Rail firms look to scrap off-peak trains as operators attempt to revive the railway after Covid.
The Rail Delivery Group (RDG), which speaks for companies such as FirstGroup and Govia, has urged ministers to use the private sector’s “in-depth knowledge of their customers and markets”, which may include “innovative” tickets that adjust prices throughout the day.
According to reports from The Sunday Times, there is a push for the government to consider a London-style system, like tap-in and tap-out, beyond the capital.
This would mean something like a pay-as-you-go style when travelling to the likes of Manchester or Birmingham, for instance.
There was a 78 per cent drop in train journeys in 2020, and the industry has been struggling to get travellers back on platforms.
Proposals to change the fare structure first emerged in 2019, and the new proposals look at preventing overcrowding on popular routes.
The RDG is seeking to revive proposals it made in 2019 to overhaul fare structures by ripping up regulations established in the 1990s when the railways were privatised. If enacted, its plans could end the quirk of single tickets on some routes costing almost the same as return fares.
Documents reveal that that the revenue shortfall in fares caused by the pandemic will “cumulatively be around £20 billion” by 2025.
Andy Bagnall, director- general of the RDG, told the Times that the industry should “harness digital technology to have a much smoother curve of pricing through the day”
“That’s better because we will have fewer trains running with empty seats, and it’s better … because you have less crowding,” he said. The proposals were all made in a submission last week to the government’s consultation on the “Whole industry strategic plan for rail”.