Michael Roberts, Chief Executive of the Association of Train Operating Companies, said:
“Britain’s railway has been transformed in the last 15 years, thanks to the public and private sectors working successfully together to deliver for passengers and taxpayers.
“By introducing competition between train companies to run services, government has ensured operators have played a crucial role in reversing the fortunes of the railway by motivating them to attract more passengers.
“Significant investment plus an industry focused on encouraging rail travel are generating record levels of revenue to pay for more trains, faster services and better stations.”
People will now find it even easier and quicker to find the cheapest train fare for their journey, thanks to National Rail Enquiries (NRE).
In response to customer feedback, NRE is launching an improved version of its already popular Cheapest Fare Finder function on its website, nationalrail.co.uk.
The fare finder tool already attracts around 100,000 enquiries a week, helping people save on the cost of their journey.
The improved Cheapest Fare Finder will mean customers can now:
- Search across an entire day to find the cheapest fare available, rather than just a four-hour window.
- Search for return as well as single journeys. This means fewer clicks to find fare savings and was the number one customer suggestion to improve the Cheapest Fare Finder.
- Search all train companies operating on a route, rather than having to select one at a time.
Following the updates, NRE hopes that even more customers will find it easier to find savings on their train travel. Train companies already sell around a million cheap Advance tickets every week – often available to buy up to 6pm the day before travel – with that number set to grow.
The sale of cheap tickets is one of the reasons that the railways are booming in popularity with passengers making over 1.5 billion journeys last year – the highest for over 90 years.
Chris Scoggins, Chief Executive of NRE said: “We know many customers want a quick, easy and simple way to find the cheapest fare for their journey through the website. That’s why since we launched the original Cheapest Fare Finder we’ve seen its popularity grow.
“After talking to and listening to customers, we’ve now made it even easier to search for and buy cheap tickets that will help Britain keep moving in tough times.”
Notes to editors
The Cheapest Fare Finder is available on the nationalrail.co.uk website and can be found by clicking here http://ojp.nationalrail.co.uk/service/farefinder/search.
National Rail Enquiries is the UK’s leading source of train travel information in the UK.
Responding to Labour’s proposal that concessionary travel for the Armed Forces be extended to UK veterans, David Mapp, Commercial Director at the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC) said: “Train companies support our armed services. 75,000 service personnel and their families make more than one million rail journeys every year using the HM Forces Railcard, a scheme voluntarily funded by operators that provides a third off train tickets.
"We also provided free travel to Games Venues for service personnel keeping the Olympic and Paralympic Games safe and secure last summer.”
The Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC) recently revealed that first class rail travel has hit a 10 year high. Operators have adopted airline style discounting to encourage a wider range of passengers, particularly at weekends and at quieter times of the day, to trade up and experience first class rail travel.
Here are some tips for enjoying first class travel for less than you might think.
1. Book early.
One way to travel first class for less is to buy a first class Advance ticket. Advance tickets are available on many routes and can be bought up to the day before travel, subject to availability. Sales of first class Advance tickets have increased by 76% in the last four years and around 121,000 Advance first class tickets are now sold a week, on average.
Typically, a first class Advance fare is between a quarter and a third of the cost of a first class Anytime ticket.
As Advance tickets generally go on sale around 12 weeks before the date of travel, some of the best deals are to be had by booking early. Check train companies’ own websites or nationalrail.co.uk and use the cheapest fare finder tool.
2. Use a Railcard.
First class journeys made by passengers using a Railcard rose 52% between 2009 and 2012, from 1.3m journeys to 2m last year.
The biggest increases in first class Railcard journeys over the last three years have been among 16-25 year olds (68%), those with a Disabled Persons Railcard (66%) and over sixties with a Senior Railcard (48%).
Senior Railcard and Disabled Persons Railcard holders get a third off all first class fares and those with a 16-25 Railcard can get a third off Advance first class fares. Just remember to take your Railcard along with your ticket when you travel.
3. Pay less to travel in first at weekends.
Many train companies offer you the chance to get a bigger seat and more legroom at weekends by paying a supplement either in advance or when you are on the train to upgrade to first class. Just check with the train company you’ll be travelling with. On some journeys this can be for as little as £5. For full details visit nationalrail.co.uk/firstclass.
David Mapp, Commercial Director for the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC) said:
“By offering discounted first class fares, train companies are making it possible for more and more people to travel in style. Despite tough economic times, operators have encouraged people travelling on a range of budgets to take advantage of the good value fares and deals that are on offer.”
Rail passengers are increasingly turning to smartphones to check train times on the move, with the equivalent of at least one train journey now being searched every two seconds using the official app.
New figures from National Rail Enquiries (NRE), paid for and run by train companies, show that since it launched its Android and iPhone apps last year, passengers have used them to make more than 53.4million enquiries.
Since NRE first launched its interactive website 10 years ago this spring, it has seen a four-fold rise in enquiries made across all its services. In 2003/04, people made 87.1million enquiries to its call centre and other services to get train information. In 2012/13, NRE received 348million enquiries across its range of services.
NRE puts the surge in demand down to offering more ways for people to access better information about their train journeys amid rising demand for rail travel generally. A decade ago, people could use the NRE website to find a number to call. Now rail passengers can get the latest, live rail information on their smartphones or online, with NRE handling over 11 times as many contacts through its official app as phone calls to its call centre in 2012/13.
Chris Scoggins, Chief Executive of NRE said: “Accurate information is vital to giving people the confidence to travel by train. With rail travel more popular now than it has been for over 90 years, NRE is giving people more and more ways to check their journey details.
“For now, the web is still the most popular way for people to contact us but we’re seeing a big surge in enquiries made through mobile devices and social media. People who are out and about are using our app to check when the next train home is.
“The challenge for the future is to continue to listen to customers’ feedback to ensure National Rail Enquiries remains the most popular and useful source of rail travel information in the UK.”
Commenting on the HS2 Hybrid Bill and High Speed Rail (Preparation) Bill announced in the Queen's Speech, Michael Roberts, Chief Executive of the Association of Train Operating Companies, said:
“The inclusion of the HS2 legislation in today’s Queen’s Speech is good news for both passengers and the economy. This commitment is the next important step in securing a modern high speed rail network linking the north and south of Britain which will unlock significant economic and environmental benefits.
“A new high speed line, alongside sustained investment in the existing network, is key to providing the extra capacity today’s booming rail industry will need in the years ahead.”
Responding to the latest rail performance figures covering 01 April to 27 April 2013, a spokesperson for the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC) said:
“These figures show that, on average, more than nine out of ten trains arrive without delay, helping the vast majority of passengers reach their destinations as planned.
“Punctuality is vitally important to passengers and train companies and that’s why we will continue to work closely with the rest of the industry to drive improvements to services.”
Six million passenger journeys are expected to be made by train over the bank holiday weekend with many expected to head towards the UK’s race courses, sporting fixtures and music festivals taking place around the country.
Across the network as a whole, bank holidays tend to be quieter than a normal weekend but certain parts of the railways see an increase in passenger numbers.
Events expected to attract significant numbers of people travelling by train this weekend are horse racing meetings taking place at Windsor, Warwick and Newmarket as well as some of the year’s first music festivals.
With around a third fewer buses expected to run this May bank holiday than compared with the same period last year, the vast majority of people travelling by train this bank holiday should be unaffected by disruption because of improvement works.
Engineers from Network Rail, the company that manages the track and signalling, will be working round the clock to lay new track, upgrade signalling, repair bridges and improve stations to help deliver a better railway for passengers.
Michael Roberts, Chief Executive of the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC) said: “Across the network as a whole, bank holidays tend to be quieter than normal on the railways. But we’re still expecting millions of passengers to get out and about visiting friends and family, travelling to festivals or heading to sporting events.
“The vast majority of people taking the train should experience no disruption because of improvement works taking place. Millions of pounds are spent all year round by train companies and Network Rail to improve the network, to ensure that even more trains arrive on time and even more passengers are happy with their service.”
Notes to editors
Across the bank holiday weekend, including Saturday, Sunday and Monday, around 6 million passenger journeys are expected to be made.
Six million passenger journeys are expected to be made by train over the bank holiday weekend with many people heading to some of the UK’s top attractions to take advantage of cut price entry deals offered by train companies.
Operators today reveal the 10 most popular attractions they predict will be visited by people using a National Rail 2FOR1 offer over the Bank Holiday weekend.
The top 10 most popular attractions are expected to be:
Tower of London
ZSL London Zoo
National SEA LIFE centre Birmingham
SEA LIFE Brighton
The Black Country Living Museum
There are over 250 participating theatres, restaurants, galleries, museums, tours and events nationwide, including new exhibitions at some of the country’s leading galleries and museums. Full details can be found at www.daysoutguide.co.uk.
Based on two adults using a 2FOR1 deal, the average saving people make on the admission price is around £ 17.00.
People can also save by using a Family & Friends Railcard which offers up to a third off most adult fares and 60% off kids’ fares throughout Great Britain and by booking in advance.
Train operators now sell almost a million cheap Advance train tickets every week, some of which can be booked up until 6pm the night before travel.
Across the network as a whole, bank holidays tend to be quieter than a normal weekend but certain parts of the railways see an increase in passenger numbers as people take advantage of the extended break to get out and about to see friends and family, shop and enjoy a day out.
David Mapp, Commercial Director of the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC) said: “Over the three day weekend, we’re expecting millions of passengers to get out and about for day trips or to visit friends and family. By taking the train to one of over 250 attractions nationwide people can take advantage of the great 2FOR1 entry deal offered by train companies.
“We understand people want to have a great day out and need to stretch their budgets further. That’s why train operators not only offer some great deals to get you there by train but also 2FOR1 entry to hundreds of top attractions to make even bigger savings.”
Notes to editors
To use the National Rail 2FOR 1 deals:
1. Simply fill in a voucher as printed in 2FOR1 leaflets found at many stations or download and print as many as you need at www.daysoutguide.co.uk)
2. Travel by train to the attraction.
3. Present your completed 2FOR1 voucher along with your valid train tickets at your chosen attraction.
- The top 10 attractions are predictions based on available data from the 2012 early May bank holiday.
- High-res images available on request.
Responding to a poll about disabled rail travel, David Sindall, head of disability and inclusion for the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC) said: “Record numbers of people with disabilities are travelling by train and facilities for disabled passengers are better now than they’ve ever been.”