Smart Transport

Transport watchdog calls for urgent rail fares reform

Independent watchdog Transport Focus has written to the Secretary of State for Transport calling for rail fares reform.

Transport Focus’s latest Travel during Covid-19 survey shows people’s travel patterns have changed and are unlikely to return to the typical Monday-Friday commute in the near future. 

Half of people in the survey of 2,000 people expect to work from home more often in the future and more than a third (36%) think their job will be homebased with limited travel to their workplace.

In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic Transport Focus is urging the Government to reform the fares and ticketing system to offer better value.

This could include more flexible season tickets or ‘carnets’ (which offer a discount for multiple journeys when bought upfront) for people returning to work part-time in the office and to suit the way people travel now.

Writing to the Secretary of State for Transport, Transport Focus chief executive Anthony Smith, said: “Passenger views on the current structure are well known: complicated, illogical, expensive, low levels of trust.

“A new railway needs a 21st century retail offer, especially when it may need to stimulate demand and persuade passengers to return.”

Smith said changing work patterns will increase the demand for flexible season tickets.

He said he hopes consideration can be given to accelerating the provision of carnet/flexible season style tickets.

Smith added: “As well as improving the work life balance for passengers this could also help manage demand in the coming months when capacity is scarcer.”

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng

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