The Department for Transport (DfT) is working with consumer expert Which? on measures to improve ticketing information for passengers and make it easier for people to choose the best value fare for their journey.
A new plan has been developed by the DfT, Which?, the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) and Transport Focus, which includes clearly defined steps to be carried out over the next year. These include: taking steps to improve the information passengers are offered; enabling innovative new ticket products to emerge and ensuring that customers get a simple explanation of their chosen ticket; increasing and improving the scope of where and the ways passengers can buy tickets; and improving the process of buying a ticket to make it as simple as possible.
The changes will include an end to jargon like ‘any permitted route’, developing a new online look-up tool explaining ticket restrictions, and alerts on ticket machines to give customers clear choices including cheaper options where available by changing time or service.
Rail Minister Paul 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.”
Vickie Sheriff, director of campaigns and communications at Which?, said: “Rail passengers often struggle to find the cheapest fare as the current ticket system is too complex. Buying a ticket must be made much simpler and it must be easier for people to find the best fare.
“We expressed our concern to the Secretary of State for Transport in the summer and have worked with the Rail Minister and industry since to secure improvements through the joint action plan on rail fares and ticketing presented at today’s forum.”