UK’s Train Ticketing 'Full of Digital Barriers'

Mon,20 November 2023
News Transport
A new study into British rail habits has unsurprisingly found that the UK’s train ticketing is full of barriers. A SilverRail survey for the rail industry shows plainly that digital convenience is missing from our ‘digitally-savvy nation' as 48% of passengers surveyed favoured purchasing train tickets at the station rather than via an online app.

Official statistics point to this being one third of all rail tickets sold, which on current revenue would equate to around £2.8bn. Age differential is a factor climbing from 36% among 18-24-year-olds to 63% for those aged 65 and over. Disappointingly 20% felt that they would be unable to find the cheapest ticket for their journey. And, most significantly, more than half of those (58%) who have bought a ticket in the past believe there are simply too many ticket options, with this number increasing to 71% amongst 65+ years.

From ‘peak’ to ‘off-peak’ to ‘super-off-peak’ the industry jargon confounds 19% of the population and it was the most vulnerable who struggled most, with more than a quarter of those with a disability (26%) saying they are likely to struggle to secure the cheapest ticket, and are baffled by the variety of tickets on offer (69%). 

Vulnerable sections of society frequently need help purchasing tickets with 71% of respondents aged 65+ and 69%  with physical disabilities struggle to pick the right ticket, given the many options available.  As a result, 43% of respondents have friends and family who struggle to purchase rail tickets online – while an additional 36% say they have stepped in to purchase rail tickets on behalf of someone who was unable to do so themself and 76% agreed that purchasing rail tickets online is difficult for elderly and disabled passengers. A very worrying aspect is that 17%  feel ‘nervous’ when it comes to purchasing a rail ticket online – a stat that rises to 27% for those with a disability.

Stephen Brookes Disability Rights UK Rail policy adviser says 'The survey results are not a surprise and as we keep saying it’s imperative that we don’t sideline the most vulnerable in society. We need to convince the industry that disabled rail users must not be penalised in either cost or experience however they wish to buy their ticket.”