A press release from the Office of Rail Regulation gives the results of a survey of more than 1600 passengers from across Great Britain:
- Nearly three-quarters of all those interviewed were not confident what ‘off-peak’ times were. 5% of on-train interviewees travelling on an ‘Anytime’ ticket realised that they could have travelled on an ‘off-peak’ ticket.
- Over 50% of online respondents agreed that ‘it is a bit of a lottery as to whether you find the best price for a rail journey or not’. 45% said that the fare system is too complicated for them to understand.
- 41% of online respondents said they had previously purchased tickets and later found they could have made the journey on cheaper tickets.
The Daily Telegraph quotes the Lib Dem transport minister as saying:
- 70% of on-train interviewees were unaware that they could only travel on the specified train on an ‘Advance’ ticket. Among those travelling on an ‘Advance’ ticket, 37% interviewed did not realise that if they missed their train, and travelled on a later train, they would normally have to buy a new ticket.
"I firmly believe that buying a rail ticket should be a straightforward transaction, not an obstacle course.
"Passengers should be able to confidently choose from a range of fares, finding the best one for their journey without having to understand every nuance of the fares and retail structure.
“When people do decide to travel by rail, they want a train ticket, not a lottery ticket.”The privatisation of the railways has not given passengers more freedom but less.
What people want is to be able to turn up at a station, pay a reasonable fee and travel. But the railway companies, in order to maximise their profits, require us to book in advance and to travel at tightly controlled times.
While services have improved on many lines since privatisation, we have all paid a high price for those improvements and not just in money.