Posted 5th July 2017 | No Comments

Industry eases Advance purchase rules

SOME train-specific Advance tickets are now being made available until 10 minutes before departure, in a further relaxation of the purchasing rules.

Train operators are often criticised for the complexity of ticket rules and tariffs, and the reform is a bid to make Advance tickets easier to obtain as part of an ‘action plan’ to improve fares and ticketing agreed by the rail industry, government and consumer groups.

Passengers on Grand Central, Greater Anglia, Northern, TransPennine Express, Virgin Trains East Coast, Virgin Trains West Coast and Caledonian Sleeper can now buy Advance tickets for many trains on the day of travel.

Before the latest changes, Advance tickets had only been sold until midnight before the day of travel.

The Rail Delivery Group said ‘the move underlines how the railway is working together, investing to drive improvements for customers now and for the long-term’.

Jacqueline Starr, who is managing director of Customer Experience at the Rail Delivery Group said: “Not everyone can plan journeys in advance and now more people can buy cheaper tickets on the day, even on their way to the station. We want customers to get the best possible deal whenever they travel. With 97 per cent of your fare going back into running and improving the railway, investment is driving quicker improvement, more choice and greater freedom.”

Rail travellers can also see when there are only a few Advance tickets left by going online.

Advance tickets began to be sold on the day of travel on CrossCountry routes two years ago, and more than a million of the bargain tickets have been sold since then.

Lianna Etkind of the Campaign for Better Transport, said: "We welcome this initiative which removes a further barrier to affordable rail travel and means people can make unplanned journeys without being unfairly penalised. We would urge train companies not already signed up to this to follow suit so all passengers benefit from these new tickets. However, we hope this doesn't add another layer of complexity to a ticketing system already bloated and convoluted."