A public consultation is being launched to find ways of simplifying the rail ticketing system that currently means 55 million different fares exist.
The study, which will be carried out by The Rail Delivery Group (RDG), which represents private train operators andGovernment-owned Network Rail, aims to identify ways to make the system fairer and easier to use.
It follows a survey by KPMG on behalf of the rail industry which found that only one in three (34%) passengers were “very confident” they bought the best value ticket for their last journey.
The report concluded that rail ticketing should be:
:: transparent, predictable, easier to use:: integrated with other modes of transport:: personalised with flexible fares
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The current system is controlled by regulations from the 1990s, with added complexity through individual franchise agreements.
:: Rail privatisation has been a success
RDG chief executive Paul Plummer said the industry wanted to reform “well-meaning but outdated” regulation.
He said: “The industry doesn’t have all the answers, which is why we want to hear views from passengers, communities and businesses in all parts of the country.”
Robert Nisbet, an RDG spokesman, told Sky News: “What we want is to strip back the layers of rules and regulations that have made the system complicated for so many of us.
“We want to get back to basics and find out what people’s priorities are.
“The regulations were set in stone by government but they have grown like coral as more franchises are let for example, and as more train operators have offered different products to attract more people to the railways.”
:: Majority back rail nationalisation
Anthony Smith, chief executive of passenger watchdog Transport Focus, said: “Fares and ticketing systems need to suit the way we travel now – there is a huge demand for smarter ticketing.
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“Opening the debate on reform options is overdue.”
The consultation opens on June 4, with a report expected in late autumn.