May 8, 2018 / 7:23 AM / in a year

UK rail companies say fare system should be simplified

LONDON, May 8 (Reuters) - Britain’s train operators said they will start a process aimed at simplifying the current system of rail fares which means that customers using UK railways can end up paying more for tickets than they should.

The industry body that represents the UK’s train operators said on Tuesday that it was beginning a public consultation on fares and ticketing regulation, alongside which it would commission an independent report, before presenting proposals to government for reform.

Britain’s rail services were privatised in the 1990s and since then different companies have bid to run sections of the network.

The industry body, the Rail Delivery Group (RDG), said that this process had led to layers of requirements building up and as a result it was hard to buy the right ticket.

“Unpicking the regulation of a 10 billion pounds ($13.6 billion) a year fares system that underpins such a vital public service means there are no quick-and-easy solutions,” RDG Chief Executive Paul Plummer said in a statement.

“This consultation will enable us to create a clear roadmap with the country so that we can make the right changes for the long-term more quickly.”

The RDG’s members include Govia Thameslink, a partnership between British company Go-Ahead and France’s Keolis, and First Great Western, part of First Group. ($1 = 0.7372 pounds) (Reporting by Sarah Young, editing by James Davey)

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