Could Greater Anglia’s tickets become simpler in rail industry reform?

South Suffolk MP James Cartlidge has welcomed the inquiry into fares. Picture: GREGG BROWN

South Suffolk MP James Cartlidge has welcomed the inquiry into fares. Picture: GREGG BROWN - Credit: Gregg Brown

Greater Anglia’s ticket structure could be overhauled as part of a national shake-up to make it easier and cheaper for passengers to get the right ticket.

And new schemes such as part-time season tickets and changes to peak-time rules could make life better for many passengers.

A public consultation is being launched by the industry to suggest ways of simplifying the system, which will lead to a report containing proposals for governments to consider.

The Rail Delivery Group (RDG), which represents private train operators and Government-owned Network Rail, said the industry’s suggestions will aim to be revenue neutral, with no change in average fares and no extra support from taxpayers.

Currently 55 million different fares exist, including long-standing anomalies such as charging a peak-time fare when half a trip is on an off-peak service, and split ticketing, where it can be cheaper to buy several tickets for a single journey.

At the weekend an off-peak ticket from Ipswich to Liverpool Street costs £42.20 – but if you buy an off-peak ticket from Ipswich to Manningtree (£6.60) and a super off-peak ticket from Manningtree to Liverpool Street (£29.20) you can save £6.40. Greater Anglia ticket office staff know about this and will normally offer it to passengers.

There has also been criticism of the cost of season tickets – and the fact that until now “part-time” tickets for worker who may only travel to their office in London once or twice a week are not available.

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That is an issue that has been championed by South Suffolk MP James Cartlidge who welcomed the announcement.

He said: “As someone who has campaigned hard on the matter of rail ticketing, I am very pleased to see that the Rail Delivery Group has launched this public consultation.

“The breadth of this consultation is welcome, and one of the topics focuses on the flexibility of the tickets on sale. In 2016 I called a House of Commons debate on flexible rail ticketing to highlight the cases of many of my constituents who only commute part-time, but have to purchase a full-time season ticket.”

A Greater Anglia spokeswoman said: “Together with Britain’s rail companies we are calling for root and branch reform of fares regulation to make it easier and simpler for customers.

“We offer a range of great value fares at Greater Anglia. We have an online price promise guaranteeing the cheapest fare through the Greater Anglia website and we have a ‘cheapest fare’ button on our ticket machines at stations.”

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