"Groups" of Booking Websites

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HowMuch?

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It's often mentioned on here that "such and such" group of booking engines do one thing (offer certain routes, usually) while another group does something else. I think one main group is usually called "webtis-like" and the other group is usually called "trainline-like".

This will be basic stuff to old-timers, but I bet I'm not the only noobish hinking it would be useful to have the info in one place.

- How many groups are there ? Just these two? Which sites in each?
- What fundamental things are the same on ALL sites ? (fares?)
- What backend features are group-specific? (routes/interchange time?)
- What features are offered by individual sites?
- on their own trains? (reserve specific seat? / special web fares?)
- on any trains ? (choice of interchange time? / loyalty points?)
- special ticket formats (eTickets? mTickets? [email protected]?)
 
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yorkie

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I think the booking engines of every TOC* would need to be visited (and thoroughly tested) to answer all those questions accurately. In fact, it could be some sort of IT coursework project!

Raileasy and Takethetrain don't run any TOC websites as far as I know, but Mytrainticket, ATOS' WebTIS, and the infamously diabolical Thetrainline all do.

(* The definitive list of TOCs can be found here http://www.atoc.org/train-companies alternatively there is a list that includes actual TOCs and some that are not really TOCs at http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/tocs_maps/tocs/ . Note that some TOCs do not sell tickets online e.g. Merseyrail)
 

DaveNewcastle

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The last time anyone on here produced a list of these may have been here: online booking, 2 years ago.
Since then, Northern have adopted the Assertis system (and WSMR have gone and NXEA has been refranchised).

Its worth noting that the Ticket Issuing Systems are just that, just one element of the retail process. The timetables, reservations, fares database, are separate though closely linked systems (as are the revenue outputs such as LENNON and ORCATS) and the interpretation of routing rules are implemented differently. Most TOCs will have their own features in their own sites which are in the front-end interface to these systems.

Others on here have examined these in detail and may be able to correct or expand on this answer.
 

wintonian

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The last time anyone on here produced a list of these may have been here: online booking, 2 years ago.
Since then, Northern have adopted the Assertis system (and WSMR have gone and NXEA has been refranchised).

Its worth noting that the Ticket Issuing Systems are just that, just one element of the retail process. The timetables, reservations, fares database, are separate though closely linked systems (as are the revenue outputs such as LENNON and ORCATS) and the interpretation of routing rules are implemented differently. Most TOCs will have their own features in their own sites which are in the front-end interface to these systems.

Others on here have examined these in detail and may be able to correct or expand on this answer.
To add to that list SWT use thetrainline, Mersyrail don't do online sales, Northern now do sell tickets and use whatever it is they use and Chiltern only use WebTIS.
 

All Line Rover

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According to paragraph 1.2.2 of this recent DfT document, there are six third party retailers. Only five have been mentioned so far on this thread: Thetrainline, Redspottedhanky (WebTIS), Raileasy, Takethetrain and Mytrainticket. What is that sixth retailer?

Paragraph 1.2.1 of that document is also interesting in that it mentions some TOC's selling tickets via a "dedicated service" instead of a third party provider, giving the impression that even more types of booking engines exist. Mobile phone apps maybe?

With regard to Thetrainline-powered sites, although I agree that they are awful for most journeys, they do have a number of useful quirks for short-ish journeys.
 

craigwilson

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Paragraph 1.2.1 of that document is also interesting in that it mentions some TOC's selling tickets via a "dedicated service" instead of a third party provider, giving the impression that even more types of booking engines exist. Mobile phone apps maybe?
There is a ticket purchasing function in Thale' "Rail Planner Live" app on Android - I've never used it though so I'm not sure how it's implemented.
 

wintonian

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Owned by SilverRail Technologies. who apparently are located only up the road from me and this is the first I have heard of them.
 

benk1342

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[T]his is the first I have heard of them.
Me too, but after playing with it for a few minutes I like the interface. I like that it lists all the possible fares for your selected days, and then lists train combinations that are valid within each fare. And unlike WebTIS it breaks out the different Advance tiers so you don't need to scroll up and down the little list waiting for it to load more fares.

EDIT: I take that back. It only shows the trains around the times selected unless you click load earlier/later trains.
 
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W-on-Sea

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Maybe quno.com is a contender?
Never heard of it, and on the basis of a first glance, won't be using it or recommending that others do so.

Not a very user-friendly way of presenting the different ticketing options, no "annual gold card" railcard option, £1 charge to collect from a machine, and £2.50 credit/debit card charge!

I shall continue to frequent other places for my train-ticketing needs!
 

bb21

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Hmm... that's certainly interesting. The homepage doesn't inspire confidence though. "£27 London to Manchester instead of £199.50 on the day." The £199.50 is an FOS, and there is no £27.50 First Advance - the cheapest is £36.50. :|
Apparently it is quoting £27 return, which is supposedly made up of two £13.50 Rt VWC & Connectns Standard Advance tickets or a £12 and a £15 Rt Virgin Trns Only Standard Advance.

Comparing Standard Class fares for a return journey with First Class fares for a single journey makes me really doubt their credentials.
 

IanD

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Also, not offering the cheapest fares. Milton Keynes to Carlisle 04/08, RSH and Virgin offering £14 tickets, Quno cheapest is £18.50 and then it charges £1 to TOD or £6 postage (or £50 if you want same day courier service!). Plus 50p debit card/£2.50 credit card fees.

I'll certainly not be using this site.
 

wintonian

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Also, not offering the cheapest fares. Milton Keynes to Carlisle 04/08, RSH and Virgin offering £14 tickets, Quno cheapest is £18.50 and then it charges £1 to TOD or £6 postage (or £50 if you want same day courier service!). Plus 50p debit card/£2.50 credit card fees.

I'll certainly not be using this site.
Would it not be cheaper end up paying the full SOS/ SDS to the next station with an open ticket office than pay £50 in most accessable places?
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
I see their FAQ is spot on as well:

What should I do if I miss my train?

<snip>

Semi-flexible (Off Peak) tickets
are valid at Off-Peak times as specified by the Train Operator on that route. If the alternate train is travelling at a Peak time then new tickets will have to be purchased. Single and return tickets are refundable* if unused. A partial refund* is available if the return portion of the return ticket is not used.
Is there a time limit on when I can request a change of ticket?

Tickets can be changed up to 2 hours prior to your original date of travel. Beyond that time no changes can be made.
When is peak time?

Generally, peak time trains are those which depart before 09.30 from Monday to Friday, although there are also evening restrictions for customers travelling on London services out of London. Full details are shown on the specific timetable for your journey.
Can I purchase a ticket for the London Underground online?

A London Underground ticket will be included with your booking if part of your journey involves travel in or across London and using the Underground or if you select ‘London Zone 1’ or ‘London Zone 2’ etc. as an arrival or destination station. A map of the London Underground can be found on the Transport for London website.
What time are Advance and Off-Peak tickets valid?

Off-Peak times vary with the train operator and route, but generally fit within these timelines:

Off-Peak

Not valid on weekdays before 9.30am
Not valid early evening (between 3.30pm to 7.15pm) from major cities
Valid on all trains at weekends and on public holidays

Advance purchase tickets are only valid on the train which they have been bought for. If you travel on a different train most train companies will require that you buy a new full-price ticket.
:roll:
 
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