What the split ticketing sites don’t tell you: the seat may not be the same for the journey

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jthjth

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I’ve just booked a first class split ticket journey from Derby to Berwick. Although the saving is impressive, the site (splitticketing.com) keeps very quiet about the potential musical chairs involved. That journey has 4 different seat reservations. I hope that we will be able to ignore many of them and stay put, but there’s no guarantee. We used to have an elderly relative who travelled that route to visit family. There’s no way I’d risk anything but a single seat reservation for her. I also looked at the raileasy split ticketing site, which also failed to warn of this issue. Granted, it may be in the small print somewhere, but not anything that was drawn to my attention. If there was a way of keeping the same seats it wasn’t obvious to me. The emphasis is entirely on savings, and the only obvious warning is that the train must stop at the split points.

If it wasn’t for the fact that we have to go up and down within 24 hours for a funeral I’d be taking the car. For the two of us, even at standard class with a two together rail card and split tickets the cost is around £180 return. Fuel cost is £70 return, and I’m not tied to specific times.
 
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Bletchleyite

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I seem to recall that Trainline has as a selling point of their splitting feature that they do issue a single through reservation if the system will let them.
 

Watershed

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Unfortunately if you end up with more than 3 tickets, AFAIK it's impossible to end up with the same seat for the entire journey - as the reservation system won't allow more than 3 reservations per seat on any given service.

I know that Trainsplit shows the seats it's reserved in the basket stage - now you're right, it doesn't explicitly warn you that you have different reservations for different legs of the journey.

But it gives you the option to change your seat, and if you reserve the same seat for the first 3 ticketed legs of the journey, you are guaranteed occupation of that seat throughout the journey.

With travelling in First Class I really doubt this is going to be an issue. It's pretty empty on most Voyagers and there are still some unreserved seats.
 

jthjth

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Unfortunately if you end up with more than 3 tickets, AFAIK it's impossible to end up with the same seat for the entire journey - as the reservation system won't allow more than 3 reservations per seat on any given service.

I know that Trainsplit shows the seats it's reserved in the basket stage - now you're right, it doesn't explicitly warn you that you have different reservations for different legs of the journey.

But it gives you the option to change your seat, and if you reserve the same seat for the first 3 ticketed legs of the journey, you are guaranteed occupation of that seat throughout the journey.

With travelling in First Class I really doubt this is going to be an issue. It's pretty empty on most Voyagers and there are still some unreserved seats.
I’m hoping you are right and we won’t have an issue in reality. But I’d really hope that the sites would do their best to keep the same seats and if not to warn you in a very obvious way. It should not be up to the customer to try to manually edit the reservations to sort the mess out. I’ve got different seats on each of the 4 legs.
 

route101

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When I had this, I just sat in the unreserved coach. I appreciate that's not always possible.
 

SickyNicky

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The seats are given to us by the rail booking system (used to be called NRS). I'm told that it's going to get better as we migrate to the new rail booking API (called RARS2).
 

yorkie

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I’ve just booked a first class split ticket journey from Derby to Berwick. Although the saving is impressive, the site (splitticketing.com) keeps very quiet about the potential musical chairs involved. That journey has 4 different seat reservations. I hope that we will be able to ignore many of them and stay put, but there’s no guarantee. We used to have an elderly relative who travelled that route to visit family. There’s no way I’d risk anything but a single seat reservation for her. I also looked at the raileasy split ticketing site, which also failed to warn of this issue. Granted, it may be in the small print somewhere, but not anything that was drawn to my attention. If there was a way of keeping the same seats it wasn’t obvious to me. The emphasis is entirely on savings, and the only obvious warning is that the train must stop at the split points.

If it wasn’t for the fact that we have to go up and down within 24 hours for a funeral I’d be taking the car. For the two of us, even at standard class with a two together rail card and split tickets the cost is around £180 return. Fuel cost is £70 return, and I’m not tied to specific times.
If you can say what train you are booked on, and what day of the week (we don't need to know the exact date), we can provide advise regarding how many coaches the train is likely to be formed of, and where you are likely to find unreserved seats.

If you don't mind stating the actual date of travel, we can look at how well loaded that train is, and we can probably arrange for a through reservation to be made if you like?

The root cause is the doing of the train companies and the way they do allocations rather than any fault of the booking sites, but hopefully things will get better with the new rail booking system.

As the comparison of train tickets vs fuel, that's for another thread in a different forum section.
 

jthjth

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If you can say what train you are booked on, and what day of the week (we don't need to know the exact date), we can provide advise regarding how many coaches the train is likely to be formed of, and where you are likely to find unreserved seats.

If you don't mind stating the actual date of travel, we can look at how well loaded that train is, and we can probably arrange for a through reservation to be made if you like?

The root cause is the doing of the train companies and the way they do allocations rather than any fault of the booking sites, but hopefully things will get better with the new rail booking system.

As the comparison of train tickets vs fuel, that's for another thread in a different forum section.
8th August 1245 from Derby to Berwick upon Tweed, 2 people 1st class cross country trains both ways.
9th August 1752 Berwick upon Tweed to Derby, 2 people 1st class

Both trains have us booked coach A throughout

If you can generate a through reservation both ways I’d be very grateful. I’ve just been to the station to print out he coupons - it was like winning the lottery. 43 coupons!

it further confused me by using two day returns for the Derby Sheffield leg, thus having unused return portions. This caused momentary panic when I saw the wrong dates and day return on the ticket. Took a while to work out what was going on.

Let me know if you can generate through bookings, otherwise I’ll summons up the courage to take these tickets to the station tomorrow to see if the ticket clerk will take pity on me and generate some reservations. I’m currently in Berwick, but go home and then do this trip for a funeral.

Thanks for your help
 

Factotum

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I’ve just booked a first class split ticket journey from Derby to Berwick. Although the saving is impressive, the site (splitticketing.com) keeps very quiet about the potential musical chairs involved. That journey has 4 different seat reservations. I hope that we will be able to ignore many of them and stay put, but there’s no guarantee. We used to have an elderly relative who travelled that route to visit family. There’s no way I’d risk anything but a single seat reservation for her. I also looked at the raileasy split ticketing site, which also failed to warn of this issue. Granted, it may be in the small print somewhere, but not anything that was drawn to my attention. If there was a way of keeping the same seats it wasn’t obvious to me. The emphasis is entirely on savings, and the only obvious warning is that the train must stop at the split points.

If it wasn’t for the fact that we have to go up and down within 24 hours for a funeral I’d be taking the car. For the two of us, even at standard class with a two together rail card and split tickets the cost is around £180 return. Fuel cost is £70 return, and I’m not tied to specific times.
I have made Stockport to Plymouth first class on several occasions on a split ticket (7 sections). Although the seat reservations varied between legs I just stayed in the first seat the whole way without any trouble. There were so many unreserved seats that nobody seemed inclined to ask me to move.

(Which reminds me of an incident in Germany many years ago. |I was staying in a climbing hostel and was given a bed in a 50 bunk dormitory. My German being wretched I didn't understand the number so I just slumped into the nearest bunk. At midnight I was shaken awake by a furious German who insisted that I was in his bed and that I move to one of the other 49)

As the comparison of train tickets vs fuel, that's for another thread in a different forum section.
Difficult to argue with someone - one of many - who thinks that the only cost of travelling by car is the fuel.
 

Bletchleyite

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Difficult to argue with someone - one of many - who thinks that the only cost of travelling by car is the fuel.

Replied here:
 
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thedbdiboy

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The root cause is the doing of the train companies and the way they do allocations rather than any fault of the booking sites, but hopefully things will get better with the new rail booking system.
The root cause of this is the totally unreformed fare structure. But you are very clear in not wanting it sorted out because unsurprisingly a lot of the hidden hacks for those in the know would disappear!
 

Bletchleyite

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The root cause of this is the totally unreformed fare structure. But you are very clear in not wanting it sorted out because unsurprisingly a lot of the hidden hacks for those in the know would disappear!

Well, clearly Trainsplit exists because of the esoteric fare structure. If it was simplified it might well not be needed, though to me it still has the unique "killer app" of a seat selector that works on all TOCs. Indeed, most of the tickets I've bought from Trainsplit have been normal off peak returns purely to be able to use that feature.
 
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8th August 1245 from Derby to Berwick upon Tweed, 2 people 1st class cross country trains both ways.
9th August 1752 Berwick upon Tweed to Derby, 2 people 1st class
I've sent you a direct message with the seat reservations as requested.
 

yorkie

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The root cause of this is the totally unreformed fare structure. But you are very clear in not wanting it sorted out because unsurprisingly a lot of the hidden hacks for those in the know would disappear!
I don't mind what happens as long as the good value fares don't go up! If anyone has any proposals feel free to create a new thread and we can discuss it there. :)
 

thedbdiboy

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I'm very clear that rail under GBR must be able to innovate and develop good value pricing that is random or confined to certain routes with historically low fares pegged to regulation. Fares need to be easy to buy and use, and the principle of the walk-up railway maintained whatever additional incentives exist for pre-booking. The only issues I think cause potential friction are a) that to be economically viable, some fares on some routes at some times will need to be adjusted upward over time to remove some of the more extreme distortions. This doesn't mean jacking them right up and pricing people off, just a recognition of the reality; and b) whilst there will always be some anomalies somewhere (BR had a fair few), the conflicting rules over validity, routeing, break of journey and price that create a two-tier system allowing those with expertise to manipulate the price of a journey whilst most people pay the 'regular' rate will need to be resolved. Customer research amongst ordinary (i.e. non-enthusiast) users has continuously shown that the biggest problem the industry has with fares is the total lack of trust amongst many that they are paying the best price for their journey. This is not solved by simply selling them whatever Byzantine combination of tickets and/or itineraries gets them the cheapest fare (not least because it still means wildly differing prices for otherwise comparable journeys) - it means a much more straightforward and honest pricing structure - one that is likely will be heavily digitally based and will therefore be accurately focused on the journeys actually made.
 

yorkie

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I don't agree that it is a "reality" that some fares should rise, and any attempts to do that will be hotly contested and would be political suicide, but this needs to be debated in a dedicated thread. Also the biggest concern of most customers is the price; any surveys that come up with different conclusions have probably been worded to get the results they want in order to justify rises.

Edit: I've created a new thread to discuss fares reform here:

 
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