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Choosing cheapest rail fares to be made easier

Written by: Paloma Kubiak
Measures to make it easier for rail passengers to choose the best value fare for their journey have been given the go-ahead.

Over the next year, train passengers should see clearer information about tickets, including an explanation of what’s covered within the journey, so they can make informed choices before they buy.

The Department for Transport, campaign group Which?, the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) and Transport Focus came together to develop the plan which will also see an increase in the places customers can buy tickets as well as a simplification of the buying process.

Some of the other improvements include:

  • An end to jargon like ‘any permitted route’ on tickets and a new online tool explaining the restrictions
  • A heads-up when stocks of the best value advance tickets are running low
  • Alerts at the time of purchase if changing travel times would be cheaper
  • Ticket machines to give customers clear choices including cheaper options where available by changing time or service
  • Advance tickets where available may be purchased on the day of travel from longer distance operators
  • The first time a customer holding a valid railcard forgets it at the time of travel they will be able to claim back any additional expense.

Rail minister Paul Maynard, said: “The ticket buying experience is all too often complicated and hard to navigate and I am committed to working with industry to make it simpler. We want a more modern and passenger-focused fares and ticketing system which takes advantage of all the benefits of new technology. Rail passengers must be able to trust that they are getting the best possible deal every time they travel.”

Vickie Sheriff, director of campaigns and communications at Which?, added: “Rail passengers often struggle to find the cheapest fare as the current ticket system is too complex. Buying a ticket must be made much simpler and it must be easier for people to find the best fare”.

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