West Midlands welcomes rail fares reform proposals

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Plans to simplify the complex range of rail fares and tickets available to passengers have been welcomed by West Midlands Rail Executive (WMRE).

The Rail Delivery Group (RDG), which represents the country's rail companies, has outlined proposals to transform the train ticketing in the Easier Fares For All report published today.

The WMRE, which oversees rail services in the region, recognises the importance of providing straightforward, understandable and value-for-money rail fares and are pleased that the RDG is proposing a radical overhaul of the fares system to make it better aligned with the way people travel today and in the future.

In the West Midlands we have already been taking major steps to modernise transport ticketing and we will be continuing the roll out of the Swift smart ticket across the regional rail network in conjunction with West Midlands Trains and other operators.

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Through the use of Swift and other technologies there is the opportunity to create a rail fares structure in the West Midlands which is more consistent between routes and better reflects peoples' travel patterns.

The current West Midlands fares structure, while offering very good value fares for many passengers, does have inconsistencies and anomalies and could be improved.

WMRE welcomes the fact that the RDG's proposals recognise that a national "one-size-fits-all" approach is not appropriate and that the changes need to support more local control over fares, allowing devolved bodies such as WMRE greater ability to create a fares structure that meets the specific needs of the West Midlands.

Chair of the West Midlands Rail Executive and leader of the City of Wolverhampton Council Cllr Roger Lawrence said:  "We are pleased to support the rail industry in pursuing changes to the rail fares system. In the West Midlands, where we already benefit from some of the best value fares in the country, our passengers and stakeholders tell us that they want to move towards a more consistent and understandable fares structure."

"Using the devolved powers that West Midlands Rail Executive has agreed with central government, we will look to build on the proposals published today and will actively work with the rail industry to commission specific work to explore options for making changes to fares in the West Midlands region"