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Rail users could buy cheap advance tickets 10 minutes before trip

Written by: Paloma Kubiak
Passengers travelling with select train operators will be able to buy and reserve cheaper advance tickets up to 10 minutes before travel.

The Rail Delivery Group said the measure will help people who have to make urgent train journeys for business or family reasons.

Until now, advance tickets (limited number of seats on specific trains) have been able to buy generally only until midnight the day before travel.

In a first step taken by CrossCountry, passengers travelling with Grand Central, Greater Anglia, Northern, TransPennine Express, Virgin Trains East Coast, Virgin Trains West Coast and Caledonian Sleeper can now buy advance tickets for many trains on the day of travel, some up to 10 minutes before departure.

Customers of long-distance services can also see online when there are only a few advance tickets left, to ensure they don’t miss out on the best price – as promised in an action plan for fares and ticketing agreed by the rail industry, government and consumer groups.

Jacqueline Starr, managing director of customer experience at the Rail Delivery Group, said: “Not everyone can plan journeys in advance and now more people can buy cheaper tickets on the day, even on their way to the station.

“We want customers to get the best possible deal whenever they travel. With 97% of your fare going back into running and improving the railway, investment is driving quicker improvement, more choice and greater freedom.”

Alex Hayman, Which? managing director of public markets, said: “It’s encouraging that more rail passengers will now benefit from cheaper fares for their journeys. However, there’s still more work to be done to fix the confusing ticket system.

“Action must be taken by the rail industry to simplify jargon used on ticket machines and websites to make it as easy as possible for people to choose the best value ticket when they travel.”

In December last year, it was announced that passengers should see clearer information about tickets over the next year, including an explanation of what’s covered within the journey, so they can make informed choices before they buy.

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