Major online agent Loco2 has broken with convention by offering split-ticketing on its website.
Unlike its main rival Trainline we see Loco2 saving customers money by clever retailing of rail tickets.
As we all know UK rail ticketing is complex. It also means that split-ticketing works only on certain long distance journeys and usually when you have to pay a peak time fare.
Loco2, better know for its international rail sales, has today officially launched a ‘Pricehack’ feature for UK rail.
The agent says travellers may save money by splitting journeys into smaller legs and by working out the cheapest price for each leg.
Originally an independent rail agent, Loco2 was acquired by France’s SNCF two years ago.
Aurellie Butin, Loco2’s director of products and services said,
“Pricehack, also known as split-ticketing, has until now been difficult and time-consuming to do. Loco2 is bringing split-ticketing to the masses.”
When you visit Loco2.com you will only see the saving when the official fare is crossed out to be replaced by the Pricehack equivalent.
Last week Guardian writer Helen Pidd complained via Twitter that her peak hour Manchester-London standard fare cost £175 one-way.
By using Pricehack that price could typically be cut to around £115-£121 or less depending on when the ticket was purchased. This example is for a booking made one or two days before travel. And first class savings may also be available.
Finally I must again stress any savings are mostly possible on peak hour, long distance journeys, when travel would be at the full fare.
Readers who travel at less busy times and are savvy enough to book an Advance promotional fare are unlikely to save.
I would suggest readers experiment with Loco2’s website to see if any possible savings can be made.
*****UPDATE: My apologies but one point I forgot to mention is that, at the present time, Pricehack is for one-way trips. It means should you want to book a return journey you would need to book two one-way sectors.
For example, for tomorrow July 2, the 0735 Manchester-London train is displayed as costing £115.50 (normally £175) one-way. But when I request a return trip from Loco2 (returning same day in the peak) I am quoted £350 (the cost of a normal peak hour ticket).
But if I were to book two one-ways I would be quoted £115.50 for Manchester-London and, for a same day return in the late afternoon/early evening peak, I would be quoted anything between £81.10 and £145.70 depending on the train time (and Virgin Trains operates over this route every 20 mins).*****