The Department for Transport is set to help customers find the cheapest rail fares by forcing train operators to simplify ticketing systems.
Under the terms of the 1995 ticketing settlement agreement, operators only have to inform customers of the most suitable ticket for their journey. This means that the cheapest fares can be buried, leaving us unwittingly paying over the odds for train tickets. The Times reports that over 40 different fares are available for journeys between London and Birmingham.
The DfT wants ticketing staff and self-service machines to favour the best value fares, as well as alert customers when it would be cheaper for them to buy two single tickets rather than a return.
“We want a simpler, more modern and passenger-focused fares and ticketing system which takes advantage of all the benefits of new technology.” said a spokesman. “Progress has been made, including an announcement earlier this week of £80 million to accelerate the roll-out of smart ticketing across the network.
“Rail passengers must be able to trust that they are getting the best possible deal every time they travel and we are working with industry partners and consumer experts to identify improvements which could be brought in quickly across the network. The results of this project will be announced shortly.”
The proposed measures, which are due to be discussed next month, also include demands for consistency in how off-peak and advanced tickets are sold. [Times via Guardian]