'Nothing done to simplify rail ticketing system since 2009'


Rail companies do not appear to have done anything to simplify the train ticketing system for at least seven years, the head of the Commons' Transport Select Committee has claimed.

Labour MP and committee chair Louise Ellman declared that the difficulty faced by passengers in obtaining the best fare is "not a new problem" and demanded to know how long it would take to improve the situation.

During an evidence session of the committee she quizzed Rail Delivery Group (RDG) managing director Jacqueline Starr over whether she was satisfied passengers receive enough information on tickets.

Ms Starr replied: "The response to that has to be no. Absolutely not. We can do better.

"It is complex and confusing. Customers tell us that and we need to respond to it.

"We are starting to respond to that certainly through fares simplification."

But Mrs Ellman followed up by saying she wanted to know "when something is going to happen"

She went on: "This is not a new problem.

"I looked back at previous recommendations from this committee in previous parliaments and the report issued by this committee in 2009 drew attention to this.

"We were told at that time by ATOC (Association of Train Operating Companies) that they would make sure that people always knew what the best deal was.

"But nothing seems to have happened. How long is it going to take?"

Ms Starr responded: "All I can do is agree with you and emphasise that something needs to be happening quickly.

"We're certainly not comfortable with the timescales in terms of delivery that have been responded to in the past."

She added that the RDG, which represents train operators and Network Rail, has a "key role" in making progress on the issue.