June 14, 2024

LNER trials scheme to simplify fares

LNER is trialling a new ‘Simpler Fares’ pilot scheme for selected journeys along the East Coast route.

The two-year trial aims to offer a clearer choice of tickets and make buying them easier. It will include journeys between London King’s Cross and Newcastle, London and Berwick-upon-Tweed and London and Edinburgh, for travel with LNER. 

The new initiative comprises two significant changes. Firstly, complicated ticket types will be removed and replaced with three straightforward options on the trial routes. The changes also mean journeys will be priced more closely to demand, helping to smooth demand for services over the course of the day. 

LNER will introduce a new type of semi-flexible ticket. For the pilot markets, the new fare structure is available from now for travel from February 5 2024: 

  • Advance (Fixed) – the best value fare, booked in advance for a fixed journey with a guaranteed reserved seat.
  • ‘70-min Flex’ (Semi-Flexible) a new type of ticket offering customers the flexibility to travel on other LNER services, which can be 70 minutes before or after their original booked journey. 
  • Anytime (Fully-Flexible) – this ticket can be used at any time of day.  

Off-Peak and Super Off-Peak fares, which now only represent 11% of journeys included in the pilot, will be removed from February 5 2024. 

Simpler Fares builds on the roll-out of Single Leg Pricing across most of the LNER route, which the rail operator says provides greater flexibility to mix and match fares and reduce the number of different products on the market for customers to understand.   

Data from the Rail Delivery Group (RDG), which represents train operators, found that 35% of people for whom rail is an option are put off travelling by train because they find it difficult to find the right fare. 

David Horne, Managing Director at LNER, said: “Customers tell us they find fares confusing. This new pilot is the next step in our plans to overhaul complicated and outdated ticketing options and we look forward to hearing feedback from our customers. 

“We believe that making fares simpler, smarter, and fairer, while introducing value for money and modern flexibility, will encourage more people to choose to travel by rail, the most sustainable travel choice.”