As per the Telegraph, the current return journeys offered at a discounted rate are soon to be replaced with two “single-leg pricing” options that will be priced the same as the current return fare. The concept was tested by the London North Eastern Railway (LNER) in 2020.
In a speech on Tuesday, Transport Secretary Mark Harperin revealed that a new public body, “Great British Railways” (GBR), will be designed in such a way that it will bring the operation of tracks and trains under one management, overseeing timetables and ticketing too.
He further stated that current tickets will soon be replaced by digital smart cards, like London’s Oyster Card System, across the UK.
In May 2021, this idea was presented by Boris Johnson but failed to be implemented sooner due to the chaos in the government and the fear of “nationalization by the back door” among the Conservative Party.
The former chief executive of British Airways and chair of Royal Mail, Keith Williams, proposed the idea of a “guided mind” for the sector, like “Fat Controller,” a cartoon character from Thomas the Tank Engine children’s books.
The idea cropped up after a chaotic situation and subsequent cancellations that arose in the 2018 catastrophe. As he assessed the situation, the Network Rail overseeing tracks and operators handling trains did not work in unison, which should have fragmented the industry amid high costs and messed up fares.
He concluded that the present franchise structure was ineffective for its intended purpose. A revamp has practically been finished by default given that Southeastern, Northern, and LNER are being managed by the government’s operator of last resort.
The new efforts came into view after facing public criticism of the government’s failure to resolve strikes on the railway lasting for months and affecting commuters and leisure travelers.
The post-pandemic situation has increased inflation, and with many workers shifting to work from home, the already struggling railway system has taken a toll, leaving a £2 billion annual fare shortfall.
As per the critics, a long-term solution is required as franchising has ended, and emergency contracts for trains are encouraged to keep the industry afloat.
- Published By Team Timeswire