U.K. Plans Rail-Ticket Trial in Bid to Lower Long-Distance Fares

The U.K. government plans a trial of a new system for long-distance rail tickets in a bid to end situations where one-way fares can cost more than a round trip.

A pilot program to start in 2015 may see all long-distance tickets sold on a single-leg basis, allowing passengers more freedom to plan journeys, Rail Minister Norman Baker said in an e-mailed statement today.

The government currently regulates the price of off-peak round-trip fares, meaning train operating companies have greater freedom to set prices for other tickets, including off-peak one-way fares. The Department for Transport will negotiate with a long-distance operator to find a suitable route for the pilot program.

“I am determined to end this confusing and frustrating system in which the price of single fares for long-distance journeys can be similar to those of returns,” said Baker, who’s taking part in the annual conference of his Liberal Democrat party in Glasgow, Scotland. “Passengers need every confidence that the journeys they are paying for are the best deals in terms of convenience and money spent.”

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