Ending rail fare anomolies?

By | Category: Travel rumblings

On the front pages of The Times and The Telegraph this morning is the news that there will be a consultation on the myriad number of rail fares – said by those in the know to be 55 million – that are in existence.

The consultation begins on January 4th and the recommendations are expected in the autumn. We’ll let you know where you can lodge your ideas and comments when the Rail Delivery Group makes the information available to us.

This morning representatives from the Rail Delivery Group trotted around various television and radio studios saying that they wanted to revamp an outdated system that dates back to the 1990’s. They said that they wanted to make it easier but couldn’t manage it alone as the Department of Transport and parliament needed to be involved. The Rail Delivery Group which represents the train companies, Network Rail and even the RMT union called for change as did the Campaign for Better Transport and Transport Focus. Everyone wants change including me!

But why has it taken so long for them to realise it?

For the last ten years I have been writing about the complexity of fares. Why should I pay over £265 for a standard fare to London when it won’t get me there until after 10.30 in the morning that is outside the rush hour? Why is it cheaper for me to buy a ticket to Wolverhampton and then another to Glasgow instead of a direct fare? In December 2015, the then rail minister -Claire Perry- suggested that “passenger interests are put front and centre of this unprecedented investment in railways.”

It has only taken three and a half years for this to happen.

Could it be that passengers paying more than they should for tickets is of value to the railway companies, Network Rail and the government? If we buy the cheapest tickets which is what this review is designed to achieve, all three will receive less funds? In the interviews this morning, the results of the review and the implementation of the findings was said to be revenue neutral in terms of average fares? Somehow the travelling public may not be convinced?


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