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RAIL FAIL: Research shows Government breaking its promises on ticketing

9 October 2015

New analysis shows the Government is failing to deliver promised cheaper, simpler train tickets and needs to up its game if it is to meet commitments set out in its review of fares and ticketing. 

The research, carried out by Campaign for Better Transport, examined progress against key commitments set out in the Fares and Ticketing Review, published by the Department for Transport two years ago today.

This included promises of flexible season tickets for the millions who work part-time and non-standard hours, new pricing so single fares don't cost the same as returns, and a code of conduct targeting baffling restrictions put in place by train operators on when you can travel. 

Martin Abrams, Public Transport Campaigner, Campaign for Better Transport said:

"Passengers will wonder if the Government's fares commitments are just bluster. Common sense initiatives like part-time season tickets should have been rolled out months ago but instead they remain stuck in the sidings. Assurances that improvements are just around the corner are no longer good enough. We need a reaffirmed commitment that the Fares and Ticketing Review recommendations will be implemented and a timetable for making it happen." 

Campaign for Better Transport's research looked at five core commitments set out in the Fares and Ticketing Review, awarding a score of between 0 and 3 points depending on progress.

Main findings of this are:

·  Part-time season tickets: Zero points: The review committed the Government to a trialing these tickets, but despite a Conservative Party manifesto commitment to introducing them across the rail network progress has been minimal.   

·  Single leg ticketing: Zero points: A trial of a new fares structure was proposed where the price of two single tickets would relate closely to that of a return ticket. There is no sign of any progress with this and no timetable for future action.

·  Code of practice on ticketing: One point: This was proposed to overcome confusion with a myriad of ticket types and restrictions. Although a document has been produced the only change has been a few stickers placed on ticket machines informing passengers that cheaper fares may be available elsewhere

·  End the flex: Three points: There was a commitment to ending train companies' power to 'flex' fares by up to 5 per cent above those agreed with the Government. This has been enacted.

·  Oyster-style smart ticketing: Zero points: The commitment to introducing an Oyster Card-like ticketing system across the south east of England has been beset with problems and delays. It is completely unclear when or if it will be delivered. 


For further information please contact: Richard Watkins, Press Officer, at Campaign for Better Transport on 020 7566 6494 / 07984 773468 or richard.watkins@bettertransport.org.uk


1. Campaign for Better Transport's analysis 'Fares and Ticketing Review - Two years on' can be downloaded from the Campaign's website. 

2. The Fares and Ticketing Review was begun in 2011 and reported in 2013. Both consultation and final report can be downloaded from the DfT website.



3. We have scored the key commitments set out in the Fares and Ticketing Review with a PASS or FAIL and with a score of between 0 to 3. These have been assigned as follows: 0 = No visible signs of progress 1 = A commitment partially met 2 = A commitment fully met 3 = A commitment exceeded

4. Campaign for Better Transport is the UK's leading authority on sustainable transport. We champion transport solutions that improve people's lives and reduce environmental damage. Our campaigns push innovative, practical policies at local and national levels. Campaign for Better Transport Charitable Trust is a registered charity (1101929).


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