The start of a new year often means rail commuters lose out – and 2017 is no exception. From 1 January, train ticket prices went up by an average of 2.3%. This means that if you use the train to get to work, you could now have to pay more.
But it’s not all bad news. Thanks to a recent campaign, it should become easier to find the cheapest train tickets available. Ticket machines will become more user-friendly and rail companies will cut back on the jargon too. Let’s take a look at everything that’s set to change for train tickets over the next 12 months.
What will change?
After a campaign from Which? and Transport Focus, the Government recently launched an action plan to make ticket prices clearer and fairer.
Plans include removing jargon from ticket vending machines as well as simplifying terms that customers don’t understand, like ‘any permitted’ routes and tickets to ‘London terminals’. If there are any specific terms, they’ll have a full explanation.
Terms and conditions will also be easier to understand as well and all customers will be able to see a ‘plain English’ description of their ticket before they buy anything.
Customers will also be able to buy the cheaper Advance tickets on the day they’re travelling for certain journeys. This is currently only possible on the CrossCountry network. From this year, East Midlands, TransPennine Express, Northern, Virgin East Coast and Virgin West Coast trains will also let customers do this.
And if you’re a forgetful Railcard holder, you’re in luck. The first time you forget to travel with your Railcard, you can claim back the cost of what you’ve had to spend extra. This includes any extra tickets you’ve bought and any penalty fares.
When will this happen?
According to the guide, the Government will work throughout 2017 to bring in all of these measures. That means not everything’s going to change straightaway. For example, the changes to simplify ticket machines will start from May 2017 and finish by the end of 2017, along with online reforms to ticket selling.
TransPennine Express, Northern, Virgin East Coast and Virgin West Coast trains will offer Advance train tickets on the day of travel from April 2017, while East Midlands will do this from September. The forgotten Railcard rule comes into force much sooner – this will start from February 2017.
We’ll see an interim report from the Department for Transport this July, which could mean more changes and deadlines for when some of the other reforms will come into force. In the meantime, make sure you check out our blog on how to save money on train tickets, including how to break your journey up and the cheapest tickets to buy.