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Industry commits to closer engagement with third parties on sale of rail tickets

5 October 2016  •  Author: Katie Sadler, Digital Content Producer, European Railway Review

The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) has issued findings of its Retail Market Review which looked at how rail tickets are sold to passengers in the UK.

Industry commits to closer engagement with third parties on sale of rail tickets

The ORR has concluded its review of the rail retail market, outlining progress on recommendations made in June 2015.

Simplify processes to help innovative products enter the market quickly

Following recommendations made during the course of the review, train operators have committed to giving third parties, such as online retailers, greater input into decision making processes around the sale of rail tickets.

The report has also recommended that industry simplifies processes to help innovative products enter the market more quickly.

“Giving third party retailers greater say in rules around the sale of tickets increases competition and choice, which is good news for passengers”

Commenting on the recommendations, ORR’s Director of Railway Markets & Economics, John Larkinson said: “Our review has considered the complex industry rules for how tickets are sold. We have worked closely with the industry to identify practical improvements to benefit passengers.

“Giving third party retailers greater say in rules around the sale of tickets increases competition and choice, which is good news for passengers.

“We believe these changes will lead to greater choice about where and how passengers buy their tickets.”

Industry response…

Paul Plummer, chief executive of the Rail Delivery Group, which represents train operators, said:  “The rail industry is focussed on improving customer experience, and third party retailers have an important part to play in delivering better services. 

“We have worked closely with the ORR throughout its review and support its position on transparency and closer engagement with third parties.  

“In response to the ORR’s recommendations, we will develop an action plan to deliver improvements including: 

  • A new forum to increase industry engagement with third party internet retailers
  • Publishing new guidance for current and prospective third party retailers on how the industry sets retailing arrangements, including commission rates, third party retailers’ share of industry system costs, and changes to retail licences; and
  • Exploring new ticket retailing opportunities though outlets such as convenience stores.

“We believe that our action plan and the steps we have already taken show that the industry can deliver better results for train operators, retailers and customers.” 

The ORR’s Rail Market Review can be downloaded here.

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