Lord Greaves – 2016 Parliamentary Question to the Department for Transport

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Lord Greaves on 2016-09-05.

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether train operating companies are required to offer the cheapest relevant ticket to passengers at ticket offices, on websites and from ticket machines; and if so, what action they are taking to make sure that this happens in all cases.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon

Rail passengers are protected by the National Rail Conditions of Carriage and also the terms of the Ticketing and Settlement Agreement (TSA), an inter-operator agreement that governs, among other things, the retail of rail tickets. These provisions safeguard passengers’ interests by requiring train operators to provide clear information and to sell the most suitable ticket for their journey. This will, in many cases, be the cheapest ticket. Operators are required, under the terms of the TSA, to ask sufficient suitable questions in order to ascertain and sell the best ticket for each passenger’s needs.

There are a wide range of tickets on offer, including some very low-priced fares which allow more people to travel by rail. However, we recognise that this choice can often be confusing for passengers. The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) have worked with industry to develop a Code of Practice on ticket retailing, this was published in March 2015. The aim of this Code is to give passengers clearer information and access to the most appropriate tickets, regardless of the sales channel. . Working alongside the ORR in its role as consumer regulator, we continue to challenge the industry to address the remaining issues as soon as possible. The Rail Minister has also raised this with the Rail Delivery Group that represents all train operating companies as there is clearly more to be done.