Government backs ticket pricing reform and Great British Rail but will York become the GBR HQ?
The Government is committed to creating Great British Railways to oversee our train services.
That means York is in with a chance of being the location for the new HQ. We should know if the city’s bid has been successful by Easter.
Rail fares will fluctuate based on demand under a trial also announced by Transport Secretary Mark Harper.
The cost of travel on some London North Eastern Railway (LNER) services will be more or less expensive depending on how many seats have been filled.
It has echoes of Uber-style surge pricing, where fares on the taxi app go up when demand is greatest.
This is an attempt to better manage capacity while also raising revenue, the Department for Transport said.
Mr Harper confirmed plans to expand single leg pricing across the entire LNER network, which runs between London King’s Cross, York and Edinburgh on the East Coast Main Line.
That means a single fare will always be half the cost of a return. This is something already available at Leeds, Newcastle and Edinburgh but not York, Selby, Harrogate or Northallerton. Many one-way fares will be almost halved as a result of the reform, according to the DfT.
LNER, a publicly owned operator, has trialled single-leg pricing on some of its routes since 2020.
The DfT said it will consider rolling out the system across all of Britain’s rail network depending on the success of the extended pilot scheme.
Delivering the annual George Bradshaw Address to rail industry leaders in central London , Mr Harper said the country’s rail network was “not fit for purpose” and was “financially unsustainable”.
He added the industry had only survived since the pandemic due to the “public purse”, with taxpayers funding more than 70% of the sector’s income over the past two years and at a cost of £1,000 per household.
“It isn’t fair to continue asking taxpayers to foot the bill,” he said. “Many of whom don’t regularly use the railways.”
Mr Harper insisted the creation of GBR did not amount to nationalisation, or a return to British Rail – instead pledging to “enhance” the role of the private sector in running the country’s railways.
York was named as one of six cities shortlisted to host the Great British Railways HQ.
But then the idea was – like so many trains – delayed.
Mark Harper also said he wanted to support more Open Access operators too,.
He said the likes of Grand Central at Thirsk and Northallerton and Hull Trains at Selby had been successful and offer services to London from places either infrequently served or ignored by the main operators.
“We will support more open access services where it benefits passengers and taxpayers. We’ve seen this work well with Hull Trains and Grand Central as well as with Lumo (London to Edinburgh but no calls made at York) on the East Coast Mainline.
“All offering passengers greater choice and more direct links. Open access operators will play an important role in the industry’s future, especially as we grow new markets and make best use of spare capacity on the network.”
Read his full address here
The last train tickets I bought were for a Leeds bound train and cost £9 for a single or £9.10 for a return ticket. That must have being about 2012, they were obviously overcharging for a one way ticket if the return ticket cost just 10p more!