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