Latest Rail News

13.12.17

Companies ‘misleading passengers’ by selling tickets for cancelled Christmas services

Industry watchdog Transport Focus says train companies are misleading their passengers by allowing them to buy tickets for trains that will not run over Christmas.

Following an investigation, the organisation said that some sections of the industry were not correctly informing passengers in time about disruptions.

With several major upgrade projects expected to cause delays and cancellations over the Christmas period, Transport Focus says the issue is even more prevalent.

Anthony Smith, chief executive of the independent watchdog, said operators are expected to release timetables at least 12 weeks before travel so that passengers do not end up booking tickets on trains that will not be running.

He urged companies to carry out a network-wide review to ensure Network Rail and operators keep to timetabling requirements, as well as notify passengers who have already bought tickets of any changes.

“Failure to release timetables 12 weeks ahead of travel can mean passengers buy tickets for trains that will not run. That can’t be right,” Smith argued.

“Train operators’ advice is to book early at Christmas to get the best deal, but if the timetable has not been finalised only more expensive ‘on the day’ tickets can be bought.

“Being forced to change plans because the railway hasn’t got this right will only result in more frustration from passengers. The rail industry must act urgently to make sure the timetable is accurate 12 weeks ahead if passengers are to trust they are on their side.”

Earlier this month, train companies announced the biggest rise in ticket costs in the last five years. The decision was condemned by Transport Focus, with Smith saying a “chill wind will blow down England’s platforms in January as rail fare increases bite.”

Although problems with tickets this Christmas are unlikely to be affected by next year’s rise, the watchdog is looking to the next major works period in Easter to ensure that published timetables are correct.

Top image: Torsten Dettlaff

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

Comments

DP   13/12/2017 at 11:39

Absolutely scandalous and surely something the TOCs should be retrospectively fined for doing. In no other industry would a service provider be allowed to sell tickets for a service it had no intention of providing without a ton of bricks being dropped on it by a regulator. Just look at Ryanair, who have been taken to task by the CAA for breaking consumer law. Where is the protection of passenger/consumer rights in the rail industry?

Add your comment

 

Rail industry Focus

  • 15/11/2019A workforce which reflects society

    Loraine Martins MBE, Director of Diversity and Inclusion at Network Rail, joins us in the studio for the third episode of our RTM podcast, talking at length about her role and how it came about...
  • 02/11/2019Monica Barbosa: Women In Rail

    Director of business development and communications at Xrail, Monica Barbosa, thinks women are missing out on exciting opportunities because the lack of gender diversity in the rail industry.
View all News

Comment

The challenge of completing Crossrail

05/07/2019The challenge of completing Crossrail

With a new plan now in place to deliver Crossrail, Hedley Ayres, National Audit Office manager, major projects and programmes, takes a look at ho... more >
Preparing the industry to deliver trains for the future

04/07/2019Preparing the industry to deliver trains for the future

The move to decarbonise the rail network involves shifting to cleaner modes of traction by 2050. David Clarke, technical director at the Railway ... more >

'the sleepers' blog

Maximising efficiency requires investment in data, but it’s rewards for rail could be extensive

14/11/2019Maximising efficiency requires investment in data, but it’s rewards for rail could be extensive

Rail Technology Magazine’s Matt Roberts explains the significant role data can play within the future development of the rail industry. Standing as a cornerstone of the UK transport network, the rail industry is forever striving to in... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >

Interviews

Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

24/06/2019Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

Andrew Haines, the Chief Executive of Network Rail, has told the Today programme on Radio 4's BBC’s flagship news programme that he would not rule out his organisation issuing future r... more >
Malcolm Holmes, executive director of West Midlands Rail Executive, announced as TCR Midlands speaker in Birmingham

24/06/2019Malcolm Holmes, executive director of West Midlands Rail Executive, announced as TCR Midlands speaker in Birmingham

Ahead of his appearance, Malcolm Holmes spoke with Rail Technology Magazine about what key leaders in the industry were doing to improve rail in the Midlands. He said: “It’s very... more >