Flexible rail fares must be just the start

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has welcomed the introduction of flexible season tickets for rail commuters but says more change is needed.

The government says new national flexible rail tickets, matching modern working habits and saving passengers hundreds of pounds, will be made available to commuters across England.

The paperless tickets will allow travel on any eight 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.

The change has the potential to save commuters hundreds of pounds, providing greater choice and flexibility.

Jane Gratton, Head of People Policy at the BCC, said: ‘It is positive the government has recognised the need to improve the system, but the flexibility and savings offered by the new scheme do not go anywhere near far enough.

‘To power the country’s post-covid economic recovery, businesses need access to the widest possible pool of talent to fuel their expansion plans. Our new flexible working patterns will help more people to thrive in work – but they must be supported by equally flexible, and more affordable, fares and ticketing.

‘Hybrid ways of working are here to stay so the archaic and complicated ticket pricing system needs to catch up – and fast. To make the system fit for purpose, we need to rip up the rulebook and start again.’

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