UK

Season ticket boost for part-time rail commuters to encourage return to train travel

Season ticket boost for part-time rail commuters as Grant Shapps looks to encourage return to train travel after Covid lockdowns

  • Scheme offers savings on certain routes for passengers travelling two or three days a week
  • First step in shake-up announced last month by Transport Secretary Mr Shapps
  • The tickets, which can be used from June 28, will allow travel on any eight days in a 28-day period 

Rail commuters will be able to buy flexible season tickets from today.

The scheme offers savings on certain routes for passengers travelling two or three days a week. 

It is the first step in a shake-up announced last month by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps

Rail commuters will be able to buy flexible season tickets from today. The scheme offers savings on certain routes for passengers travelling two or three days a week

Commuters using flexible season tickets could save more than £260 travelling from Woking to London, £230 from Liverpool to Manchester, and £170 from Stafford to Birmingham. 

The savings are compared with the cost of regular daily fares.

The flexible tickets, which can be used from June 28, will allow travel on any eight days in a 28-day period. 

Passengers can use an updated season ticket calculator at www.nationalrail.co.uk to find out which ticket they should purchase based on their route and working pattern.

An increase in home working has led to a huge decline in five-day commuting.

Mr Shapps said: ‘Our railways work best when they are reliable, rapid and affordable.

‘As we kickstart the biggest reforms to our railways in a generation, flexible season tickets are the first step.

‘They give us greater freedom and choice about how we travel, simpler ticketing and a fairer fare.

‘With a season ticket calculator to see which option works best for you, and a book with confidence guarantee to make journeys stress-free, the future of fares is flexible.’

Robert Nisbet, director of nations and regions at the Rail Delivery Group, which represents train operators, said: ‘We’ve worked with Government to introduce the new Flexi Season ticket, which goes on sale today, to give commuters the freedom and flexibility to divide their time between home and the office.

‘The rail industry is helping people travel and book with confidence by providing better journey information, boosting cleaning and helping them change a booked journey fee free should their circumstances change.’

Anthony Smith, chief executive of passenger watchdog Transport Focus, said: ‘Some passengers will welcome today’s new flexible tickets and discounts. This will be useful in helping people choose rail again.

‘Our research with passengers showed us there was strong demand for a new ticket that suited people who expected to commute less frequently in future.

The scheme offers savings on certain routes for passengers travelling two or three days a week. It is the first step in a shake-up announced last month by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps

The scheme offers savings on certain routes for passengers travelling two or three days a week. It is the first step in a shake-up announced last month by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps

‘This is a positive step towards much-needed longer-term reform of how rail tickets are sold.’

Tickets offering discounts for part-time commuters were already available in Scotland and Wales.

The Williams-Shapps Plan for Rail will lead to the creation of a new public sector body named Great British Railways (GBR), which will own and manage rail infrastructure, issue contracts to private firms to run trains, set most fares and timetables, and sell tickets.

Rail franchises were effectively ended when the Government took over the financial liabilities of operators in March 2020 to keep services running amid the collapse in demand caused by the coronavirus pandemic, at a cost of £12 billion.

The emergency agreements will be replaced by passenger service contracts, with GBR contracting private firms to operate trains.

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