Cheaper Train Journeys Promised in Ticket Rules Shakeup

By Gary Cutlack on at

The life hack that is buying loads of single tickets and chaining them together to save money on longer trips is coming to some of our rail franchises, with a rethink of the ticketing system aiming to make buying the cheapest possible ticket the easiest option -- instead of a near-impossible, multi-dimensional logistical battle against an unseen capitalist machine.

The changes will come in this May on a handful of lines -- London to Sheffield, Scotland and Cornwall, and CrossCountry Trains lines -- and will allow the rail companies involved to sell tickets that might include a change or two, rather than making everyone book direct and pay the top prices.

It involves changing the regulated fare system, which usually involves buying a return fare. The aim on the London/Scotland part of the trial is to regulate the single journey tickets instead, which should make it vastly easier for passengers to see if booking two singles is cheaper than taking one return. Ticket machines at stations will also be updated to make sure their systems point people to the cheapest tickets, rather than plonking up the costliest options to con people in a hurry out of the maximum amount of money as punishment for not purchasing their travel tickets 89 days previously.

RDG's Jacqueline Starr said of the changes: "We know customers can find it hard to get the right ticket for their journey due to complex rules and regulations built up by governments over decades. There are more than 16 million different train fares, many of which nobody buys. This also makes it more difficult to give passengers the right, simple options on ticket machines. Working with government, we’re determined to overhaul the system to cut out red-tape, jargon and complication to make it easier for customers to buy fares they can trust, including from ticket machines." [Rail Delivery Group]

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