‘Ticketing Roadmap’ revealed to improve rail passenger travel in Europe
The Community of European Railway and Infrastructure Companies (CER) has released a ‘Ticketing Roadmap’ which aims to further improve passenger experience when travelling internationally by rail.
The European railway system is a fundamental pillar of the carbon emission goals of the ‘European Green Deal’, and European railways are committed to actively contribute to its successful implementation. To achieve the necessary modal shift, focus is needed on different areas, including ticketing. The Community of European Railway and Infrastructure Companies (CER) has published a ticketing roadmap, which addresses the further improvement of the customer experience when planning, booking, and travelling internationally by rail.
Today many online platforms already exist, that allow customers to purchase tickets for international journeys, however this experience is not always frictionless, and customers expect more.
Therefore, railway undertakings commit to improve international ticketing for rail in the broadest sense. By the year 2025, CER members would have committed to many important actions aimed at a more seamless passenger experience, such as extending the booking horizon and making tickets more available. In addition, the CER will ensure that passengers on (international) journeys with multiple carriers will get better support in case of disruptions or delays. These commitments were given by CER members at their recent General Assembly in Gdansk on 20 September 2021.
European rail passenger CEOs gathered in Paris (8 October 2021) for their annual high-level meeting to discuss their long-term vision for customers and passengers. The meeting was attended by Kristian Schmidt, Director for Land Transport, DG MOVE, and Christopher Irwin, Board Member of the European Passenger Federation, to share their view on the future of international passenger services and especially ticketing. The meeting was a place to exchange views on the past and future developments in these fields and to identify common points of collaboration to increase the modal shift in Europe.
In recent years, European railways have been working on enablers, creating the respective specifications for train ticket sales that harmonise the different ways of selling tickets, Europe-wide integrated rail timetables, and the basis for full ticket digitalisation. This will allow a lot of new services to be offered to passengers.
A long-term vision for 2030
The end goal of railways’ long-term vision for ticketing is to provide a seamless user experience for passengers when searching, selecting, and buying their railway services, including first and last mile transport. Passengers shall have access to simple, reliable, and comprehensive online information regarding timetables, prices, dependable real-time information and ticket purchasing for (rail) transport services, both domestic (urban, regional, long-distance) and international. Tickets issued by different railways and ticket vendors will be easily accepted throughout Europe. In the event of travel disruption, passengers will be able to easily attain information on how to continue their journey, as well as their passenger rights.
Marjan Rintel, Netherlands Railway (NS) CEO commented: “Ticketing in international rail is at a huge disadvantage compared to aviation. That is why we need to work hard to catch up! Passengers must have a seamless user experience when searching, selecting and buying their railway services. That means for instance booking up to 12 months in advance, and easily accepted tickets from different vendors throughout Europe. This Roadmap is therefore a huge first step”.
Alberto Mazzola, CER Executive Director stated: “The European railway system is a fundamental pillar to achieve EU climate targets. One of the things we need to focus on is ticketing and the Community of European Railways is ready to deliver. We have committed to a set of actions that will ensure a seamless ticketing experience by 2025, thus making rail even more attractive as a green and affordable transport solution. We invite all relevant stakeholders to support the Roadmap and help us to realise the EU’s Green Deal objective together.”