Simplification key to UK rail ticketing overhaul

Simplification key to UK rail ticketing overhaul

Measures to improve ticketing information for passengers and make it easier for people to choose the best value fare for their journey were agreed earlier at a forum co-hosted by rail minister Paul Maynard.

Working alongside consumer organisation Which?, the department for transport, the Rail Delivery Group and Transport Focus have come together to develop the proposals.

As a result, a set of clearly defined steps will be carried out over the next year including information for passengers on how to choose a ticket.

Rail operators will take steps to improve the information passengers are offered so they can make an informed choice of ticket.

At the same time, there will also be more advice on what to buy.

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Operators will enable new ticket products to emerge in the retail market and ensure customers always get a simple explanation of their chosen ticket.

There are also hopes to increase and improve the scope of where and the ways passengers can buy tickets, while also simplifying the process.

Maynard said: “The ticket buying 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.”

Concrete steps will see an end to jargon like ‘any permitted route’ on tickets, while there will be a new online look-up tool explaining the restrictions.

Train companies will advise when stocks of the best value advance tickets are running low and offer alerts at the time of purchase if changing travel times would be cheaper.

Ticket machines will also be redesigned to give customers clearer choices, including cheaper options where available by changing time or service.

Paul Plummer, chief executive of the Rail Delivery Group, said: “Train companies want customers to get the best possible deal every time they travel by train.

“By next summer train companies will start to test changes to the way fares are structured on some sample routes to give customers simpler, better information.

“Getting the right ticket for your journey shouldn’t be complicated, and improvements by train companies - including to ticket machines - will help customers find clearer fares they can trust.”

A working group will review progress against these actions on a monthly basis.