Ctrip part­ners UK peers to launch tick­et­ing app

China Daily (Canada) - - BUSINESS - By AN­GUS MCNEICE in Lon­don an­[email protected]­nadai­lyuk.com

China’s largest travel agency Ctrip has launched a train tick­et­ing app in the United King­dom called TrainPal, which prom­ises sav­ings to com­muters in Bri­tain through a “split tick­et­ing” smart tool and no book­ing fee.

UK-based on­line rail so­lu­tions provider Evolvi and Bri­tish com­mu­ni­ca­tions com­pany Cit­i­zens Re­la­tions have both part­nered with Ctrip to de­liver the new trans­port ap­pli­ca­tion.

TrainPal will take no com­mis­sion for book­ings and pro­vides fur­ther cost- cut­ting through au­to­mated split tick­et­ing, a prac­tice of book­ing a jour­ney in stages to achieve sav­ings.

For ex­am­ple, if a trav­eler wants to get from Lon­don to Manch­ester, he or she could buy one ticket for the whole jour­ney.

How­ever, it could work out cheaper to buy a ticket from Lon­don to Stoke-on-Trent, one of the stops on the route, and a sec­ond ticket from Stoke-on-Trent to Manch­ester.

There are sev­eral ex­ist­ing web­sites that cal­cu­late split ticket fares but Cit­i­zens Re­la­tions strat­egy and in­no­va­tion di­rec­tor Scot Devine claims TrainPal is the only mo­bile book­ing app in the UK to of­fer the fea­ture.

Devine an­tic­i­pates the app will be well re­ceived in a coun­try where 53 per­cent of peo­ple be­lieve they are over­pay­ing for rail trans­port, ac­cord­ing to a 2017 sur­vey from watch­dog Trans­port Fo­cus. A sep­a­rate sur­vey by ac­coun­tancy com­pany KPMG found that with such an over­whelm­ing num­ber of ticket op­tions avail­able, only 34 per­cent of trav­el­ers in Bri­tain be­lieved they had bought the best value ticket for their last jour­ney.

“Chaos and fare hikes is the typ­i­cal train fare story in Bri­tain,” said Devine. “So we’ll show how TrainPal is a sane voice in a mad world, guid­ing peo­ple to­ward the best prices.”

Amy Wei, head of TrainPal and group gen­eral man­ager of in­ter­na­tional train tick­et­ing at Ctrip, said the app is be­ing launched at a con­ve­nient time, with the UK gov­ern­ment in the process of rolling out a smart tick­et­ing pro­gram across Eng­land and Wales.

“With the Bri­tish gov­ern­ment spend­ing 80 mil­lion pounds ($101 mil­lion) on rev­o­lu­tion­iz­ing tick­et­ing from pa­per to mo­bile and con­tact­less, it’s the per­fect time to launch TrainPal in the UK mar­ket,” Wei said.

“Our Ci­ti­zen team is pas­sion­ate about mak­ing TrainPal a success in the UK and has the right blend of me­dia, in­flu­encer en­gage­ment and con­tent to make the cam­paign a success.”

Wei said that Ctrip plans to launch TrainPal in other coun­tries down the line, with the even­tual aim of mak­ing it the go-to app for global rail book­ings. She said Ctrip se­lected to de­but TrainPal in the UK as it would prove its ef­fi­cacy in the “most com­pli­cated rail mar­ket in the world”

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