Fares, rail policy and DfT news


Lower prices could lure 40% of non-rail users into trains, study finds

Trains are too expensive, according to those who prefer to travel by other means.

According to a report, ‘Tomorrow’s passengers: understanding how to make rail travel more attractive to infrequent and non-users’, published by Transport Focus, almost 40% of people who never or rarely travel by train argue that the cost is the main reason, closely followed by inconvenience.

Cost was consistently considered the main barrier across a variation of demographics – income, location and disability – and older people and those not working were more likely to consider that the fares are too complicated.

Those with access to a car find it more convenient overall, but also named station parking as a barrier, due to either a lack of space or the cost of parking.

Although the report conceded that the extent to which there are perceived barriers changes depending on whether a person is generally positive or negative about rail, the cost still came out as the biggest barrier – regardless of the person’s perception of the industry.

For example, three-quarters of those who were generally negative about rail said that it is too expensive, but a huge 45% of those generally positive about it agreed that the cost is too high.

The watchdog’s researchers sought to learn what could be done to increase travel amongst these groups, with 39% of non-users saying that lower prices would convince them to travel by train.

Improved comfort, reliability and connectivity were also highlighted as areas that could tempt people onto trains.

However, 21% said that nothing could be done to encourage them to travel by rail more.

The report highlights value for money, seat availability, more trains arriving on time with less unplanned disruptions, and fewer cancellations as priorities improvements for passengers overall.

It also argues that those who use trains infrequently are less likely to have seen or heard anything about the railways recently, and that anything they have heard is more likely to be negative.

“These views are often fed by media reports and by their friends and family recounting their own personal ‘journey from hell,’” the report explained.

“There is an important job to be done in communicating positive stories to this audience. One of the potential ways of addressing is to offer free ‘taster’ journeys so that they can experience things first hand.”

Top image: Torsten Dettlaff

Have you got a story to tell? Would you like to become an RTM columnist? If so, click here.


There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment


rail technology magazine tv

more videos >

latest rail news

Cross-party calls for Glasgow airport rail link to be delivered ‘as matter of urgency’

22/01/2019Cross-party calls for Glasgow airport rail link to be delivered ‘as matter of urgency’

The proposed rail link between Glasgow Airport and the city centre must be built “as a matter of urgency,” according to opposition pa... more >
Rail company in bid to build multi-million-pound rail depot near Ipswich station

22/01/2019Rail company in bid to build multi-million-pound rail depot near Ipswich station

Rail company Freightliner has revealed that it is hoping to build a new multi-million pound depot for its trains just outside Ipswich station. ... more >
Porterbrook awards £11m contract to modify new digital Heathrow Express fleet

22/01/2019Porterbrook awards £11m contract to modify new digital Heathrow Express fleet

Porterbrook has unveiled a £11m contract with Bombardier to modify 12 Class 387 trains in preparation for their use on the Heathrow Express... more >

editor's comment

23/01/2018Out with the old...

Despite a few disappointing policy announcements, especially for the electrification aficionados amongst us, 2017 was, like Darren Caplan writes on page 20, a year generally marked by positive news for the rail industry. We polished off the iconic Ordsall Chord (p32), hit some solid milestones on Thameslink (p40), progressed on ambitious rolling stock orders (p16), and finally started moving forward on HS2 (p14) ‒ paving the way for a New Ye... read more >

last word

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

This summer, Arriva Group's CrossCountry and the Scout Association joined to launch a new partnership to promote rail safety among young people. Chris Leech MBE, business community manager at the... more > more last word articles >

'the sleepers' daily blog

Trashing the 'ticket' train of thought

22/01/2019Trashing the 'ticket' train of thought

techUK recently published its Future Mobility Services report in which it presented its vision of a multimodal, digitally-enabled, and customer-focused transport ecosystem – with the rail sector forming a major part of this. Jessica Russell, techUK’s programme manager for the Transport and Smart Cities groups under SmarterUK, repor... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >


ORBIS: Turning track data into intelligence

22/01/2019ORBIS: Turning track data into intelligence

Track engineer Dan Collins explains how an app and an iPad are transforming track maintenance in Network Rail’s Western route. Carryin... more >
Siemens Deep Tube: Keeping London moving

22/01/2019Siemens Deep Tube: Keeping London moving

Paul Baines, sales director for rolling stock at Siemens Mobility Ltd, expands on the many benefits of the £1.5bn Deep Tube rolling stock c... more >
Guarding against the theft of survey equipment

22/01/2019Guarding against the theft of survey equipment

The high value of survey equipment used to collect geospatial data on the railways is increasingly attractive to opportunistic criminals. The Sur... more >
ORR: Defining an 'efficient' railway

15/01/2019ORR: Defining an 'efficient' railway

Ahead of CP6, Howard Taylor, cost manager of railway planning and performance at the ORR, dives deep into the regulator’s assessment of wha... more >

rail industry focus

View all News


TfN Strategic Transport Plan: not just for transport's sake

22/01/2019TfN Strategic Transport Plan: not just for transport's sake

Peter Molyneux, Transport for the North’s (TfN’s) strategic roads director, has been leading on the development of the seven economic... more >