A blog by Declan Wheelan, Fares, Ticketing & Retail Workstream Lead

3 November 2023

Earlier this week, I took part in a panel discussion, alongside other industry representatives, as part of Campaign for Better Transport’s (CfBT) launch of its ‘Fare Future for Rail’ report.

It’s always motivating to see so many different organisations joining together behind the vital ambition to make fares simpler and better for our passengers, and I welcome the report as a valuable contribution to the debate about how we can make rail fares simpler and better for all. 

The report finds more than 1 in 3 passengers find rail fares ‘complicated and confusing’ – which is hardly surprising given there is a myriad of different fare types to choose from

How are we working to make things better?

There is a huge opportunity to improve fares in a way that will deliver wins for customers, for taxpayers, and for people who work in the industry.  Ultimately, it’s about creating trust and value for money for customers – with choices that are simple and consistent.

There is lots to unpick in doing that  but we are working with Government and across the wider industry to manage a plan to deliver simpler fares for passengers.

Right now, we are working with local authorities and train operators on the delivery of simplified fares in Manchester and the West Midlands, to support the roll out of PAYG travel in these areas. This will bring London style ticketing to more of the network.

We are also working closely with LNER on the trial of a new flexible, demand-based fares pilot, and are excited to learn about passengers’ experience of this.

By working in a collaborative way, we will bring genuine and meaningful change to a part of the industry which is so clearly in need of reform, and we look forward to introducing some of these improvements soon.