Rail Reform Brings Prospect Of Higher Peak Fares

Rachel Holdsworth
By Rachel Holdsworth Last edited 74 months ago
Rail Reform Brings Prospect Of Higher Peak Fares

The Department for Transport's plan for rail industry reform was announced today, with the headlines being rejigged peak tickets, decentralisation and potential ticket office closures.

The DfT trail their fare reforms as "an end to inflation-busting rises", but the detail makes for interesting reading. Higher fares for peak-time travel are under consideration, as are 'shoulder' peak fares, in an attempt to get people to travel more flexibly. However, anyone who thinks commuters (particularly in London) cram themselves into horrible, sweaty carriages inching up the line because they choose to, is an idiot. People who have flexibility already use it, so higher peak fares will simply penalise people who have to, say, be at work by 9am after dropping the kids off at school.

The paper also wants to move towards a more user-friendly ticketing system. This is a forerunner to closing ticket offices, the idea being people will be more confident they're choosing the right ticket at a machine. Unfortunately, this seems at odds with complicating the system with things like higher peak or shoulder fares.

Another change reflects the government's love of localism: they want to devolve accountability and decision-making to local authorities and passenger transport executives.

Other proposals include changing season ticket types to be fairer to people who don't travel at peak times or every day, the potential to buy train tickets at places other than a train station, the expansion of Oyster-style smart ticketing across the rail network, making travel restrictions more obvious at time of purchase, improving passenger information (yes, please) and finding £3.5bn of "efficiency savings".

There are consultations on fares and ticketing and decentralisation until 28 June if you want to have your say.

Photo by Joep R. from the Londonist Flickr pool

Last Updated 08 March 2012