Leeds station passengers (courtesy of Network Rail)
Fares must be repriced to deliver value for money, remove the anomalies which lead to split-ticketing and encourage more people to choose the train - particularly for travel to the workplace. Many people have discovered that they can work from home at least part of the time; we believe the trend away from 5 day commuting is now 'embedded' for many types of work. Flexible, clearly explained, smart ticket options which support this trend without encouraging a Tuesday – Thursday peak are essential.

We are campaigned for the 2022 Inflationary Fare rise to be skipped for the year - we believe this to be consistent, and fair to the railway as Vehicle Fuel Duty has been frozen, and domestic Air Passenger Duty will be reduced by 50% from 2023. We hoped that this would make up for the March 2021 fare rises being inflation busting - both continuing to use RPI (rather than CPI) and adding an extra 1% to the rise.

Meanwhile the flexi-seasons announced in June 2021 are a step in the right direction, but perhaps not quite flexi enough.

Expected Ticket Office Closures

Author: Neil Middleton - Published Wed 23 of Mar, 2022 22:13 GMT - (0 Reads)
Neil Middleton, a Railfuture Director takes a look at expected Station Ticket Office closures and wonders if, looked at through wider viewpoints such as timing (vs fare simplification), inclusivity, attracting new passengers to rail they are necessarily a wise move. Pic: This is Money.

COP 26, Hypocrisy and upcoming inflationary fare rises

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 for the post Covid railway

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 – a Railfuture campaign success

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).

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