Passengers to benefit from new fares system and more contactless options
New changes have been announced by the UK’s Department for Transport (DfT) that will give passengers simpler, cheaper fares thanks to an overhaul of the ticketing process.
‘Contactless’ Pay As You Go (PAYG) journeys are being introduced at Potters Bar, Radlett and Brookmans Park as part of the DfT smart ticketing roll-out – helping to create a truly passenger-focused railway.
The DfT has also backed a new trial that will significantly boost customer confidence and flexibility in booking train tickets, with the potential to also save passengers money.
LNER will begin trials in January 2020 of a new fare system designed to make travelling on trains simpler and clearer. Return tickets will be removed on trial routes from London to Leeds, Newcastle and Edinburgh, and in their place passengers will be able to purchase cheaper single-leg tickets, which will be more in line with half the price of a return journey.
Secretary of State for Transport, Grant Shapps said: “These announcements are vital for providing passengers with a more convenient, flexible and fairly priced experience. New ‘contactless’ Pay As You Go journeys at Potters Bar, Radlett and Brookmans Park will help make travel cheaper, quicker and easier, with our smart ticketing roll-out also set to benefit passengers at Luton Airport and Welwyn Garden City later this year.
“We are also taking action to simplify fares as LNER begins single-leg fares trials next year. This will save many people money with substantially cheaper single tickets, boost customer confidence, and ensure passengers up and down the country get the modern transport service they expect.”
The roll-out of PAYG ticketing follows ambitious plans made by train operators in 2018 to enable smart ticketing at stations across almost all of the network, with all franchised operators offering smart cards and/or barcode ticketing.
This is the result of over 5,000 upgrades to ticketing equipment at stations across the country.
This follows the department – together with the rail industry – launching the brand new 16-17 Saver to give young people a better deal across the railways and help them and their families save an average of £186 every year.
In response to the announcement of fares trials for LNER, Jacqueline Starr, Chief Operating Officer at the Rail Delivery Group, which represents train operators and Network Rail, said: “Passengers, businesses and rail companies are united in wanting easier fares. The trials on LNER’s routes will help to support our proposed reforms and create a system that better fits how people live and work today. As the trial is being carried out, we want to work with government to update current regulation to deliver the better fares system the public wants to see.”
Anthony Smith, Chief Executive of independent watchdog Transport Focus, said: “Transport Focus has long argued that passengers want a simpler, modern fares system which matches the way people now travel. A proper trial of single leg ticketing on selected routes is long overdue and will be widely welcomed. This trial represents a significant step towards the development of rail fares that are simple to understand, easy to use and could save passengers money. LNER passengers using routes involved in this trial will be better able to mix and match tickets to suit their needs and preferences.”