Government to announce major change to train ticketing next week

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Buying two single train tickets will become the new normal as return tickets are scrapped. This change will be announced as early as next week.

Transport Secretary Mark Harper will announce plans for a new ticketing system next week.

This will be part of the plan to address a crisis on the railways, with Harper set to announce the change in Westminster on Tuesday, February 7.

The roll-out of “single-leg pricing” will begin, as told to The Sunday Telegraph, meaning that passengers will now pay for two single trips instead of a return.

According to Rail Delivery Group, there are currently 55 million different fares.

Transport Secretary Mark Harper will also commit to Great British Railways (GBR), a new public body that will bring the operation of track and trains under the same place for the first time.

In May 2021, the government announced its plans for the biggest reform to the railway in three decades through the publication of the Plan for Rail.

It is expected that Harper will also hint at an increase use of technology when it comes to train tickets.

This may mean ditching paper tickets in favour of the increasingly popular QR code.

A system like this could mean less scrambling around for paper tickets at the ticket barriers, which often holds people up.

It would also reduce the number of tickets lost if these were digital rather than paper.

There could also be smartcards similar to the Oyster Card in use across public transport in London.

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Due to a successful trial of single-leg tickets by LNER in 2020, there is hope that this new initiative will make train travel easier.

At the time, LNER commented: “Rail tickets can be confusing. We want to make choosing and buying rail tickets simpler and more transparent.

“We hope this new structure is more straightforward: there are no more return tickets – one journey requires just one ticket.”

Keith Williams, who led The Williams Rail Review in September 2018, is expected to attend Harper’s speech.

MP for Blackpool North Paul Maynard said: “Mr Harper’s speech is long awaited.”

He added: “We are all keen to understand the shape and scope of GBR, and how the balance will be struck between the guiding mind and fat controller.

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