Rail ticket 'jargon-buster' scheme welcomed by South Yorkshire group

George Arthur.
George Arthur.

A South Yorkshire campaign group has welcomed a decision to remove jargon from rail tickets - but says more still needs to be done to simplify fares for passengers.

The Rail Delivery Group - made up of the companies that run Britain's railways - revealed often confusing phrases like ‘route direct’ and ‘any permitted’ will soon be removed from tickets on 500, 000 routes nationwide.

READ MORE: VIDEO: Confusing crossing branded Sheffield’s most dangerous is ‘accident waiting to happen’
The terms will instead be replaced with a blank space if a journey follows a direct route, or with ‘via’ and specifying a station if there is a change.

The move has been given a cautious welcome from the South Yorkshire Freedom Riders group, which lobbies for better public transport for elderly and disabled residents.

But they added there is still more work to be done to make it easier for vulnerable passengers in particular.

Group secretary George Arthur, aged 67, of Barnsley, said: "Anything that cuts down on jargon and makes things easier for passengers, particularly elderly and disabled people, is to be welcomed.

READ MORE: South Yorkshire Police awarded £6m to improve problem solving and reduce demand on officers and partners
"You have some tickets called things like 'super saver return' which sounds great but it ends up being one of the most restricted tickets you can buy. So if we can do away with that then that would be great.

"However, I am concerned that this may be a papering-over exercise. I think we need to make sure that it is not just the words on the ticket that are made simpler."

He described the pricing structure as "confusing" and called for changes.

Said Mr Arthur: "It can be cheaper sometimes to get two tickets with a changeover of stops inbetween, than to get a direct ticket.

"People often just can't understand this, and I am certain there will have been occasions in the past where people will have paid more for a ticket by accident because they don't understand the pricing structure.

"The rail companies really need to get a hold of this issue."

READ MORE: Major Sheffield road closed and trams disrupted after crash
Jason Webb, deputy managing director of customer portfolio at the Rail Delivery Group, said the changes start next month and there will also be a consultation with watchdog Transport Focus to "find out what passengers want from efforts to reform the system."

The changes also come after a RDG study revealed more than one in five passengers find it difficult to understand what type of ticket they need to buy and about a third believe they are not always getting the best available deal.

Anthony Smith, chief executive of Transport Focus, said: "Removing jargon is a significant step towards a fares system passengers find easy to use."