DfT seeks passenger views on bid to extend pay-as-you-go across rail network
The consultation feedback in the southeast will be used when considering how to implement PAYG more widely across other urban or commuter areas.
Rail Minister Andrew Jones has announced the government’s renewed drive to make ‘smart ticketing’ on the rail network the norm rather than the exception.
A 12-week public consultation will seek opinions from passengers and rail stakeholders on the potential to make PAYG – swiping in and out at the ticket barrier with a bank card or a smartcard – accepted more widely.
With smartcards and barcodes already providing an alternative to existing paper tickets across almost all the UK rail network, the government’s ambition is to drive this even further forward by seeking the public’s views on how to roll out PAYG to more stations.
Rail Minister, Andrew Jones, said: “We want to make rail journeys simpler and easier for passengers. Smart ticketing is the modern answer – offering simpler fares, fairer deals and less confusion for passengers. This consultation is about finding out what works for people, and we want to know how pay-as-you-go could make life easier for passengers who make hundreds of millions of journeys each year.
“We have already invested £80 million in smart ticketing nationally and this has helped to speed up smartcard roll-out so that smart tickets are available across almost all the network.”
Dependent on the outcome of the consultation, by 2020, the government’s ambition is to see PAYG rolled out across more regional and urban commuter areas, delivering the kind of system that already exists in London.
As part of this, the Department for Transport (DfT) is requiring new rail franchisees to introduce PAYG in commuter areas, and supporting Transport for the North’s ambitious plans to roll it out across the public transport network.
A spokesman for the Rail Delivery Group said: “Any steps to make rail travel easier are to be welcomed, and making the most of pay-as-you-go requires a fundamental reform of the regulations that underpin the fares system. Only then can train operators introduce the new deals that have made tapping in and out to pay for a journey so popular in the capital.”