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How splitting the trip can save on rail fares
10:01am Thursday 20th December 2012 in News
THE Press can reveal today the huge savings travellers can make on train journeys from York – by buying two sets of tickets for one train.
Train companies’ complicated fare structures mean it is often cheaper to buy one ticket for part of the journey and another ticket for the second leg on the same train than to buy one through ticket.
For example, an East Coast super off-peak return ticket from York to London Kings Cross, leaving York at 11.29am next Friday and stopping en route at Newark, costs £94.10.
But a super off-peak return from York to Newark costs £33.60, and an off-peak day return from Newark to London costs £48.70, making a total fare of £82.30 – a saving of almost £12 on the single ticket.
This week, a ticket from Edinburgh to York on the 05.48 service on January 4 would have cost £49 if booked as one ticket.
But by buying a ticket from Edinburgh to Berwick and another from Berwick to York, the cost was reduced to £30.55 – a saving of £18.45.
A passenger travelling at 10.34am next Friday from York to Bristol Parkway with Cross Country would pay £80 for a single fare, but could buy one ticket to Birmingham for £42 and then another from Birmingham to Bristol Parkway for £22.50, making a total saving of £15.50.
An off-peak return from York to Liverpool Lime Street next Friday would cost £45.80.
But an off-peak return to Manchester would cost £25.40 and then a separate off-peak return from Manchester to Liverpool would cost £13.70, giving the passenger an overall saving of £6.70.
New companies are capitalising on the rise in passengers splitting their journey into two or more tickets.
Moneysavingexpert.com, founded by financial journalist Martin Lewis, has launched a free app called TicketySplit.
Thisa saves customers time working out which tickets to buy on train company websites.
An East Coast spokesman said using two separate tickets to complete one journey, known as split-ticketing, had been around since British Rail days.
He said: “Splitting tickets does impose extra restrictions on the passenger which they need to be aware of, such as time restrictions when using day return tickets like the Off-Peak Day Return, which can only be used on certain trains compared to the Super Off-Peak, which offers more flexibility for the return journey,” he said.
He said another restriction was that the train on which the return journey was made must also call at the station where the two tickets joined – at Newark, for example– otherwise the ticket became invalid. This reduced the choice of trains available to passengers.
First TransPennine Express said it was obliged to sell the most appropriate fare for a journey, based on the information provided by a customer.
“Therefore if a customer specifically requests a split ticket then we will sell it,” said a spokesman.
A CrossCountry spokesman said: “Split tickets are permitted as long as the tickets are valid to travel on the train being used and cover the entire journey, and the train calls at the stations where the tickets have been split.”