Blackpool rail champion supports "Overhaul" plan by operators for fares system

Train operators including Northern have produced a plan for root and branch reform of the fares system
Train operators including Northern have produced a plan for root and branch reform of the fares system
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The Blackpool-based rail sector champion for disabled people has welcomed a root-and-branch reform of fares and tickets.

The train operators’ Rail Delivery Group has published “Easier Fares For All” with ideas to revamp the system.

Stephen Brookes

Stephen Brookes

Paul Plummer, chief executive officer of the Rail Delivery Group said that rail usage had change dramatically since the last reform in the 1990s.

He said: "Despite investment and improvement over the last 25 years, it is clear that the system must once again be reformed to deliver more.

"It is vital that the range of fares on offer makes rail an attractive choice by supporting the way people want to travel today. Crucial too is that the public has confidence and trust in what they are buying."

The RDG carreid out a consultation last summer and nearly 20,000 people responded, plus 60 groups representing nearly 300,000 organisations.

Rail sector champion Stephen Brookes, who had also contributed to the consultation, said: “I support the proposals to overhaul the country’s rail fares system, making it easier to use and bringing it up to date with how disabled people want to travel today.

"Reform would support ‘tap-in, tap-out’ pay as you go being rolled out across the country, with better integration of rail fares with those for other modes of transport.

"With a new system, disabled and older passengers in our area travelling in off-peak hours could see savings while overcrowding could be reduced by up to a third on some of the busiest long-distance services. The review included accessibility groups and local authorities.

"For disabled and older passengers the benefit would allow demand to be spread across the day, potentially reducing overcrowding by up to a third on the busiest services. Many people want to see ticket prices set more flexibly, spreading demand for a better customer experience including fares that encouraged empty seats to be filled.

"We know that many disabled people find rail travel expensive and confusing so making fares easier in the way set out would encourage far more journeys taking people off the road and on to the railway, increasing revenue from the sector which is increasingly recognised for its annual £250bn spend.

"The rail industry is already working on disability access to make improvements where it can to improve the ticket buying process. This includes removing unhelpful jargon from over half a million tickets, making ticket machines simpler and easier to use, and make advance purchasing available up to 10 minutes before travel on many routes, which will aid disabled people who want a better turn up and go ability for rail travel."