Passengers Unhappy With UK Railways Ticketing Policies

The Office of Rail Regulation (ORR), a UK-based independent safety and economic regulator for railways, has reported that the current ticketing policies of UK train operators are creating confusion for travellers.

The association has recently conducted a survey of around 1,600 rail passengers across Great Britain, to highlight that passengers find it difficult to understand the various pricing policies of rail tickets, including inexplicit terminology like ‘peak hours’, ‘off-peak hours’, and ‘Advanced’ ticket purchases, and also the validity of tickets.

Over 1,500 people were questioned on trains, online and as part of focus groups about their experiences of choosing and buying rail tickets. Research highlights a varied understanding of ticket restrictions and validities.

Almost three quarters of all the respondents failed to understand clearly the distinction between ‘peak hours’ and ‘of-peak hours, according to the survey. While 50 percent of the travellers polled agreed that buying a railway ticket at best prices is like winning the lottery. 45 percent of those polled said the pricing system is too complicated for them to understand clearly.

The ORR chairperson, Anna Walker, said, ‘ORR’s revealing research shows that passengers are often confused and frustrated by the lack of information about rail tickets, particularly where and when to get the best value fares and what the best ticket options are. Our research speaks for itself. Nearly 50 percent of passengers surveyed online said that the fares system is too complicated to understand, and 41 percent who had previously purchased a ticket found they could have made the journey on a cheaper ticket.’