When I started the www.brfares.com website back in 2012, the aim was simply to make it easier for people to find out what fares were available for a given rail journey. I wanted to try and present all the information about restrictions, validity etc. in a clear way. The original target audience was really very niche; people had to have some idea of what they were looking for before using the site.
In the seven years since, I’ve had a lot of feedback from people working in the rail industry that the site provides clearer and better information than any other resource that they have access to. It is regularly cited on Twitter as a definitive source to answer questions/debates about fares. In many ways it has come to be seen as “part of the furniture” of the rail industry, always there quietly in the background, doing its job.
Many ordinary passengers find it very useful too, but I’ve always been aware that for a lot of journeys, the complexity of the fares system as well as the many and varied options in terms of journey time, quality of service etc. mean that a site like BR Fares only scratches the surface of what’s really needed to enable people to make cheaper, smoother and stress-free journeys.
Other websites I’ve created or been heavily involved with include www.brtimes.com (train times), www.ltfares.com (Oyster/Contactless fares in London) and www.fastjp.com (journey planner for the British rail network). Although (I hope) all these websites all add something useful, there is still so much that:
(a) could be done better
(b) is being done really well, but not enough people know about it!
In this blog, I intend to highlight interesting issues that fall into both these categories, and others. Posts will be made by BR Fares staff and contributors and we hope to encourage comments, get some interesting debate going and just generally raise awareness of customer experience issues in the rail industry.
Speak to you soon!