares paid for such tickets are equivalent in amount to
    the price of a single journey ticket between the same points. Any passenger
    using two or more tickets covering different portions of one journey will be
    liable to pay the full ordinary single fare for the journey made and he or she
    may be liable to prosecution."
     
  9. crehld

    crehld Established Member Senior Fares Advisor

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    How can that possibly be enforceable?
     
  10. LexyBoy

    LexyBoy Established Member Fares Advisor

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    One word: smartcards.

    Whilst it may be impractical to "ban" splitting, it is fairly easy to make it such an inconvenience that its use becomes negligible.

    Also, three words: fear, uncertainty and doubt.

    By shouting about the penalties passengers face for having the wrong ticket, and scaremongering or lying that splitting is / will be banned, many passengers will go for the "safe" option. This seems to be working quite well already.

    Worryingly, I don't believe this to be the case. By introducing a new medium for tickets, conditions can be attached to the use of the medium without altering those relating to the ticket itself. In this case, a requirement to touch in/out to make a journey - which is likely to be a part of smartcard implementations - makes many splits impractical without changing trains.
     
  11. edwin_m

    edwin_m Veteran Member

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    I daresay they could also think about no longer honouring the second half of a split journey if a delay on the first one meant that the intended train was missed.
     
  12. jon0844

    jon0844 Veteran Member

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    Can you imagine if they changed the rule to say you had to leave the station (as in totally leave, off railway property) to count a journey has ending, and a new one beginning?

    Imagine trying to enforce that and also dealing with the negative press!

    It's not going to happen, and the far more effective way is to make subtle changes, tweaks and removing some tickets from sale - which will happen mostly under the radar. Anyone complaining will usually just get the 'great unwashed', who don't understand that they too could benefit, saying it's a good thing by believing that people are somehow trying to defraud the railway.

    As LexyBoy says, even those that hear it is in fact a legitimate thing to do will likely be too scared to ever try such a thing themselves, especially when hearing the horror stories from people who get grief on the train with perfectly valid tickets.
     
    Last edited: 29 Apr 2015
  13. DaiGog

    DaiGog Member

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    Enforcing a ban on staying on the same train with split tickets would be nigh-on impossible - TOCs could never police it. However, if a ban carried with it the threat of prosecution, this is enough of a deterrent for some (as mentioned above) but crucially, it would give TOCs the power to pursue proescution in individual cases - prolific 'offenders', or anyone taking advantage of a major saving in this way, and so on - if they choose to.
     
  14. Greenback

    Greenback Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    There's a difference between something, being able to enforce restrictions effectively, and making doing something not worthwhile. The latter is probably the simplest and easiest approach to take.
     
  15. jon0844

    jon0844 Veteran Member

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    Actually, changing the rules even with virtually no intention to enforce it bar a few high-profile cases every now and then would probably work quite well.

    Joe Public is probably already too scared, but changing the rules - however dumb - would likely put off most others too.

    I hope ATOC isn't reading this thread!
     
  16. mattdickinson

    mattdickinson Member

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    "Compostage", or validation (by gates or stand alone validators) of each ticket at its origin station before boarding would be the method used to invalidate split tickets, if a ban were to be implemented>
     
  17. Flamingo

    Flamingo Established Member

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    That I like <D
     
  18. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    Very safe.

    Using a combination of tickets (known informally as "Split ticketing") is explicitly stated in the National Rail Conditions of Carriage as permitted, and that isn't going to change.

    We have these debates from time to time, but there is nothing to worry about.

    That said, Season ticket holders who string together loads of non-Seasons for use on non-stop trains may have their ability to do that restricted in the future if certain Train Companies get their way, but those of us using "splits" where the train does call have nothing to worry about!
     
  19. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    There is one way it could be banned, which is how I expect it will be banned in the long run - a move to smart ticketing requiring the ticket to be touched in at the origin station to be valid. Compostage, if you like. It would be introduced on the basis of stopping re-use of period returns, I expect, but would have the convenient side-effect of stopping split ticketing without leaving the train to touch in.
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    That might also be a consideration - it's certainly how airlines work.
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    ...and possibly go and touch in for the next part of the journey, or stamp your ticket French-style. And you can have no doubt that the machines for this purpose will be located such that you would almost certainly miss the train if you got off to do so.

    That'll be how it is finally banned. It might also be made more difficult by closing more ticket offices, and not having remote issue as an option on TVMs.
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    I'm assuming it would be "specially authorised" if the additional ticket was purchased later to extend a journey where there wasn't the intent to split at the start of it? As otherwise that would make things unduly inflexible.
     
  20. Greenback

    Greenback Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    That's a long way away, and I'm not convinced that smartcards will ever totally replace paper tickets without an overhaul of the ticketing system that could well render splits unnecessary, at least on the scale that they are now.

    More importantly, it will do nothing to prevent people doing what I normally do, which is splitting at a connectional point anyway, which means I can leave the station for a breath of air, or a drink, before resuming my journey later.

    In terms of forcing people tog et off and catch a later train, the time penalty involved may be insignificant in terms of the potential saving, so many people will choose to continue to use a combination of tickets anyway.

    It won't lead to a ban by my definition of the word!
     
  21. talldave

    talldave Established Member

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    The TOCs created split ticketing, by virtue of their inexplicable pricing. Why would they "ban" something they appear to have put so much effort into creating? ! I think they should get back to organising the staff outing to a brewery!
     
  22. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    There is of course no way to stop that, as it's two journeys (if you want it to be).
     
  23. CC 72100

    CC 72100 Established Member

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    This is how split ticketing cannot happen in France.

    I did once see on SNCF Questions somebody who wanted to combine their Navigo (Paris area pass) with a mainline ticket. In effect, this pass works like a travelcard that is valid throughout the month, and so they may use it for commuting during the week and then leisure travel at the weekend. However, certain long-distance trains stop at a boundary limit station, so this person thought "Instead of buying a ticket for the central Paris terminal, I will use my Navigo to the boundary station (Already paid for it, may as well) and then purchase a normal ticket from there to my destination in Normandie.

    Was told 'non' - all tickets must be stamped, so the only way of doing that would be to take a train to the boundary station before the long-distance one, do the deed, then go back on the platform for the initial train they wanted. In the end they said that they would not bother and just get a standard Paris - destination ticket.
     
  24. yorksrob

    yorksrob Veteran Member

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    This is why I would be against any attempt to get rid of traditional ticketing. If the gentleman in the post has already paid for his season ticket up to the boundary station, how dare SNCF force him to pay again!
     
  25. bb21

    bb21 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    It also causes nuisances in that in one direction this is possible, but not in the other, with one ticket being a season. Yeah let's make ticketing more complicated. :roll:

    The current system works pretty well. Stop messing with it. I am also surprised that with most forum members against the abolition of split-ticketing, there are quite a few ideas on how to stop split-ticketing provided to the industry in this very thread.
     
  26. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    If "compostage" was just to prevent re-use, he could I suppose "composter" before boarding in Paris.
     
  27. CC 72100

    CC 72100 Established Member

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    Must be done at the station that the ticket is valid from. The guard is unlikely to notice, but when it is stamped, it is done so with the time and where. Both of these would be 'wrong'.
     
  28. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    I'm sure the industry will have no difficulty thinking of them itself :)
     
  29. bb21

    bb21 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    It wasn't meant as criticism, but we do seem to be very good at inadvertently doing their jobs for them from time to time.
     
  30. Starmill

    Starmill Established Member

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    In the same way that although most members here do not want to get ripped off for their travel, lots of ways to not do this get written about on here and then removed as 'not intentional' or 'errors'?


    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    Any thing can be changed in the NRCoC in the long term.

    As long as people in the industry are around who want to withdraw passengers' rights and have them pay more for their journeys, anything goes - as this shows:

    As it happens, if the fares were a little more in touch with what normal people can afford, I think fewer people, if anyone, would have realised how well splitting can work or work to exploit that.
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    I would really love to know if / how this can be / is enforced? If someone only ever shows one ticket (as you can right now if you split in the UK unless you're using a season) how would they ever gather any evidence...? What about splitting where a change of trains is involved? Surely that's impossible to prevent?
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    Stamped where? At a ticket office before you board?
     
    Last edited: 29 Apr 2015
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