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Split ticketing changes could benefit rail users

PUBLISHED: 00:01 18 February 2019 | UPDATED: 09:13 18 February 2019

There could be changes to split ticketing in the near future Picture: NEIL PERRY

There could be changes to split ticketing in the near future Picture: NEIL PERRY

Archant

Rail user groups in Suffolk and Essex are welcoming proposed changes to ticket prices which could see split ticketing become a thing of the past in favour of less complicated fares.

Split ticketing demonstrated with a return journey from Ipswich to London Liverpool Street Picture: ARCHANTSplit ticketing demonstrated with a return journey from Ipswich to London Liverpool Street Picture: ARCHANT

The Rail Delivery Group (RDG), which represents train companies and Network Rail, has proposed changes to rail ticketing across the country which could see the end of split ticketing.

The RDG says that the changes would mean that passengers are always given the best value fare automatically.

Some fares would go up and some would go down under the RDG’s proposals, which are designed to be “revenue neutral”.

Trevor Garrod, chairman of the East Suffolk Travellers Association (ESTA), said he was pleased to hear about the proposed changes.

“It’s already done at places by some staff,” said Mr Garrod.

He added that changes that allowed rail users to achieve changes like those of split ticketing would be welcomed by the group.

Derek Monnery, chairman of the Essex Rail Users Federation, said: “Split ticketing has been known about for years but you have to be a bit of an enthusiast to know about how some of these work.”

Mr Monnery hoped that the changes would benefit rail users.

“Anything that reduces prices has got to be a good thing,” he added.

The RDG’s plans have now been submitted to the Williams Rail Review at the Department for Transport.

The review has been set up to evaluate the entire train network including ways to offer good value fares for travellers.

Before any changes are made, however, the government would have to agree to changes.

A Department for Transport spokesman said: “RDG’s contribution to the Williams Review is welcome.

“In the short term, we are ready to work with the industry on how their proposals might work and be tested in the real world.”

What is split ticketing?

Split ticketing involves buying multiple tickets covering different parts of a journey, rather than just one ticket. It’s used by rail users to save money but has been seen by some as overly complicated.

How does split ticketing work in practice?

At the weekend an off-peak return journey from Ipswich to London Liverpool Street will cost you £43.50. However, if you buy an off-peak return from Ipswich to Manningtree (£6.80) and then buy a super off-peak ticket from Manningtree to Liverpool Street (£30.10) you can save £6.60.

Are split tickets allowed?

Split ticketing does not break the railway’s conditions of travel, but a train must call at the stations where tickets are bought for. So in the above example the train would have to stop at Manningtree.

What changes are being proposed?

The Rail Delivery Group (RDG) has published a plan to simplify the rail ticketing system.

It says this would mean that split ticketing would no longer be necessary because people would automatically be offered the lowest price for their journey.

When are the changes likely to happen?

Trials of changes to the fares system are expected to begin later this year. The new system could be rolled out on an operator by operator basis over the next three to five years.

Until then rail users will still be able to save money with split tickets.

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