1. ITV Report

Any Permitted? Route Direct? What those confusing words on your train ticket really mean

The rail industry is cracking down on the confusing jargon printed on tickets (Yui Mok/PA) Photo: PA Archive/PA Images

The rail industry is cracking down on ticket jargon which is confusing passengers.

Unnecessary or potentially misleading language such as “Route Direct” and “Any Permitted” is being removed or clarified to help passengers, but what do those phrases actually mean?

Here are the definitions:

  • Any Permitted

This is intended to tell passengers their ticket can be used for travel via any permitted route and they should refer to the National Rail routeing guide to identify their options.

But it is being used on journeys with only one route valid, meaning it adds no information and can create confusion.

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  • Route Direct

This will be eradicated by next month after being used to mean a variety of things which had little meaning to customers.

For example, it was included on tickets from Gleneagles to Markinch despite passengers having to change trains.

  • London Terminals

This indicates that a passenger can use several stations in the capital for the origin or destination of their journey.

But it is used for some routes where only one specific station is valid, such as a ticket from York to London Terminals which can only be used to London King’s Cross.

  • Group Stations

As with London Terminals, some tickets are stated as being valid to or from a number of stations within a group, such as “Birmingham Group” which includes three Birmingham stations.

This is despite some tickets only being valid to one station.

A rail ticket printed with the confusing words ‘London Terminals’ and ‘Any Permitted’ Credit: Rui Vieira/PA
  • Plus Connections

This is being used inconsistently to indicate that a customer must use additional services to complete their journey, but without the additional information necessary to tell them which services they can use.

  • Off-peak

These tickets have restrictions on when they can be used but the complexity of the fares system means some of the descriptions of when they can be used are convoluted.