Trainline says its app 'hard to replicate' as UK govt unveils plan for rival
Online ticket platform Trainline said government plans to introduce a rival web service as part of yet another overhaul of Britain’s fragmented rail system would take "several years" to develop, adding that its own app is a "huge differentiator and hard to replicate".
The company was responding after its shares plunged by more than a third on the London Stock Exchange on Thursday morning after the so-called Williams-Shapps plan was released. The stock later recovered to be down 21% by early afternoon.
Under the new proposals, commuters will be able to buy tickets via a website run by a new state-owned body called Great British Railways. It will also provide passengers an easier way to access refunds for disrupted journeys.
Chief executive Jody Ford said the report’s findings and recommendations were "broadly in line" with the company's expectations.
"Trainline expects that the plan's proposals, which will need to be developed and subsequently implemented over the next several years, should improve the experience for rail passengers and drive efficiency for the wider industry.
"The company believes the proposals will provide Trainline with new opportunities to innovate for the benefit of customers and further grow its business," he said in a statement.
"We are hugely encouraged by the commitment to digital ticketing, which Trainline has championed over the last several years, and the introduction of flexi tickets and digital season tickets which will provide new growth opportunities in the evolving commuter market."
Trainline operates in the UK and Europe, allowing people to search, buy and store tickets on their phone for a small fee.
Ford said Trainline has built knowledge, scale and technology capabilities "to provide customers with a simple, consistent and friction-free travel booking experience via our 4.9 star app, which we believe is a huge differentiator and difficult to replicate".
"As a long-term partner and technology provider to the UK rail industry, we look forward to working with the government in formulating the detail around future ticketing proposals."