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New rail tickets launched for part-time commuters

Joanna Faith
Written By:
Joanna Faith

New flexible rail tickets go on sale today aimed at passengers who commute two or three days a week.

The paperless tickets will allow travel on any eight days in a 28-day period.

They are on sale from today, for use from Monday 28 June.

The new tickets form part of the government’s plan to transform UK railways. As part of the shake-up, a publicly owned body, Great British Railways, will be formed to centralise operations, bringing track and trains under the control of one body. The government will collect fares and operators will be paid a fee to run services.

The Department for Transport says the new flexible tickets could save commuters hundreds of pounds.

For example, it says someone commuting from Woking to London two days a week could save more than £260, while a 3-day-a-week commuter, travelling from Chelmsford to Stratford could save as much as £350.

Commuters can visit an online ‘season ticket calculator’, which will point them to the best tickets for their journey.

Passengers will be able to tap smartcards or scan mobiles at the station with no need to select the days of travel in advance.

Transport Secretary Grant 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.”

Matthew Fell, chief UK policy director, at the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), said: “CBI members have told us that hybrid working is likely to be the long-term norm for many firms, with employees splitting their week between home and onsite working.

“It is, therefore, essential that public transport networks reflect these new habits.”

Train companies will also offer a ‘book with confidence guarantee’ until the end of the year, allowing people to rebook journeys or receive rail vouchers without an admin fee if their plans change.

Anthony Smith, chief executive of independent 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. This is a positive step towards much-needed longer-term reform of how rail tickets are sold.

“We also welcome the waiving of admin fees for changing tickets, which will help rebuild passenger confidence.”