الإثنين , يونيو 15 2020

Rail firms must offer cheapest ticket

Ticket barriers at a train station

Rail passengers must be told if they can get cheaper tickets for their journeys, following an agreement by rail companies.

Train operators across Britain have signed up to a code of practice designed to help travellers get the best deal possible.

It follows a summit called by the rail minister, Claire Perry, last month.

Ms Perry said she was determined that passengers should get the best possible deal for every journey.

The new code of practice has been drawn up following criticism that rail passengers using self-service machines can pay far more than if they go to a ticket office.

The rail companies have agreed that from 1 April their machines will be labelled clearly, to inform travellers that cheaper fares for some journeys may be available.

The code will be overseen by the Office of Rail Regulation and it aimed to end inconsistencies between prices available in ticket offices and machines in stations.

Rail minister Claire PerryClaire Perry hosted a summit last month to discuss rail fares

The Daily Telegraph says its investigation into the issue found that self-service machines – used to purchase almost a quarter of all tickets sold annually – can offer vastly different fares, making some journeys £100 more expensive.

Ms Perry also said she would not hesitate to hold the industry to account if improvements were not made.

She told the Telegraph there is “no excuse for poor quality information, restricted ticket choice or confusing screen directions at ticket machines”.

The BBC’s Jane Peel says the government’s long-term aim is to get the train companies to update their systems so the machines automatically direct customers to the best price for their journeys.

The news comes after the rail industry recently announced that average rail fares will rise by 2.2% from 2 January.

The rise is the lowest for five years after the government said regulated fare rises would be pegged to July’s measure of Retail Price inflation (RPI) rather than capped at RPI plus 1%.

Northern Ireland rail fares are set separately and have not risen since 2013.

Similarly in Scotland, there will be no rise next year in off-peak fares, which have been frozen since January 2013. Peak fares will rise by 2.5%, the same as the July inflation rate. It means on average overall rail fares will rise by 1.5%.

Graph showing rail fares compared with RPI

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