Leeds station passengers (courtesy of Network Rail)

We currently have 6 campaigning areas for fares & tickets:

  1. Campaigning for a fair inflation fare increase each year.
  2. Pressing for the continued ability to buy tickets from people, not just a machine, online or PAYG – we think that passengers often benefit overall if they are out on the platform helping in other ways (but still retaining the ability to sell tickets).
  3. Wanting the simplification of fares. In particular, formalising the existence of split tickets to stop hiding cheap and legitimate fare choices and delivering more Pay as You Go fare payment coverage.
  4. Pressing for improvements to the way online and TVM ticket sales are made to make the buying process more intuitive.
  5. Seeking the retention of simple, user friendly tickets such as the London Travelcard National Rail Add on.
  6. Highlighting low carbon travel and decarbonisation; we campaign for the benefits of carbon efficient rail travel and see the need for rail fares to be competitively priced and the benefits to society overall of lower priced travel.

Fares and Tickets Focus areas

Read here for more detail, including the latest on campaigning areas.

Rail passengers punished with inflation-busting fare rises

No matter that there's a cost of living crisis, no matter that we're facing a climate emergency, the government seems more determined than ever to price us off the railway and onto the roads.

LNER's 70 minute ticket

We like the 70 minute ticket, we intensely dislike the linked loss of the Super Off-Peak Ticket

2024 Rail Fare Price Rise

The Railfuture view, as posted on social media.

Ticket offices reprieved

It’s good news the entire ticket office closure process has been 'cancelled' – but there’s a big sting in the tail – what will really happen next?

Retaining the London Travelcard Add-on

We're pleased that this campaign succeeded: In October 2023, it was announced that the Travelcard Add-on will continue.

The 2023 Fare Rise and Deckchairs

Author: Neil Middleton - Published Fri 23 of Dec, 2022 21:41 GMT - (0 Reads)
We’re pleased that tthe 2023 rail fare increases will be in line with earnings increases, not inflation, so announced as 5.9%.

But this is rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic. The service currently being offered to passengers simply isn’t value for money, even when there isn’t industrial action. Too many cancellations, a focus on cost, not the bottom line, so ignoring that most of the railways’ funding comes from passengers and that the service offered needs to meet their needs if revenue is to grow image from WikiPedia

Rail fares increases: smoke and mirrors?

Press Release 16 August 2022: Wednesday sees the release of July’s inflation figure, expected to be around12%. Will the fare rise be below inflation?

The Travelcard Add-on

Author: Neil Middleton - Published Wed 06 of Apr, 2022 19:35 BST - (0 Reads)
Neil Middleton, a Railfuture Director, takes a look at the London Travelcard Add-on, which is currently threatened by TfL's need to raise more fare income. He is unconvinced that abolition will lead to the expected revenue increase. Rather, he thinks it is frequently about convenience and certainty – abolition will mean some passengers will lose convenience and trust - and thus not travel – and the research others do will mean they realise they can now pay less. Thus, Railfuture believes that the Travelcard add-on should be retained – and improved. We have a survey to be completed to understand usage better - please complete it. Pic: Neil Middleton

Rail fare hikes stoking the cost of living crisis

Press Release 27 February 2022: Rail fare hikes of 3.8% kick in on Tuesday 1st March, adding to the current cost of living crisis.

COP 26 fare rise hypocrisy

Author: Neil Middleton - Published Wed 03 of Nov, 2021 08:06 GMT - (0 Reads)
COP26: “They cut air passenger duty for polluting aeroplanes, have frozen fuel duty for motorists again and again, but if you want to take the green option and travel by train, the government punishes you with eye-watering fare increases” said Chris Page, chair of Railfuture “It really is crazy that at a time when there is a real need to reduce our carbon usage, all the good news is for the more polluting choices. All rail wants is for it to be treated fairly as we go about reducing carbon usage in transport. Surely the time is right for a fares freeze, which would match the gift to car users and air travellers. Anything else would go totally against the goals of COP26” The Climate Train - image from Avanti West Coast

Fares after Covid

Author: Neil Middleton - Published Sun 24 of Oct, 2021 20:08 BST - (0 Reads)
There is lots of talk of fares reform, but the detail, other than headline items like "Pay as You Go" and "Single Leg" pricing is missing. An appearance before the House of Lords Built Environment Committee gave us a great opportunity to set out our thoughts on improvements needed to fares and ticketing: we advocate both specific tactical improvements and some principles for fundamental reform. Thameslink train at Blackfriars - own image

Creating a flexible season ticket for 2021

Author: Neil Middleton - Published Thu 04 of Feb, 2021 08:16 GMT - (5913 Reads)
Railfuture sets out its views on how flexible season tickets might work for a mid-2021 launch date; we propose a flexible ticket providing 10 single journeys, to be used within 2 weeks and priced the same as a weekly season. This will meet the needs of the hybrid worker, who post Covid will split their time between home and the workplace. Image from Network Rail - Leeds station - plenty of passengers, one of the lifebloods of the railway

Fairer fares in future?

Author: Steve Wright - Published Tue 28 of Jul, 2020 12:32 BST - (2998 Reads)
Better value fares, new ticketing options and aggressive marketing initiatives are needed to attract passengers back to rail after COVID-19. South Western Railway passenger won £5,500 in Touch Smartcard prize draw. Image by South Western Railway.

Easier fares for all

The Rail Delivery Group’s ‘Easier fares for all’ proposal released on 18 February 2019 has taken on board all the key points on fares and ticketing that Railfuture has been campaigning for - clearly explained, value for money fares and tickets which offer a choice of flexibility in time and routes to allow passengers to make an informed decision, and smart ticketing which benefits the passenger.

Lower fare rises

Railfuture recognises that fares normally have to rise each year (2020 is an exception) but considers that fares should not take an increasing share of passengers’ income. Therefore fares should rise in line with CPI (Consumer Price Index), the government’s preferred measure of inflation, not RPI (Retail Price Index). The rail industry must contain its costs so that financial support from the taxpayer does not increase.

In a further campaign success on 15 August 2018, Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling said that CPI could be used in place of RPI for the calculation of future ticket price rises, and wrote letters to unions and the Rail Delivery Group calling for the rail industry to contain its costs so that there is no additional burden on taxpayers.

Clearer tickets

On 10 August 2018 the Rail Delivery Group announced that unnecessary rail industry jargon has been removed from tickets, making them easier for passengers to understand - a success for our campaign.

Fare value and choice

Author: Chris Page - Published Tue 29 of May, 2018 19:26 BST - (5064 Reads)
Some people are deterred from travelling by train by the complexity of buying a ticket and the perception that fares are expensive, whilst some passengers are unclear whether they have the best deal so feel ripped off. Image: Play the ticket maze game to reach the Oyster!

Clearer not simpler fares

Author: Chris Page - Published Wed 22 of Feb, 2017 18:20 GMT - (6752 Reads)
Radical fare changes proposed by the Rail Delivery Group risk reducing choice and flexibility for passengers. What is needed are clearly explained fares which offer choice, not simplistic ticketing which removes flexibility. In London, the adjacent termini of St Pancras and King’s Cross offer alternative routes to Sheffield, giving holders of ‘any permitted route’ tickets the flexibility to choose either.

Delay repay losers

Author: Jerry Alderson - Published Fri 12 of Feb, 2016 20:42 GMT - (9221 Reads)
Britain is perceived to have high rail fares in comparison to other European countries. However, the entire package needs to be considered and few people appreciate some of the ’freebies’ that the fare buys, including a generous refund policy when trains are delayed. Unfortunately some people have abused this – fraudulently – for financial gain, as a news article in the London Evening Standard showed on 11th February 2016 (see photo and headline above).

Fares Complexity

Author: Paul Hollinghurst - Published Wed 08 of Jul, 2015 20:34 BST - (6414 Reads)
Railfuture is concerned about the complexity of fares, which are way beyond the abilities of the general public – and even some railway staff – to fully understand. This is a big problem as substantial savings can be made by knowing the ‘best’ ticket to buy. (Photo: Some of the tickets from Paul Hollinghurst’s railway journeys.)

Fare Increase Viewpoint

Author: Jerry Alderson - Published Mon 25 of Aug, 2014 16:29 BST - (14439 Reads)
Graphic from the BBC web-site on day that RPI figures were published showing the relationship between rail fare increases in Britain (although actually the England-only increases for the last couple of years) and UK inflation over the last 26 years. The negative RPI on 2009 was caused by a huge drop in mortgage interest rates (which are excluded from CPI calculations).

Press releases

Campaigns | Satisfied passengers save money | Restoring your railway | Electrification | Rail reform | Freight | Fighting Fund | Consultation responses | Our successes