Nearly 20,000 people respond to fares consultation

Conclusion of public consultation to understand what the country wants to see from an easier fares system receives nearly 20,000 responses with proposals going to Government in the autumn.

The rail industry’s fares consultation, in partnership with independent watchdog, Transport Focus, closes today after receiving nearly 20,000 responses. The industry will use it to inform proposals to update fares regulation set in the 90s, making it simpler and easier to use for customers and bringing it up to date with technology and modern working patterns.

Launched in June, the consultation is the first to give stakeholders, employees and the public across the length and breadth of the country the chance to have their say about what a future fares system should look like, with proposals being put to governments in the Autumn.

These proposals will be revenue neutral overall, with no change in average fares, meaning that taxpayers and passengers would not pay more towards the cost of running and improving the railway. As such any changes in specific fares would need to be balanced out elsewhere, which is why respondents were asked to voice their priorities against a set options which governments will ultimately need to choose from.

Making fares easier to use is part of a wider industry plan for change and reform, delivering a railway that works better for the way we live and work and travel today. Part of that plan included a commitment to improve for customers by driving the delivery of an easier to use fares structure.

Whilst fundamental structural improvements need regulatory reform, the industry is nevertheless making changes where it can. These include a target to cut jargon from 1.6million rail tickets, with over 700,000 tickets improved so far. The initiative is part of a fares action plan agreed between industry, passenger groups and governments, and includes the on-going roll-out of smart-ticketing, which will also help make it easier for people to buy the right ticket.

Paul Plummer, Chief Executive of the Rail Delivery Group, said:

“The overwhelming number of consultation responses we’ve had underlines the importance of governments working with us to deliver this much needed reform of the fares structure for our customers.”

“Unpicking the regulation of a £10bn-a-year fares system, much of it created in the 1990s, means there are no quick-and-easy solutions. But as part of our wider calls for reform of the industry, this consultation will enable us to develop clear proposals, so we can keep changing and improving for the long term”

Notes to editors

  1. Fare regulations have remained largely unchanged since they were introduced in 1995 and have failed to keep pace with the rise of smartphone technology or how people work and travel today. They still assuming customers will buy their ticket by visiting a ticket office whilst failing to take in to account the rise in part time working or self employment, up by a third in 22 years (ONS April 2018 Labour stats). Further layers of requirements have been added through individual franchise agreements, with little or nothing taken away. This means that long-standing anomalies are becoming locked in, resulting in bigger problems for customers, and there are now around 55 million different fares.
     
  2. The 1995 Ticketing and Settlement Agreement can be found on our website – chapters 4 and 6 set out how fares should be set and sold.
     
  3. The proposals informed by the consultation will be built along the lines of a set of key principles, established in an independent report by KPMG to identify key principles which are driven by what customers and the country need from the railway. These will be used to develop a fares offering that is fit for the future and include:
    • Being transparent, predictable, fair, trusted, easier to use and value for money for customers;
    • Offering integration with other modes of transport;
    • Offering personalised, flexible fares which best serve customers in different markets;
    • Enabling growth, innovation, efficiency and choice; and,
    • Providing funding for investment and avoiding the need for additional taxpayer subsidy.
       
  4. Final consultation responses can be given by visiting www.britainrunsonrail.co.uk/fares. The hashtag for the consultation is #easierfares.

    Timeline of consultation process:
    • Public consultation opened – 4 June
    • Public consultation closes – Monday 10 September
    • Final report – Late autumn

    The proposed consultation is not about the overall balance between farepayers and taxpayers since this choice is a matter for governments.
     
  5. Last October, the partnership railway of the public and private sectors published a long-term plan for change – In Partnership for Britain’s Prosperity. It included a commitment to increase customer satisfaction by developing practical proposals for the reform of fares.
A- A A+