Rail passengers are set to benefit from a raft of initiatives that will improve ticketing and help them get a better deal on travel, Rail Minister Norman Baker announced today (19 September 2013).
train operating companies agreeing to implement a cap on standard single and standard return fares at £250 and £500 respectively
the publication by the industry of a Ticketing Irregularities Code of Practice, which will ensure that where passengers do not hold a ticket or an incorrect ticket the process of dealing with them is carried out in a structured and consistent way across all train operators. This will mean that all passengers have a clear understanding of what will happen in these circumstances
the significant expansion of the National Rail Enquiries website to provide a comprehensive oversight on fares and ticket information as well as the updated version of Association of Train Operating Companies’ (ATOC) ‘Guide to tickets’, which has been reprinted and distributed at stations across the country
the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) overseeing the development of a code of practice over the next 12 months, which will set out industry standards for ticketing information. This will ensure passengers are able to make an informed decision about their journeys by making sure operators provide clear, accurate and quality information about ticketing
an ORR study into the sale of tickets that will consider whether current markets are operating efficiently, effectively, and in the best interests of passengers and taxpayers. The department has committed to consider any cost-effective recommendations that come out of the study
a stronger and more focused approach to customer service as part of the government’s new rail franchising schedule. Under the new bidding criteria, franchisees will not only be scored on the financial strength of their bids but on their commitment to improve passenger services, including plans for retail and ticketing systems
the successful delivery of the Department for Transport’s £45 million South East Flexible Ticketing programme, which will deliver smart ticketing and improve travel across the south east commuter network from next summer
the adoption of smart ticketing across the rail network with the DfT keen to start rolling out the technology across England from 2015
the publication of annual surveys on how well ticket office staff, ticket machines and websites perform in regards to selling passengers the best ticket for their journey. The ATOC has agreed to release the information to customers from next year
the continued encouragement of train operating companies to further develop their current ticketing initiatives, which are already working towards improving information for customers using self-service ticketing machines at stations
Rail Minister Norman Baker said:
The coalition government is determined to give rail passengers a better deal. This means embracing new technology like smartcards, with all the advantages that can bring, and giving the passenger a greater voice in the future.
These measures, coupled with the radical ticketing changes I announced earlier this week, constitute a raft of improvements and greater flexibility for passengers.
The government is backing the comprehensive package of schemes to promote best practice across the rail industry and deliver a modern ticketing system that enables passengers to travel efficiently and effectively. It follows this week’s earlier announcements on single-leg pricing and flexible ticketing.
The DfT has been looking at a range of options to modernise fares as part of its fares and ticketing review. The report is due to be published shortly.