Flexible railway season ticket being created to encourage employees back to the office

Prime Minister, Boris Johnson yesterday (02/09/20) said that the Government is working with the rail industry to create a flexible season ticket in a bid to get employees back in to the office.

Mr Johnson at Prime Minister Questions (PMQs) yesterday said:

We are working at pace with rail companies to try to deliver new products in terms of ticketing to ensure not just better value, but also enable people to get back to work in a flexible way.

There has been a mixed response in people returning to the office as some believe remote working leads to happier and more productive workers.

Whereas Dame Carolyn Fairbairn, the director-general of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) saying that due to the lack of workers in offices, UK city centres have become “ghost towns” and urges the Government and employers to encourage staff back to their workplace.

The Rail Delivery Group (RDG) a British railway industry body has said that it is helping the Government with its plans.

Robert Nisbet, director of nations and regions, at RDG said:

Train companies fully understand that the way people are working and travelling is changing and that new types of ticket are needed to reflect that.

We are working with the Department for Transport on proposals for flexible season tickets and will be putting forward suggestions for how this could work very shortly, as well as continuing to push for wide ranging regulatory reform of the entire fares system.

There does not seem to be a clear timeline when such a ticket would be ready for workers as professionals in the railway industry have said it could take several months before it is launched. Last month commuter watchdog Transport Focus called out for such a ticket, with the Daily Telegraph reporting it may be announced this month if the Government expands its emergency funding for the railways.

Regardless of the Government’s push to get employees back in the office, the Department for Transport said that rail users at the end of last week was only 31 per cent of the pre-lockdown average.

In October 2019, HRreview reported that the rise of flexible working had been attributed to season ticket purchases decreasing, which dropped for the third consecutive year. 

Figures from the Office for Rail and Road (ORR) show that season ticket purchases between April and June this year fell by 5 per cent, 1.7 per cent in 2018 and 11 per cent in 2017.

The number of journeys taken using season tickets had fallen by 16.8 per cent during the last three years.