Plan for government owned Trainline-style online ticket shop unveiled by Labour

Written by Alain Tolhurst and Matt Honeycombe-Foster on 2 December 2019 in News
News

Party proposes government-run ‘one-stop shop’ for all train trips, as welll as one-third cut in fares

Photo: PA

Labour would create a “one-stop shop” for rail tickets to rival Trainline website if it moves into government after the election.

The new service would form part of their plans to take rail franchises back into public ownership within five years of coming to power. The party says the new central online booking portal would replace the “confusing ticket sales of private train operators”.

But the site would also be a major competitor to third-party companies such a Trainline, which floated on the London Stock Exchange this summer with a valuation of £2.2bn.


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Labour says the new site would be necessary to simplify the process of purchasing tickets form the various operators, after research shows there are 55 million types of fare available.

Shadow transport secretary Andy McDonald said of the plans: “Labour's publicly owned rail company will provide a simple one-stop shop for ticket information and purchase, replacing the confusing ticket sales of private train operators. The independent ticketing websites and apps that currently provide a valuable service will continue as at present.”

The party also announced today it would cut most rail fares by a third from January next year if it wins the election.

Regulated rail fares are currently set to rise by 2.7% from January, in line with the rate of inflation.

But Labour is promising to scrap the existing system with a "simple, fair, affordable and transparent" regime of rail fares if it wins office, and claims that the average commuter is set to save £1,097. The reduction would cover most peak time fares and season tickets, and Labour said it would represent the biggest ever reduction in rail charges.

The party forecasts that the pledge will cost £1.5bn, drawn from existing Department for Transport budgets.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said: "Travelling by train is my favourite way of getting around the country but for too long a fragmented and privatised rail system has ripped-off passengers.

"Taking back control of our railways is the only way to bring down fares and create a railway network that is fit for the future.

"Labour will bring about real change on the railways because we are on the side of passengers."

However, the Conservatives accusing Corbyn of pushing an "ideological" plan to bring the railways back into public ownership. 

Transport secretary Grant Shapps said: "This is another desperate attempt from Labour to distract from their inability and unwillingness to be straight with people on where they stand on Brexit, and the fact they would raise taxes on low and middle income workers across the country."

Labour also revealed plans to make England one of the best countries in the world for walking and cycling.

If they win the election the party has promised to create a new healthy streets programme, modelled on towns in Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands. The party would also build 5,000km of cycleways, as well as providing universal affordable access to bicycles and grants for e-bike purchases.

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Alain Tolhurst and Matt Honeycombe-Foster
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Alain Tolhurst is chief reporter for CSW's sister publication PoliticsHome, and Matt Honeycombe-Foster is the news editor of PoliticsHome, where this story first appeared.

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