Rail companies in Britain have put forward ‘radical’ proposals that will overhaul the fares system, and smart ticketing is at the forefront of the change.
The Rail Delivery Group, representing train operators, has published proposals that are the industry’s first contributions to Williams Rail Review which will establish the most appropriate and commercial frameworks to support the delivery of the government’s railway ambitions.
The Group’s consultation – its biggest ever in terms of rail fares – reveals the vast majority of rail companies want to see reform.
Smart ticketing is at the heart of the changes that rail companies would like to see.
Only last month, Transport for the North (TfN) outlined ambitious smart ticketing plans as part of its £70 billion masterplan.
And now it would seem the interest in these changes is more widespread, with nine out of 10 train operators calling for consideration of smart or electronic tickets that would have potential for price capping.
The reform of rail fares would support ‘tap-in, tap-out’ pay-as-you-go ticketing across the whole country, which would not only provide greater control over fares and better integration of rail fares with other modes of transport, but would also make the whole process much easier and streamlined.
By using smart ticketing, the Rail Delivery Group believe customers will only pay for what they need, being charged the best value fare.
Reforming the fares system, the Group says, would “make the most of technology, like online accounts, smartcards and smartphones to make ticket buying simpler, so that customers are shown fares which match their needs while screening out irrelevant choices that cause confusion.”
Paul Plummer, Chief Executive of the Rail Delivery Group, said: “Rail companies are already working together on plans for real world trials so people can see what our proposals could mean for them.
“However, current regulation needs to be updated and we want to work with government, who are key to making improvements a reality, to deliver the better fares system the public wants to see.”