MSE News: Flexible season tickets on sale from 21 June as Government unveils major rail overhaul

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  • edited 22 June at 5:37PM
    MSE_Helen_KMSE_Helen_K Forumite, MSE Staff
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    edited 22 June at 5:37PM
    Utumno said:
    HappyBlob said:
    The examples given by the government compare against buying a daily ticket, not an annual ticket like this article says.  Based on the £250 saving on Woking to London 2 days-a-week example, this appears to be 8 days travel for the price of 7, or 12.5% discount. However, if you don't use it in 28 days, you lose it, and for those taking holiday at half term, Christmas and summer, there's a high chance of losing a week (2 days tickets) if you don't manage things carefully and buy Anytime Returns instead. Those working three days a week will have to buy this ticket every 2.5 weeks, meaning the card will start-end mid-week sometimes.

    The current Carnet ticket offered 10 returns for the price of 9 (10% discount) but you had three months to use it, meaning you were almost certain to never lose out on any journeys.  This new scheme sounds worse and is more complicated, though at least it will be electronic -- the Carnet ticket had to be shown to staff at the barriers.
    Hi HappyBlob - the Government provided example savings compared to daily tickets and compared to annual season tickets. The prices quoted in this article are both for annual season tickets - although as mentioned we're planning to compare prices ourselves once the data becomes available. 
    I don't suppose you have a link to where the Gov provided example savings against annual season tickets ?

    Gov.uk's documentation online (that I can find!) only compares against full-price daily tickets.  My TOC also bears that out - they have up-front said the price of a flexi ticket is "between the cost of an Anytime Day Return and a 7 Day Season Ticket".  There's no way that pricing strategy can logically compete against the annual season ticket on a per-journey basis, and frankly passengers with annual season tickets are expecting a discount on those already rapacious prices, which they're not going to get.

    This looks like a Treasury cash grab to me; charging _more_ for people to use the railway system part time just to get to work.  It seems like an additional tax on part-time workers in disguise, from what I've been able to see.
    Hi Utumno, 

    Apologies, I missed your post. The info was shared to us by the Department for Transport at the time - although there were no calculations to back-up how it had reached these figures and sadly the data wasn't available at the time for us to dig into it further. 

    However, we've now undertaken our own comparison and you can find our analysis here (point 1): https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/travel/cheap-train-tickets/ 

    I hope that helps! 

    Best wishes,
    Helen
  • Jerome_TFBJerome_TFB Forumite
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    I am so angry at the Flexi-ticket system that was revealed this week. 
    The Government hailed it as the "biggest shake-up of the rail system" in decades, but frankly what a disappointment! A joke even.
    It will benefit some people but let me give you one example:

    My girlfriend and I live in Reading, which is a busy commuting route to London Paddington. My girlfriend commutes there 3 days a week, as she works part time.
    Until now, she had to buy a monthly ticket, costing £553 per month. So She was expecting savings when the government introduced their new "fantastic" ticketing system that would bring back people to the rail services, and save money for people who work 2 to 3 days a week only.
    Well, we just calculated how much a day of travel costs her with either the monthly ticket (which includes London's tube ticket), and the flexi ticket (which we have to add the cost of 2x single tube journeys per day). She works 3 days a week, which averages to 13 days per calendar month.

    The result:
    - With a monthly season ticket her daily commute costs her £42.5.
    - With the flexi ticket (+ costs of metro): £48.7

    So how is this a revolutionary new ticket? This is an absolute joke!

    This "travel 8 days within 28 days" makes no sense either. They should have created a ticket that says " travel x days within a month", so it matches the monthly season ticket. 
    The benefit is mainly for people commuting 2 days a week. Or people who commute on random days within a 28 day period.

    I feel that whoever came up with that new "revolutionary" flexi ticket has probably never seen a train in their life.
    What they should have come up is a monthly / yearly travel card for people who commute 2 days a week, and the same for people who commute 3 days a week, on top of this flexi ticket (which I guess offers more "freedom" of days of travel). But for office staff contracted part time, they would most probably work on the same days, or at least the same number of days per week.

    We truly feel let down. The government yet again promised bells & whistles, and delivered a turd wrapped in a dirty sock.
    I am sure they are all patting themselves on the back for that amazing new system that's going to save the rail industry.  

    Are we the only ones feeling let down???
    I wish Martin will start a campaign that will expose this broken system and the clowns that came up with it. The UK has the most expensive railway network in Europe, for a service that is of lower quality. 
  • alidaialidai Forumite
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    Jesus Christ, “this new system doesn’t fit my exact circumstances, therefore it’s all a load of !!!!!!”…
  • DHawkeye80DHawkeye80 Forumite
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    The promoted “savings” from Flexi-tickets are misleading and are not relatable to regular commuters.  Remember, they are selling only 40% of the service.

    My case below is for POK -> WAT.

    1. Against a monthly ticket, we only save 20%, paying 80% of the normal price.
    2. Against an annual ticket, we only save 8%, paying 92% of the normal price.

    If it were fair, the price reduction would be nearer to 60% and an annual equivalent would be offered as well.

    For me, the annual cost drops from £7,172 by £558 to £6,614.  The fair flexible ticket price at 40% of service would be around £2,900.  They are charging over twice as much as it should be in my opinion.

  • kuratowskikuratowski Forumite
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    The "flexi-seasons" aren't really seasons and if you compare them to monthly/annual seasons they don't look good value.  But if you compare them to daily tickets you will see you do still make a saving.  A modest one.

    There's no sense comparing it to an imaginary ticket that doesn't exist.  The MSE thing to do is to compare it to an available alternative.  Is it cheaper to go by train, by bus/coach or by car (factoring in parking).  The answer may not be the same as it was pre-covid.
  • DHawkeye80DHawkeye80 Forumite
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    The clue is in their name… they are flexible “season” tickets, meant to be an alternate to full season tickets. Comparing them to the daily tickets is nonsensical.  Their objective is flawed, at the prices they offer them.

    Also, the thing I am comparing them to does exist, otherwise I wouldn’t know their price!  There is such a thing as a full annual ticket and a full monthly ticket. Perhaps read my post again but more carefully.
  • kuratowskikuratowski Forumite
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    Marketing is an art form, and "flexi-season" ticket is a brand.  The tickets don't cover a contiguous period of time, they allow travel on a certain number of days.  The description season ticket does not represent what these tickets are.  That's what I meant by saying they aren't really seasons.  In truth, they are an updated version of the carnet, with the upside that they allow unlimited travel on the day of choice, and the downside of a shorter period of validity compared to most carnets.

    My point about comparison was that you are comparing the flexi-seasons to an imaginary ticket costing 60% or 40% of an annual season ticket.  That is the fare that does not exist.  The actual choices you have in the real world are the ones on sale.  That's why the comparison to a daily ticket is not nonsensical, it is the only sensible comparison in the real world.
  • jon81ukjon81uk Forumite
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    The clue is in their name… they are flexible “season” tickets, meant to be an alternate to full season tickets. Comparing them to the daily tickets is nonsensical.  Their objective is flawed, at the prices they offer them.

    Also, the thing I am comparing them to does exist, otherwise I wouldn’t know their price!  There is such a thing as a full annual ticket and a full monthly ticket. Perhaps read my post again but more carefully.
    the flexi-season is more comparable to daily tickets though as they are really just carnet tickets.


  • MSE_Helen_KMSE_Helen_K Forumite, MSE Staff
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    Hi all, 

    I just wanted to update you (if it helps) that MSE has launched its new Train Season Ticket Calculator: https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/travel/cheapest-way-to-commute/

    Please report any feedback on it to [email protected]

    Best wishes,
    MSE Helen K
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