24 February 2011
Commenting on new research by Which? on the difficulties of finding the cheapest rail ticket, Alexandra Woodsworth, Campaign for Better Transport’s public transport campaigner, said:
“Train passengers shouldn’t have to work so hard to find a decent value fare. There is little point in having cheap fares on offer if the system is so complicated that even ticket office staff can’t help you find them, and it certainly doesn’t make up for the extremely high prices at the other end of the scale.
“The Government is planning to give train companies a much greater degree of control over fares and ticketing, but the lack of passenger confidence highlighted in this research should act as a warning. Ticket pricing must be fairer and clearer to encourage more people to take the train – which would be good for passengers, train companies and the environment.”
The Which? research said that train passengers in the UK are confused about how to get the best fare for their journey, and information given online, in ticket offices and over the phone is inadequate. The survey revealed that only half (54 per cent) of passengers were satisfied overall with train services in the UK.
Campaign for Better Transport is running a Fair Fares Now campaign for cheaper, simpler, fairer rail fares.
Notes to Editors
1. The Fair Fares Charter (PDF) sets out policies the Government could introduce to address some of the problems highlighted in the Which? research, and make rail fares more straightforward.
2. The Department for Transport’s revised franchise policy sets out plans to give greater commercial freedom to train companies in a wide range of areas, including fares and ticketing. The DfT-sponsored interim Value for Money review of rail industry costs also recommended market driven approaches to ticketing and a more flexible application of fares regulation.