Big Plan. Big Changes. was an industry campaign to promote improvements happening on the railway and industry proposals for rail reform to deliver a more customer-focussed, joined-up and accountable.
Summarised in the industry's Changing Track proposal to assist in the development of the Williams-Shapps white paper and our Easier Fares for All proposal for a fair, efficient, and modern system of tickets and fares.
The railway plays a vital part of Britain’s growth and prosperity, but everyone agrees the way the railway operates today needs to change so that it can deliver far more in the future.
That’s why Britain’s rail companies have developed proposals for a radical alternative to the current franchising system. A New Partnership Railway would better join up the industry, strengthen accountability and improve services for passengers – underpinned by easier, better value fares for all.
Our proposals follow months of conversations with passengers, businesses and communities across Britain.
We are calling time on short term fixes and setting out the generational system upgrade the country expects.
With our proposals the current franchising system would be replaced with different types of services designed to suit the needs of different areas and different passengers.
Accountability would be strengthened by creating a new independent national organising body to co-ordinate the whole industry, helping to end the blame game when things go wrong and giving penalties where rail companies fall short.
And we want the new system to be underpinned by an easier to use, better value fares system.
Our proposals are based on six principles for change that we think need to be met to deliver the right priorities for a modern railway.
The rail industry, in partnership with passenger watchdog Transport Focus, conducted a major listening exercise on fare regulations which received nearly 20,000 responses.
We also met with representatives from organisations across the length and breadth of the country, including passenger groups, business groups, accessibility groups and local authorities, to hear what their priorities were for reforming fares. This was backed up by economic analysis and commercial modelling by consultants KPMG.
The research clearly showed that while customers don’t seek a simple, one-size-fits all fares approach, they do want fares that reflect their needs, and which are simple to use.
They told us they wanted: value-for money and flexibility; an easy to understand offer; tickets which are easy to buy; greater personalisation; protections maintained and redress if things go wrong; a system which reflects national and local needs; and, a sense of trust and confidence in the tickets they’re buying.
Based on what we have learned, we have arrived at proposals with a simple proposition at their core: that customers should only pay for the travel they need and the system is designed to give them the best value fare. To deliver this, we are proposing a two stage approach to reform, underpinned by commercial trials which would give customers more opportunity for engagement with the proposed changes:
These changes would also enable local political leaders across the country to have more control over their local and regional transport systems where the decision has been taken (or is taken in the future) to devolve the relevant powers and responsibility. These reforms would increase their ability to coordinate train fares alongside other local transport in and around their cities. This is currently difficult even where those powers are already devolved, because rail-only fares are set under different national rules to local travel schemes.