Railfuture campaigns for clearly explained, value for money fares and tickets which offer a choice of flexibility in time and routes. Passengers will then be able to make an informed decision on the best value fare and flexibility of ticket to meet their needs for their journey.

On 10 August 2018 the Rail Delivery Group announced that unnecessary rail industry jargon has been removed from tickets, making them easier for passengers to understand - a success for our campaign.

Railfuture recognises that fares have to rise each year but considers that fares should not take an increasing share of passengers’ income. Therefore fares should rise in line with CPI (Consumer Price Index), the government’s preferred measure of inflation, not RPI (Retail Price Index). The rail industry must contain its costs so that financial support from the taxpayer does not increase.

In a further campaign success on 15 August 2018, Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling said that CPI could be used in place of RPI for the calculation of future ticket price rises, and wrote letters to unions and the Rail Delivery Group calling for the rail industry to contain its costs so that there is no additional burden on taxpayers.

The House of Commons Transport Committee 6th Report - The future of rail: Improving the rail passenger experience in October 2016 identified the problems of fare splitting, extreme variations between some anytime, off-peak and advanced tickets, variations in price per mile on different routes that no longer reflect the journey quality, and confusing terminology. Railfuture supports the introduction of smartcards and other forms of virtual ticketing, but a review of the fares system is required to resolve this before passengers will fully trust them. Therefore Railfuture is working with rail companies and consumer groups in the Fares Working Group Forum subgroup organised by the Department of Transport to make fares and tickets clearer for passengers so that they can choose the right ticket for their journey, meeting their needs at the best value fare.

Our fares policy gives more detail on how the fares and ticketing system must be improved.

Rail user help – our guide to help you find the cheapest train tickets in the minefield of the fares system and enjoy your journey.

Press releases

Fare value and choice

Author: Chris Page - Published At: Tue 29 of May, 2018 19:26 BST - (1659 Reads)
Some people are deterred from travelling by train by the complexity of buying a ticket and the perception that fares are expensive, whilst some passengers are unclear whether they have the best deal so feel ripped off. Image: Play the ticket maze game to reach the Oyster!

Clearer not simpler fares

Author: Chris Page - Published At: Wed 22 of Feb, 2017 18:20 GMT - (4035 Reads)
Radical fare changes proposed by the Rail Delivery Group risk reducing choice and flexibility for passengers. What is needed are clearly explained fares which offer choice, not simplistic ticketing which removes flexibility. In London, the adjacent termini of St Pancras and King’s Cross offer alternative routes to Sheffield, giving holders of ‘any permitted route’ tickets the flexibility to choose either.

Delay repay losers

Author: Jerry Alderson - Published At: Fri 12 of Feb, 2016 20:42 GMT - (5940 Reads)
Britain is perceived to have high rail fares in comparison to other European countries. However, the entire package needs to be considered and few people appreciate some of the ’freebies’ that the fare buys, including a generous refund policy when trains are delayed. Unfortunately some people have abused this – fraudulently – for financial gain, as a news article in the London Evening Standard showed on 11th February 2016 (see photo and headline above).

Fares Complexity

Author: Paul Hollinghurst - Published At: Wed 08 of Jul, 2015 20:34 BST - (4100 Reads)
Railfuture is concerned about the complexity of fares, which are way beyond the abilities of the general public – and even some railway staff – to fully understand. This is a big problem as substantial savings can be made by knowing the ‘best’ ticket to buy. (Photo: Some of the tickets from Paul Hollinghurst’s railway journeys.)

Fare Increase Viewpoint

Author: Jerry Alderson - Published At: Mon 25 of Aug, 2014 16:29 BST - (11727 Reads)
Graphic from the BBC web-site on day that RPI figures were published showing the relationship between rail fare increases in Britain (although actually the England-only increases for the last couple of years) and UK inflation over the last 26 years. The negative RPI on 2009 was caused by a huge drop in mortgage interest rates (which are excluded from CPI calculations).

Briefing Note

Rail Fares Increases RPI+3 - view or download (published December 2010)

Rail User Express Rail Action