What Is The Best Site On Which To Purchase Tickets?

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Envoy

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What is the best website on which to purchase rail tickets?

Whilst I realise that perhaps it would be the TOC on which you plan to travel - if only to make getting a refund easier in the event of not travelling or compensation for delays, other factors can be taken into account.

1. Is the site easy to understand & offering a clearly priced choice of trains.
2. Are alternative routings offered with various companies?
3. Are the cheapest fares offered?
4. Can you print 'tickets' at home?
5. Are foreign debit cards accepted by people making bookings from abroad?
6. Can you purchase tickets from the site covering all TOC's?
7. Is a booking fee charged?
 
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brompton rail

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What is the best website on which to purchase rail tickets?

Whilst I realise that perhaps it would be the TOC on which you plan to travel - if only to make getting a refund easier in the event of not travelling or compensation for delays, other factors can be taken into account.

1. Is the site easy to understand & offering a clearly priced choice of trains.
2. Are alternative routings offered with various companies?
3. Are the cheapest fares offered?
4. Can you print 'tickets' at home?
5. Are foreign debit cards accepted by people making bookings from abroad?
6. Can you purchase tickets from the site covering all TOC's?
7. Is a booking fee charged?

Local station? Keeps people in a job!
 

fandroid

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Hampshire
I would dump all the 3rd party sites and go for those run by TOCs. That way you know that no fees are going to be charged. Even then, most seem to have blind spots - ie will not sell some specialist tickets. The one that got up my nose was the old East Coast one. They would not sell Railair bus tickets from Reading to Heathrow. When I queried it they said that they were 'not able to', whatever that meant. I haven't tried the VTEC site because it dumped it the old East Coast rewards scheme. The GWR site's front page always assumes that you intend to travel tomorrow. I'm sure many folk have been caught out by that, I know I did once! One day a TOC will spend the effort to create a comprehensive and user-friendly site that sells all possible tickets in the least manipulative way. It's something that CrossCountry should consider, as they don't actually have any real ticket offices.
 

otter11

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Personally I favour the style used by GWR and VTEC over the style used by thetrainline, Scotrail etc. For me, the list of times and being able to hide services based on fares is very useful.
However, I would always check my fares on the site of the TOC I was travelling on - just in case they had special fares that were unavailable elsewhere. East coast was great when they had the rewards scheme. Now I tend to use GWR as it gives me nectar points.

That said, if on a mobile device, the GWR website is appalling, with a very confusing layout where each service takes up almost the whole screen.

The other things to consider are the perks you get on certain websites. For example, if travelling on crosscountry or VTEC, using their own website allows you to select specific seats, which can be very handy. Crosscountry also have a website only deal for people with NUS extra cards.

This is all I can think of off the top of my head. Always worth checking brfares.com to see all fares available before booking.
 

yorkie

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4. Can you print 'tickets' at home?
In general, only if you book on the website of the company you're travelling with, and your whole journey is with that company. Also, your rights to refunds/excess fares may be reduced, and you may have problems if your nominated form of ID is lost/stolen.

Therefore, I do not see this as an advantage, but if you do, in many cases you'll need to book with the TOC you're travelling with!
 
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