Transport Secretary, Mark Harper, has confirmed a trial with London North Eastern Railway (LNER), which scrapped return train tickets, has been extended. The initial trial has been viewed as successful and will now be rolled out across the rest of the LNER network, with the potential for it to be rolled out nationally. Impact’s Laura Scaife reports.
Mark Harper argues that it is “not about increasing fares” but ensuring “passengers benefit from simpler ticketing that meets their needs”. However, with the continued disruption of railway services due to strikes, and the ongoing impact of the cost of living crisis, some students are sceptical.
This will “make transport harder for those who need it most”
One student told Impact, “As someone who consistently uses National Rail services and depends on them for ease of transport – the price-related inconveniences make it difficult to feel emboldened to support these services. With prices already being set up at a premium already, I fail to see how any of these pricing initiatives will accomplish anything but make transport harder for those who need it most.”
The plans are part of a wider reorganization of the rail services, with the proposal of creating a Great British Railway, to centralize the overseeing of timetables and ticketing. The proposal to scrap return tickets would mean that a single ticket would always be half the cost of a return ticket. Mark Harper argues this would be simpler for customers as there are currently 55 million fares available in Britain with many single tickets costing just £1 less than a return ticket. The extended trial also included plans to roll out pay-as-you go tickets in the Southeast. These would work in a similar way to London Oyster system, with customers tapping in and out with contactless cards and phones.
Whether these proposed revisions are rolled out across the United Kingdom will depend on the success of the trial.
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