Railways: Scotland

Department for Transport written question – answered at on 13 September 2016.

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Photo of Drew Hendry Drew Hendry Shadow SNP Westminster Group Leader (Transport)

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps the Government is taking to simplify rail fares for journeys between London and Scotland and reduce the fare anomalies that lead to split ticketing.

Photo of Paul Maynard Paul Maynard Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

Rail passengers should always be able to get the best deal and the industry must work harder to make this a reality. We are aware that there are a number of routes for which it can be cheaper to purchase two or more tickets for individual parts of the route than a through ticket for the entire journey. Anyone is entitled to purchase two or more separate tickets for their journey so long as the train they are travelling on stops at the stations indicated at the end of each ticket. Apparent anomalies in pricing that may be experienced on long-distance routes like London to Scotland, can sometimes be a result of competition on the railways encouraging one operator to reduce prices when competing with others on the route. Price competition on the railways can be positive for passengers. The Department would need to consider very carefully any action that removed this incentive for operators.

Train operators are obliged to sell the most appropriate through fare based on the information the passenger gives them. This will depend on what time the passenger wants to travel and how flexible they need to be. The National Rail Conditions of Carriage, which form the basis of the contract you enter into when you buy a rail ticket, allow passengers to use combinations of tickets. However, it is vital that industry improve information available to passengers and I will be raising this with the Rail Delivery Group as a priority.

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