From the Experts
Industry pledges to cut rail jargon to avoid ticket confusion
The UK rail industry has revealed it will remove jargon printed on rail tickets and journey information from 500,000 routes this September in a bid to simplify the process of buying tickets.
A host of industry partners led by the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) launched the initiative after KPMG research showed that a fifth of travellers find it hard to understand what type of ticket they need to purchase.
Potentially misleading language such as ‘Route Direct’ and ‘Any Permitted’ will be therefore eliminated, together with another 1.6 million instances of unclear jargon over the next couple of years. These phrases will be replaced with simplified terminology, such as ‘via’ a specific station.
Also in august, the industry announced an expected 3.5% rise in train fares from January 2019, as a result of growing inflation. The threat of a rise in fares has triggered unhappiness among commuters and campaigners, who have urged the UK Government to freeze rail fares.
Jason Webb, deputy managing director of customer portfolio at Rail Delivery Group:
“We know it can be confusing to buy a ticket on the train and that the outdated jargon unique to rail like ‘London Terminal’ or ‘Any Permitted’ is part of the problem. We are making huge efforts as an industry to make this easier where we can, but to really make fares simpler to understand we need regulatory change.”
A spokesperson for the Office of Rail and Road (ORR):
“ORR has been pressing for improvements in removing ticketing jargon and we welcome [this] announcement. However, further work is needed in providing clear information on the range of tickets available and their restrictions and validity, such as peak or off-peak.”
Anthony Smith, chief executive of Transport Focus:
“Rail passengers find fares and ticketing complex and confusing. Action to remove jargon is a significant step towards a fares system that passengers find easy to use. However, over the longer term some more fundamental reforms are still needed if train companies are ever going to enjoy the trust of the travelling public.”
Image courtesy of Transport Focus
Image courtesy of RMT
Mick Cash, general secretary of the Rail, Maritime and Transport Union, on the fares increase:
“This is another kick in the teeth for Britain’s passengers who are being robbed blind by greedy train operators for travelling in rammed out and unreliable services while the shareholders are laughing all the way to the bank.”
A spokesperson for the Campaign for Better Transport:
“Given the mess surrounding the new timetable, the lack of improvements and the failure to deliver compensation, the government cannot go on telling passengers that fare increases are justified.”
Paul Plummer, chief executive of the Rail Delivery Group:
“Of every pound spent on train fares, 98p is invested back into the railway, helping to underpin a once-in-a-generation investment to change and improve for the benefit of our customers, local communities and UK economy.”
Image courtesy of Network Rail