ABTA has hit out at plans by the Association of Train
Operating Companies to cut agency commission.

ATOC is proposing a reduction in commission from 9% to
7% for agents using the Ajents and Elgar distribution systems from April 5 next
year.

But agents who procure and pay for their own
distribution system will continue to receive the full 9%.

ATOC commercial director David Mapp said it wanted to
bring the rail industry into line with other sectors of the travel trade. He
also wanted to “close the cost gap” to reflect the investment train companies
make in the Ajents and Elgar distribution systems.

But ABTA rail group chairman Roderick Thompson was
angry that ATOC said the cuts were non-negotiable. “Rail companies should
include the cost of sale in the price they charge the customer,” he said.

Mapp claimed the change would
affect the leisure sector more than business agents as corporates earn most of
their revenue through management fees. 
Over 80% of agency rail sales are through corporates. The consultation
runs until the end of September.