Review rail ticketing, removing complexity and perverse pricing
Last updated: 11:41am 24 January 2019
Conservative Party Manifesto 2017, p.60
We will review rail ticketing, removing complexity and perverse pricing, and introduce a passenger ombudsman to stand up for the interests of rail users suffering a poor deal.
There are over 500,000 complaints about train services every year from dissatisfied passengers. Ticket buying is the fourth most complained about area, after punctuality, on-board facilities and insufficient seating. This policy is a promise to review and simplify rail ticketing.
In December 2016, the Department for Transport launched the Action Plan for Information on Rail Fares and Ticketing. It addressed four key areas of the ticket buying process:
- how people choose their ticket
- what they buy
- where they buy
- how they buy
In December 2017, that plan was reviewed. The review concluded that there had been progress in each of the four areas. It also found areas where more work was needed, particularly the issue of ticket sales clashing with engineering works.
In October 2017, the government announced plans for an £80 million smart ticketing rail revolution to enable passengers to use phones, barcodes and smart cards across the rail network, to ensure that “every passenger will have the choice of travelling without a paper ticket by the end of 2018”. That target has been missed and there are questions about what the £80 million has so far achieved.
There has been movement towards fulfilling this pledge so we’re marking it as ‘in progress’. We will continue tracking and consult with independent organisations to see whether “complexity and perverse pricing” of rail tickets is removed. Follow this policy for updates.
Review the facts
- Rail ticketing progress report: passenger experience improved but more work to be done – Gov.uk
- Passenger Rail Service Complaints 2017-18 Q4 Statistical Release – Gov.uk
- Action Plan for Information on Rail Fares and Ticketing – Gov.uk
- Review of the action plan for information on rail fares and ticketing – Gov.uk
- Government plans £80 million smart ticketing rail revolution – Gov.uk
- DfT ‘loses track’ of £80m smart ticketing programme – Transport Network
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