Experts from Oxford say passengers will save millions with new booking website
FIGURE IT OUT: Jeremy Acklam has a team of maths experts crunching numbers to save rail travellers millions Picture Richard Cave.
Source: Gill Oliver
MATHS experts from Oxford say rail users will save millions with a new train-booking website which went live this week.
St Aldates-based ticketclever.com has a team of 20 mathematicians and computer scientists using number-crunching algorithms to crack the complexity of rail ticketing.
With hundreds of millions of fare and route combinations, passengers struggle to find cheapest option.
Chief executive and founder Jeremy Acklam claims his site slashes up to 60 per cent off rail journeys by giving passengers access to ‘hidden’ cheap fares.
Ticketclever launched on Tuesday, just 24 hours before The Rail Delivery Group (RDG), which represents train operators, announced its own trial scheme to simplify fares starting in May.
Mr Acklam added: “There are about one million stations with one billion different fares each day, so you have to have some really good maths to work it out.
“That is why we chose Oxford.”
The new site shows where savings can be made by travelling later, earlier, or on a different route.
If a journey crosses peak and off-peak, it automatically calculates if multiple tickets would be cheaper.
Ticketclever.com, which has raised £7.7m so far, is backed by private investors and Harwell-based venture capital firm Longwall Ventures.
It is accredited by National Rail to sell tickets on behalf of the UK train operators. There are no booking or payment card fees, as the firm is paid a commission for every ticket sold.
RDG’s separate plan will cover only those travelling between Scotland and south-west England initially.
Mr Acklam, well-known in the train world for co-launching rail ticketing site Trainline in 1999 and holding senior positions at Virgin Rail group, welcomed RDG’s move.
He said: “We are part of that programme and support RDG’s intention to simplify the fare system.
“It’s really good they have admitted that this level of confusion.”
He added: “It’s a very complex industry and the data needs simplifying. We all accept that.”