Rail fares not always cheapest

According to Which? magazine, rail commuters and users are often paying higher fares than needed due to station clerks failing to advise the cheapest options available. Mystery shopper style researchers from the well known consumer watchdog said that clearer signposting was needed to help passengers find the cheapest possible fare and blamed the whole situation on poor training that was being given to National Rail enquiries staff.

The research also showed that after asking for assistance with fares from the station staff for over 150 different rail journeys, 59 percent of rail station assistants and 43 percent of call centre staff on the enquiries line failed to advise passengers on the most suitable options with only one operator highlighting the fact that buying one of the season tickets available would save £112 for the passenger. Which? also found faults with National Rail’s website due to its failure at providing passengers with cheaper fare options. It believes that regular rail customers are being considerably left out of pocket every time they take the train and that people who use this form of transport to commute to work every day were the ones that weren’t getting the correct advice on how they can save money on tickets.

This comes after a survey with over 1,500 people who had used trains for transport in the last year were still under the impression they were getting the best possible deal and felt confident they could source the best possible price for their journey. Train operators have since said that the research conducted by the consumer watchdog was based on unrealistic scenarios and said the findings were misleading.