A to B Travel

Author: Murray

What NEED does this meet?

There are many different ways to get from A to B. Walking, training, flying, driving, taxi, coaching or blagging a lift with someone. Every time, I spend ages running through all the options, working out the various pros and cons.

It would be great if I could share this information with others.

For example, my current trip takes me from Edinburgh to Cardiff. KLM want £1,250 for a flight via Amsterdam. Using some not very advanced local knowledge, and a willingness to do a little driving, I can get to Bristol and hire a car for £125 all in.

Another : if there are four of you, travelling up to 100 miles can often be almost as cheap in a taxi as on the train.

Lastly, London is the classic example here. How often have you (or known someone) spend 30 mins, on three tubes to do a journey that would probably take 2 mins to walk?

What is the APPROACH?

People enter their start and end points, and their suggested routes.

They can rate them by various factors, enter approx costs.

Then, I can search the site, and find the recommended best way to travel.

It would aggregate known travel blackspots, and as it matured, the site would be a logical place to bolt on “a ride sharing dating service”.

What are the BENEFITS to people?

Transport in the UK sucks. Driving is often the easiest and cheapest, and it shouldn’t be that way. It is not only better for the environment, it is a heck of a lot more fun to travel different ways.

It would help share all that “local knowledge”, learned the hard way with other infrequent travellers, visiting tourists or people new to your area.

What is the COMPETITION?

None that work.

I should be clear – this isn’t about air-fare aggregation. People might want to enter the cost of their journey, including airfares, taxi costs (you might get a cheap flight to London – then pay twice as much to actually get from the airport to London Central). Over time, these will add up into data that might be useable somehow.

Yet another example: best way to get cheap return tickets from London to Edinburgh? ATM, buy singles. The specials are released 10 weeks prior to travel. 71 days before travel, you could pay £200 for a standard ticket. 70 days before travel, you can go first class for £60.

What BUDGETS & LOGISTICS are required?

I’m sure you guys know better than I would 😉


  1. Good stuff – and it’d be nice if the site reported (when you ask for A to B), for each route suggested, several different measures, such as speed, flexibility, reliability (probability of congestion), cost, CO2 emissions.

  2. There’s already a DTI sponsored website that does most of this – includes options for buses, walking as well as trains and driving. But not much publicised and not much known

  3. I know Traveline covers some of this stuff, but it’s a bit peacemeal, and doesn’t always offer the best solution. Not sure if it’s best to get them to improve or mine the data and turn it into a mySociety project.

  4. This is an excellent idea that can build on the more simple a2b traveline/transport direct websites that already exist.

    Local knowledge is everything – especially with train journeys and bizarre ticketing arrangements from which you can sometimes save money by theoretically splitting your journey, but staying on the same train.

    If anything it would force rail companies to sort out fair fares.

    Some local bus timetables can be a nightmare to work out, especially if there are several companies running slightly varied routes around the same area – the advice of someone who had already performed the journey would save a lot of time for everyone else.

    This idea should be used.

  5. Here’s another one I found over the weekend.

    You can buy a weekly pass, that allows you to travel anywhere in Wales by bus or train for about 55 uk pounds. One return ticket from Bangor to Swansea is about 65 pounds.

    That weekly travel card thing is a superb deal.

  6. Hi Murray.

    I am an Entrepeneur building a next gen journey planner.

    I am building exactly the website you mention. It is just for London at the moment. If you would like to be placed on the Beta users group, please email me terry at naturalcommunications dot co dot uk . The service will be for free.

    I take into account how long it takes to walk in between platforms and down flights of stairs. I also have put a lot of effort into making the journey planning steps easy, feature rich and accessible to disabled people.

    Please email me if you would like more information.

  7. > I’m struggling to see what this would do
    > that http://www.transportdirect.info doesn’t already do.

    The main thing that is missing is the ability to add user specific details.

    Things like adding a comment to the 16.03 train journey form Birmingham to Edinburgh, saying “Get the train 3 mins earlier – it arrives 50 mins earlier in Edinburgh”. But it should only appear if your destination can be reached on the 16.00 train.

    Or that it is quicker to walk from Embankment to Charing Cross rather than take the northern line.

    Or that there is a great place to stop for lunch in ____ when driving between Southampton and Bolton. etc.

    Failing that, just having some mysociety use-ability sense applied to the transport direct site. For instance returning to http://www.transportdirect.info this morning (after using it last night), I got an error saying my session had expired. There are a number of other areas where, imho, the site could be considerably improved, and MySociety have an excellent track record of this.

  8. we need transportdirect with an international focus – basically an international train planner would be a great start. something that also allowed you to buy international tickets – or minimally give you the price and how to buy them. it is only in this way that travelling in europe by train can begin to compete with the airlines.

  9. Re. transportdirect.info:
    It’s an impressive site, and it would take a lot of work to do better. But I think there is considerable room for improvement:
    – TransportDirect does not support car-sharing. Adding this in some form would be excellent.
    – The transportdirect interface is slow and painful to use – this alone would put me off using it. A MySociety site could be improved by volunteers.
    – There’s no infomation during the route-planning stage on the reliabality of different options. E.g. ‘this train is frequently late and very crowded’ or, ‘this road is slow during rush-hour, but fine otherwise’. A system for users to provide feedback could allow for this.

    Anyway, I’d support this project, and would be interested in working as a volunteer on it.
    – Dan

  10. I have created a website – travel2work.co.uk which can help people get from A2B.

    This website will help in a variety of ways. There are savings to be made by the people offering lifts as well as those giving lifts. Those receiving lifts will not have to pay for the wear and tear of their cars, they may be asked to contribute to parking and or petrol. The more people being lifted the more costs can be saved. Remember if your charge is too much the people will just try and get lifts with other people.

    Those giving lifts more than likely would have been going by car anyway, so they will have a person or persons contributing to the payment of the petrol and parking.

    This site will be especially beneficial to people seeking work. Using this site will allow job seekers to expand their job search areas, which would in turn would increase their chances of getting a job.

    Another advantage of using travel2work.co.uk, is the lowing of traffic on the roads. Again this will save our environment and will decrease the chances of traffic jams, thus making your journey to work quicker. With less traffic on the road, could prevent accidents.

  11. Regardless of helping people get from A to B, the overall problem in the UK is that we as a population are becoming saturated. Drive anywhere and you get stuck in traffic. Get the train and you don’t get a seat.

    The new site http://www.kayak.co.uk relieves some of the pain as it provides a one-stop source for international and domestic flight comparison, and was launched on the success of its bigges US brother.

    At the end of the day travelling is all about experience. It should be fun and fun to learn. I don’t live in London but travel on business once a week. So over time I now know where walking would be faster than taking the tube….and where to stand on the platforms to ensure the train doors stop directly opposite you.

    This should be the same for driving – know the shortcuts and travel at a less conjested time (if possible) then maybe we’ll get out alive travelling from A to B.