Fares, rail policy and DfT news

18.08.20

Transport Focus calls for ‘Head Out to Help Out’ scheme

Independent watchdog Transport Focus is asking the Government and train companies to work collaboratively, in order to reform the rail farers and ticketing system. This is hoped to give passengers better value for money, thereby encouraging them to get back on the railways.

This comes ahead of tomorrow’s (Aug 19) announcement of the 2021 fare increase. The watchdog has said this should go beyond a fares freeze, rather than the rise in live with RPI, and include the roll out of more flexible season tickets for people returning to their place of work part-time.

In a survey conducted by Transport Focus, those who commuted by train prior to the pandemic, around two in three expect to continue to work from home more often in the future.

Transport Focus is asking for:

  • Cut price deals to encourage passengers back to our trains following the impact of the Covid-19 outbreak, starting with the launch of a ‘Head Out to Help Out’ scheme
  • The introduction of more flexible season tickets and ‘carnets’ (which offer a discount for numerous journeys when bought upfront) for people returning to their place of work part-time
  • A reform of the complex rail fares system to be urgently accelerated to deliver a better value for money farers system for passengers

Anthony Smith, Chief Executive of Transport Focus, said: “People’s feelings about travel, and the way they use public transport, have changed. While the rail leisure travel may bounce back, our research tells us almost two in three former rail commuters expect to work from home more so we will probably now travel less for work, both commuting and on business.

“The Government need to get train companies to offer a combination of cut-price deals, carnet style ‘bundles’, flexible season tickets for commuters and better value for money fares across the board. To get Britain moving again in the coming months, tickets that fit the way we live and travel now are needed, not just season tickets designed for city gents in the last century.

“Like the Government’s restaurant deal, we need a ‘Head Out to Help Out’ campaign to help get the country on the move again, boost the economy and reduce traffic on our roads.”

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