City commuters to have their say on rail ticketing reform

Southeastern Trains operate to and from Canterbury

Train firm Southeastern is backing calls to simplify the rail ticketing system.

The franchisee, which operates the HS1 service out of Canterbury West and the regular services from both city stations, is the supporting the Rail Delivery Group’s demands for “root and branch” reform of train fare regulation.

An RDG public consultation will aim to identify ways to make the system fairer and easier to use.

The announcement follows new research by KPMG which reveals that only 34% of customers are very confident that they bought the best value ticket for their last journey while only 29% were very satisfied with the experience of buying their ticket.

Southeastern spokesman Paul Prentice said: “We’re supportive of this consultation, as we’re members of the Rail Delivery Group.”

Canterbury West train station

Some Canterbury commuters are calling for season tickets which allow for part-time travel for those who do not have to make daily journeys into the capital or elsewhere.

Asked whether Southeastern was considering this, Mr Prentice said: “This is not something Southeastern has any control over.

“Regulations around season tickets and other fares are set by the government.

“That is precisely why rail companies are calling for a root and branch reform of rail fares regulation.”

The RDG, which brings together all rail companies, has commissioned an independent report from KPMG to identify the needs of customers and the country as a whole.

RDG chief executive Paul Plummer said: “As part of the industry’s plan for change, we want to work in partnership to drive root and branch reform of well-meaning but out-dated fares regulation.

Working together, we want to develop proposals to reform fares and regulation to make it easier for our customers to get the right ticket, enhancing trust in the system and supporting continued investment to improve the service.

“Unpicking the regulation of a £10bn-a-year fares system that underpins such a vital public service means there are no quick-and-easy solutions.

“The change that’s needed won’t be easy and the industry doesn’t have all the answers. That is why we want to hear views from passengers, communities and businesses in all parts of the country.

“There have already been improvements and more are on the way. This consultation will enable us to create a clear roadmap with the country so that we can make the right changes for the long-term more quickly.”


  1. Your picture of “Canterbury West train station” shows the old, spacious station forecourt pre-2013, which had enough room for Rail Replacement Buses to park off-road to load/unload passengers or wait for trains to arrive.
    The new layout, introduced by CCC and SouthEastern in 2013, has insufficient space for people to pick up and drop off passengers, a Taxi rank that is far too small, and no room at all for Buses.
    So all Buses have to wait on the road where they block the traffic, create queues, and obstruct the view for those pulling out of the station forecourt, endangering road and station users.
    In short, the station forecourt is too small and is now overloaded at many times of day.
    Urgent progress needs to be made with KCC’s and CCC’s widely-shared ambition to open up access from Roper Road to the other side of the station, to create an integrated transport hub around our city’s High-speed station that provides adequate access by ALL modes of transport.
    I am happy to provide more details of this.


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