Have you heard of split-ticketing? This is when you purchase multiple tickets to cover various “stages” of a journey, instead of a single ticket for a single journey. Train travel can be eyewateringly expensive so, if you know what you are doing, split-ticketing can save some serious cash.
Here is one example of split-ticketing in practice. You need to travel from Macclesfield to Southampton, leaving at 0730. A return ticket for the 0730 train will set you back £215 (ouch). However if you travel on the same trains, but “split” your fare across five separate tickets, you can save £113.50 on the journey:
Macclesfield -> Stafford (£16.50, Anytime Return)
Stafford -> Coventry (£15.00, Anytime Return)
Coventry -> Leamington Spa (£9.20, 2 x Anytime Day Singles)
Leamington Spa -> Oxford (£18.00, Off-Peak Return)
Oxford -> Southampton Central (£40.80, Off-Peak Return)
TOTAL: £101.50 instead of £215.
Split-ticketing isn’t new. As you may have surmised from the detailed journey above, however, the challenge has been working out how best to split tickets – particularly when you are travelling cross-country.
(Excuse the railway-related pun. I couldn’t resist)
A clever computer programmer called Matthew Somerville has just launched a new website called Split Ticket, which does all the hard work for you. It is as simple as this to use…
Enter your journey details:
Important points to note, if you split-ticket:
- Make sure the train you catch actually stops at the station where you will be “switching” from one ticket to the other. If the train doesn’t stop there, your ticket isn’t valid.
- Railcards aren’t included, so if you have a regional or train company-specific railcard (such as the Network Railcard I have for travel between Essex and London) you may wish to look into splitting your journey at the point where the railcard becomes valid.
- If your train travel times are flexible, try searching for journeys based on different departure times, for a variety of results.
- Double check your tickets to ensure that any travel restrictions, such as no travel until after 0930, are compatible with your planned journey times. (I do this with train tickets as a matter of course, having been stung in the past.)
- The site has only just launched and is still in beta mode. In other words, it is box fresh and isn’t expected to be perfect at this stage. Right now, for example, there is a glitch if you want to travel via Hereford. So if you try out the site and have any feedback, do let the website’s creator know. You can find Matthew on Twitter.
By the way, if you like to cock a snoop at the train companies and their KER-AZY prices, do check out my how-to on getting a free upgrade to first class.
Image credit: Steve Jones.