Bmblbzzz wrote: ↑21 Nov 2023, 10:00am
Office staff know a lot, but not everything, and it helps to tell them exactly what you want.
I treat buying train tickets the same as any other purchase and doing the research usually pays off, trying to do it while stood at a ticket window with a queue behind you won't win many friends, from staff or passengers.
If you turn up at Derby station at 9.30 on a weekday morning and ask for a ticket to London, you'll be asked if you're traveling straight away and if you are they'll probably sell you an anytime ticket for £115. If you're lucky they'll tell you that for the train which arrives twenty minutes later you can buy an off-peak ticket and save £40. If you're very lucky they'll see if there are any advance fares available which would save you £60 but restrict you to a specific train, they won't tell you these are sometimes available on an app later than at the office. There's pretty much no chance they'll look through and work out all the split ticket options for you, which might have saved you up to £70. There's zero chance they'll suggest going via Birmingham, walking five minutes between stations, arriving an hour later than direct and saving you £95.
Rail pricing is a shambles, while it is as it is, I'm not convinced those turning up at a ticket office are being best served. The danger of splitting the transaction - researching online, buying at the station - is there's no guarantee what you've seen will be available. Advance tickets are issued in restricted numbers, when they're gone they'e gone. I also think some are allocated to the resellers. I bought an Advance ticket from Trainline, that hadn't been available at the ticket office ten minutes before.
using the National Rail Enquiries app or site rather than Trainline
I haven't used that in a while, does it show you the split ticket options? Something Trainline has recently started doing.