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Improvements to ticketing system much needed – Maynard

The train ticket buying system for passengers needs to be made fairer and more transparent, the new rail minister has said.

In his appearance before the Transport Select Committee last week, Paul Maynard said that improving the ticketing system was “a circle that we need to square”, because dealing with the capacity demand on the network requires more tickets, but introducing them makes the ticketing system more complex.

He said that lack of public trust in ticket machines was also making the system of different tickets harder to navigate, saying: “I note myself at Preston station that people much prefer queueing up at the kiosk, where there is a human being to interact with, to utilising the automated ticket machines, because that level of public confidence is simply not there.”

A recent report by the ORR found repeated complaints from passengers that the information ticket machines provide is unclear and full of jargon.

Peter Wilkinson, managing director for passenger services at the DfT, said the department is now requiring operators to produce proposals to improve public confidence in ticketing machines.

Maynard also said that one of his first actions as minister was to speak to Paul Plummer, CEO of the Rail Delivery Group, about the introduction of smart ticketing, but said that he would not “prescribe the precise way” in which individual companies should improve their ticketing.

He said that new forms of ticketing, such as smart ticketing and part-time season ticketing, needed to be “introduced in a timely fashion”.

“It has been talked about for far too long,” he said. “I want to see it in place and specified in franchises, so that we can start to drive innovation in that way.”

Maynard added that he wanted to make the fares available “absolutely transparent” to ensure that passengers can see they are getting the best value for money.

When asked by MPs if it was a concern that the Independent Penalty Fares Appeals Service is owned by Govia, which could compromise its independence, he said it was “an area we can look at more”.

(Image c. Lauren Hurley from PA Wire)

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Manchester Mike   26/07/2016 at 15:35

Ticketing in the UK is a joke - too many different approaches by the TOCs. The TOCs obfuscate instead of clarify. Overhaul as the Minister states is long overdue, but needs to be consistent for all TOCs, right across the country.

GW   26/07/2016 at 16:58

Why is the approach always create a new problem not fix the existing one? Well trained ticket office staff with a simplified ticketing system is the first step, then you go onto the other alternatives.

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