Fairer Train Fares?

Lib Dem County Councillor Philip Daniel (Left) with District Councillor Vic Ient

The Rail Delivery Group (made up of Train Operating Companies)  along with the rail passenger organisation, Transport Focus are asking for public comments on how to restructure and simplify train fares. The consultation is open and runs until 10 September 2018. I think it is very important that everybody who uses the railway whether regularly or occasionally makes their comments.

This is the first major review of how train fares are structured and how train fares can be purchased since the early 1990s. That’s before the Internet became widely used and before contactless payments were invented. The rail fare system is still based on a clunky magnetic ticketing system which is very difficult to modify and change.

Recommendations will be made to the government in the autumn following the consultation which could bring about a much fairer, more equitable and easier fare system. However the computer experts and ticket administrators sitting in their offices don’t necessarily have all the best ideas so this is our opportunity to tell them what we want. Please make your comments:

Click HERE to give your views

This consultation is not about the quality of service or lack of it, getting rid of GTR in the southern railway network, overcrowding or resolving the chaotic way in which the rail companies introduced timetable changes. Yes, all these things need to be dealt with but I think it is really important to take advantage of making suggestions to improve the rail ticket system. Please do tell them what you think by clicking on the above link.

Last week, I attended a meeting here in Sussex organised by Railfuture, the railway network pressure group. At that meeting there was a presentation by one of the rail companies and the Rail Delivery Group. It was very helpful as it gave me an insight into how clunky the back-office computer system is that runs the ticketing system. It also gave me some hope that these guys are really trying to make a difference.

At the meeting I made a number of suggestions as to how things could improve and here is a brief summary of what I said:

  • We should get rid of the ticket barrier system. Ticket verification could be done as you board the train, at contactless post or even on the train. This will reduce congestion and avoid us relying upon old-fashioned magnetic tickets. This would open up the platform concourse area for the the development of shops and community space. A n example of wasted space at the train station is Lewes:
  • We need to have much more flexible tickets rather than just have, season tickets, standard tickets and off-peak tickets. I’m in favour of a ‘rover’ ticket system for non-commuting journeys where you buy:
    – a number of journeys to be used when you want travel or
    – multi stop ticket for a certain area en bloc
    Both of these save you having to buy ticket per journey.
  • I would like to see a public transport integrated ticket system where you can travel by bus and rail, – just like they do in the London transport area.
  • For commuters living in rural areas I would like to see the introduction of reduced car parking charges to encourage people to use the train for a large part of the journey.

These are just some of my ideas. You may not agree with me so please chip in and say what you think.

Liberal Democrats in the Lewes area want to get a better rail service whether it’s to do with ticketing, getting rid of overcrowding or improving the infrastructure such as reducing the reliance on the only route to London from the south coast – the Brighton mainline. We believe new infrastructure is required to connect the coast-way lines via Lewes and Uckfield to London.  Liberal Democrat County Councillor Philip Daniel and myself, Vic Ient (pictured above) want the controlling Conservative run government and County Council to wake up and produce an integrated transport system that isn’t just reliant upon roads with a better ticketing system at prices which people can afford.

PS: if you want to hear what Robert Nisbet,  the Regional Director of the Rail Delivery Group, had to say about this consultation click on the image below:

 

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