Fares reform proposals (2018- )
This page contains details of our proposals to government to overhaul fares and ticketing regulation.
How we got here
The current fares system was designed in the 1990s and has not kept pace with the evolution of technology and how people work and travel today. The regulations controlling the fares system still assume customers will buy their ticket by visiting a ticket office whilst failing to take in to account the rise in part time working or self employment, up by a third in 22 years.
Further layers of requirements have been added through individual franchise agreements, with little or nothing taken away. This means that long-standing anomalies are becoming locked in, resulting in bigger problems for customers, and there are now around 55 million different fares.
Working together, train companies have made improvements where they can within the constraints of the current system, but real reform requires regulatory change.
- Rail industry seeks 'root and branch reform’ of rail fares regulation (press release 8 May 2018)
In June 2018, we launched the first ever public consultation for customers, businesses, passenger groups, stakeholders, employees and the public to have their say about what the fares system should look like. The consultation ran between June and September 2018. We received nearly 20,000 responses to the consultation and had conversations with over 60 organisations representing over 300,000 other organisations, authorities and individuals.
- Rail fares regulation and reform consultation goes live (press release 4 June 2018)
- Flexible and part time workers urged to have their say on rail fare regulation (press release 23 July 2018)
- Nearly 20,000 people respond to fares consultation (press release 10 September 2018)
We used the responses from the consultation and our meetings with key stakeholders to inform the proposals, which aim to make the ticketing model simpler and easier to use for customers and to bring it up to date with technology and modern working patterns. These proposals were published in February 2019.
- Rail industry publishes radical proposals for once-in-a-generation reform of fares system (press release 18 February 2019)
- We've listened. It's time to respond with what our customers want (blog 18 February 2019)
What we are proposing
The results showed us that more than 8 out of 10 people wanted the current system overhauled, with respondents calling for a fairer, more transparent and easier to use experience.
Based on what we learned, our proposals have a simple proposition at their core:
Customers only pay for what they need and are always charged the best value fare
The principles include:
- a simplified buying process
- tickets that better reflect modern ways of working
- customers having control over the journeys that they pay for
- easy change of plans
- hassle-free refunds
- good deals for everyone's travel needs
- being able to trust their ticket
- no need to 'split tickets'
We now want to work with government to begin the process of reforming fares regulation to enable these changes.
- Go to the Big Plan Big Changes website for more about Easier Fares
- Find out more about the current fares structure
- Consultation posters