LNER split ticketing "Smart Save"

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Paul Kelly

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This web page appears to suggest that the LNER website and app will automatically offer split ticketing options on their services:

Why choose Smart Save?

  • Same great savings as a split-ticket but we do all the hard work, meaning you can sit back and enjoy a great saving without any of the hassle
  • Relax knowing you’ve got the same seat for your entire journey (you might not always get that if you buy somewhere else, crazy we know)
  • One simple ticket, so you’re not juggling a handful of tickets (and trying to figure out which to show the train manager -which can happen, if you buy from other websites).

What you need to know


LNER Smart Save is eligible on;
  • Fares for LNER journeys purchased on the LNER website or mobile app
  • Advance and flexible tickets (off-peak, peak and open singles and returns)
  • eTicket only. Simply print it at home, or show onscreen on your mobile.
So what are you waiting for, get smart saving today.

How do you use an LNER Smart Save ticket?​

The only difference between an LNER Smart Save ticket and other tickets is that this is exclusive to LNER and can only be delivered to you as an eTicket (you can print this at home or simply show on your mobile device)

How it works:
  • The LNER website will do all the work for you. We will search for the cheapest way to get you to your destination with one ticket and one seat reservation
  • This has to be delivered as an eTicket. You can print the pdf at home, or show this onscreen on your mobile
  • If you can’t see a Smart Save ticket then there is not one available for the journey you searched for.

My reading of the above is that the split ticketing price should show up automatically when you search for an LNER journey on the LNER website or app. Has anybody had any success with this? It doesn't seem to work, as far as I can see. I searched for a single journey from King's Cross to Inverness departing on Wednesday 3 February at 12:00. LNER shows a price of £61.50:

lner.png

But TrainSplit offers a split at Perth for £56.70, plus 15% of the saving giving £57.42, or a saving of £4.08 over the LNER price, despite LNER promising the "Same great savings as a split ticket".

trainsplit.png

Maybe it's just not been switched on yet?
 
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Paul Kelly

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Yes, that sounds like an excellent development about it all being issued on one ticket. Sounds like RDG have fully accepted split ticketing now, since they are allowing that.
 

Bletchleyite

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Yes, that sounds like an excellent development about it all being issued on one ticket. Sounds like RDG have fully accepted split ticketing now, since they are allowing that.

I'm sure I recall it coming up in one of the fares reform proposals (the actual ones, not Speculative Ideas on here) that this is how fares should work, e.g. (to use another example) you price Liverpool-London, but if you were say doing Ormskirk to Slough it'd be done by adding the three fares together rather than pricing a through fare, but then issued as one ticket.

LNER does seem to be the "testing ground" for stuff like this at the moment...
 

Hadders

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I'm sure I recall it coming up in one of the fares reform proposals (the actual ones, not Speculative Ideas on here) that this is how fares should work, e.g. (to use another example) you price Liverpool-London, but if you were say doing Ormskirk to Slough it'd be done by adding the three fares together rather than pricing a through fare, but then issued as one ticket.

LNER does seem to be the "testing ground" for stuff like this at the moment...
That's great, but hopefully it would if you were making a Liverpool to London journey it would check if it was cheaper to split at somewhere like Stafford and sell this as one ticket, one QR code as well.
 

paul1609

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I normally refuse to pay Trainsplits extortionate fares for this journey; London to Crewe on LNWR £12 advance. Then a Transpennine express plus connections advance £28 Crewe to Inverness gets you on the LNER train at Haymarket. Total £40, Unfortunately not for sale this week due to the WCML falling down some where in the North (near Rugby).
 

Envoy

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Even if the TOC’s do get their act together and work out the cheapest fares and then issue one ticket, I bet the system won’t work if you have to change TOC mid journey.
 

paul1609

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If LNERs website are selling split tickets to save customers money arent their ticket offices not in breech of the spirit if not the regulation of the impartial retailing agreement by not doing the same?
 

yorkie

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If LNERs website are selling split tickets to save customers money arent their ticket offices not in breech of the spirit if not the regulation of the impartial retailing agreement by not doing the same?
There isn't anything in the TSA compelling ticket offices to offer a combination of tickets where a through fare is available.

I think the TOCs are on very dodgy ground for journeys where no through fare is available, and where they do not offer the best combination and are undercut by sites such as Trainsplit.
 

TUC

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If LNERs website are selling split tickets to save customers money arent their ticket offices not in breech of the spirit if not the regulation of the impartial retailing agreement by not doing the same?
That does potentially become an unhelpfully levelling down argument.
 

paul1609

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There isn't anything in the TSA compelling ticket offices to offer a combination of tickets where a through fare is available.

I think the TOCs are on very dodgy ground for journeys where no through fare is available, and where they do not offer the best combination and are undercut by sites such as Trainsplit.
Yes but this isnt a combination of tickets (like trainsplit etc) its one through ticket as far as the customer is concerned. How the fare is split is no more relevent that on an lner & connections.
 

paul1609

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Have to say that this seems like a really strange development by LNER are the smart save tickets going to attract sufficient extra business to them that they are going to recover the losses made through savings made by their regular customer base? It really implies that split ticketing has become such a big thing on their route that they are trying to undercut/ offer a better split fare product than the likes of Trainsplit. Whilst I have used train split my impression was that it was a pretty small beer type operation unlikely to harm a mainline TOC, maybe I'm wrong?
 

Wallsendmag

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Have to say that this seems like a really strange development by LNER are the smart save tickets going to attract sufficient extra business to them that they are going to recover the losses made through savings made by their regular customer base? It really implies that split ticketing has become such a big thing on their route that they are trying to undercut/ offer a better split fare product than the likes of Trainsplit. Whilst I have used train split my impression was that it was a pretty small beer type operation unlikely to harm a mainline TOC, maybe I'm wrong?
Other more mainstream TPRs are also introducing split ticketing
 

Bletchleyite

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Have to say that this seems like a really strange development by LNER are the smart save tickets going to attract sufficient extra business to them that they are going to recover the losses made through savings made by their regular customer base? It really implies that split ticketing has become such a big thing on their route that they are trying to undercut/ offer a better split fare product than the likes of Trainsplit. Whilst I have used train split my impression was that it was a pretty small beer type operation unlikely to harm a mainline TOC, maybe I'm wrong?

Is it commercial, or is it DfT driven? One of the fares simplification proposals was that you would stop defining through fares entirely (because it's a complex, time consuming and anomaly-laden process) and instead just price sections of route*, and the system would cobble the fare together from what's there. Could be a quiet trial of that?

* There were a few proposals suggested for this, but I suspect that in practice meant "within TOC", i.e. say Ormskirk to Brighton would be the sum of Ormskirk-Liverpool (Merseyrail), Liverpool-London (Avanti), a Tube single, and London-Brighton (GTR), rather than that it'd do a Trainsplit-like job of working out intermediates as well.
 

Starmill

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Have to say that this seems like a really strange development by LNER are the smart save tickets going to attract sufficient extra business to them that they are going to recover the losses made through savings made by their regular customer base? It really implies that split ticketing has become such a big thing on their route that they are trying to undercut/ offer a better split fare product than the likes of Trainsplit. Whilst I have used train split my impression was that it was a pretty small beer type operation unlikely to harm a mainline TOC, maybe I'm wrong?
So-called 'splitting' is now available at Trainline, RailEurope, TrainPal (and possibly other ctrip products), TrainAI and Traintickets.com, and perhaps a few others I've forgotten to mention here, in addition to Trainsplit and it's associated sites. This has now passed the point where a significant number of travellers using 'split' tickets do not even realise that they are. Add this to the fraction who make a regular journey and are 'in the know' and split manually at a booking office, and you're starting to see major market share going down this route. I'm only surprised it hasn't been done somewhere else sooner.

You are right though from the perspective that LNER have in the past done many things to try to prevent split savings ('rebooking anomalies') from occurring, even to the point of wasting enormous capacity on the 1730 from London after Peterborough, despite an effort in the business to increase seat re-occupation at Peterborough on northbound evening peak trains (for example).
 
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paul1609

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So-called 'splitting' is now available at Trainline, RailEurope, TrainPal (and possibly other ctrip products), TrainAI and Traintickets.com, and perhaps a few others I've forgotten to mention here, in addition to Trainsplit and it's associated sites. This has now passed the point where a significant number of travellers using 'split' tickets do not even realise that they are. Add this to the fraction who make a regular journey and are 'in the know' and split manually at a booking office, and you're starting to see major market share going down this route. I'm only surprised it hasn't been done somewhere else sooner.

You are right though from the perspective that LNER have in the past done many things to try to prevent split savings ('rebooking anomalies') from occurring, even to the point of wasting enormous capacity on the 1730 from London after Peterborough, despite an effort in the business to increase seat re-occupation at Peterborough on northbound evening peak trains (for example).
Are these retailers offering it as one through ticket with one reservation? That appears to me the point that it will become acceptable for corporate customers. If LNER are the first to offer that it still strikes me as an awful own goal. It would be interesting to know what percentage of LNERs income comes from third party retailers.
 

Hadders

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Once Trainline, and its dominant market share, started offering split tickets the long distance TOCs really don't have a choice.
 

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So-called 'splitting' is now available at Trainline, RailEurope, TrainPal (and possibly other ctrip products), TrainAI and Traintickets.com, and perhaps a few others I've forgotten to mention here, in addition to Trainsplit and it's associated sites. This has now passed the point where a significant number of travellers using 'split' tickets do not even realise that they are. Add this to the fraction who make a regular journey and are 'in the know' and split manually at a booking office, and you're starting to see major market share going down this route. I'm only surprised it hasn't been done somewhere else sooner.

You are right though from the perspective that LNER have in the past done many things to try to prevent split savings ('rebooking anomalies') from occurring, even to the point of wasting enormous capacity on the 1730 from London after Peterborough, despite an effort in the business to increase seat re-occupation at Peterborough on northbound evening peak trains (for example).
What did LNER do re: the 1730 and seat occupation?
 

infobleep

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Are these retailers offering it as one through ticket with one reservation? That appears to me the point that it will become acceptable for corporate customers. If LNER are the first to offer that it still strikes me as an awful own goal. It would be interesting to know what percentage of LNERs income comes from third party retailers.
Where I work, they don't care how many tickets I purchase as long as its for the journey I need to make. If it saves them money, even better.

For this purpose, in many cases, I use Trainsplit. I believe they were the first to offer splitting and thus I still wish to support them.

If there isn't any splits avilable though then I will just purchase form a ticket vending machine prior to travel, assuming it's not an advance ticket.
 

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I think the only reason a workplace that hasn't got money to burn may choose not to use Trainsplit is if they want a corporate account with invoicing, and that sort of thing.

The tickets are all issued on one PDF (where e-tickets are available, which is nearly all journeys I make these days) which is as good as one ticket for accounting purposes, if the tickets have to be submitted for reimbursement. It's no less convenient than being issued with one ticket really; it's just multiple pages on a PDF instead of one page.
 

paul1609

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Make it expensive / lightly loaded north of Peterborough to maximise revenue over loading.
Thats really the problem with LNER the London to Peterborough revenue pays for an awful lot of services that are obviously unprofitable.
As that stretch is already at maximum revenue extraction, attempts to grow the business invariably reduce the profitability until the franchise or whatever collapses.
 

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Thats really the problem with LNER the London to Peterborough revenue pays for an awful lot of services that are obviously unprofitable.
As that stretch is already at maximum revenue extraction, attempts to grow the business invariably reduce the profitability until the franchise or whatever collapses.
I think the crux of the issue is that the passengers travelling from London to Peterborough on the 1730, London to Stevenage on the 1733 and 1833, Wakefield to Leeds on the 0555 (and so on and so forth...) were all very low yield, because almost all were using season tickets.

LNER would much rather not carry them at all, and use the space to sell much higher yield tickets, especially in the case of the 1730 where they could be selling London to Newcastle or Edinburgh in that seat. In the past they found it near-impossible to do this, because offering lower prices on tickets such as Peterborough to Newcastle risked people from London "splitting". Annual season ticket holders are the worst, because they're likely to yield less than £15 per trip between London and Peterborough, wheras an Advance ticket sale to Newcastle or Edinburgh would be at least three times that and could be as much as six or seven times that. This is, of course, all a matter of history now.
 
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island

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I think the crux of the issue is that the passengers travelling from London to Peterborough on the 1730, London to Stevenage on the 1733 and 1833, Wakefield to Leeds on the 0555 (and so on and so forth...) were all very low yield, because almost all were using season tickets.

LNER would much rather not carry them at all, and use the space to sell much higher yield tickets, especially in the case of the 1730 where they could be selling London to Newcastle or Edinburgh in that seat. In the past they found it near-impossible to do this, because offering lower prices on tickets such as Peterborough to Newcastle risked people from London "splitting". Annual season ticket holders are the worst, because they're likely to yield less than £15 per trip between London and Peterborough, wheras an Advance ticket sale to Newcastle or Edinburgh would be at least three times that and could be as much as six or seven times that. This is, of course, all a matter of history now.
Could they not just make Peterborough/Stevenage/etc. a pick-up only stop?
 

paul1609

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If they made Peterborough a pick up only stop theyd have to stop selling the LNER + connection advance tickets from SR stations in the peak hours that LNER alledgedly make a fortune from, not least because they are very rarely used north of Kings Cross.
 

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Could they not just make Peterborough/Stevenage/etc. a pick-up only stop?
I think their contract committed them to carrying those passengers from London. Of course, what was in the franchise agreement with VTEC isn't very relevant now, but the Department presumably mandated it because there wasn't enough space on alternative services at that time.
 
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