A huge list of frankly amazing-sounding changes to the UK's train system has given us hope that things might not always be this rubbish, at least in terms of getting anywhere on our tiny island.
The Rail Delivery Group, which represents all the train companies as well as Network Rail and HS2, has released a giant proposal of the changes it wants to see, including:
- Tap-in tap-out contactless train fares everywhere, not just in London
- Big changes to the peak/off-peak system so there isn't suddenly a massive influx of people when the cheap tickets kick in
- Algorithmic smart tickets that automatically show you the best price for your journey, which would stop people having to do daft things like buy tickets to places they're not going to get a lower price
As BBC transport correspondent Tom Burridge puts it:
"Our out-dated and mind-bogglingly complicated ticketing system is a prime candidate for change. The system is, in the eyes of many, inherently flawed.
How can an off-peak single sometimes cost a fraction less than a return? And how can it be that you get different prices for exactly the same journey and fare?"
Anyone who's ever got the train in a country where they actually know how to run mass transit will agree that our creaking system needs a big overhaul. That's not news to anyone – but it is pleasantly surprising that the train companies are also in favour, and that the government is willing to listen (the recommendations are part of the Williams Rail Review).
Still, there is one major thing that hasn't been included in the proposals: monorail. What's it called? Monorail. Once again?
Well, we can dream. Read the full proposal here.