Flexible working impacts railway season ticket sales

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Flexible season tickets required as rail sales plummet

The rise of flexible working has been attributed to season ticket purchases decreasing, which have now 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 have fallen by 16.8 per cent during the last three years.

Jon Boys, labour economist at the CIPD believes changes should be made to reflect modern working practices. However, he did admit that certain factors are beyond employers’ control. Mr Boys said:

Essentially, people who work part time are being punished because they can’t get value for money out of a season ticket that’s based on five days a week.

Unfortunately, there are some big macro trends that are beyond employers’ control. We see that commuting times are increasing, there’s a housing crisis and people have to live further away from work.

All you can really do is be aware of those factors. Everyone’s different – they have different distances to travel and different responsibilities outside work. It’s about having empathy and a healthy, flexible working system that allows people to balance their needs outside and inside work.

Mr Boys also added that the majority of part-time workers who are women are disproportionally affected by this situation.

Robert Nisbet, director of national and regions at the Rail Delivery Group, which represent Britain’s rail providers said:

As working patterns change, many commuters are realising that they are being held back by an outdated, rigid fares system where the traditional season ticket no longer meets their needs. Now is the time for the Government to update fares regulations so that commuters everywhere can benefit from tap-in, tap-out technology and automatic prices caps as part of a more flexible, modern and easier-to-use fares system.

This news arrives after Fidelity International, an investment management services company, Modern Life Report, found that 55 per cent of people believing being able to work flexibly is important for their work-life balance.

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