Featured in the Future Transport London Newsletter January 2024
Train operating companies drew up their proposals to close almost all ticket offices in response to government pressure to save money. The Prime Minister and the DfT approved the plan. Now the government has instructed TOCs to abandon the programme provoking fury amongst TOCs at DfT’s dithering.
Whatever the views of TOCs the news of the abandonment of the programme has pleased many including the 750,000 responders to the consultation. Although opposition was spearheaded by disability groups, the reasons for opposition were widespread including the inability of ticket machines to offer the full range of tickets or handle cash payments.
The one-day travelcard will no longer be discontinued following negotiations between TfL and the train operating companies to reallocate revenue although the cost will rise three per cent above general fare increases. Mayor Sadiq Khan complained that, under the present deal, Londoners are effectively subsidising national rail travellers from outside London to the tune of about £40m a year. Saving this money would go some way towards the £600m of savings the government is requiring him to make to cover losses during the Covid-19 period. Negotiations with the DfT and the Rail Delivery Group have resulted in TfL gaining a larger share of ticket revenue.
Opposition to the cancellation was led by the Campaign for Better Transport and supported by London TravelWatch and a number of local authorities in the Home Counties. Norman Baker, Director of External Affairs for CBT, said ‘Costly and complicated fares are a barrier for too many people when deciding how to travel, so the Day Travelcard is just the sort of simple, integrated ticket that we need across the country if we want to make public transport easy’.