A new type of train ticket for the return to the office

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 five days a week with a season ticket and someone who travels two or three 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 two or three 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 five return journeys that must be used within two weeks. Aimed at the five to six times a fortnight workplace attender, it would often benefit a four-days-a-fortnight attender.

“Whilst we’re 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.”

Photo credit: Network Rail

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