Why is it so difficult to get cheap rail tickets?

The board which Andy used to work out his train ticket calculations. Credit: Andy Horton/Twitter
The board which Andy used to work out his train ticket calculations. Credit: Andy Horton/Twitter
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  • Petersfield graduate challenges rail companies to help passengers get cheaper fares
  • Andy Horton spent an hour working on different routes and tickets to save money
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A Petersfield graduate has come up with a bright idea to save money on train fares - but unfortunately it’s anything but simple.

Andy Horton, 22, tried to find a cheaper way to travel between his home and his girlfriend Lucinda, 23, in Devon after regularly spending more than £60 on the five-hour trip.

Andy Horton and his girlfriend Lucinda. Credit: Andy Horton/Twitter

Andy Horton and his girlfriend Lucinda. Credit: Andy Horton/Twitter

He spent an hour comparing different routes and splitting up the journey into smaller parts - resulting in a saving of more than £30.

The mechanical engineering graduate split his ticket into three parts, travelling from Petersfield to Guildford, Guildford to Totnes and Totnes to Ivybridge.

Andy said: ‘Train websites are very misleading, they should be doing these sorts of deals anyway but that is how they make more profits.

‘These journeys do not take a lot longer but the cost can vary quite a lot.’

“This shows that the companies need to look at changing the system because people are annoyed.”

Andy Horton

The splitting process involves buying multiple tickets for different parts of the same journey, often without having to change trains.

It means passengers can often end up with two cheaper tickets instead of a more expensive one for a longer journey.

The full price of Andy’s ticket from Petersfield to Ivybridge is £69.65, but using the splitting method the price was reduced to £37.50, a saving of £32.15.

He looked at four different routes, including travelling via Guildford, Bristol, Exeter, Portsmouth or Westbury.

Andy, who works for a telecommunications company in Berkshire, said: ‘This shows that the companies need to look at changing the system because people are annoyed.

‘This wasn’t really meant to be about ticket splitting, but showing that there are many ways of getting from A to B.’

While some travellers work out the costs of individual tickets manually, there are websites such as MoneySavingExpert which can make the calculations automatically.

Train fares across Britain saw an average increase of 2.3 per cent this week, which campaigners have called ‘another kick in the teeth’ for passengers.