Rail reforms will ensure passengers get cheapest deals, Government says

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Rail operators are to come under renewed pressure from the Government to ensure passengers are getting the cheapest deals on their journeys.

Station ticket machines face being overhauled to show customers the best value fares, as the Department for Transport prepare to launch a crackdown on confusing pricing regimes.

It is understood reforms are to be outlined aiming to improve transparency on fare costs and will examine how tickets are sold by staff and through self-service machines.

The changes come amid concerns that commuters are continually forced to pay over the odds for journeys after the cheapest fares are buried by operators.

Demanding consistency in how off-peak and advanced tickets are sold by various companies will also be a focus of the Government’s changes.

The move could also see rail travellers automatically alerted on self-service machines when it is cheaper for them to buy two single tickets rather than a return.

The Department for Transport is set to outline the plans at a meeting next month.

A spokesman said: “We want a simpler, more modern and passenger-focused fares and ticketing system which takes advantage of all the benefits of new technology. Progress has been made, including an announcement earlier this week of £80 million to accelerate the roll-out of smart ticketing across the network.

“Rail passengers must be able to trust that they are getting the best possible deal every time they travel and we are working with industry partners and consumer experts to identify improvements which could be brought in quickly across the network. The results of this project will be announced shortly.”