Press releases

Regulator secures fee transparency improvements from third-party rail ticket retailers

12 March 2024
Third party retailers have responded positively to the Office of Rail and Road’s (ORR) report published in December 2023, which showed that some retailers were not sufficiently transparent about the additional fees they charged on their websites and apps during the ticket buying process.
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ORR has had constructive and positive engagement from the seven retailers it wrote to with concerns about their use of ‘drip pricing’, which is when consumers are shown an initial price for a product or service before additional fees are revealed later in the purchase process.

Consumers can be disproportionately influenced by the first and most prominent price they see and can be drawn into paying more than they intended or needed to. UK consumer protection law requires retailers to provide people with the information they need to make informed purchase decisions.

ORR wrote to MyTrainTicket, Omio, Raileasy, RailEurope, Trainhugger, Trainline and Trainpal about drip-pricing in their purchasing processes. In their responses, several retailers stated that they have already made interim improvements and are planning more substantial changes in the short term. Two retailers have not yet implemented changes but will do so later in the year. ORR will monitor progress towards proposed changes and will hold the companies to account.

Stephanie Tobyn, director of strategy, policy and reform, said:

"This work is focused on improving transparency, fairness and clarity for consumers when buying tickets online. Every retailer we engaged with acknowledges the vital role of complete transparency regarding fees right from the outset of the ticket purchasing process.

"It is imperative that retailers now act promptly to implement all proposed changes for the benefit of consumers."

The table below collates the ticket retailers written to by ORR and their key changes implemented and future planned changes to address ORR’s concerns about information on fees and drip pricing:

Third-party retailerKey changes implementedFuture planned changes
MyTrainTicketInformation about fees made more prominent throughout the purchase process.MyTrainTicket is exploring options for including the booking fee in the total price at the earliest opportunity and is engaging constructively with ORR.

New content providing information about fees to be added to website in April.

New system that will include the booking fee in the upfront price to be implemented by end 2024. Interim steps will make information about fees more readily available to customers during the purchase process.

RaileasyFAQs on fees corrected.New system that will include the booking fee in the upfront price to be implemented in March 2024.
Rail Europe

Booking fee now appears in the upfront price.

Help pages have new content on refund fees.

Train Huggern/aNew system that will include the booking fee in the upfront price to be implemented in April 2024.

Fees FAQs updated with improved information.

Website purchases: booking fee now included in upfront price, with clear price breakdown. 

App purchases: as an interim measure, information about fees now made more prominent throughout the purchase process.

App purchases: booking fee to be included in upfront price by September 2024
TrainpalFees FAQs updated with improved information.New system that will include the booking fee in the upfront price to be implemented in March 2024.

Notes to Editors

  1. Correspondence between ORR and retailers
  2. Transparency of fees when buying rail tickets report - December 2023
  3. ORR’s review focused on four types of fees:
    1. booking fees, charged by many TPRs (train companies are not permitted to charge a booking fee);
    2. finder’s fees, charged by those TPRs who offer a split ticketing service , typically a percentage of the saving compared to a through ticket. (Split ticketing is where a journey is broken into sections, with a separate ticket for each part);
    3. fulfilment fees, charged by many retailers for some options for receiving tickets;
    4. refund fees, charged for cancelling or amending a ticket.
  4. The Department for Business and Trade consulted on proposals on five key areas of consumer information transparency, with the aim of improving the quality and accessibility of information, including in relation to hidden fees and drip pricing. The consultation ran from 4 September 2023 to 15 October 2023: Smarter regulation: improving price transparency and product information for consumers - GOV.UK (, and drip pricing is now set to be banned:
  5. In January, the Department for Business and Trade announced that new laws would be introduced to ban drip pricing as part of the Digital Markets, Competition and Consumer Bill (DMCC), which is currently progressing through Parliament.