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Call for part-time season tickets as annual rail fares increase announced

16 August 2016 

As the annual rail fare increase for next year is announced today, campaigners are calling for the introduction of part-time season tickets to help save part-time workers thousands of pounds a year and encourage more people to take the train.

Campaign for Better Transport is calling on the Government and train operating companies to introduce flexible ticketing as a matter of urgency for the 8.5 million people who work part-time, or regularly work from home, and are not catered for under the current ticketing system.

James MacColl, Head of Campaigns at Campaign for Better Transport, said: “The current season ticket system still fails to reflect our modern work force and discriminates against women who make up three quarters of part-time workers, years after the Government committed to roll-out flexible ticketing nationally. 

"We want to see a ticketing system that reflects modern working patterns and makes rail travel affordable, not just for the UK’s millions of part-time workers, but also for the thousands more who are currently prevented from working due to the cost of the commute. It is not good enough for the Government to leave it up to franchisees to develop inadequate compromise offers which don't provide fair discounts.”

Currently commuters can choose to buy a season ticket or single journey tickets, with few flexible ticketing schemes available. Season tickets are designed to give a saving compared to buying individual tickets, but travelling less than five days a week reduces the saving made. If a four day a week annual season ticket was available it could save commuters coming into London £805 on average, compared to a normal season ticket, with a three day ticket saving an average £1,610 a year. Commuters travelling into Manchester could currently save £249 on a four day ticket and £499 on a three day one. Bristol commuters could save almost £400 on a four day ticket and £791 on a three day ticket.

In the UK 8.5 million people work part-time - 223,000 more than last year - four million of those work flexibly with 744,000 on zero hours contracts. Nearly three quarters (73 per cent) of part-time workers are women.


For further information please contact Alice Ridley on 020 7566 6495 / 07984 773 468 or alice.ridley@bettertransport.org.uk

Notes to Editors

  1. The percentage rail fare increase for 2017 will be announced on Tuesday 16 August and will be July’s RPI figure.  
  2. Working on the basis that a four day per week annual season ticket would cost 4/5 that of the current annual season ticket, with a three day a week one costing 3/5 and a two day a week one costing 2/5, below are examples of the average savings on commuter routes into the selected cities.
  4 day a week saving on the 2016 annual season ticket 3 day a week saving on the 2016 annual season ticket 2 day a week saving on the 2016 annual season ticket
Commuter routes into London £813.51 £1,627.02 £2,440.53
Commuter routes into Birmingham £353.12 £706.24 £1,059.36
Commuter routes into Manchester £249.28 £498.56 £747.84
Commuter routes into Bristol £395.28 £790.56 £1,185.84
Commuter routes into Leeds £272.32 £544.64 £816.96
Commuter routes into Liverpool £241.36 £482.72 £724.08

For more information on fares and the fares data quoted please contact the press office.

Further examples of costs of various season tickets for 2017 can be found below.

  1. In September 2013 the Government announced its South East Flexible Ticketing (SEFT) programme to introduce smart Oyster-style ticketing across south east England and pilot a flexible, part-time season ticket on a commuter route into London. In January this year SEFT was abandoned, the Government having spent £37 million on developing it, and no adequate pilot trial was carried out. The Government has instead said that part-time season tickets will be left up to train operators to introduce individually, which could therefore take many years if at all.
  2. UK Labour Market figures from the Office for National Statistics
  3. Campaign for Better Transport is the UK's leading authority on sustainable transport. We champion transport solutions that improve people's lives and reduce environmental damage. Our campaigns push innovative, practical policies at local and national levels. Campaign for Better Transport Charitable Trust is a registered charity (1101929).