Railfuture campaigns for faster, longer more frequent trains and bright, clean, more secure stations to attract more passengers to rail and support economic growth.

Railfuture meets frequently with the rail companies, building positive relationships and gaining insight which helps us to influence their decisions in favour of passengers. In our contact with the media and the public, we seek to provide independent, informed explanation of the issues which affect passengers.

Our online guide for rail passengers is at Rail user help.

Customer service

Successful businesses have excellent customer service woven into their culture, gaining the trust of customers and so ensuring that growth continues. Railfuture aims to help operators to develop a customer service culture and to give passengers an easy journey, with best practice over fares, ticketing, performance, communications, connectivity, onward travel and information.

Our Train Staff Duties article explains the benefits that that operation of the doors by the driver can bring to passengers, whilst our Go and Compare campaign publicises examples of excellent customer service.

See also our Service policy statement.

Fares and ticketing

The Transport Committee report has 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 terminology such as ‘any permitted route’. A review of the fares system is required to resolve this before passengers will fully trust smartcards. This will have a commercial impact on the TOCs, so implementation of the changes will have to be tied in with franchise renewal, and therefore the review must be initiated by government.

The fares review should aim for clarity rather than simplicity; flexibility and choice must not be lost in the name of simplification. For example, systems should be available to passengers to explain what routes are covered by 'any permitted route' (the Routeing Guide is impenetrable) rather than abolishing 'any permitted route' In favour of only route/TOC specific tickets.

Nor should we lose the choice of route/TOC in the name of a consistent fare between two places. It should not be necessary to book split tickets to get the lowest price, but that means that some fares must rise and others fall. That must be done equitably and gradually.

There should be variation in the price per mile between routes, but this should reflect the journey quality and market demand for the route now, not 25 years ago. Fares must be adjusted gradually to achieve this.

Railfuture argues that the annual fares rise should be linked to CPI, not RPI. Rail companies should contain their cost inflation to CPI, so that cost increases are not borne by the taxpayer.

Railfuture supports the move toward virtual ticketing, for example using smartcards, contactless bank cards or mobile phones. However before the public can trust a truly smart card like Oyster (for most smartcards, the ticket must be bought in advance and loaded on the card, rather than the passenger being charged for the journey as it is made), the fare anomalies identified above must be addressed.

See also our Fares policy statement and our Fares campaign.

Improved services

These are some of the lines where faster, more frequent services are urgently needed.

Briefing documents

Our cause | Freight | Network | Campaigns | Consultation responses | Fighting Fund | Policy statements

Rail User Express Rail Action