The other side of the train ticket problem

The current structure does not do some of the important things that a pricing structure should do – it does not send efficient pricing signals to the market, it does not help operators sufficiently to manage peak demand or match capacity to demand efficiently and, although fares overall are high relative to other countries, it appears that some fares are set below the level which passengers would be prepared to pay.

Section 4.6, summary report, Sir Roy McNulty’s Rail Value for Money Study, May 2011

If McNulty’s report does nothing else, can we at least look forward to sensible sale strategies for train tickets? Ticketing is currently arcane in every respect and represents an especially stubborn piece of recondite rail industry protectionism with a sour cherry of super-discounted dross deals on top. Where are bulk-buy discounts, where is flexibility in season tickets, why the incomprehensible route restrictions, why can’t you use smartcards outside London? There is nothing that could ease the massive overloading peaks.

Published on 22/06/2011 at 10:29 by Technophile, tags , , ,

Train ticket redesigns

It’s good to see the British railway ticket get some information design attention. Two proposals:

Neil Martin

Robert Hempsall

Both proposals look at the rather bizarre layout of the very miscellaneous information on the ticket; Neil Martin also considers the possibilty that, as issuing multiple tickets for one journey (one per train) is a relic of the Victorian past, everything might go on a single 85 × 55 mm piece of card.

Neither is a perfect solution, but both give a welcome scratch to a long-standing itch. Wonder if anyone from the ‘Rail Settlement Plan’ is paying attention.

Via @adrianshort

Published on 22/06/2011 at 06:57 by Technophile, tags , , ,

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