Rail campaigners are calling for a new type of rail ticket for people who spend only part of their working time in the workplace.
Neil Middleton, a director of Railfuture who is leading the campaign, said: “There’s often an enormous gap between the price per journey for someone travelling 5 days a week with a season ticket and someone who travels 2 or 3 days a week – our proposal aims to bridge this gap.”
The railway already regularly offers Carnet tickets – in return for buying a bundle of tickets in advance, a small discount is given (typically 5 or 10%) and all the tickets need to be used within a set period (often 2 or 3 months).
“Our idea is for an additional type of Carnet ticket, with a bigger discount, where the bundle must be used much more quickly. Priced at the cost of a weekly season, it would offer 5 return journeys that must be used within two weeks. Aimed at the 5 to 6 times a fortnight workplace attender, it would often benefit 4 day a fortnight attender.
“Whilst we are in lockdown, workplace attendance is only expected when you cannot reasonably work from home. When lockdown ends, and social distancing starts to ease, we’re confident that many people will continue to spread their working time between their home and the workplace.”
Chris Page, chair of Railfuture, said: “We’re keen that passengers who don’t commute to the workplace every weekday get a fare reduction as compared to the more occasional user. Our ideas are designed to work using the ticket technology that’s in place now. In the medium term, smarter fare options may well be needed to spread attendance across all of Monday to Friday.”
Railfuture is the UK’s leading independent organisation campaigning for better rail services for both passengers and freight. Railfuture’s ideas are set out at https://railfuture.org.uk/article1872-Creating-a-flexible-season-ticket-for-2021
· It is important to remember that some workplace attenders will still need to travel in peak hours every day, and so the traditional season ticket needs to be retained.
· Railfuture’s preferred approach is for these tickets to be sold only on Smartcards, although alternatives will be needed where stations do not have the necessary readers.
Photo credit: Rail Delivery Group