Split Tickets - Journey portions not appearing on "normal" sites?

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jfowkes

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I've just booked a journey through splitticketing.com. I've used the site in the past to find a decent split, but then to avoid the extra fees I've then gone and bought all the portions "the normal way" through a TOC site.

This time, I tried to do that and found that the journey portion was only available via the ticket split site. To be specific, the first portion I tried to find was from Whittlesford Parkway to Grantham, on Friday 21st May at 1409, arriving 1620. This cost £7.65 each on a Two Together railcard.

The precise journeys for this single ticket were:
  • 1409 - 1436 Whittlesford to Ely
  • 1459 - 1540 Ely to Peterborough
  • 1601 - 1620 Peterborough to Grantham
The other sites didn't show this journey (I tried NR and LNER). This is the closest they have, which was much more expensive:
  • 1409 - 1436 Whittlesford to Ely
  • 1450 - 1553 Ely to Grantham
What are the reasons that "normal" sites wouldn't also show journeys that appear on the splitting site? Is it just an algorithm thing or is there more to it?

I'm only asking out of curiosity, I've bought all the tickets I need for this trip already.
 
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SickyNicky

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We use the journey planner FastJP. One of its benefits is that it seeks out alternative itineraries such as these which are cheaper. Most journey planners can't do this.

By the way, it's worth considering if you should use a site to do your research and then not book through the site. It costs a significant amount of money to run such sites - each search has a cost.
 

yorkie

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I've just booked a journey through splitticketing.com. I've used the site in the past to find a decent split, but then to avoid the extra fees I've then gone and bought all the portions "the normal way" through National Rail, LNER etc.
This makes no sense to me.

If Splitticketing.com charges a booking fee, why not add each ticket to Trainsplit, which doesn't charge a booking fee?

It would cost no more to buy through Trainsplit than the sites you mention.

National Rail Enquiries doesn't sell tickets either, so that also confuses me.

The other sites didn't show this journey (I tried NR and LNER). This is the closest they have, which was much more expensive:
  • 1409 - 1436 Whittlesford to Ely
  • 1450 - 1553 Ely to Grantham
What are the reasons that "normal" sites wouldn't also show journeys that appear on the splitting site? Is it just an algorithm thing or is there more to it?
The LNER site isn't optimised to charge the cheapest fare.

TOCs aren't interested in saving you money.

I'd you want to save money, use Trainsplit and add each individual ticket to your basket and pay for the lot when all tickets are on the basket.

And hope enough others pay the fee so you can continue to take advantage of the service ;)

At least buying it through Trainsplit will help things like this going a bit more than buying through TOCs who really aren't at all interested in offering the cheapest fare.

If everyone did what you are doing, you wouldn't be able to do it any longer as split ticket sites go bust.

Remember train companies have set up an unlevel playing field (probably in breach of competition law) to the detriment of third party suppliers. They have no interest in charging you the lowest combination of fares and are generally keen to charge you a premium for making a longer distance journey.

It may make more sense not to reward TOCs for this behaviour but ultimately it's each consumers choice to make...
 
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Starmill

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NR and LNER have the same planning engine so in effect you should always get the same answer. Try a first group site instead of NR.
It's slower to change at Peterborough so it won't show there either, unless you deliberately force a call at Manea, which is possible at tickets.tpexpress.co.uk. This yeilds the fare that I suspect the OP is looking for.
 

riceuten

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What I like about the Mixing Deck ticket portals is that some of them at least allow you to specify particular routes. London to Manchester with them selected also shows the LNWR & TfW fares that are considerably cheaper than Avanti's and EMR's routing via Chesterfield, which can be considerably cheaper in the peak. These can be very difficult to locate in other ticket websites
 
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jfowkes

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By the way, it's worth considering if you should use a site to do your research and then not book through the site. It costs a significant amount of money to run such sites - each search has a cost.
Rail travel is already expensive enough, that's why I use ticket split sites. If I were economically rational, I'd just drive the journey. I'm trying to split the difference between the environmentally sensible choice and not spending £££. So, if I can save even the booking fee, I kind of have to. I do feel bad for doing it, but...

This makes no sense to me.

If Splitticketing.com charges a booking fee, why not add each ticket to Trainsplit, which doesn't charge a booking fee?

It would cost no more to buy through Trainsplit than the sites you mention.
Because I wasn't aware of the existence of trainsplit?

National Rail Enquiries doesn't sell tickets either, so that also confuses me.
Yes, sorry I'd got some copy/pastes mixed up during putting the post together. My fault for typing it on a phone. I've corrected it.
 
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yorkie

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I'm not sure if the site you mention charges booking fees or not but there are (or at least were) some Trainsplit affiliate sites that do; I assume that is the reason for booking with TOCs?

Trainsplit itself does not charge a booking fee. Given it offers a seat selector, it's a no brainer but to use it, in my opinion.

If you want to add each ticket to your basket separately, you avoid the share of saving fee whilst at least giving the owners some custom! :)
 

Qwerty133

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I'm not sure if the site you mention charges booking fees or not but there are (or at least were) some Trainsplit affiliate sites that do; I assume that is the reason for booking with TOCs?

Trainsplit itself does not charge a booking fee. Given it offers a seat selector, it's a no brainer but to use it, in my opinion.

If you want to add each ticket to your basket separately, you avoid the share of saving fee whilst at least giving the owners some custom! :)
While it doesn't charge a booking fee in the traditional sense it does charge what they term a 'share of the savings' which can be rather substantial in some cases. Whilst it is fair for them to charge a small amount in order to cover some of the additional costs they face by operating in such a way there is no reasonable excuse for that charge to be more than £3-5 and it should really be capped at such a level.
 

yorkie

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While it doesn't charge a booking fee in the traditional sense it does charge what they term a 'share of the savings' which can be rather substantial in some cases.
If you want to add each ticket to your basket separately, you avoid the share of saving fee whilst at least giving the owners some custom! :)

Whilst it is fair for them to charge a small amount in order to cover some of the additional costs they face by operating in such a way there is no reasonable excuse for that charge to be more than £3-5 and it should really be capped at such a level.
Maybe so; I suppose the higher the amount and the lower the number of "splits", the more chance there is that people will add each ticket to their basket separately.
 

Deafdoggie

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While it doesn't charge a booking fee in the traditional sense it does charge what they term a 'share of the savings' which can be rather substantial in some cases. Whilst it is fair for them to charge a small amount in order to cover some of the additional costs they face by operating in such a way there is no reasonable excuse for that charge to be more than £3-5 and it should really be capped at such a level.
It is one of the things of this forum, talk "Trainline" and everyone will tell you to avoid it because of the fees.
Talk "Trainsplit" and everyone will tell you to use it, even with fees that are higher than Trainlines! People justify it by not calling trainsplits fees, fees. And that they are a business and need to make money. Whereas Trainline are presumably a business that doesn't need to make money!
 

Starmill

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It is one of the things of this forum, talk "Trainline" and everyone will tell you to avoid it because of the fees.
Talk "Trainsplit" and everyone will tell you to use it, even with fees that are higher than Trainlines! People justify it by not calling trainsplits fees, fees. And that they are a business and need to make money. Whereas Trainline are presumably a business that doesn't need to make money!
Trainline don't generally charge a fee for a ticket bought on mobile on the day of travel, and they do have a relatively user-friendly interface, so in that regard there's a definite consumer convenience. However, I think it's clear that they don't and cannot always offer the cheapest price, which Trainsplit.com is far closer to doing, despite it's commission-based fee.
 

bb21

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It is one of the things of this forum, talk "Trainline" and everyone will tell you to avoid it because of the fees.
Talk "Trainsplit" and everyone will tell you to use it, even with fees that are higher than Trainlines! People justify it by not calling trainsplits fees, fees. And that they are a business and need to make money. Whereas Trainline are presumably a business that doesn't need to make money!

Difference being that if trainline went out of business, most people will probably find it a bit inconvenient and be missing the user-friendly interface, but there are plenty of alternatives costing them less. If trainsplit went out of business, lots of people will probably lose out financially with no effective alternative. There is a significant "value-added" financial benefit in the service provided by the latter. (While there may also be some with the former, there is very little financial benefit, if at all, in most cases.)

For that reason I think plenty of people will be happy to support the position that fees as a percentage of the saving for the latter is sensible, fair and sustainable. Of course not everyone will take that view and trainsplit is not forcing anyone to pay that fee, provided that the majority of people do. Ultimately if everyone took the view that they would not pay the fee then trainsplit probably will not be sustainable. In such cases those who lose out most will ultimately be the customers.
 

Deafdoggie

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But there are those who don't use trainsplit due to the fees, arguably costing trainsplit more if they've been used to see where to split but tickets purchased elsewhere. Removing the fees would gain those customers and earn trainsplit the sales commission.
 

bb21

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But there are those who don't use trainsplit due to the fees, arguably costing trainsplit more if they've been used to see where to split but tickets purchased elsewhere. Removing the fees would gain those customers and earn trainsplit the sales commission.
True, but that is a balance trainsplit will have to strike and something only they will know.

Presumably they are reasonably content with the current balance (I don't know) but if it doesn't work I would expect them to shake things up soon.
 

Starmill

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Removing the fees would gain those customers and earn trainsplit the sales commission.
Sale commission by itself is set so low that its barely sufficient to cover costs, and may result in a loss on the lowest value tickets.
 

Watershed

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And yet other sellers manage on it.
You'll find that the majority of independent ticket selling websites charge a booking fee, due to the industry specific operating costs. And for those that don't, they must offset the losses they incur on low value bookings against the profits from higher value bookings.

It's really mainly TOC booking engines that are free of booking fees, and that's because their operation is effectively subsidised by general franchise profits or subsidies, as well as the fees generated by ToD.

This leads to a heavily distorted market, so whilst consumers are of course entitled to use TrainSplit to find optimal combinations whilst booking elsewhere to avoid the "share of saving" fee, the more people that do that, the less sustainable TrainSplit becomes.
 

Starmill

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And yet other sellers manage on it.
Which, of course, they don't. They cross-subsidise their retail busines from profits elsewhere (or recieve public funds). Otherwise they could theoretically sustain short-term losses in the pursuit of a target market share, at which point pricing would change or they would go out of business.
 

yorkie

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It is one of the things of this forum, talk "Trainline" and everyone will tell you to avoid it because of the fees.
Talk "Trainsplit" and everyone will tell you to use it, even with fees that are higher than Trainlines! People justify it by not calling trainsplits fees, fees. And that they are a business and need to make money. Whereas Trainline are presumably a business that doesn't need to make money!
Trainsplit does not charge a booking fee

If there is no "split" saving, there is no fee; feel free to pay the higher fare direct from the TOC if you prefer ;)

Trainline are perfectly entitled to charge a booking fee; in fact they don't charge one if you buy the ticket on the day of travel.

And yet other sellers manage on it.
Which sellers manage it? And how do you think they do so?
 

Paul Kelly

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It's really mainly TOC booking engines that are free of booking fees, and that's because their operation is effectively subsidised by general franchise profits or subsidies, as well as the fees generated by ToD.
I thought it was mainly because they weren't allowed to charge fees. But I may be wrong.

Otherwise they could theoretically sustain short-term losses in the pursuit of a target market share, at which point pricing would change
Yes, isn't this what RedSpottedHanky did?
 

Watershed

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I thought it was mainly because they weren't allowed to charge fees. But I may be wrong.
The two are corollaries - their franchise agreements/ERMAs require them to sell tickets online whilst prohibiting them from charging fees. So the sites are de facto subsidised.
 

Mike99

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We use the journey planner FastJP. One of its benefits is that it seeks out alternative itineraries such as these which are cheaper. Most journey planners can't do this.

By the way, it's worth considering if you should use a site to do your research and then not book through the site. It costs a significant amount of money to run such sites - each search has a cost.
I wasn't aware of FastJP, just been messing about on it, and it's certainly fast...........
 

maniacmartin

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I always pay the Trainsplit fees as its a site I want to support and I'm liable to make a mistake and buy the wrong tickets if I manually add them separately to a basket. Transcribing the ticket details is just fiddly and time-consuming
 

Haywain

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The two are corollaries - their franchise agreements/ERMAs require them to sell tickets online whilst prohibiting them from charging fees. So the sites are de facto subsidised.
I don't agree - subsidy suggests that it is a voluntary arrangement which this definitely isn't.
 
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But there are those who don't use trainsplit due to the fees, arguably costing trainsplit more if they've been used to see where to split but tickets purchased elsewhere. Removing the fees would gain those customers and earn trainsplit the sales commission.
Have you any idea of how much out of a retailer's commission RDG take back in charges? Independent retailers charge fees cos they have to.

I always pay the Trainsplit fees as its a site I want to support and I'm liable to make a mistake and buy the wrong tickets if I manually add them separately to a basket. Transcribing the ticket details is just fiddly and time-consuming
Good man, thanks!

I thought it was mainly because they weren't allowed to charge fees. But I may be wrong.


Yes, isn't this what RedSpottedHanky did?
If they went to the DfT and showed selling other TOCs' tickets at 5% didn't cover the costs and asked to be allowed to charge a booking fee, wouldn't the DfT be obliged to agree so that the taxpayer wasn't subsidising unnecessary losses? But pigs might fly too :) Let's say those costs were 5%, just now costs are being paid plus a 1.5% service fee. I.E it's costing the tax payer 6.5% as opposed to the 5% independent retailers get. What if they were more than 5%?
 
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