Train operators called out for unfairly priced train tickets

"Train operators are withholding certain fares" with 90% of people calling for more fairly priced train tickets "Train operators are withholding certain fares" with 90% of people calling for more fairly priced train tickets
"Train operators are withholding certain fares" with 90% of people calling for more fairly priced train tickets | Virgin Trains
Train ticket retailers have called on the next government to ensure rail operators must offer the best prices to customers across all platforms.

Virgin Trains Ticketing has urged all political parties to ensure travellers can get the best deal wherever they buy their ticket.

It comes after research found 57 per cent of rail passengers have no idea that train operators can restrict certain fares.

These do not have to be made available for sale by independent retailers, stifling competition and leaving commuters confused about how to get the best fare.

But a survey of more than 2,000 rail users found nearly nine in 10 believe train fares should be the same price - wherever you buy your ticket.

To make rail fares fairer, Virgin Trains Ticketing has launched its ‘Charter for Change’, a report calling for a fair and competitive rail retail market.

Among the changes its calling for include uniform access to all tickets are fares, open data sharing to allow customers to find the best deal, and inclusion of services like Delay Repay. 

 57 per cent of rail passengers have no idea that train operators can restrict certain fares 57 per cent of rail passengers have no idea that train operators can restrict certain fares
57 per cent of rail passengers have no idea that train operators can restrict certain fares | PinPep

It’s not fair

The brand’s director, Mark Plowright, said: “It is crucial the industry, ministers and political parties support our calls to ensure a fair and competitive retail market to help unlock a better deal for passengers.

“Independent retailers like Virgin Trains Ticketing sell approximately half of all UK rail tickets, and commuters deserve more choice when it comes to where they buy them – while also being reassured they’re getting the best fare available to them.

“Train operators are withholding certain fares and it’s not fair - passengers are rightly frustrated by this.

“Buying a train ticket is every passenger’s first interaction with the network.

“Getting this ‘shop window’ right is crucial in boosting rail ridership and winning back passengers’ trust.”

The research of 2,348 passengers also found getting the best fare was the top priority for 58 per cent of passengers, but 77 per cent said train fares were too complicated to understand.

An overwhelming 94 per cent said customers should have access to live data which gives them the chance to see the best available deals.

And 73 per cent wanted Delay Repay payments to be claimed in the same place they bought their ticket – instead of applying to the train operator separately. 

Aaron Osborne-Taylor, age 48, who commutes into London several times a month, said: “The system is too complex. I’d say I only see the fare I want first time, a third of the time.

“I just want to be able to go onto the site or app of my choice and find the best value deal for my journey. I don’t want to see variability of £200 for a seat on the same train.”

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