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Author Topic: Making fares simpler  (Read 2277 times)
grahame
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« on: May 08, 2018, 08:13:48 am »

Here we go again ...

From The Guardian

Quote
UK-wide consultation to study outdated ticketing rules that have ballooned in complexity

"There's a problem. Let's study it.  Then we will be able to say we looked into it.  And we may make some cosmetic changes to help convince people we really do mean to sort it out."  Sorry - I shouldn't put words into people's mouths. Perhaps this time they will sort it out!
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grahame
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« Reply #1 on: May 08, 2018, 08:19:01 am »

Selected quotes from that article which fuel my cynicism

Quote
The industry will wait for the results of the consultation, which will run from June to September, before committing itself to any specific proposals.

A spokesman for the RDG indicated that some fares might have to be scrapped in order to make way for new ones. “It doesn’t make sense to offer a three-or-four-day season ticket. There are certain fares that train companies have to sell. Unless we get rid of them, [new fares] keep adding to the total number.”

According to research commissioned by the industry from the consulting group KPMG, only 34% of rail customers are “very confident” they bought the best-value ticket for their last journey and only 29% were “very satisfied” with the experience of buying their ticket. The industry says reforming the fares systems has the potential to attract more people to travel by train.
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Western Pathfinder
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« Reply #2 on: May 08, 2018, 09:39:43 am »

Quite a lot of media about this today on Breakfast from the BBC and Radio4 and a large amount on Twitter, which brought this to light.
https://www.raildeliverygroup.com/media-centre/press-releases/2018/469773920-2018-05-08.html
Also this on YouTube
https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=3grTXFcvBbs.

https://www.britainrunsonrail.co.uk/fares.

Further item from KPMG. https://www.raildeliverygroup.com/files/Publications/2018-05_towards_a_future_fares_strategy.pdf
« Last Edit: May 08, 2018, 10:15:31 am by Western Pathfinder » Logged
Timmer
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« Reply #3 on: May 08, 2018, 11:13:52 am »

Oh goody, yet another consultation. We're so good at these in this country but not so good at taking action.
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Tim
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« Reply #4 on: May 08, 2018, 11:28:43 am »

I am sceptical because:

a) there are suggestions that they might introduce new fares (making the system even more complex); and
b) there are suggestions that they might introduce an app to help you find cheap fares.  With a simplified system that would not be needed.

What is needed is a move to a simplified system.   If the system doesn't permit a grand tearing up and starting again, how about as and when franchises are renewed introducing the following:

1, singles at half or little more than half the price of the return,
2, a standardised definition of peak and off peak. Then ticket names using those words would then be comprehensible.
3, an overall pence per mile cap (with appropriate exception for very short journeys).  Inflationary rises would very gradually start to butt up against the cap meaning that with time the cheaper fares would rise more than those already very expensive and the cost differential that make the hassle of split ticketing worthwhile and inspire distrust in the system would diminish. 
4, standardised formula relating the price of seasons to singles, and the price of first to standard.
5, standardised validity for railcards (wrt minimum fares, availability on first class and advance tickets etc)


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the void
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« Reply #5 on: May 08, 2018, 11:32:57 am »

From the BBC - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-44032015


Quote
What do campaigners say?

Transport Focus, a passenger interests group working on the consultation, said the debate on reform options was "overdue".

"Rail passengers want a rail fares system they can trust, that is simpler, offers better value for money and is more understandable," said the group's chief executive, Anthony Smith.

Steve Chambers, public transport campaigner at Campaign for Better Transport, welcomed the attempt to improve ticketing, but warned "it will need government support to make it happen".

Mick Cash, general secretary of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union, said that "no-one trusts" private rail firms to "do the right thing by passengers".

A Department for Transport spokeswoman said: "We want passengers to always be able to get the best possible deal on their ticket and we welcome the industry's commitment to review fares."


Good to hear Mick Cash giving some good solid constructive feedback as usual.
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didcotdean
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« Reply #6 on: May 08, 2018, 12:26:14 pm »

The RDG press release suggests a complete ripping-up of the 1994 structure rather than tinkering and adding as has been the case subsequently, although this remains to be seen.

So national and regional railcards, rovers, rangers, off-peak day returns, season tickets, split ticketing or through ticketing and fares to any destination could all be consigned to history or radically altered.

Ensuring this is 'revenue neutral' will not be easy, and ease or elimination of current regulations would have to have offsetting benefits.

However, those winning will be silent and those losing vocal.
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paul7755
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« Reply #7 on: May 08, 2018, 12:34:25 pm »

Quote
Mick Cash, general secretary of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union, said that "no-one trusts" private rail firms to "do the right thing by passengers”...

Good to hear Mick Cash giving some good solid constructive feedback as usual.
I don’t trust Mick Cash to “do the right thing by passengers” either.  It isn’t what he is there for.

Paul
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grahame
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« Reply #8 on: May 08, 2018, 12:49:26 pm »

Ensuring this is 'revenue neutral' will not be easy, and ease or elimination of current regulations would have to have offsetting benefits.

However, those winning will be silent and those losing vocal.

Which is why it is highly improbable than any politician or political party will support it.  Vote looser!
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broadgage
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« Reply #9 on: May 08, 2018, 12:50:32 pm »

I would certainly welcome simplification, and have previously suggested a simplified fares system whereby only three different fares would exist for any given journey.

To me it seems self evident that relatively high fares should be charged for peak time travel, and that lower fares should be payable at less busy times.
I see no merit in charging reduced prices for advance purchase of tickets for trains known to be overcrowded, nor for punitively high fares for walk up travel on lightly used services.

Tickets could be purchased in advance if more convenient, but this would not alter the fare payable.

Not so certain about unified times for off peak travel, since this could vary in different areas.

Peak tickets=the most expensive, and valid on services known to be busy. primarily rush hour commuter services, but also applicable at other times known to be exceptionally busy.

Off peak tickets=The mid priced ticket and applicable to most journeys outside peak times.

Super bargain= very cheap and only applicable to a minority of very lightly used services, mainly very early morning or late night services, or trains that are run primarily to get the train to the correct place, with carrying passengers being secondary, possibly including rush hour journeys made against the main flow of traffic.

TOCs could designate trains as peak, off peak, or super bargain as they fit, subject to two overriding rules.
Firstly, no more than 25% of services may be designated as peak. And at least 25% have to be super bargain.

Secondly, alteration may only be made at timetable changes, not at random times.

First class fares would be higher, but otherwise subject to exactly the same rules.

All tickets would be valid by any reasonable route, unless marked otherwise ON THE TICKET. Any such restrictions must be clear and simple.

In general there would be no more "train specific" tickets, though this  would occur as a by product on lines with a very limited service. With only say 3 trains a day, there might only be one off peak service.

This is probably too radical to introduce in the near term, but perhaps they could work towards it by  degrees.
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"When customers say that they want a seat, they dont mean they want to sit with their knees behind their ears so that 4 more can sit down. They mean that they want an extra coach so that 74 more can sit down"
"Capacity on intercity routes should be about number of vehicles, not compressing people"
CyclingSid
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« Reply #10 on: May 08, 2018, 04:20:41 pm »

Wider availability of carnets, for those who don't work a regular 5 day week.
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Tim
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« Reply #11 on: May 08, 2018, 04:36:54 pm »


Ensuring this is 'revenue neutral' will not be easy, and ease or elimination of current regulations would have to have offsetting benefits.


Making it revenue neutral overall is a big enough challenge.  If it has to be revenue neutral for each operator then that becomes even more difficult.  And if it isn't revenue neutral for an operator they will need compensation.  That is why I suggested that it would be easier to introduce as and when franchises are renegotiated.
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Tim
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« Reply #12 on: May 08, 2018, 04:42:01 pm »

Wider availability of carnets, for those who don't work a regular 5 day week.

Carnets are good but they are only a good idea because they correct a perceived unfairness/imbalance caused by the current imbalance in price between seasons and walk up fares.  If we simplified the current system to remove the effective subsidy of those on season tickets, the need for carnets would disappear.   

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broadgage
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« Reply #13 on: May 08, 2018, 05:05:42 pm »

I do not see why regular travellers should not get a MODEST discount by way of a season ticket, but I feel that the present discounts are excessive for generally peak time travel.
Weekly seasons IMHO should be priced at about 4.5 times the price of a peak hour day return.
Monthly season at four times the weekly rate and annual seasons at 11 times the monthly rate.

Season ticket holders not only pay the lowest peak time fares, but also seem to expect special treatment. ISTR several calls on these forums for priority boarding or other special privileges for season ticket holders.

(I think that I enraged a season ticket holder on a busy FGW* service. They expected me to give up my reserved seat for them because they "had paid thousands of pounds". I not only declined, but also stated that in my view, that season ticket holders should be required to stand if full fare passengers wanted the seat)

*as they were known at the time.
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"When customers say that they want a seat, they dont mean they want to sit with their knees behind their ears so that 4 more can sit down. They mean that they want an extra coach so that 74 more can sit down"
"Capacity on intercity routes should be about number of vehicles, not compressing people"
stuving
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« Reply #14 on: May 08, 2018, 05:10:13 pm »

I wonder what they mean by "regulations". They give the impression that they (the TOCs) can't change the fares structure at all unless these regulations are rewritten, and rather blur the distinction between the two things, which I suspect is a bit misleading.

I can think of two things they may mean. The first is the way DfT control fares, in practice fare increases. The point has often been made before, that reducing the number of alternative fares while keeping revenue the same must involve increasing some and decreasing others so as to merge them. Not only would this create the usual hysteretic (and hysterical, come to that) customer response, but DfT would have to alter the current fares increase regime.

The other set of regulations is the Rail Settlement Plan - or rather its Ticketing and Settlement Agreement (the RSP itself is an organisation). This describes how fares can be changed, and that includes creating or removing particular fare types. Existing fare names (e.g. rover and ranger as well as day, off-peak, sleeper, etc.) have fixed definitions, but in a schedule not the regulations per se, and changing those is much more difficult than inventing new ones. The TSA is cited in every franchise agreement, and includes many things that TOCs can do in principle, but DfT can forbid. It's very general, so almost everything can be altered, provided all the TOCs concerned agree and DfT approve (conditions that may be hard to meet).

The fares system (or structure) is, I think, distinct from these rules, and really that's what they should be consulting on - and most respondents will understand it that way. The regulations, or DfT's instructions within the current ones, just need to allow whatever changes are to be made.
« Last Edit: May 08, 2018, 06:13:19 pm by stuving » Logged
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