By Kate Brown
The Rail Delivery Group (RDG), which represents all rail companies, is looking to launch a public consultation aimed at making rail ticketing fairer and easier to use. The RDG confirmed that approximately 55 million different fares exist in the current system and admitted that passengers are not currently always being offered the cheapest fare available. This was said to be due to “long-standing anomalies”, such as split ticketing, which means that it is often cheaper for passengers to buy several tickets for a journey rather than one ticket (see example below).
Example 1. (Train journey from Exeter Central to Sheffield on 16 June, leaving at 8:53 BST)
Single fare ticket: £70.20
Exeter Central to Sheffield (£70.20).
Split tickets: £46.80
Exeter Central to Exeter St Davids (£1.40); Exeter St Davids 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).
The RDG said that a reforming ticketing system could include integrated tickets covering multiple modes of transport such as trams and buses, be more flexible for part time workers and look at price changes for tickets charged a peak-time price when it is also travelling within an off-peak period. The consultation will be launched next month and will run into September of this year.
A passenger interests group, Transport Focus, said the debate on reform options was “overdue”. The groups’ chief executive, Anthony Smith, commented: “rail passengers want a rail fares system they can trust, that is simpler, offers better value for money and is more understandable”.
A spokeswoman from the Department for Transport 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”.