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Lack-lustre reception for part time ‘seasons’

NEW part time tickets for commuters have become usable today, after going on sale a week ago.

The ‘flexi seasons’ offer eight days’ travel over a validity period of 28 days, but the relatively small savings over using Anytime returns have caused disappointment.

A monthly ticket from Reading offers a discount of 23 per cent on Anytime returns, assuming that the holder makes five return journeys a week. If there are two journeys a week on flexible tickets, the discount falls to 12.5 per cent. A monthly ticket is better value if three days are travelled each week.

Norman Baker from the Campaign for Better Transport was a Liberal Democrat transport minister in the 2010-2015 coalition government. He said: ‘Finally, after years of campaigning people who commute part time are being offered an alternative to full-time season tickets. Unfortunately, these new flexible tickets do not appear to offer the kind of savings we had hoped for and are not comparable to the discounts for people commuting full time. There appears to be no standard level of discount and in some cases the flexible season ticket could end up being more expensive than the day return option. 

‘The projected growth in hybrid working has made this an urgent issue and to avoid an increase in commuting by car we need to encourage people back on board trains. The test will be whether the level of discounts offered will entice people on to rail. Sadly, we don’t think these will, except at the margins, so this could turn out to be a real missed opportunity.’

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