New Flexi rail tickets, which aim to match modern working habits, will be available across England next week.
The launch of the new Flexi tickets is the first step in the major reform of the UK railways, announced last month as part of the Williams-Shapps Plan for Rail.
The paperless tickets allow travel on eight days within a 28 day period. Passengers will be able to tap smartcards or mobiles at the station without selecting days of travel in advance.
This change has the potential to save people hundreds of pounds, providing a better choice for passengers.
Passengers can visit the updated Season Ticket Calculator, which will point them to the right tickets based on their journey, working pattern and individual needs.
To get more passengers encouraged to travel by rail, for the rest of 2021, train operators will be offering a ‘book with confidence’ guarantee, allowing people to rebook journeys without an admin fee if plans change.
Data shows that two-day-a-week passengers buying multiple Flexi tickets could save:
- Over £260 from Woking to London
- Over £210 from York to Leeds
- Over £60 from Southampton Central to Winchester
- Over £170 from Stafford to Birmingham
- Over £230 from Liverpool to Manchester
And three-day-a-week passengers could save:
- Over £230 from St Albans City to London
- Over £110 from Bromsgrove to Birmingham
- Over £90 from Weston-Super-Mare to Bristol Temple Meads
- Over £350 from Chelmsford to Stratford
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.
“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, 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.”
Kirstie Allsop, TV presenter and consumer champion, said: “As everyone tries to negotiate the balance between the office and working from home, and work out how, and where, they want to live, this initiative is really helpful.
“Using the season ticket calculator will also help people see which option gives them the best possible deal.”
Matthew Fell, CBI Chief UK Policy Director, 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.
“The introduction of flexible season tickets will help to ensure rail travel remains an affordable and realistic option for commuters, while future-proofing a network which has a key role to play in the UK’s decarbonisation ambitions.”
“We are as curious as you as to whether it will be priced closer to the former (our suspicion) or the mid-point between the two (our hope)” said Railfuture director Neil Middleton. “We are also very curious to know how the larger discounts for existing weekly tickets for longer distance destinations are priced. As always, there are winners and losers with this fare change; whilst we welcome better fares for some of those not going to work daily, the key question will only be answered on Monday – what will it cost me?”.
“Whilst this is a welcome development – an overdue improvement for some travellers, there are others who will lose out because many existing Carnet Tickets are being phased out as a result – and for some they offer better value.”
He went on to say: “It is disappointing that some workers, who do not work 9 to 5 will lose out as the new flexi season does not fully cater for them; at a time when the railway is significantly short of fare box revenue and under considerable pressure to reduce daily government support of around £20m, efforts must be redoubled to attract passengers back to the railway and unexpected cost increases to its passengers isn’t the answer”.
“The Williams Shapps review talks about “frictionless payment options” for rail tickets and it is essential that this is delivered; frictionless definitely does not include requirements such as needing to use split ticketing to achieve best value for money”
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