Rail firms must offer cheapest fare


Published: Thursday 1st January 2015 by The News Editor

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Train companies will be forced to offer the cheapest fares to passengers in a move that could save significant sums for commuters.

Reforms will be introduced to stop customers paying over the odds for journeys from self-service machines when cheaper options are available.

The changes are aimed at ending the anomaly in prices available at the counter, where staff have access to the complex database of fares, discounts and promotions, and the more limited options in the automated service.

Rail minister Claire Perry said: “I am absolutely determined that passengers should get the best possible deal for every journey.

“There is no excuse for poor-quality information, restricted ticket choice or confusing screen directions at ticket machines.

“I welcome the fact that the industry has responded to the challenge with some positive actions which will be rolled out by next March.

“However, one summit is not the end of our discussions. I will be closely monitoring progress and I will not hesitate to hold the industry to account if improvements are not made.”

Some machines promote expensive fares, bury cheaper options and do not apply discounts for groups or families, leading to a difference in ticket prices of up to £100, according to The Daily Telegraph.

As part of a rail fare code of conduct, which will be overseen by the Office of Rail Regulation, train companies will be expected to overhaul their systems to ensure that customers are automatically offered all available ticket options.

As a first step, they must label all self service machines by March to warn passengers they could save money by using the counter service.

Michael Roberts, head of industry body the Rail Delivery Group, told The Daily Telegraph: “While industry research shows the vast majority of customers find the correct fare using ticket machines, we know there is more we can do to make them better.

“With more and more people buying from ticket machines, we are already working on a range of improvements. Planned changes include better information on the range of tickets offered by machines, new products and improving the clarity of on-screen information.”

Published: Thursday 1st January 2015 by The News Editor

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