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Part-time rail season tickets to be tested

from: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/road-and-rail-transport/10313643/Part-time-rail-season-tickets-to-be-tested.html

Part-time rail season tickets to be tested

Commuters who only work part-time will be able to buy cut-price season tickets under plans being drawn up by the Coalition.

Part time season tickets to be tested
Part time season tickets to be tested Photo: Christopher Pledger for The Telegraph

Aimed at recognising changing work patterns, a trial of the new system will start next year on a major commuter operator into London.

The plans, which are the culmination of a sophisticated smart-ticketing system, were unveiled by Norman Baker, the rail minister a the Liberal Democrats’ party conference in Glasgow.

According to industry insiders the likeliest candidates for the trial are C2C, which links the capital to parts of Essex or southern, which serves the Sussex Coast.

“Season tickets were set at a time when commuters wore pinstripes worked from 9-5 and always took the same train,” Mr Baker told The Telegraph.

“The world has moved on and ticketing has to move on with it.”

Underpinning the move is the development of smart ticketing, sophisticated technology that will make pay as you go charging easier to implement.

Much will hinge on the agreement of train operators for whom part-time ticketing could see them raise less money from commuters unless it triggers greater demand for rail.

A spokesman for the Association of Train Operating Companies, said:

“Smart cards and other types of electronic ticketing encourage passengers to travel by train by making it easier for them to buy tickets and use the network.

“Train companies are working hard to deliver this technology and on some routes, smart ticketing is already in use.

“Further government investment is good news for passengers who can benefit from the reduced costs and congestion that flexible ticketing can offer."

The initiative was welcomed by Anthony Smith, chief executive of the independent watchdog Passenger Focus.

''This is good news for the 59 per cent of commuters whose working hours don’t fit into the Monday to Friday pattern,'' he said.

''We have long said that ticketing options need to reflect changing working patterns – and it is a good opportunity to put smarter ticketing to the test in bringing benefits to passengers.”

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