NATIONAL: Consultation launched to make train tickets fairer

A consultation will be launched to make train fairs easier and simpler. Picture: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire
A consultation will be launched to make train fairs easier and simpler. Picture: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire

RAIL ticketing could be overhauled to make it fairer and easier to use.

A public consultation is being launched by the industry to suggest ways of simplifying the system, which will lead to a report containing proposals for governments to consider.

A passenger group claimed reform is ‘overdue’.

The Rail Delivery Group (RDG), which represents private train operators and Government-owned Network Rail, said the industry’s suggestions will aim to be revenue neutral, with no change in average fares and no extra support from taxpayers.

Only one in three passengers were ‘very confident’ they bought the best value ticket for their last journey, according to KPMG research commissioned by the industry.

Just 29 per cent were ‘very satisfied’ with the ticket-buying experience.

Around 55 million different fares exist, including long-standing anomalies such as charging a peak-time fare when half a trip is on an off-peak service, and split ticketing, where it can be cheaper to buy several tickets for a single journey.

KPMG outlined a number of principles for rail ticketing, including it being transparent, predictable, easier to use; integrated with other modes of transport and personalised, flexible fares

Rail companies say they are already making improvements to fares where they can, such as cutting jargon and providing clearer information about peak and off-peak times.

RDG chief executive Paul Plummer said the industry is committed to reforming ‘well-meaning but outdated’ regulation, but warned there are ‘no quick and easy solutions’.

He added: ‘The industry doesn’t have all the answers, which is why we want to hear views from passengers, communities and businesses in all parts of the country.

‘There have already been improvements and more are on the way, but this consultation will enable us to create a clear road map with the country so that we can make the right changes for the long term more quickly.’

The consultation opens on June 4, with a report expected in late autumn.

A Department for Transport spokeswoman said: ‘We want passengers to always be able to get the best possible deal on their ticket and we welcome the industry’s commitment to review fares.’