Rail fare system 'unfair to passengers'

PASSENGER groups have criticised the rail fare system on the East Anglian mainline as being complicated and unfair.

Anthony Bond

PASSENGER groups have criticised the rail fare system on the East Anglian mainline as being complicated and unfair.

The EADT has discovered that passengers looking to take a return journey from Ipswich to London off-peak can save £5.50 from the standard saver return ticket costing £31.50.

If passengers book separate return journeys from Ipswich to Colchester and then Colchester to London the fare is reduced to £26.


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David Bigg, of the Witham and Braintree Rail Users' Association, said it was an anomaly in the system and led to confusion with passengers.

“We have had this for years and it is crazy. It is absolutely bonkers and we have asked the train operator to make it simpler so that the rail traveller gets the low fare,” he said.

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“I do not suppose the everyday traveller is aware that they can get the cheaper fare. It is only if you have a good look around. What we have always argued is that the rail user should give the traveller the lowest available fare because how can they justify a two-tiered situation?”

Mr Bigg said he did not think staff at railway stations were always aware themselves that the cheaper fares existed and said they should be educated so they can advise passengers that there is a cheaper option available.

Also critical of the fare system was independent national rail consumer watchdog Passenger Focus. Spokesperson Amy Stockton said: “The ticketing system is complicated and passengers tell us that they often find better deals by shopping around.

“If passengers do not automatically receive the best available ticket deal from the train operator and national rail enquires they can be left feeling ripped off.

“As the independent watchdog for rail passengers we continue to put pressure on train operators to ensure they listen to their customers.”

A spokesman for rail operator National Express East Anglia said: “There are lots of good value tickets available and many are heavily discounted and these include season tickets and cheap day returns.

“It is our requirement to sell passengers the appropriate point-to-point ticket for their journey.”

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