by Margi Murphy, The Telegraph, August 8, 2018
A Trainline.com rival will launch a pan-European “universal ticket” that allows passengers to buy entire journeys and travel from door to destination through a single app.
Loco2, which does not charge customers booking fees, is the first company to offer a way to buy tickets for the entire leg of a passenger's journey. Currently Trainline only offers pan-European journeys from set city stations.
From September, customers can use Loco2 to book tickets from their nearest station all the way to their holiday destination, like Winchester to Paris. Instead of having to buy separate tickets from Winchester-to-London and then London-to-Paris, customers can pay the fare in one go and use a single ticket. Stations do not need to have scanning technology for the tickets to work, Loco2 said.
London-based Loco2 was founded in 2006 by Kate Andrews and her brother Jamie after they became frustrated with the lack of visibility for consumers across European railways. They created Loco2 to pool the wealth of data European operators held, but appeared uninterested in coordinating to better serve passengers.
After successes in Europe, Loco2 was bought by a subsidiary of France’s state-owned railway company SNCF in 2017.
Loco2 said it is working on a feature that will allow ticket holders to receive push notifications about the trains they are booked onto so they know if it is running late, cancelled or allocated a new platform.
Britain’s railways have been slammed for their failure to share data to help improve journeys and provide passengers with simpler, smartphone-friendly tickets.
It comes as the government today announced a push to “revolutionise” data sharing. Transport minister Jo Johnson said this would “speed the development of travel apps that provide passengers with helpful information about their journeys”.
The Telegraph understands that the initiative involves setting up a taskforce so that rail and tech executives can be sat down to discuss how they can share live data with apps like Citymapper or Google Maps to improve customer journeys.