From the Experts

The rail industry and UK businesses welcome a public consultation on ticketing reform

Britain’s rail companies, together with independent passenger watchdog Transport Focus, have launched the first ever public consultation for customers, businesses, passenger groups, stakeholders, employees and the public to have their say on the fares system.

The consultation, hosted on, includes a questionnaire that can be completed online or sent via freepost. The industry will engage with governments throughout the consultation, and will host a series of roundtables with consumer, business and technology groups.

The results of the consultation will inform proposals from the industry on what a new fares system should look like, and will follow improvements that are already being made, where possible, to fares. These include cutting jargon, clearer information about peak and off-peak times, better information about how people can use their ticket, and the ongoing roll-out of smart-ticketing services.

A final report is expected in the autumn, which will make proposals to governments with options for fares reform and how to implement them.

Paul Plummer, chief executive of the Rail Delivery Group:

“Reforming the rules about how tickets are sold and bought has the potential to transform the buying experience for customers, making it easier for people to be confident they are getting the right ticket.”

Image courtesy of Network Rail

Anthony Smith chief executive of Transport Focus:

“Our research shows that rail passengers want a fares system that is simple to use, easy to understand and is flexible enough to cater to how people work and travel today.”

Image courtesy of Transport Focus

Dr Adam Marshal director general of the British Chambers of Commerce:

“Businesses depend on rail to meet clients and suppliers, and to ensure many of their employees can get to work… More transparent fares and rules will also help to boost confidence and trust among businesses.”

Image courtesy of British Chambers of Commerce

“The current ticketing and fares system needs to be brought into line with the more flexible way businesses work, allowing them to get the best deals when they travel, as well as encouraging better regional connectivity and increased productivity.”

Mike Cherry, national chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses

Image courtesy of Federation of Small Businesses

Alex Hayman, managing director of public markets at Which:

“It’s been clear for years that rail fares are too complicated and confusing for passengers, and all too often people don’t get the best fare for their journey… The government needs to make sure that any changes to the fares system are in the best interests of passengers.”