New flexible season tickets aimed at passenger travelling two or three days a week have gone on sale, and will be valid for travel from 28 June.
The Government says the move is ‘the first step in the reform of the railways’ following the publication of the Williams-Shapps Plan for Rail on 20 May. The paperless tickets will allow travel on eight days in any 28-day period using smartcard or mobile ticketing, with no requirement for passengers to select their days of travel in advance. Conventional season tickets will still be available for more regular travellers.
The launch is a response to the decline in use of traditional season tickets and the acceleration of changed working patterns following the pandemic. An online ‘season ticket calculator’ will advise passengers on the best tickets for their journey. The new tickets are available on all franchised train operators contracted by the Department for Transport.
While the move has generally been welcomed, more widespread reform of the fares and ticketing system is still being called for by many commentators to tackle long-standing anomalies. In addition, the Government has announced a ‘book with confidence’ guarantee until the end of 2021 allowing passengers to rebook journeys or receive rail vouchers without an admin fee if their plans change.