Demand for peak rail fares to be axed

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Lime Street station. Pic ©JMU Journalsim

The Rail Delivery Group (RDG) has called for a complete overhaul of the peak and off-peak ticketing system, and the “cliff edge” between the two train fares.

Merseytravel admits that the suggestion is not currently under consideration locally, although it has made steps forward in how its customers can buy tickets this week.

RDG, which represents train operators, claims that axing the two charges would significantly reduce overcrowding that commuters are faced with every day.

The large price gap between peak-time and out-of-rush-hours services has led to travellers opting for the cheaper tickets, in turn leading to busy trains.

A tap-in-and-out system has also been proposed, which is already a widely used system in London.

This would mean commuters being offered a pay-as-you-go system, using a bank card at the barrier and paying a fixed price, depending on where you travel to and which station you tap out at.

YouTube: Rebecca Thomas

Reform of the ticketing system means updating the regulations around peak and off-peak travel, with RDG insisting that prices could be set more flexibly.

Today, Merseytravel introduced a ‘Walrus’ smart card which rail users in Merseyside will be able to buy their weekly, monthly and annual tickets on.

According to Merseytravel, this is the latest step towards the creation of a new contactless system, which may eventually be used across the Liverpool City Region transport network.

A spokesperson for Merseyravel told JMU Journalism: “We’re working towards having a simpler ticketing system, like the one used in London. However, the main issue in Liverpool is the fact that we have a different travel system which isn’t as frequent or as large as London.

“We cannot comment on off-peak and peak travel and the potential of an overhaul, as it isn’t something we have spoken about as of yet.”

According to the BBC, feedback from commuters found eight out of 10 want the fares system overhauled and nine out of 10 want smart or electronic tickets, with the potential for price capping.

About Rebecca Thomas, JMU Journalism