Train fares made less baffling

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Buying train tickets should be simpler and easier to understand when new measures come in next month.

Rail travellers will no longer have to sort through an array of options and will have to choose between only three ticket types.

From 18 May, the selection of discounted advance purchase fares will be consolidated as "Advance" tickets. From 7 September, any tickets bought on the day of travel will be either "Anytime" or "Off-peak".

The Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC) said the new ticket structure would not result in price increases and the regulation of fares would be unaffected.

According to ATOC, one of the biggest complaints among customers is the complicated nature of the range of tickets currently available. At present, train companies have as many as 12 different types, from full-fare open returns to cut-price book-ahead fares.

David Mapp, ATOC's commercial director, said he hoped the new system would get more people on to public transport. "This is the biggest shake-up in the fares and ticketing system for years."