Fares, rail policy and DfT news

04.06.18

Rail industry launches survey to revolutionise ‘outdated’ fares and ticketing system

In a new partnership, the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) and Transport Focus will begin a three-month public consultation into rail fares find out what passengers want to see from an “up to date, easier fare ticketing system,” effectively allowing users to have a say in the future of train fares

The RDG has said that as many as 55 million different fares exist in the current ticketing system, where commuters were not offered the cheapest, most efficient or easiest option. Some commuters could, for example, experience ‘split-ticketing,’ where customers can make a journey cheaper buying several tickets as opposed to buying just one.

The consultation comes at a time where the British rail industry is dominating the headlines: today Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham said Northern should be stripped of its franchise as delays and cancellations continued.

The survey will be ‘revenue neutral’— meaning if some fares are brought down due to consumer pressure then rail providers can raise prices elsewhere to prevent a loss of revenue.

Anthony Smith, chief executive of Transport Focus, said: “Our research shows that rail passengers want a fares system that is simple to use, easy to understand and is flexible enough to cater to how people work and travel today.

“The rail industry has grasped the nettle and we will ensure the voice of the passenger is heard clearly as part of this consultation.”

Paul Plummer, chief executive of the RDG, added: “Reforming the rules about how tickets are sold and bought has the potential to transform the buying experience for customers, making it easier for people to be confident they are getting the right ticket.

“These reforms support what the industry is already doing to make improvements to fares alongside record investment in new train carriages, upgraded stations and extra services.”

Part of the rail consultation will involve train operators calling for a digital overhaul of fares, which could mean passengers who buy tickets on-board paying the same price as those who have booked months in advance, it has been reported.

The plans involve passengers being given a ‘national travel account,’ allowing them to manage and book journeys with any rail operator which will automatically allocate the lowest available fare to the customer, thus mitigating the issue of split-ticketing.

But Jonathan Bray, director of Urban Transport Group, said that while the RDG is right to admit that fares can be confusing and complex, any reform must be based on the “considerable potential that exists for greater integration of rail fares with other forms of public transport” in large urban areas – an example of which is London Overground's integration with the wider TfL network.

“We are therefore disappointed that the consultation largely ignores the case for greater fares simplification and integration at the city region level in the options it presents to passengers,” he continued.

“The RDG also has a blind spot when it comes to the reality that around one-third of all rail trips are now on devolved, or partly devolved, rail networks, and that there are already significant regional variations in fare levels reflecting the relative strength of different economies and the priorities of different parts of a devolving UK. We will be making these points in our formal response to the consultation and we hope that any concrete proposals that emerge from this process will be based on a more inclusive and broader perspective than this initial consultation suggests.”

The consultation closes on 10 September, with a final report due in late autumn. To give your views, visit here.

 Enjoying RTM? Subscribe here to receive our weekly news updates or click here to receive a copy of the magazine!

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

related

rail technology magazine tv

more videos >

latest rail news

FCA probe: TfL could be fined for not telling LSE about Crossrail delay

19/10/2018FCA probe: TfL could be fined for not telling LSE about Crossrail delay

The UK’s financial watchdog is considering whether to launch a formal investigation into TfL over its reported failure to tell the London S... more >
Urgent government talks after Dutch company plugs £80m funding hole in Greater Anglia

19/10/2018Urgent government talks after Dutch company plugs £80m funding hole in Greater Anglia

Greater Anglia has received an £80m rescue package led by the Netherlands, leading to reports of urgent talks between the UK and Dutch gove... more >
Grayling agrees ‘hybrid approach’ for December timetable shake-up to avoid more chaos

19/10/2018Grayling agrees ‘hybrid approach’ for December timetable shake-up to avoid more chaos

Transport secretary Chris Grayling has agreed to proceed with a proposed ‘hybrid option’ for timetable changes this December, the Rai... 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

The East Coast franchise report tells us what we already knew: it was a bid set up to fail

18/09/2018The East Coast franchise report tells us what we already knew: it was a bid set up to fail

RTM's Jack Donnelly assesses what the Transport Committee's latest report on the VTEC franchise means for the industry as a whole “Even now, there is no concrete plan, nor timescales, for the interim operator of this franchise. From our inquiry, we cannot be sure, and cannot reassure passengers or public, that the arrangements ... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >

comment

Northern Powerhouse Rail: The need for change

18/09/2018Northern Powerhouse Rail: The need for change

Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR) will be transformational for the north – it will change the way people live, work, and play. It will rebalan... more >
Innovation through people and technology

18/09/2018Innovation through people and technology

Ian Prosser, HM chief inspector of railways and director of railway safety at the ORR, picks out the key industry challenges to focus on based on... more >
Why we all must mind the gap

18/09/2018Why we all must mind the gap

Clair Mowbray, chief executive of the National College for High Speed Rail (NCHSR), explains how we can all ensure the UK’s next generation... more >
3D printing: from virtual to real

11/09/20183D printing: from virtual to real

Like so many other technological advancements, 3D printing has moved from being the stuff of science fiction, through niche industrial applicatio... more >

rail industry focus

View all News

interviews

Going global: an interview with Network Rail’s Leevan Finney

29/08/2018Going global: an interview with Network Rail’s Leevan Finney

RTM’s Jack Donnelly sat down with one of the leading minds behind Network Rail’s most advanced and innovative rail maintenance techno... more >