A public consultation is being launched to find ways of simplifying the rail ticketing system that currently means 55 million different fares exist.
The study, which will be carried out by The Rail Delivery Group (RDG), which represents private train operators and
Government-owned Network Rail, aims to identify ways to make the system fairer and easier to use.
It follows a survey by KPMG on behalf of the rail industry which found that only one in three (34%) passengers were “very confident” they bought the best value ticket for their last journey.
The report concluded that rail ticketing should be:
:: transparent, predictable, easier to use
:: integrated with other modes of transport
:: personalised with flexible fares
The current system is controlled by regulations from the 1990s, with added complexity through individual franchise agreements.
RDG chief executive Paul Plummer said the industry wanted to reform “well-meaning but outdated” regulation.
He said: “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.”
Robert Nisbet, an RDG spokesman, told Sky News: “What we want is to strip back the layers of rules and regulations that have made the system complicated for so many of us.
“We want to get back to basics and find out what people’s priorities are.
“The regulations were set in stone by government but they have grown like coral as more franchises are let for example, and as more train operators have offered different products to attract more people to the railways.”
He acknowledged the frustration over split ticketing, when buying multiple tickets can be cheaper than a single ticket from beginning to end of the journey, but said it was set in law.
Anthony Smith, chief executive of passenger watchdog Transport Focus, said: “Fares and ticketing systems need to suit the way we travel now – there is a huge demand for smarter ticketing.
“Opening the debate on reform options is overdue.”
Split tickets: when it can be cheaper to buy more than one ticket
- Abergavenny to Twickenham: An anytime ticket on 1 June leaving at 7.04am costs £114.50. Abergavenny to Newport at the same time and date is £9.40, a Newport to Paddington advance arriving at 10.30am is £24.50, Paddington to Twickenham is £8.40 as a ticket, or £6.90 using Oyster or contactless. This has potential to save around £70.
- Leicester to Edinburgh: An advance ticket on 18 May at 7.52am costs £144.10. Splitting it into Leicester to Derby (£6.70); Derby to Sheffield (£8.40); Sheffield to York (£14.10); York to Darlington (£9.10); Darlington to Edinburgh (£26.60) brings the total to £64.90, saving nearly £80.
- Birmingham to Lincoln: Leaving on 14 May at 7.49am, an anytime ticket costs £43.40, but Birmingham to Long Eaton (£19.30); Long Eaton to Lincoln (£11.90), making a split ticket £31.20, and saving £12.20.
- Exeter Central to Sheffield: Leaving on 16 June, 8.53am, an advance ticket is £70.20. Split tickets, including advance fares: Exeter Central to Exeter St Davids (£1.40); Exeter St David’s to Bristol Temple Meads (£14.70); Bristol Temple Meads to Cheltenham Spa (£7); Cheltenham Spa to Birmingham (£9.90); Birmingham to Derby (£6.30); Derby to Sheffield (£7.50) brings a total £46.80, saving £23.40.
The consultation opens on 4 June, with a report expected in late autumn.
From – SkyNews