The Centre for Policy Studies has warned “there is no going back to the old world” despite taxpayers paying £16bn to keep trains running during coronavirus. The centre-right think tank said a simpler, fairer and more flexible ticketing system – with peak fares scrapped – is required as part of measures to avoid a spiral of decline and underinvestment in the nation’s railways.
Report author Tony Lodge said: “The pandemic fundamentally changed the nature of rail in the UK. The Government has the opportunity – through the new Great British Railways body – to radically overhaul the current model to make sure that it is fit for purpose and able to meet modern passenger demands.
“Frankly, if the Government doesn’t implement these reforms, there is no certainty that rail will have a future and taxpayers will inevitably be forced to foot the bill for its decline.”
“We need ticketing to be far simpler, far more flexible on prices – including the abolition of the peak/off-peak divide – and far more digital.”
By the last three months of 2021, rail travel had returned to over 60 per cent of the pre-pandemic peak with 285 million journeys made.
Read more in The Yorkshire Post here.
Date Added: Tuesday 17th May 2022