How does Loco2 compare with Trainline?
One of the aspects of Loco2 that we are most proud of is that we are transparent about what we do, why we do it, which companies we are competing against and ways in which we use our brilliant tech and creative teams to make train travel easier and cheaper. So, how do we match up with our main UK competitor, Trainline? This is the question all our team members are asked by their friends and family. So, we thought we would share the answers with you, our train friends and family.
Train tickets in both the UK and across Europe in one transaction
Both Loco2 and Trainline.com sell tickets across western Europe, with direct integrations covering France, Spain, Germany and Italy, plus of course the UK.
All tickets on Loco2 are available via a single booking, whereas if you book through Trainline, you need to break your journey up into various legs when booking. This means that journeys like Brighton to Barcelona or Bath to Berlin, Manchester to Paris can currently only be booked on Loco2. Go play around with it and see. It’s fun to see which tiny villages you can travel between on our booking platform.
To fee or not to fee?
Loco2 charges no fees for debit or credit card bookings in the UK or anywhere else. This makes us a good alternative to Trainline for UK tickets, since their booking fees add up to as much as £1.50 per transaction. Traditionally Trainline did not charge fees for travelling outside the UK. However, they do charge if you are booking from a non-European country and this decision whether to charge or not depends on your IP address. At Loco2 we like to keep things simple and not judge books by their covers. We don’t care what your IP address is.
The one exception to this, however, is if you buy one of our Pricehacked tickets. These are the only fares at Loco2 where we add a small saving commission of £1.50 for bookings under the value of £100 and £6 for bookings over £100. This is to enable us to keep investing in internal technologies and resources to allow travellers to access these cheap fares. You will still get a great value ticket because, even with this commission included, we maintain the Pricehack low price promise: that our fares are a minimum of £1 cheaper than the cheapest regular fare sold on any other rail booking platform and rail operator’s website.
The quest for ratings
Although it's not an exact measure, on Trustpilot, the international consumer review website, Loco2 has an average Trustscore: 9/10 and Trainline 7.7/10 We have been reviewed by over 45,600 customers, compared with Trainline’s 6,270 reviews at time of publication.
Which one is cheaper?
We strive to get the cheapest tickets possible from all the train operators we work in partnership with. If we could wave a magic wand and make them cheaper we would. However, we constantly monitor all the prices we offer and how they compete with those on Trainline. There are two sure ways in which we know we are full steam ahead compared with Trainline:
This is our name for a state-of-the-art version of what is known, in the rail industry, as split tickets. Which means getting the best possible price for each leg of your journey for travel in England, Scotland and Wales. This is new to Loco2 and Trainline does not offer this facility. Using intricate technology, developed over two years, Pricehack gives train travellers a chance to gain up to 50% cheaper train tickets, compared with tickets that haven’t been Pricehacked. Loco2 is also the only multinational train booking platform that can include split tickets into international travel, if a journey starts or finishes in GB. Read more in our Pricehack blog.
Only Loco2 takes all criteria of your group members into account such as individual ages, railcards or number of passengers. All of these are then applied to the total amount of train tickets in their basket. In many of our regular price comparisons, this can make a difference of over 50% on some group bookings if purchased on Loco2.
Currency exchange and language
We are right up there with Trainline in terms of offering purchases in a number of currencies. They do have more than us, for sure, but with £, $ and €, we are proud of our international achievements to date. Canada, Australia and Japan, we haven’t forgotten you, though. Watch this space. Our access for non-English speakers is also improving all the time, with German, Italian, Spanish and French versions of our booking facilities available. Our blogs are getting such good feedback that we are working on translations of those too.
Does size matter?
Probably the biggest difference between the two companies is the number of staff. Here at Loco2 we consist of a small but perfectly-formed international team of 33, whereas Trainline has more than 600 employees. We both have head offices in London, but also have team members in other spots around the world. We like to think that Trainline may not have employees in Alaska, however. We like to think we are a little bit more ‘way out’ at Loco2.
Being significantly smaller means that when you see people’s names on our Travel Geeks (customer support) team that is really who you are getting. When you see travel blogs, you can also see the authors’ names and know that their storytelling comes from a place of real passion for train travel. When you see our social media posts, you hear the voice of two individuals, the words person and the images person, who share because they care.
Who’s your daddy?
Back in January 2015, Trainline was bought by the huge US private equity firm, KKR, for around £450m. Loco2 was originally funded by a small group of individual shareholders, who invested around £1.6m. In order to maintain a competitive position in this growing market, our founders agreed to the acquisition of Loco2 by Oui.SNCF in 2017. You can read more about our story here.
Both Loco2 and Trainline have iOS and Android apps for phone and tablet, as well as good powerful mobile websites. We have a brilliant team of software engineers and if you want to know more about how we work, or joining us, read more in this blog.