Rail fares reform - the sector reacts

 

The recent calls for a rail fare overhaul from the Rail Delivery Group, appear to have provided a rare moment of unity in this fragmented sector - in that everyone seems to agree things need to change.

At the heart of what has been proposed is essentially the kind of smart ticketing already enjoyed by Londoners.

The Department for Transport and rail operators have made several attempts to introduce smart ticketing over the last few years. None of which have proven to be very successful.

Behind any real change will need to be a scrapping of the regulatory system that puts limits on fare flexibility. This would require legislation, something the DfT could find difficult.

Stretched from Brexit and understaffed, Transport Network understands from senior figures in the department it could be years at least before they can put through any major legislative programme.

Reform will also require a new understanding of franchise structures that would protect operators against the risk of a more dynamic and most importantly perhaps will not see operators' profits immediately collapse through the loss of season tickets.

Reaction:

DfT:

A DfT spokesperson said: 'RDG’s contribution to the Williams Review is welcome. In the short term, we are ready to work with the industry on how their proposals might work and be tested in the real world.'

The DfT is also working with train companies to expand pay as you go on SWR, c2c and West Midlands Railway networks and providing Transport for the North £150m to help roll out multi-modal smart ticketing.

It is also consulting on expanding ‘pay as you go’ further in the South-East.

Watchdog

Anthony Smith, chief executive, Transport Focus, said: 'The current process is broken and its faults well known. The time for piecemeal changes has gone – we need root-and-branch reform to maximise the benefits and boost value for money ratings.

'A lot of things in these proposals are sensible and long overdue: single journey-based pricing will simplify and make the system easier to explain.

'New fares that match the way that people want to travel today will make rail more attractive. Current fares regulation does stand in the way of achieving much of this. But regulation also caps some prices and any talk of relaxing this could make some nervous. So, I’m pleased to see the plan talk of replacing regulation rather than removing it.

The MPs

The chair of the transport committee, Lilian Greenwood MP, said: 'It’s no surprise to us that passengers want real reform of rail fares. In a 2016 Report, the Transport Committee labelled parts of the rail ticketing system ‘overly complex, opaque and unfair’ and nothing has changed. The call for fairer fares has only become louder and more insistent after a year in which many passengers experienced appalling levels of disruption and promised improvements to services have been delayed or cancelled.

'The Rail Delivery Group’s proposition to the Williams Review that passengers only pay for what they need, are always charged the best value fare, can use smart tickets and season tickets that suit today’s working patterns all make complete sense to us, and are welcome recognition that things need to change.

'But the devil will be in the detail and my Committee, along with many of the other rail-watchers, will be keeping a close eye on this work to ensure it develops in ways that are fair, transparent, recognises the needs of passengers and takes account of the vital contribution that the railway makes to our society and economy.'

Campaigners

Darren Shirley, chief executive of Campaign for Better Transport, said: 'The fares and ticketing system is broken and desperately needs fixing, so we welcome these proposals. We’re particularly pleased to see proposals for more flexible commuter tickets to reflect modern work patterns, something we’ve long called for, and for nationwide smart ticketing. What’s not clear however, is if these proposals will also lead to an end to the annual fares rise, which fails to reflect the level of service passengers receive the previous year.

'It is now up to the Government to take forward these proposals to ensure we have a fares system that is fairer and easier to use; that integrates ticketing across all public transport; and that genuinely puts passengers at the heart of the railways.'

Register now for full access


Register just once to get unrestricted, real-time coverage of the issues and challenges facing UK transport and highways engineers.

Full website content includes the latest news, exclusive commentary from leading industry figures and detailed topical analysis of the highways, transportation, environment and place-shaping sectors. Use the link below to register your details for full, free access.

Already a registered? Login

 
comments powered by Disqus
 
 
highways jobs

Assistant Engineer

Cambridgeshire County Council
£21,074 - £30,756
Looking for strong team players interested in working with a variety of professional and community partners across Cambridgeshire. Cambridgeshire
Recuriter: Cambridgeshire County Council

Junior Energy Manager Apprentice

Brent Council
£15,000 p.a. inc.
The right person for this job will be pro-active and innovative in finding a way forward. Wembley, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Brent Council

Career Grade Drainage Engineer

Swindon Borough Council
£19,092 to £40,680 p.a
Working in the asset management team, you’ll support the work of the Lead Local Flood Authority (LLFA) and Highways Authority. Swindon, Wiltshire
Recuriter: Swindon Borough Council

Assistant Director (Planning, Regeneration & Transport)

Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council
£87,791 per annum  
This is an exciting time to join Rotherham and make a real difference. We are looking for an outstanding Assistant Director who will bring... Rotherham, South Yorkshire
Recuriter: Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council

Highway Construction Project Manager

Brent Council
£50,442 - £53,526 p.a. inc.
We are looking for an accomplished highway construction project manager to support the delivery of two high priority highway schemes. Brent, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Brent Council

Traffic Signals & UTMC Manager

Bristol City Council
£42,683 - £45,591 (from 1st April onwards)
Looking for someone with proven management experience, enthusiasm, creativity, vision and good communication skills. City of Bristol
Recuriter: Bristol City Council

Highways Estimator

Ringway
Competitive Salary
As the Highways Estimator you will join a busy environment and become an integral part of the team. Hounslow (London Borough), London (Greater)
Recuriter: Ringway

Principal Highways Project Engineer

Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council
£34,106 - £35,229 per annum
The post holder will be responsible for project managing the delivery of two highway projects on the Key Route Network. Knowsley (Metropolitan borough), Merseyside
Recuriter: Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council

Traffic Schemes Officer

Oxfordshire County Council
£22,021 - £29,636 per annum
An exciting opportunity has arisen to play a central role with the Traffic Team in the maintenance of the highway network... Kidlington, Oxfordshire
Recuriter: Oxfordshire County Council

Traffic Engineer

Telford & Wrekin Council
£29,055 to £30,756
This is an exciting opportunity to join Telford & Wrekin Council’s Traffic Management Team! Telford, Shropshire
Recuriter: Telford & Wrekin Council

Assistant Engineer – Traffic Regulation

Telford & Wrekin Council
£23,866 to £25,463
This is an exciting opportunity to join Telford & Wrekin Council’s Traffic Management Team. Telford, Shropshire
Recuriter: Telford & Wrekin Council

Environment Officer

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£29,909 – £32,233 Grade 11 - £33,136 - £35,229
All Environment Officers lead, project manage and/or co-ordinate large environmental projects... Huddersfield, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Highways Quantity Surveyor

Leicester City Council
£30,756 - £33,136 pro-rata per annum
Working in the Highways Maintenance Group, you will be responsible for the operational highway maintenance activities Leicester, Leicestershire
Recuriter: Leicester City Council

Highways Engineer/Inspector

Royal Borough of Greenwich
£22956 - £32637 per annum
Highways Engineer/Inspector - PermanentThere are plenty of reasons to take a closer look at Royal Greenwich.Royal Greenwich is undergoing a huge trans England, London, Woolwich
Recuriter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

Senior Project Engineer

Derbyshire County Council
Grade 13 £39,867 - £43,282 per annum
Derbyshire County Council is looking for an enthusiastic, enterprising and experienced laboratory manager Derbyshire
Recuriter: Derbyshire County Council

Engineer - Bridges

Cambridgeshire County Council
£32,825 - £35,401
We have a vacancy for a Structures Engineer working within the Bridge’s team! Cambridgeshire
Recuriter: Cambridgeshire County Council

Engineer

Cambridgeshire County Council
£32,825 - £35,401
You will be required to lead the delivery of a wide range of highway improvements and maintenance projects... Cambridgeshire
Recuriter: Cambridgeshire County Council

Highway Supervision Engineer x 2

Somerset County Council
£24,657 - £28,221 per annum
You should be self-motivated, enthusiastic, confident, work well within a team environment and strive to support the deliver high quality services. Taunton, Somerset
Recuriter: Somerset County Council

Senior Development Infrastructure Officer

Somerset County Council
£29,055 - £33,136 per annum
You should be self-motivated, enthusiastic, confident, work well within a team environment and strive to deliver high quality services. Taunton, Somerset
Recuriter: Somerset County Council

Principal Development Infrastructure Officer

Somerset County Council
£33,136 - £37,107 per annum
You should be self-motivated, enthusiastic, confident, work well within a team environment and strive to deliver high quality services... Taunton, Somerset
Recuriter: Somerset County Council