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New research: Season tickets for part-time rail commuters would mean savings of £1500

11 June 2014
Government is not responding to modern work patterns, leaving many of Britain's 12m part-time workers unable to commute by train or paying too much for their ticket.

New research shows an average part-time commuter to London would save over £1500 a year if Government honoured its pledge to introduce flexible season tickets.

Campaigners from 15 organisations are calling for season tickets for part-time workers to be introduced. On 11 June, they will deliver a joint letter addressed to the Secretary of State to the Department for Transport where they will hold a protest and photocall.

Martin Abrams, Public Transport Campaigner, Campaign for Better Transport said

"The days of everyone working 9 to 5, Monday to Friday are long gone but Government hasn't kept up and is dragging its heels over season tickets for part-time workers. The result is part-timers who catch the train to work paying huge sums for tickets they don't use, and in some cases being priced out of jobs altogether. Government needs to stop dithering and make sure all train companies introduce season tickets for part-time workers across the network as a matter of urgency."

New research carried out by Campaign for Better Transport compared the price of full-time season tickets and a part-time equivalent on popular commuting routes into major cities. Those commuting to part-time jobs in London from the South East would be an average of £1500 a year better off. Part-time commuters to Birmingham would save around £600, with those commuting to part-time roles in Manchester and Bristol saving £460 and £765 respectively.

Other examples of the saving part-time workers would make include:

The number of part-time workers is on the rise with changing working patterns meaning over 12m people in the UK now work either part-time or flexibly (working from home some days each week). Unlike many European countries, most UK train operators do not offer tickets targeted at part-time workers.

Part-time workers now total over 8m people, making up 29 per cent of those in employment. Of this group, nearly 75 per cent are women, the majority of whom have dependent children. A further 4m people work flexibly, working some days each week from home. Another 1.5m work under so-called zero hours contracts, with very limited knowledge of how many hours they will work each week, thus making planning their transport difficult.

Martin Abrams said

“Season tickets for part-time workers would help many who are still feeling the effects of the recession. For example, making it cheaper and easier to get to work would be a real boost for young families who are already struggling with housing and childcare costs. The Government's own research shows more flexible part-time season tickets offer would be a boon employers, too.”

The Government committed itself to trialling part time season tickets, but there has been very limited progress has been announced on implementation. The Department for Transport began consulting on fairer ticketing in March 2012, and in October 2013 pledged to trial part-time season tickets on a London commuter route. Although the trial was originally intended to run in 2014, no date has been set for it to begin and no line has yet been agreed. Government published research in May 2014 showing part-time season tickets would benefit many employers.


1. Campaign for Better Transport research
Campaign for Better Transport calculations are based on ticket prices for regulated annual season tickets. Part-time figures are calculated at 60 per cent of this costs (the equivalent of travelling on three days over a five-day working week).

Numbers of part-time workers are taken from quarterly ONS labour market statistics.
EMP01: Full-time, part-time and temporary workers. Date of Publication:19 February 2014. Date of Next Publication:19 March 2014. (Excel sheet 1306Kb) http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/lms/labour-market-statistics/february-2014...

(data tables below)


2. Women in the labour market
The Equality and Human Rights Commission reported in January 2013 that 59 per cent of women with dependent children work part time.  http://www.equalityhumanrights.com/scotland/legal-news-in-scotland/artic...

This is reinforced by ONS analysis of the 2011 census, which shows the highest numbers working part-time fall in the age bracket 35-49 years. http://www.nomisweb.co.uk/census/2011/local_characteristics


3. Government commitment to part time season tickets
In September 2013, then Transport Minister Norman Baker announced that part time season tickets would be trialled on a London Commuter route during 2014. http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2013/sep/16/part-time-season-tickets-... . However, there has been no announcement of progress since this time.

The commitment is included in the Government's Fares and Ticketing Review , https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/fil... published in October 2013. https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/fil...

In May 2014, the Department for Transport published 'Rail fares and ticketing review: flexible working research' https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/rail-fares-and-ticketing-revi....

This examines the scope of flexible working amongst employers, and the impact new rail ticketing options would have. The findings were part of the evidence base used to inform the Rail fares and ticketing review that was published in October 2013.


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