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New 'pricehack' feature can save customers up to 50% off their train journey – This is Money

A new feature that promises to cut the costs of more than 200million train journeys by up to 50 per cent has been launched on a booking platform.

Pricehack is the new split ticketing functionality from booking platform, Loco2, that applies to one way tickets for travel in Britain.

It can save travellers money by splitting journeys into smaller legs and working out the cheapest price for each leg.

Loco2 said that if a one-way ticket can be 'price-hacked', it will always be at least £1 cheaper than the cheapest regular fare sold on any other traditional train booking platform, for example, Trainline, or other rail operator websites. 

Savings: Loco2 has introduced new pricehack technology to cut down costs on train tickets

This means customers can save money by taking a potentially longer route to their destination rather than a straight train. 

However, while this will be useful for some money conscious people, it may not be beneficial for those who are looking to get from A to B as quickly as possible. 

Another concern is that where a trip is split into multiple journeys, if your first train runs late, you may miss your change and in this case your second ticket may not be valid for the later train. 

Loco2 announced it will be applying the Pricehack technology to return tickets in the coming weeks. 

One other feature it claims is unique is that it will make, where possible, tickets available as e-tickets, which can be displayed on a mobile device, meaning customers do not have to print out multiple physical tickets.

Aurelie Butin, Loco2's director of product and service, said: 'The cost of train travel in the UK can sometimes result in people choosing to drive or maybe even fly, so we think it's vital that every passenger feels assured that they are getting the best priced train ticket every time.

'That's why we have made it our mission at Loco2 to help passengers save money whenever possible, and our latest cost-saving feature is Pricehack.'

New 'pricehack' feature can save customers up to 50% off their train journey - This is Money

Loco2 have said their pricehack technology will allow customers to save money on travel

As an example, a journey from Swansea to Perth, when booked through Loco2 on their Pricehack system, can save customers £37.03, when compared to other booking services. 

However, the firm does take commission for those booking Pricehack tickets, at a cost of £1.50 for tickets under £100 and £6 for tickets over £100.  

Butin added: 'Loco2 has invested in bringing split ticketing to the masses, enabling incredible savings but integrated into the normal, simple booking process.

'Our Pricehack feature also delivers 'little wins' such as First Class Pricehack fares that are cheaper than non-Pricehack Standard fares, and the same seat number on connecting journeys - all these bonuses will encourage more train travel, which is key.' 

Worldwide train expert and former Department for Transport rail ticketing executive, Mark Smith, said: 'Until now, split ticketing has been a bit of a faff for anyone trying to do it, and, unlike some other split ticketing sites, Loco2's Pricehack works with advance fares too.

'Pricehack is a great example of how, if we really want to make train travel cheaper and more accessible, we can – and it's small but mightily passionate companies such as Loco2 that are showing us the way.'   

Other split-ticketing sites

There are a number of other websites that also do split ticketing on behalf of the customer and have done so before Loco2: 

Split your Ticket: Split your Ticket now gives users a 2 per cent cashback on all of their rail bookings made through the site - including direct journeys that cannot be split, saving travellers even more money. 

It highlights suggested tickets on routes and tells users whether the ticket can be used on alternative trains or not. 

The firm also doesn't charge a booking fee nor a fee for booking with your credit card online. 

Trainpal: Trainpal is an app and website that promises to save users an average of 37 per cent for each ticket when booking in advance. 

It also promises no booking or card fees but offers a free of charge customer service helpline to help with any enquiries. 

Other websites that offer this function include Train Split, Split my Fare, Splitticketing and Rail Easy. 

Although the split-ticketing functionality already exists on other rail traveller websites, Loco2 said it was the first website to make it 'so simple'. 

Could split-ticketing be abolished? 

Industry body, the Rail Delivery Group, has claimed the rail industry is proposing a 'root-and-branch reform' of the current system of fares and tickets, which have remain unchanged in Britain since the mid-1990's. 

Currently, many return tickets are just £1 more than a single which is why split-ticketing has become very popular.  

However, new proposals include reforming the way ticket prices are worked out in order to make them fairer and modernise the process - meaning it is likely that split-ticketing will become a thing of the past. 

In these changes, they would adopt a similar policy to some of the London networks, which would include an 'unbundling' of fares leading to single leg pricing as well as a focus on capped limits, such as is currently the case for those using the Tube. 

Train companies will then be able to create discounted, premium, train specific and personalised variations of these fares, for example, charging less at quieter periods or more for first class.

Another proposal is to introduce protection from excessive fares through regulation of price levels. 

For example, it suggests moving from regulating the day return and seven day season ticket for commuters to regulating the maximum price paid when travelling over the course of a week - with systems programmed to deliver this automatically.

There are expected to be trials of this new system in place later this year and, if successful, could be rolled out on an operator by operator basis over the next three to five years.

 

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