Train tickets: Rail industry plans fares shake-up

Britain's rail companies are to launch a public consultation aimed at making ticketing fairer and easier to use.

The Rail Delivery Group (RDG), which represents rail firms, said about 55 million different fares exist in the current system - writes bbc.com.

A passenger group said reform was "overdue".

The industry admits passengers are not currently always offered the cheapest fare available due to "long-standing anomalies" such as split ticketing.

That means it can be cheaper for passengers to buy several tickets for a single journey than one ticket.

Another "anomaly" it highlights is the charging of a peak-time fare when half a trip is on an off-peak service.

The industry has pledged that average fares will not rise as a result of any reform.

A reformed ticketing system could include integrated tickets covering other modes of transport such as buses and trams, and more flexible tickets for part-time workers, the RDG said.

The consultation will be launched next month and will run until September. It will lead to a report containing proposals for governments to consider.

Presentational grey line

Split tickets v single fares

Buying split tickets can work out cheaper - but by how much?

Exeter Central to Sheffield on 16 June, leaving at 8:53 BST.

Split tickets: Exeter Central to Exeter St Davids (£1.40); Exeter St David's to Bristol Temple Meads (£14.70); Bristol Temple Meads to Cheltenham Spa (£7); Cheltenham Spa to Birmingham (£9.90); Birmingham to Derby (£6.30); Derby to Sheffield (£7.50). Total: £46.80

Advance ticket: £70.20(50% more expensive)

Oxford to Cambridge on 23 May, leaving at 10:01

Split tickets, including advance fares: Oxford to London Paddington (£5.40); London Underground to Cambridge (£27.40). Total £32.80

Off-peak single: £55.60(70% more expensive)

Leicester to Edinburgh on 18 May, leaving at 7.52

Split tickets, including advance fares: Leicester to Derby (£6.70); Derby to Sheffield (£8.40); Sheffield to York (£14.10); York to Darlington (£9.10); Darlington to Edinburgh (£45.10). Total £83.40

Advance ticket: £144.10(73% more expensive)

Presentational grey line

What are the rules around ticket sales?

Rules governing how tickets are sold and how fares are calculated date back to 1995, and it is argued they have not kept pace with technology or how people work and travel.

Three decades ago it was assumed customers bought tickets by visiting ticket offices and each of the 2,500 stations in Britain still has to sell tickets to every other station in the country.

However, the rise of smartphones has changed how people purchase tickets, while an increase in part-time and freelance work patterns means traditional season tickets are no longer an economical option.

Further layers of complexity have been added through individual franchise agreements, with little taken away.

What do the rail companies say?

Paul Plummer, chief executive of the RDG, which represents the various rail companies, has said the industry is committed to reforming "well-meaning but outdated" regulation.

"Long-standing anomalies are becoming locked in... as a result it has become increasingly difficult for rail companies to guarantee the right fare," he added.

Rail companies say they are already making improvements to fares where they can, such as cutting jargon and providing clearer information about peak and off-peak times.

However, speaking to BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Mr Plummer said that making incremental changes "compounds the problem" and that "root and branch reform" was needed.

The RDG believes a more sophisticated computer-based system of ticketing would be able to automatically offer customers the lowest fare.

"The industry doesn't have all the answers, which is why we want to hear views from passengers, communities and businesses in all parts of the country," added Mr Plummer.

Presentational grey line

What do campaigners say?

Transport Focus, a passenger interests group working on the consultation, said the debate on reform options was "overdue".

"Rail passengers want a rail fares system they can trust, that is simpler, offers better value for money and is more understandable," said the group's chief executive, Anthony Smith.

Steve Chambers, public transport campaigner at Campaign for Better Transport, welcomed the attempt to improve ticketing, but warned "it will need government support to make it happen".

Mick Cash, general secretary of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union, said that "no-one trusts" private rail firms to "do the right thing by passengers".

A Department for Transport spokeswoman said: "We want passengers to always be able to get the best possible deal on their ticket and we welcome the industry's commitment to review fares."

Read more news of London on our site.

bbc.com
Commuting Railtransport
If you notice an error, highlight the text you want and press Ctrl + Enter to report it to the editor
3 views in september
I recommend
No recommendations yet

Comments

Comments are designed to communicate and discuss the features of an enterprise or event, as well as to find out the interesting questions on it.

Society
The U.S. and President Donald Trump has slapped a 15 per cent tariff on all steel and aluminum it receives from Canada, and if that rises to 25 per cent as has been threatened, it will cost more for the city to build its bridges and buildings with steel from the U.S. “We are trying to estimate a worst-case scenario,” said city treasurer Anna Lisa Barbon. “If there is a significant tariff increase, what impact would it have?” While the tariff is on steel sh...
Society
A teenage girl was raped in broad daylight in an east London park, police have said. The Met's child abuse and sexual offences command is investigating the attack, which happened in West Ham Park on Tuesday. The female victim was attacked by a man close to the entrance opposite FairlandRoad, Scotland Yard said. It happened at about 4pm. No arrests have yet been made. West Ham Park, which dates back to the 16th century,is run by the City of London Corporati...
Society
The number of homes in London will need to rise by a quarter within 25 years to cope with its rising population,official figures showed today. In a dramatic indication of the scale of the challenge, the Office for National Statistics said an extra 844,000 new households will be formed here by 2041 if current trends continue. That amounts to a 24 per cent increase on the existing total and would give London — which now has about 3.4 million households — a n...
Society
Earlier this summer, Yoshua Bengio, the McGill-based Artificial Intelligence pioneer and one of the world’s leading authorities on neural networks and machine-learning, added his name to a growing global list of experts and laboratories in the field that are pledging to have no role in the creation of what are called “lethal autonomous weapons” (LAWs). The signatories’ premise is as benign as it is unsound: that machines must never be given the authority t...
Society
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has said he cannot be sure when Crossrail will be complete. Mr Khan said he will talk about a revised timetable at some stage, but only when he has confidence in it. It was announced on August 31 that the capital's new east-west railway would open in autumn 2019 rather than December this year. Mr Khan previously revealed that he only learned of Crossrail's delay two days before the announcement. The mayor was asked on BBC Radio L...
Society
Just weeks into a new school year, Western University and its roughly 1,650 faculty members are locked in a contractdispute, with faculty taking a strike vote among its members. But if there’s potential for labour disruption, it’s news to many students still easing into their new academic routines. “We literally had no clue,” said Melissa Trueman, a fifth year student at the university. “Students are trying to accomplish a goal but they can’t do it if thei...
Society
A large group of Uber Eats drivers blocked a road in east London today as they staged a protest over pay. Protesters said it was a spontaneous show of action against the company, as drivers claimed rates for every delivery had been reduced without it being agreed first. An Uber Eats spokesman said the firm has made changes to its payment structure in London in response to feedback from couriers. "As we transition to the new system, we're introducing minimu...
Crime
A gunman has open fired on a north London street, leaving two injured and reported holes in a taxi window. Armed police were deployed to Islington on Thursday evening, at about 9.30pm, after witnesses reported hearing gun shots and people running from the area. The suspect then fled the scene, on Essex Road, police said. Officers found two people – a 34-year-old woman and a 40-year-old man – suffering from minor injuries. The woman, police added, was taken...
Society
A businessman and his family were targeted in an arson attack which police are treating as a suspected race hate crime. Mac Karlekar, 44, and his wife and 15-year-old son fled their home in Orpington after their hedge was set on fire. Mr Karlekar has told how he was woken up in the early hours of the morning by neighbours, who were alerted by the “uncontrollable” barking of their dog Maggie. The neighbours opened their window and saw the blaze, then they c...