Passengers overpaying for rail tickets, says watchdog

Passengers overpaying for rail tickets, says watchdog

Some rail passengers may be paying too much for tickets when they book online, a report by a train customer watchdog warns.

Train companies that use websites to sell tickets have been urged by a report from Passenger Focus to do more to ensure passengers do not overpay.

Jargon that is confusing to passengers should be tackled and a range of improvements to make it easier for passengers to buy tickets online should be introduced, according to the report.

It recommends action to ensure greater clarity about which tickets are for one train only, and which can be used on whichever train users wish

Time-of-day restrictions associated with a ticket should be able to be checked easily.

Passenger Focus chief executive Anthony Smith said: “Companies that use websites to sell train tickets must do more to make sure passengers do not overpay. It is too easy to pay over the odds simply through lack of familiarity with the fares system and its bewildering jargon.

“Making sure that passengers are not overcharged when they buy online may help improve passengers' perception of fares and value for money on Britain's railways. As more and more tickets are sold online, it is vital this is got right.”

An Association of Train Operating Companies spokesman said: “The vast majority of the millions of people who travel by train every day get the right ticket for their journey.

“There has been a big increase in cheap tickets bought online in recent years, as more and more people have been using the internet to get good-value fares for their journey.

“But we know that there are always improvements that can be made. That's why we are continuing to work closely with the industry and Passenger Focus to ensure we make it as easy as possible for passengers to find the right ticket at the right price for their journey.”

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