Press release 18th June 2021

New flexi rail fares: one step forward, one step back

This Monday sees the ‘big reveal’ – the price of the new flexi-season ticket designed for the new ‘hybrid worker’ who spreads their time between home and the workplace. The flexi-season ticket is priced “between an Anytime Day Return and a 7 Day Season ticket, offering savings for commuters travelling during peak times, 2-3 days a week.” 

“We are as curious as you as to whether it will be priced closer to the former (our suspicion) or the mid-point between the two (our hope)” said Railfuture director Neil Middleton. “We are also very curious to know how the larger discounts for existing weekly tickets for longer distance destinations are priced. As always, there are winners and losers with this fare change; whilst we welcome better fares for some of those not going to work daily, the key question will only be answered on Monday – what will it cost me?”. 

“Whilst this is a welcome development – an overdue improvement for some travellers, there are others who will lose out because many existing Carnet Tickets are being phased out as a result – and for some they offer better value.”

He went on to say: “It is disappointing that some workers, who do not work 9 to 5 will lose out as the new flexi season does not fully cater for them; at a time when the railway is significantly short of fare box revenue and under considerable pressure to reduce daily government support of around £20m, efforts must be redoubled to attract passengers back to the railway and unexpected cost increases to its passengers isn’t the answer”.

“The Williams Shapps review talks about “frictionless payment options” for rail tickets and it is essential that this is delivered; frictionless definitely does not include requirements such as needing to use split ticketing to achieve best value for money”

Notes to editors:

Examples of current savings using season tickets:

FromTo Miles7 Day Season TicketAnytime Day ReturnDiscount (for 5 days M-F)
BedfordSt Pancras49.6£127.50£46.00 45%
Woking London Waterloo24.3 £88.20£23.5025%
St AlbansSt Pancras 19.7£95.20£22.5015%
BoltonManchester Piccadilly11.3£27.50£7.2024%

Examples of potential losers:
  • Those where the discount on the new flexi season turns out to be smaller than with a Carnet.  St Albans is a station to watch for this – a 10% discount for a Carnet vs an unknown portion of 15%
  • Travellers who can currently mix peak and off-peak Carnets are also likely to lose out as well, so (eg) a Nurse working 6am to 3pm won’t be able to use an off-peak ticket for their return home. 


National Rail: https://www.nationalrail.co.uk/times_fares/ticket_types/flexi-season.aspx


Split Ticketing example: Travel 18 June Bristol Parkway to Leeds return – out 07:44, back 17:11; as at 9am 17 June, 6 tickets save £98.45

£20m per day subsidy: https://www.ft.com/content/49d064a7-b570-4498-b0c3-5ea924954c4d

DfT flexible season ticket announcement

Railfuture is the UK's leading independent organisation campaigning for better rail services for both passengers and freight.

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For further information and comment please contact:

Bruce Williamson, media spokesman
Tel: 0117 927 2954 Mobile: 07759 557389
media at railfuture.org.uk