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

MSE_Helen_KMSE_Helen_K Forumite, MSE Staff
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Flexible train season tickets will be available to buy across England from next month, as part of a wide-reaching Government shake-up of rail fares. A new refund system for delayed and cancelled trains has also been announced...
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'Flexible season tickets on sale from 21 June as Government unveils major rail overhaul'

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  • HappyBlobHappyBlob Forumite
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    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.
  • PowerHandlePowerHandle Forumite
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    Transport for Wales have done Carnet tickets for a while on a 12 for the cost of 10 basis. GWR have also sold season tickets for selective days only. 

    Having read the report (briefly) I can't say I have much hope for any significant actual change in how the ticket system works. There is an opportunity here for root and branch reform and simplification, offering some slightly different versions of a season ticket and faffing around with expanding e-tickets will not provide this. 
  • MSE_Helen_KMSE_Helen_K Forumite, MSE Staff
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    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. 
  • HappyBlobHappyBlob Forumite
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    Looking forward to proper calculations rather than my guesses. Interesting that Wales had a 16.7% discount on their carnet. I think it would be hugely beneficial to plead for the 28-day limit to be extended to e.g. 56 days. People would still buy as many cards as they go through workdays, but the extra flexibility is key. Currently the 8-days in 28-days requires the purchaser to make a financial commitment for which they are rewarded just one free day that month. So if they are off sick one day or take a day holiday, they might as well not have bothered, and if they are off for any longer than that, then they lose out. For someone off sick several weeks, this could be a very big loss when they were only benefiting from a small gain.  We accepted this risk for the annual ticket because the 1/3 off discount was so huge that any losses for holidays and sick days were dwarfed by the savings. But someone clearly hasn't done their economics on this one.  A change to 8 days in 56 days would give loads of flexibility to take sick days and holidays. And bumping up the discount to 12 days for the price of 10, like Wales had, would be another great improvement.
  • Blackbat007Blackbat007 Forumite
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    Unless I'm missing something this is completely useless for anyone commuting into London who needs to use the tube as well as the train and would normally purchase a travelcard season ticket, as it only covers travel between main line stations. 
  • BowoodBusinessBowoodBusiness Forumite
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    MoneySaving Newbie
    My current annual season ticket is about £9500 per year. If a proper flexible ticket is created for travel 2 or 3 days a week, it has to be based on annual travel. So I would expect my annual cost to reduce from £9500 to about £5,000 or £6,000. However if the reports are correct it is to be based on daily ticket pricing it is likely that I have to continue to pay £9500 each year which seems such a wasted opportunity. 
  • UtumnoUtumno Forumite
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    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.
  • Steve_R_WoodSteve_R_Wood Forumite
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    MoneySaving Newbie
    Sorry, I do not see how this helps people at all. It limits you to two days a week in the office (many businesses are suggesting between 2 & 3 days) and does not save individuals much, if anything at all. The flexi ticket on Southeastern does not make any
    sense. If I was to work just two days a week in the office i would only be paying £241.60 less than if I purchased an annual season ticket (£7,064) and I'd only be allowed to travel for 104 days. If I needed to work an extra day every so often or travelled at the weekend for any reason I would have to pay more and would probably wipe out the saving. Basically on this scheme I'd get just 29% of the travel for 97% of the price of an annual ticket...

  • jon81ukjon81uk Forumite
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    Eighth Anniversary 1,000 Posts Name Dropper Combo Breaker
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    Sorry, I do not see how this helps people at all. It limits you to two days a week in the office (many businesses are suggesting between 2 & 3 days) and does not save individuals much, if anything at all. The flexi ticket on Southeastern does not make any
    sense. If I was to work just two days a week in the office i would only be paying £241.60 less than if I purchased an annual season ticket (£7,064) and I'd only be allowed to travel for 104 days. If I needed to work an extra day every so often or travelled at the weekend for any reason I would have to pay more and would probably wipe out the saving. Basically on this scheme I'd get just 29% of the travel for 97% of the price of an annual ticket...

    With the flexi season ticket you can travel eight times in 28 days. So if you need to travel more often then once the 8 tickets have been used up you can buy 8 more. But if you don't need to use them in 28 days then you lose out. You aren't only allowed to travel for 104 days, you can keep buying more and more blocks of 8 tickets.
    But yes you reach a point where a different ticket will be better.
    Although for those who don't travel over Christmas and take a couple of weeks leave an annual ticket might not work out.

    For me if I worked 3 days a week for 48 weeks a year an annual ticket doesn't work out, but four days a week it does.
    For three days a week the flexi season ticket saves me about £1 a time compared to an anytime return.

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