Rail operators forced to consider pricing revisions; consider operative word

21 May 2009

The House of Commons Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has slated rail operators for the unfair practice of providing their cheapest tickets only through the internet.

"It is unacceptable,” states the conclusion of the PAC’s latest report on Letting Rail Franchises. “There is no reason why the DFT should favour a system which supports such perverse and unwarranted exclusion.”

Strong words perhaps, but with only 65% of UK households sporting internet access, they may be warranted. Further reasoning is given as ‘old people’: “... many people, particularly elderly people, find using the internet difficult.”

It is implied that there is a moral obligation, as a public service, on the part of operators to provide equal pricing for all. However this does run fairly contrary to the government’s drive to move public services online. It makes sense as it’s cheaper to run. But how does one encourage online activity without inherently disadvantaging those that have no access?

It’s certainly one of many contemporary politico-ethical conundrums that baffle us every day. I suppose the solution “lower monpolistically extortionate prices across the board” is just too silly to contemplate.

[Sky News]

TOPICS:   Travel

6 comments

  • Dave M.
    All that will happen is that they'll reduce the savings to be made by booking online. The term 'public service' doesn't really fit with our rail system, it easily provides the worse customer service levels of any sector I can think of.
  • Tommy
    That's the least of their worries. I travelled from Newcastle to Oxfordshire this weekend, and had I booked a return ticket, it would have cost me £108. I booked the journey in 'legs', 6 each way in total, and my journey required no changes / stopovers. Total cost: £38
  • Tom P.
    @Tommy"Total cost: £38", hitch hike you lazy slob...Newcastle to Oxfordshire FREE, you might get bummed by a pervy lorry driver, but at least the trip will be FREE
  • CompactDstrxion
    The cheap advance rail tickets are available from the train station anyway! The only discounts online are the odd 10% here or there and those can't be used in conjunction with railcards, so elderly people with railcards wouldn't benefit at all. Ordinary adults would lose their 10%.
  • ElBuc
    I'm only here because I thought it said "Rail operators forced to consider piercing"
  • Nobby
    Old people should have to pay more on the trains. If only for the extra cleaning bills due to their biscuit crumbs.

What do you think?

Connect with Facebook, Twitter, or just enter your email to sign in and comment.

Your comment