DfT Consultation on Expanding Pay as you Go

Discussion in 'Fares Advice & Policy' started by plcd1, 7 Feb 2019.

  1. plcd1

    plcd1 Member

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    The DfT have launched a new public consultation on expanding pay as you go.

    https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/pay-as-you-go-on-rail
    I've only skimmed the document but there is a plan for an expanded South East PAYG area which stretches into Kent, Essex, Stansted, Aylesbury, Guildford etc. Looks like an interesting base proposal. Also links to recent discussion about expanding Oyster PAYG.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 10 Feb 2019
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  3. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    I can see a lot of sense in that when you consider that these are primarily walk-up TOCs that don't sell a lot of Advances if any.
     
  4. higthomas

    higthomas Member

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    I haven't fully read it or responded yet, but generally sounds like a fairly sensible consultation.
    I think there should be a bit more consistency in how far it goes, i.e. both going a more consistent distance, and not leaving branches (Alton and Southminster) out on a limb.
     
  5. gordonthemoron

    gordonthemoron Established Member

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    will this include Oyster or just Contactless? Neither have very high maximum amounts
     
  6. FenMan

    FenMan Member

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    Given that card readers will need to work in all weather conditions and be networked in real time I would like to learn the cost:benefit ratio of installing the necessary infrastructure at the smaller halts on the North Downs Line.
     
  7. mattdickinson

    mattdickinson Member

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    All SWR stations are already fitted with smartcard readers, so there wouldn't be many to install on the North Downs.
     
  8. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    I think there's an argument for covering the whole former NSE area with it eventually, that being the area in which most travel is walk-up and requirements are simpler than the IC stuff.
     
  9. Bensonby

    Bensonby Member

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    Would it be practical to put the readers inside the trains on routes like this? Not by the doors causing bottlenecks presumably though.
     
  10. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    I'm not sure there's an issue with putting them on the station. If there are lights, there's power, whereas the data connection can be via mobile if there is no fixed line.

    If there can be LED PIS and validators on obscure stations on the West Highland or the Conwy Valley, a slightly rural station near London isn't going to cause issues.
     
  11. Puffing Devil

    Puffing Devil Established Member

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    There's no mention of Family (or other railcards). Loading a single person railcard on a PAYG account is easy - it's trickier with a Family, Two Together or Disabled Companion.

    Also - what about First Class - will they have special Gold tap-in readers?
     
  12. cjp

    cjp Member

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    I have only got part way through this but I see it as potentially bringing an end to split ticketing, useful boundary zone extensions and a slimming down of ticket offices and their opening hours.
    The proposal acknowledges that contactless with debit or credit cards is not the answer as discounts cannot be applied to them eg railcards and that there are no current plans to get rid of paper tickets so I guess we will have both in place and until then the cases I listed in the opening sentence can still be applied eg start your journey with a peak ticket and later transfer to an off peak ticket. But in years to come...
     
  13. Surreytraveller

    Surreytraveller Member

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    The proposed area seems poorly thought out. Alton and Uckfield branches out on a limb - passengers use the East Grinstead and Uckfield lines interchangeably; stations in a group currently (Edenbridge and Edenbridge Town) would, according to the map, one be within the PAYG area, and one outside. The map looks like its been drawn up by some kiddy on work experience
     
  14. Bensonby

    Bensonby Member

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    How does it work in the London area?
     
  15. Surreytraveller

    Surreytraveller Member

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    There's no reason a railcard discount couldn't be registered against a credit card and therefore applied in the back-office
     
  16. JonathanH

    JonathanH Established Member

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    First Class is on the way out on a lot of these routes.

    I think it may well be the death knell of the Network Railcard. With regard to the Family Railcard, one option may be to follow the lead of TfL and make accompanied children free up to age 11 and charge full fare to the adults.
     
  17. Puffing Devil

    Puffing Devil Established Member

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    How does that work for multi-user cards like the Two-Together?

    That's not really like for like on the Family Railcard as the Adult element of the discount is missing. TFL do allow child discounts for the 12-16 (and beyond) ages with Oyster.

    First Class - Reading-Paddington is still well used.
     
  18. JonathanH

    JonathanH Established Member

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    Some worked examples might have helped to focus views in the consultation, particularly where there is a large differential between the peak and off-peak fare.

    They say that they can't set out the precise changes to fares but perhaps they could have used the fares at Redhill to consider how it might work. Let's consider the fares from Redhill to London:

    Anytime Travelcard £32.10
    Anytime Day Return £23.00
    Off Peak Travelcard £17.30 (valid to arrive in London at 0950)
    Off Peak Day Return £12.50 (valid to arrive in London at 0950)
    Super Off Peak Day Return £9.80 (valid to arrive in London at 1055, no depart 1615-1915)

    Anytime Day Single £11.40
    Super Off Peak Day Single £9.70

    Oyster Peak £11.00
    Oyster Off-Peak £6.30

    Oyster cap peak £32.30
    Oyster cap off-peak £20.50

    So using Oyster
    Peak / Peak = £22.00
    Peak / Off-peak = £17.30
    Off-peak / Off-peak = £12.60

    The impact of Oyster here is relatively neutral for most travellers except those who can currently use a super-off-peak return with its additional restrictions or who use an off-peak return and travel back in the evening peak. At the weekend, Oyster is always more expensive.

    Let's next consider Reading to London (and note that Oyster is coming to this route soon):

    Anytime Travelcard £55.90 (Any Permitted),
    Anytime Day Return £49.20 (Any Permitted), £34.90 (via Staines)
    Off Peak Return £29.20 (Any Permitted), £28.60 (via Staines)
    Off-Peak Travelcard £25.40 (Any Permitted)
    Off Peak Day Return £20.70 (Any Permitted), £19.60 (via Staines)

    There is already an inconsistency between two routes. Reading to Waterloo is a longer distance but takes much more time which supports the lower fare. However, I think you would need to set the same fare for Reading to London Terminals by both routes. Moreover, Oyster is going to be valid on the GWML before it is valid via Staines.

    So, let's assume that the fares are set at £25 single peak and £10.50 off-peak in a similar manner to the way it has been set from Redhill - the return fares become £50 peak both ways, £36.50 peak one way, off-peak the other and £21 off-peak both ways.

    Immediately, £10.50 seems too low as a single fare because, for someone travelling into London in the peak and out off-peak, the railway is getting much lower income - that has to be made up somewhere for this to be neutral. Maybe £15 is the right off-peak single fare.

    However, for someone travelling into London after 0930 but returning during the evening peak (notwithstanding the restriction on High Speed Services), their return fare suddenly jumps from £20.70 to £36.50 (or £40 if we go for the £15 single off-peak fare) which is a material increase.

    Clearly winners and losers - the question is whether the number of winners who are commuters have the stronger voice than the losers who are off peak travellers. A bigger shake up over longer distances than it was over the shorter distances in London.
     
  19. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Why? It could be loaded onto the contactless account/"Oyster card" just like any other Railcard.

    As for more complex Railcards, just buy a paper ticket. I don't see this coming with a TfL-style deprecation of paper tickets by way of punitive fares - Watford Junction, for instance, hasn't.
     
  20. swt_passenger

    swt_passenger Veteran Member

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    But surely the Network Card is also a “more complex” one if you consider the ability to take up to 3 other adults and 4 children. I suspect that is the biggest part of the reason it isn’t Oyster compatible, just like the family card.
     
  21. JonathanH

    JonathanH Established Member

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    If the aim is simplicity, the Oyster structure may simply be used to deliver PAYG. Network Railcard, with its £13 minimum fare, doesn't work with single-leg pricing, has a later start time and is generally simply not consistent with the proposals.

    Having now read it, the consultation raises the idea of having paper tickets only being available at peak fare rates (paragraph 89), like in London. It recognises that this would need to be done with care, and yes, it is an extreme option, but definitely sees this as something to be consulted upon. This was central to the 2010 extension of Oyster to National Rail services.

    The consultation has a very heavy bias towards the needs of people travelling for work and not leisure and is most definitely London-centric - ie based on the idea that everyone is travelling into Central London.
     
  22. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Not so much so, as I can't see any reason why it couldn't be loaded to be used for the most common use-case, namely use by one person.

    There is precedent, of course, for Railcards becoming ignored for local journeys - Merseyrail abolished its off peak day returns and replaced them with non-discountable day tickets.
     
  23. JonathanH

    JonathanH Established Member

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    All of these are fair points for a consultation response. As I just wrote, the extension of PAYG is mainly in the interests of commuters and not other kinds of travellers - the needs of other users need to be recognised and heard.

    However, I note that the interests of people with Family Railcards were not served well by the 2010 changes in London (albeit tempered a bit by the continued availability of paper travelcards). People with Two-Together Railcards who live in London probably see them more as a tool for saving money on long distance travel rather than a short journey.
     
  24. plcd1

    plcd1 Member

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    I've now read the consultation. I'm nowhere near as expert as some other forum members so my observations may be a little flawed.

    - Basic idea of extending PAYG is good.
    - The expanded area makes broad sense but I think the DfT are missing a trick in some places. Not including the Braintree and Southminster branches just seems daft to me - they're both part of a local transport axis as well as having flows to London and other points like Chelmsford and Southend. I'd include them to avoid silly boundary issues at locations probably ill served to deal with them.
    - There are also silly gaps like having Farnborough North in the scheme but not Farnborough Main. Same inconsistency applies in Edenbridge.
    - I'd prefer to use a smartcard as I'm happy with a separate card plus I'd need to have a privilege discount set. I suspect, though, that most passengers would want to use contactless bank cards or smartphones that NFC capability.
    - I can see why there may be fare issues given the inconsistent pricing practices and differing levels of annual fare increase that have been permitted over many years. Sadly that mess makes a move to zonal fares (my preference) much harder to achieve.
    - I understand why the DfT won't shift the farepayer / taxpayer balance but that is a very significant impediment to achieving a sensible, simple structure.
    - The DfT's view that PAYG won't somehow bring a "revenue windfall" is delusional. PAYG on NR services in London brought in an enormous revenue boost. By adopting this view I think DfT are hobbling the business case for PAYG expansion. Surely the whole point is that more convenient ticketing will encourage greater usage overall (other things being unchanged).
    - My preference would be a fairly rapid geographically based expansion - for example Greater Anglia and C2C routes to Essex going live at the same time.
    - I'd also like to see expansion to Brighton, Oxford, Bedford and Cambridge. I know that brings in other issues re fares levels but covering (almost) the entirety of Thameslink seems logical to me. Also covering the major university cities of Cambridge and Oxford seems logical too to cover both large student and visitor markets.
    - I'd like to see more of a push from the DfT to offer local bus network coverage (possibly based around the existing Plus Bus areas) alongside an expanded rail PAYG offer.

    I can see that there will be considerable concerns about simplification leading to the loss of operator specific discounted fares and also possible increases in season ticket prices to give "headroom" for daily capping with peak and off peak differentiation. London, of course, went the opposite way and effectively abolished a peak capping premium on "smart" media which has always struck me as counter intuitive given the huge pressures on peak capacity.
     
  25. FenMan

    FenMan Member

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    Agree with the point about Farnborough Main. It makes no sense to include all stations in the Blackwater Valley conurbation in the proposals apart from the busiest station by far.
     
  26. FenMan

    FenMan Member

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    The validators will have to work reliably in all weathers so they would need to be in sheltered positions at the entrances to both platforms. That puts up the costs/paperwork of installation.
     
  27. SWT_USER

    SWT_USER Member

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    Pleased the consultation mentions extending from Feltham to Reading/ Windsor. This is sensible given Oyster will be valid on Crossrail to Reading from Paddington.
     
  28. cjp

    cjp Member

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    Some may find this illustration from the proposal useful in deciding whether to read it in detail - if I can get it to work.
    upload_2019-2-8_11-19-3.png
     
  29. swt_passenger

    swt_passenger Veteran Member

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    I see they are effectively admitting that some weekly seasons are mispriced in comparison to daily walk up fares, with the result that part time travellers lose out. I normally cite the example of SWR where for fares such as Southampton to Waterloo the weekly season is only about twice the Anytime Day Fare.
    That ought to be popular...
     
  30. FenMan

    FenMan Member

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    Peak pricing on the golden corridor between Reading and Paddington would become an issue too.
     
  31. ForTheLoveOf

    ForTheLoveOf Established Member

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    Thanks for that.

    I don't understand why they don't use a more uniform boundary - if it's stretching to Aylesbury nearly 40 miles out of London, then why is Dorking the limit in that direction?

    IMO, if they want to equalise things they could consider setting the limits at something like Aylesbury, Haddenham & T, Tilehurst, Bramley, Basingstoke, Alton, Liphook, Pulborough, Wivelsfield, East Grinstead, Uckfield, Robertsbridge, Ashford, Faversham, Shoeburyness, Southminster, Braintree, Whittlesford, Foxton, Sandy, Flitwick and Leighton Buzzard. That would look something like this (distances as the crow flies, from Charing Cross):

    [​IMG]

    That would mean Oyster expanding to a distance of around 30-40 miles out of central London (50 in the case of Ashford, due to the HS1 service). I would have thought that would encompass a significant number of commuters, and perhaps entice those who only have to commute part-time to increase their usage of the railways (or increase their perception of value for money), due to the way that Oyster/contactless fares work.

    It would require an equalisation of fares to take place, with stations broadly speaking being grouped until something like Zone 15 (a publicly published Zone 15). I think that's simple enough for people to get their heads around. But no doubt there would be a required resultant increase in subsidy unless those lines with currently lower fares (e.g. Uckfield) had their fares dramatically increased.
     
    Last edited: 8 Feb 2019

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