Return train tickets are expected to be scrapped across the UK under new reforms

The new set-up would see the price of two singles cost the same as a return ticket (PA)
The new set-up would see the price of two singles cost the same as a return ticket (PA)

The British rail system reforms that are set to be announced later this week might see return tickets scrapped.

Currently, return tickets offer travellers a discounted price compared to when the arrival and departure journeys are bought separately.

In 2020, the London North East Railway trialled the idea of “single-leg pricing”, which sees the price of two singles match a return ticket price.

According to a report by The Telegraph, the transport secretary, Mark Harper, will reveal the new fares in his speech on Tuesday, February 7, while he unveils the Great British Railways (GBR) plans.

GBR will be a new public body that will look after the trains and their tracks, oversee timetables, and manage ticketing. It will absorb the state-owned infrastructure management company Network Rail.

Harper is expected to share a new pricing strategy, a simplified rail-ticketing system that might see the use of smartcards across the UK, and more.

The idea to merge all the responsibilities under one roof was first pitched by former prime minister Boris Johnson and his transport secretary, Grant Shapps, back in May 2021.

They came up with it following ex-British Airways boss Keith Williams’s review, which suggested the creation of a singular “guiding mind” that oversaw the entire rail system.

Mr Williams is reported to be among the guests who will be present during Mr Harper’s speech.

Recently, it was announced that rail fares in England will increase by 5.9 per cent from March 5, after what the Government called “its biggest ever intervention” to keep the cost of travel below the soaring inflation rate.

This will be the first time in more than 25 years that regulated rail fares are increased by less than the inflation rate. However, the price rise is still the biggest in the past decade.

Talking about it back in December 2022, Mr Harper shared: “This is the biggest-ever Government intervention in rail fares. It has been a difficult year and the impact of inflation is being felt across the UK economy. We do not want to add to the problem.

“This is a fair balance between the passengers who use our trains and the taxpayers who help pay for them.”