Rail ticket 'revolution' could cut journey prices by up to a third
Britain is on the verge of a “rail fares revolution” that could enable passengers to save millions of pounds on published ticket prices for the first time.
Under an agreement reached between ministers and train operating companies, comprehensive ticket price data from across the UK’s railway network is to be made available for free within the next few months.
The new information will allow customers travelling on some routes to make savings of more than 30 per cent on current ticket prices – without passengers needing to change the train they were intending to take. A journey from Birmingham to Edinburgh taken yesterday, for example, would be almost £40 cheaper.
The Independent understands that a secret report for the Government by the Association of Train Operating Companies (Atoc) estimated that the total potential saving to passengers could be in the “high tens of millions of pounds”.
It will go some way to compensate passengers who face rail fare rises of 4 per cent next year.
Under current rules, train companies are not obliged to publicise the cheapest way of getting from one destination to another – only the most direct. But because of the UK’s complex fares structure, there are many instances where passengers can save money on the same journey simply by “splitting” their ticket.
For example, National Rail Enquiries was today quoting a price of £62 for a single journey from Glasgow to Manchester departing at 12.40pm.
However, a customer taking exactly the same trains, could save £18.30 if they bought two separate tickets – one from Glasgow to Oxenholme in the Lake District (£26.50) and another from Oxenholme to Manchester (£17.20) at a total cost of £43.70. The passenger would not have to get off the train at Oxenholme, but simply show the ticket inspector the relevant ticket for each part of their journey.
While the fares data will be too complicated for individuals to process, it will be used by internet developers to create computer and smartphone apps. This will allow passengers to input journey details and automatically find the cheapest fare.
It will also permit customers, less worried about the time their journey will take, to achieve even greater savings by calculating longer, cheaper routes between the same stations.
For example, the cheapest single journey between Liverpool and London yesterday afternoon on the National Rail Enquiries website cost £73.30. However, passengers prepared to change trains in Birmingham and spend an hour longer on their journey, could do the same trip for £53.50 – a saving of almost £20.
Jonathan Raper, who runs the transport data company Placr, said: “At the moment the only information that rail companies provide passengers with is for the most direct route – which is often their most profitable – so they don’t want people to be made aware of cheaper, slower alternatives,” he said.
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “People shouldn't need to have a degree to get hold of the cheapest ticket for their journey. That’s why the publication of open fares data will mark a big step forward.”
- 1 The difference between a migrant and refugee, in one sentence
- 2 Miley Cyrus calls out hypocrisy of women’s nipples being taboo
- 3 iPhone 5c to be discontinued, no iPhone 6c to replace it
- 4 Jozef Wesołowski: Former Catholic archbishop found dead ahead of child sexual abuse trial
Spain accused of 'provocation' after letting Russian submarine refuel off Gibraltar
Allonautilus scrobiculatus: World's 'rarest' creature spotted for only the third time ever
Miley Cyrus address Robin Thicke VMA controversy: ‘He wanted me as naked as possible, but I got the heat because I’m a woman’
Miley Cyrus calls out hypocrisy of women’s nipples being taboo
Celebrity Big Brother 2015: Tila Tequila kicked off show after 'describing Hitler as a good man'
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
Labour leadership: Jeremy Corbyn accused of 'deluding' young supporters with 'claptrap'
'Women only' train carriages: Jeremy Corbyn unveils radical move to tackle public harassment
Black holes are a passage to another universe, says Stephen Hawking
Iain Duncan Smith 'should resign over disability benefit death figures', says Jeremy Corbyn
Iain Duncan Smith calls for urgent ESA overhaul as part of drive to cut down welfare costs
£18000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive or Senior Sal...
£40000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This industry leading company produces h...
£20000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT provider for the educat...