Responsibletravel.com reveal stats on web booking

Trains tickets from the UK to the continent cannot be booked online as easily as plane tickets, according to responsibletravel.com research into the state of train booking systems on the web.
A panel was asked to search for and simulate booking return plane and train tickets on the internet to the European cities of Barcelona, Rome, Brussels and Munich.

Despite a 98% success rate for booking plane tickets, only 13 of the 40 journeys (33%) were successfully booked by train, meaning 27 (67%) journeys could not be booked.

For those that were able to book, it took almost double the amount of time to book a train ticket (average time = 11.9 minutes) as it did to book a flight (average time = 6.6 minutes).

Furthermore, the cost of train tickets to these destinations was on average, 70% more expensive than flying.

Justin Francis, managing director, responsibletravel.com said:
“To reduce our carbon emissions we need to start travelling more by train and less by plane in Europe. However, European rail travel is at present, infuriatingly difficult to book from the UK. Whilst there is a need for more thorough research into the problems, our poll has shown that it currently takes little more than five minutes to book a flight online to anywhere in Europe yet to book a train ticket to the same destination can be very challenging indeed.

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“While improving rail infrastructure and finding ways to make train travel cheaper is essential in the longer term, there is also an urgent need to make what is currently available much easier to book for travellers. If we are going to work together for a lower carbon future for travel and tourism, this is an essential part of the solution.”

Brussels proved the easiest and cheapest of the four cities to reach by train with panellists taking an average of 7 minutes to book a train ticket and the cost proving to be just 6% more than flying. 50% of the panel still failed to make it to the booking point however.

Results for each city:

Barcelona

  * 100% of our panel were able to successfully book a flight, just 30% could successfully book a train ticket

  * The average booking time for those that did successfully book was 8 minutes for flights compared to 13 minutes for trains

  * The average cost of a train ticket was 115% more than a plane ticket (£262 vs £122)

Rome

  * 100% of our panel were able to successfully book a flight, just 20% could successfully book a train ticket

  * The average booking time for those that did successfully book was 6 minutes for flights compared to 14 minutes for trains

  * The average cost of a train ticket was 57% more than a plane ticket (£221 vs £141)

Brussels

  * 90% of our panel were able to successfully book a flight, just 50% could successfully book a train ticket

  * The average booking time for those that did successfully book was 5 minutes for flights compared to 7 minutes for trains

  * The average cost of a train ticket was 6% more than a plane ticket (£119 vs £112)

Munich

  * 100% of our panel were able to successfully book a flight, just 30% could successfully book a train ticket

  * The average booking time for those that did successfully book was 7 minutes for flights compared to 14 minutes for trains

  * The average cost of a train ticket was 96% more than a plane ticket (£271 vs £138)


* Panellists were asked to search for travel departing Friday 3th April anytime after 3pm, returning on Sunday 5th April, anytime after 3pm.
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