Published on : Friday, February 10, 2017
About one third of rail passengers use ticket machines with UK passengers which collectively spent £2bn through them last year. The Office of Rail and Road showed in their research that rail passengers who discover ticket machine fares could have been bought cheaper somewhere else. Transport watchdogs demanded that they should be refunded of the difference.
The research found that one in five passengers is selecting a more expensive ticket than they need, or are at risk of a penalty fare when using a ticket machine.
The “price guarantee” scheme proposed by the regulator is all about avoiding the passengers being ripped off ahead of new rules, which will force all ticket machines to offer the best price being fully enforced next year.
At present just two train operators offer price guarantees, but the hope is that more will now introduce it on an interim basis before ticket machines are upgraded.
The research also found about seven percent did not select the most flexible ticket for their journey. In addition, the majority of the passengers risked a penalty fare. Interestingly, thirteen percent of the passengers chose a more expensive ticket than required.
John Larkinson ORR’s director of railway markets & economics said that everyone travelling by train should be able to buy the most appropriate ticket for their journey. Despite investment in new technology and the removal of jargon from ticket machines, the new research shows passengers may be paying more for their journey than necessary.
A spokesman for the Rail Delivery Group, which represents train operators, said: “Train companies are working to reform fares through a number of agreed trials which will enable simplification of the fares structure. Complex, decades-old government rail fare regulations make it more difficult for train companies to offer the right, simple options on ticket machines.