New flexible season tickets, aimed at people who are likely to commute to work a couple of days a week, have gone on sale today.

The paperless tickets will allow travel on any 8 days in a 28-day period, with passengers able to tap smartcards or scan mobiles at the station with no need to select the days of travel in advance.

For example, someone travelling between Woking and London Terminals two days a week.

Assuming working a typical working year with 4 weeks holiday = which equates to 233 working days a year (365 days – 104 weekends – 8 bank holidays – 20 days holiday)

Using the slightly confusing National Rail calculator

Commuting two days a week to London Terminals = 93 days a year

  • If buying tickets daily, that works out at £2,325 per year.
  • If buying a flexi ticket, that works out at £1,977 per year.

Commuting three days a week to London Terminals = 140 days a year.

  • If buying tickets daily, that works out at £3,500 per year.
  • If buying a flexi ticket, that works out at £2,884 per year.

However, if you include forward travel from London Waterloo using the London Underground, then the discounts vanish as the flexi ticket does not include tube/bus journeys.

The flexi tickets also do not cover journeys on the mainline trains that are wholly within the London Travelcard Zones when using Oyster/contactless cards.

So while people outside London can get the discounted travel into London, Londoners, who are already being asked to pick up more of the cost of government travel bailouts than the rest of the UK, once again lose out on a UK travel deal.

The launch of flexible season tickets is the first step in the reform of the railways, as part of the recently launched Williams-Shapps Plan for Rail.

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3 comments
  1. Harry says:

    Why would the discounts vanish if using the Underground? The saving is had on the SWR part. You would then just add the £2.40 each way to the cost (e.g. commuting from Waterloo to Bank) via Contactless.

    • ianVisits says:

      It’s usually cheaper to buy a ticket including the travel zones, as otherwise, you are paying double for zone 1.

  2. MilesT says:

    Given that the ticket won’t include Underground/overground/bus privileges, I predict lots of fare hackery will happen.

    e.g.

    1/ People buying the cheapest Network Southeast annual season ticket so they can get the gold card discount added to their oyster card, to make part of the PAYG journey cheaper. This should just abour break even on a 3 days per week basis, and then you also have the Gold card for leisure travel as well.
    2/ People buying tickets to interchange stations that have good bus service to their final destination (e.g. West Hampstead Thameslink, then walking through to the the Finchley Road to get buses onwards to Victoria). And/or continuing on bicycle (Brompton or Santander where available) or foot
    3/ People who live live just within the outer Zonal boundary buying a flexi season from the first station outside (to get the discount). To be legal you would have to travel to start the journey at that station, which might need the purchase of a second flexi season from nearest station to the out of zone station (which should also be valid) or travelling to that station by other means (car, bus, bike)

    I wonder how the various Zonal edge cases will be treated, e.g. Reading, Epsom, etc.

    Also, it is possible to book tickets starting/terminating at overground stations on the nationalrail website. I wonder how these will be handled in the case of flexi seasons from “out of zone” station to “overground station”–whether this would be considered eligible (may or may not actually be cheaper than ticketing to the interchange station and then paying the £3.20 PAYG oyster fare for Overground on top).

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