Rail ticket pricing

Rail ticket pricing transparency improved

The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) has conducted “constructive and positive” talks with seven third-party ticket retailers to improve the transparency of pricing.

The regulator wrote to the retailers about ‘drip pricing’ which involves showing an initial price for a product before extra fees are added later in the purchasing process. Those wrote to included:

  • MyTrainTicket
  • Omio
  • Raileasy
  • Rail Europe
  • Train Hugger
  • Trainline
  • TrainPal

Of the retailers, only two have not already implemented changes to address the issues laid out by the ORR.

MyTrainTicket has made information about fees more prominent throughout the purchasing process, and is exploring how to include the booking fee at the earliest possible opportunity.

While Omio has taken no action as of yet, it intends to introduce a system that will include the booking fee in the upfront price before the end of this year.

Raileasy has corrected its FAQs on fees and will implement a similar system to Omio this month.

Rail Europe has made steps to ensure the booking fee now appears in the upfront price, and ‘Help’ pages have new content on refund fees.

“…improving transparency, fairness and clarity for consumers…”

Train Hugger is yet to implement anything but will establish a new system to include the booking fee in the upfront price by next month.

Trainline has also improved its FAQs with updated information, and, for website purchases, booking fees are now included in the upfront price with a clear breakdown.

A similar system will be implemented for app purchases by September 2024 – in the interim, information about fees has been made more prominent on the app.

This month will see a new system also introduced by Trainpal to include booking fees at the start of the process. The organisation has already updated its FAQs with better information.

“This work is focused on improving transparency, fairness and clarity for consumers when buying tickets online,” said the ORR’s director of strategy, policy and reform, Stephanie Tobyn.

She added: “Every retailer we engaged with acknowledges the vital role of complete transparency regarding fees right from the outset of the ticket purchasing process.

"It is imperative that retailers now act promptly to implement all proposed changes for the benefit of consumers."

Image credit: iStock


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