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Simpler Rail Fares

Simpler Rail Fares

The Association of Train Operating Companies announces simpler rail fares

Passengers have been asking for simpler rail fares and train operators are responding by introducing a much simpler structure for rail fares across the National Rail network in 2008, it was announced today by the Association of Train Operating Companies.  More widely-available discounts for railcards are also being introduced. 






The changes mean that three main ticket types for single and return journeys will be available on the rail network.  The current names will be replaced by new names.





i) From 18 May 2008, all advance purchase fares, many of which are substantially discounted, will be known simply as Advance and have common terms and conditions.  Discounts for Railcards will now also apply.  At present, discounts on railcards are not available on all advance purchase tickets.





ii) From 7 September 2008, ‘walk-up’ fares (i.e. tickets that passengers don’t have to buy in advance) will be grouped into two categories – Anytime or Off-Peak.



Anytime fares (singles and returns) can be purchased right up to the day and time of travel and used on any train without peak hour or any other restriction.  Current ticket types that fall into the Anytime category include Open singles and returns.


Off-peak tickets are, as their name suggests, cheaper fares for travelling during periods when train services are generally less busy.   They can be bought at anytime for journeys, including day returns, right up until the time of departure but they carry restrictions on the time or day of travel.  Current ticket types that will become known as Off-peak include the Saver and Cheap Day Returns. 



On some routes, where there are two off-peak fares, the cheaper fares will be called the Super Off-Peak.  Current SuperSaver tickets fall into this category.


The new fare categories mean that passengers have only to choose from one of three ticket types when planning their journey and web sites and booking office information will reflect this.  The changes are designed to enable people to buy the best value ticket to match their journey more easily.




Passenger feedback and research has suggested that people don’t always find it easy to buy the best value ticket to match their needs because of the range of different fares presently available.  The new names are based on market research with customers and the findings are backed up by research undertaken by Passenger Focus, the main national passenger representative body.


Commenting on the changes, David Mapp, Commercial Director of the ATOC said:




“This is the biggest shake up in the fares and ticketing system for many years and we want passengers to take advantage of it and also encourage more people to take the train.  




“Passengers have told us that they want a simpler fares system.  We are listening and responding.  These changes will enable people to buy train tickets more easily and with greater confidence.” 


The price of train tickets will not be increased as a result of the new fares structure and the regulation of fares is unaffected.


There are a few ticket types that remain unchanged and which are not included in the new arrangements.  (See item 4 in Notes to Editors)






Full details of the changes are being made via leaflets and posters at stations and also on the National Rail website (www.nationalrail.co.uk/simplefares).


Advance tickets are not a ‘walk on’ fare.  They must be booked in advance for a specific train service and are available up to the day before travel.  Current fare types that Advance tickets will cover have a wide range of names including Leisure Advance, Business Advance, Value Advance, SuperAdvance, Apex, etc.


Simplified in two stages – in May and September 2008 - rail fares, whether single or return, Standard or First Class - will be grouped into the following three categories: Advance; Off–peak; Anytime.


These changes were first trailed in the Government’s Railway White Paper, Delivering a Sustainable Railway in July 2007, which incorporated proposals made by the Association of Train Operating Companies.