Fares ac­tion plan

New ac­tion plan is launched, aimed at high­light­ing cheaper fares and mak­ing it eas­ier for pas­sen­gers to buy tick­ets.

Rail (UK) - - Contents -

The De­part­ment for Trans­port, the Rail De­liv­ery Group (RDG), Which? and Trans­port Fo­cus launched a new ac­tion plan on De­cem­ber 13 aimed at mak­ing it eas­ier for pas­sen­gers to buy tick­ets, and high­light­ing cheaper fares.

Among the promised mea­sures is a re­duc­tion in jar­gon at ticket ma­chines, web­sites and on tick­ets them­selves, with terms such as ‘Any Per­mit­ted’ and ‘Lon­don Ter­mi­nals’ re­moved ex­cept where they “ac­tively help” pas­sen­gers un­der­stand a ticket’s va­lid­ity.

Pas­sen­gers will also be told if they could ob­tain cheaper tick­ets by trav­el­ling at a dif­fer­ent time, and when ad­vance pur­chase ticket num­bers for a spe­cific price are run­ning low. These mea­sures will be im­ple­mented by the end of 2017.

Also, from Septem­ber 2017, pas­sen­gers will be able to buy ad­vance tick­ets on TransPen­nine Express, North­ern, East Mid­lands Trains, Vir­gin Trains East Coast and Vir­gin West Coast on the day. Pi­lot stud­ies for pro­pos­als that could form the ba­sis of fares re­form will also take place from May 2017.

More third-party ticket re­tail­ers will be en­cour­aged to en­ter the re­tail mar­ket, with bar­ri­ers to en­try re­moved and more data made avail­able to web­site and mo­bile ap­pli­ca­tion de­vel­op­ers. Third­party re­tail­ers will gain ac­cess to all per­ma­nent fares and the data un­der­pin­ning them.

Ticket ma­chines will pro­vide a choice of fares for pas­sen­gers, in­clud­ing in­for­ma­tion on op­tions that are avail­able at dif­fer­ent times or via dif­fer­ent routes or op­er­a­tors. Train op­er­a­tor web­sites will be re­viewed against ex­ist­ing in­dus­try codes of prac­tice by the Of­fice of Rail and Road by March 2017.

Pas­sen­gers with valid rail­cards who for­get them at the time of travel will be al­lowed (on the first oc­ca­sion) to claim back any ad­di­tional ex­penses - in­clud­ing ad­di­tional and penalty fares - by pro­vid­ing proof of their rail­card on­line, by post or at ticket of­fices of the train com­pany with which they trav­elled.

At the launch, Rail Min­is­ter Paul May­nard said: “The tick­et­buy­ing ex­pe­ri­ence is all too of­ten com­pli­cated and hard to nav­i­gate, and I am com­mit­ted to work­ing with in­dus­try to make it sim­pler. We want a more mod­ern and pas­sen­ger-fo­cused fares and tick­et­ing sys­tem which takes ad­van­tage of all the ben­e­fits of new tech­nol­ogy. Rail pas­sen­gers must be able to trust that they are get­ting the best pos­si­ble deal ev­ery time they travel.”

Trans­port Fo­cus Chief Ex­ec­u­tive An­thony Smith wel­comed the pro­pos­als, but warned: “Pas­sen­gers will par­tic­u­larly wel­come the eas­ier-to-use op­tions for buy­ing tick­ets from ticket vend­ing ma­chines. How­ever, long term more fun­da­men­tal re­form is still needed if trust is ever go­ing to be re­ally es­tab­lished in the fares and tick­et­ing sys­tem.”

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