New flexible rail season tickets went on sale in England on Monday, as a government scheme tries to cater to workers splitting their time between the home and office amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The scheme, which is part of a wider a shake-up of the rail industry, allows unlimited travel between two stations on any eight days in a 28-day period. It is designed to offer savings to part-time commuters travelling during peak hours just two to three days a week.
National Rail is promoting the tickets as the perfect solution for new hybrid working arrangements, in which staff are allowed to split their time between home working and their employer’s office. The Department for Transport said it was part of efforts to match “modern working habits and saving passengers hundreds of pounds”.
The tickets, which should save commuters at least 20% on the standard monthly rate, can be used from 28 June. The government has estimated passengers could save up to £350 a year.
“As we kickstart the biggest reforms to our railways in a generation, flexible season tickets are the first step,” the transport secretary, Grant Shapps, said. “They give us greater freedom and choice about how we travel, simpler ticketing and a fairer fare.”
The scheme is part of a long-awaited overhaul of the rail industry announced last month. The Williams-Shapps plan for rail revealed that a new-state owned body – Great British Railways – would take over timetables, prices, ticket sales across England and managing rail infrastructure.
While most services will still be run by private companies, they will no longer operate franchises and instead be forced to sign contracts that incentivise them to run trains more efficiently and on time. The plan also aims to streamline and simplify fares, including extending contactless and pay-as-you-go systems to more parts of the country.
Read More: Flexible rail season tickets go on sale in England, saving up to £350 a year | Rail