Flexible Rail Season Tickets - 2/3 days per week to be introduced by June 2021

itwasntme

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I don't believe this has it's own thread yet.



I suspect the following outcomes may result (based on 7day tickets):
- TOCs will see a significant reduction in people paying full price for 7day/week+ season tickets (compared to pre-covid).
- People who were too far away to commute a 5day week may accept longer journeys but only commute a 2day or 3day week.
- People who used to only commute 2/3 days a week by car and baulked at the price of 7day/week+ rail season tickets, may now choose to travel by rail.
- I suspect the price point for a 2of7 ticket will be approximately 45% of a 7day ticket and a 3of7 ticket around 65% of a 7day ticket.

This type of ticket has been requested for many years and it will finally become a reality this year. I'm interested to see how it will be implemented and what price points are offered.
 
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py_megapixel

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This sounds like a good idea, but of course because it's the Daily Mail, quality journalism about the topic described in the headline seems to be secondary and it devolves into general whinging about the fares rises before it even reaches the tenth sentence.
 

swt_passenger

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If only your straightforward price point calculation worked everywhere.

Because I cannot see how the relevant TOCs are going to accept pricing a 2 or 3 day season at less than the day return, which is what it would be where I am.

But this thread is also relevant:
 

thedbdiboy

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Revenue risk is being underwritten by the DfT; it is irrelevant what the TOCs think
 

Starmill

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Because I cannot see how the relevant TOCs are going to accept pricing a 2 or 3 day season at less than the day return, which is what it would be where I am.
I imagine that's roughly where the new market-clearing price lies. I.e. where the price would need to fall to for the train to be full again.

The scheme appears to have come across very big technical issues as it was originally going to be completed before the end of last year. A 10% discount is of course pretty much irrelevant. Also, it was suggested that there'd be a two month limit - much too short for a 10 ticket pack, as someone travelling once a week wouldn't be able to use them.
 

thedbdiboy

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Fair enough, then why would the Treasury accept it?

If they've been convinced that, at worst, it will be revenue-neutral.
The Treasury are concerned about city centre economies and their tax revenues so getting people to go back to work is not just about railways. But they are likely to want to see what the shortfall is before committing funds long term

I imagine that's roughly where the new market-clearing price lies. I.e. where the price would need to fall to for the train to be full again.

The scheme appears to have come across very big technical issues as it was originally going to be completed before the end of last year. A 10% discount is of course pretty much irrelevant. Also, it was suggested that there'd be a two month limit - much too short for a 10 ticket pack, as someone travelling once a week wouldn't be able to use them.
It's not technical issues, the delay is because Government itself (not just DfT) needs to sign off the business case
 

Starmill

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The Treasury are concerned about city centre economies and their tax revenues so getting people to go back to work is not just about railways. But they are likely to want to see what the shortfall is before committing funds long term
At least they won't have to worry about that, because if a product comes along which is a) quite fiddly and difficult to use (must have Smartcard, cannot get Smartcard at a station, cannot load with a ticket machine - that sort of thing) and b) offers a derisory 10% discount, it won't see much uptake and therefore they won't lose much.
 

BluePenguin

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At least they won't have to worry about that, because if a product comes along which is a) quite fiddly and difficult to use (must have Smartcard, cannot get Smartcard at a station, cannot load with a ticket machine - that sort of thing) and b) offers a derisory 10% discount, it won't see much uptake and therefore they won't lose much.
Although what is the point in investing time, money and energy in creating a product which is pretty much useless to anybody and everybody? 10% discount will not be enough. The last thing the railway needs is another box ticking vanity project?

I know plenty of people who hate smartcards and will never switch to one no matter how many times their paper season ticket fades or gets torn. Getting a replacement takes minutes and costs nothing. It simply becomes routine - as does buying day tickets. Without any real benefit, I fail to see any real selling point to a flex season
 
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b0b

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How is it going to work? electronic ticket only? The days of the week its valid are going to be marked on the ticket (probably limits the number of users)
 

Jurg

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I agree with what looks to be the general consensus here. If this is just a more universal rollout of the sort of product WMT have been advertising for a while, a carnet with a discount of 10%, it's barely going to get any significant uptake.

I'm likely to be among the target market, working a job where I'll probably only be returning to the office a couple of days a week. With the potential for holidays, sickness, or other unknowns, I honestly don't think I'd tie myself into such a product for a 10% discount. If the journey cost was brought more in line with the Off-Peak fare it would be more attractive.
 

BluePenguin

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What makes people think it's all Smartcards?
For a variety of reasons: Encouraging/forcing people to switch to Smartcards, simplifying delay repay, preventing flexi season tickets from being used every day of the week, allowing/preventing use by multiple people.

Others may have their reasons, but personally I can’t see why flexi seasons wouldn’t be available only on Smartcards or apps. With all of the main TOCs pushing them and the increased focus on revenue protection, would seem daft not restrict them somehow. I doubt barriers can be programmed to reject tickets on specific days of the week anyway.

Otherwise what happens to passengers with tickets valid Wednesday - Friday caught on a Tuesday? Many will claim to have forgotten what day it was. Others may suddenly need to travel work on a day they usually don’t. How would you excess them? Should someone be allowed to travelling after midnight?

A Smartcard could be programmed to allow use on 3 days a week for example. That way the season flexibility element is kept. Any additional travel could be charged pro rata. I can’t see how any of these ideas could be implemented on paper. Thoughts?
 

Starmill

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A ticket with a code on a phone screen that's generated per flexi day, as is being trialled with some "full time" season tickets is a possibility, but it doesn't sound particularly useful given the flows that still won't accept 2d code etickets.
 

thedbdiboy

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I'm quite amazed that people are already critiquing a product they don't even know about yet!
 

Starmill

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I'm quite amazed that people are already critiquing a product they don't even know about yet!
Is that more or less amazing than the Department missing their own deadline of the end of last year because of technical issues? Or having to rewrite the scope because they asked for features which were outside of the parameters of existing technology? What about being a year into a global pandemic and having successfully changed nothing?
 

thedbdiboy

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I'm no defender of the current setup, and have no issue at all with lively debate and opinion. The only thing that tends to make me react is factual inaccuracy. Disagreeing about what the DfT may or may not have done is opinion.

But the details of this product, what the offer is, how it will be sold etc have not yet been announced, so detailed comments dissecting the supposed offer, price mechanism, sales method etc and concluding that it will be useless, no-one will buy it etc seem a tad premature.

I mean, I know you have low expectations but at least go through the motions of waiting for it to appear before denouncing it :s
 

Starmill

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I'm no defender of the current setup, and have no issue at all with lively debate and opinion. The only thing that tends to make me react is factual inaccuracy. Disagreeing about what the DfT may or may not have done is opinion.

But the details of this product, what the offer is, how it will be sold etc have not yet been announced, so detailed comments dissecting the supposed offer, price mechanism, sales method etc and concluding that it will be useless, no-one will buy it etc seem a tad premature.

I mean, I know you have low expectations but at least go through the motions of waiting for it to appear before denouncing it :s
While that's technically all true, it's an indictment that nothing has been delivered after a whole year. But more than that we've currently got a variety of organisations desperately running around trying to work out if they can use phone apps or TVMs to touch their Smartcards in for this work. There is simply no way the way it has been planned is going to lead to a revolutionary product.
 

thedbdiboy

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That of course is the legacy of the half baked approach taken to smart ticketing over much of the past 16 or so years. It does appear that there is at last an awareness that any significant shift to digital ticketing is going to need an joined up industry wide approach that is at least as good as (and ideally better) than that which the paper ticket infrastructure delivers. But that isn't going to happen overnight so flexible tickets will need to make best use of what's there in the meantime. Still, however long it's taken, there is always joy when the sinner repents...

Oh, and whilst I would love revolutionary, I'll settle now for something that is at least joined up and functional - that's got to be an improvement on some of the things we've seen
 

Baxenden Bank

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Why force people to buy the discounted product up front? Carnets are an old solution from the days of paper tickets and clerks manually calculating things.

With modern computing power, the devices to use it on (smartphone or card) and widespread network coverage, there are far more innovative and flexible ways of addressing the perceived issue.

Have a ticket where the price decreases over time as you make more use of it. If you travel once per year, you pay the current peak price. If you travel 200 (or it is 220) days per year, you pay the equivalent of the current season ticket. Each time you make a journey, the price incrementally reduces. If you share the 'ticket' around, so what, it will only come down to the price of a standard season ticket, which can be used multiple times during the day. There needs to be a restriction to prevent it being used by two people at the same time - something along the lines of the Oyster 'passback' along with an 'uncompleted journey'

There was more to this point, but I was automatically logged out and lost the text I had typed.

Something about Ticketer machines recognising the second use of a ticket in quick succession.
Also about the method of incremental discounting being based on current season ticket calculations (13 weeks and then no further reduction?).
The industry deciding, or the customer choosing, a settlement period (up to one year) over which their use would be measured.
Finally could buy credit in advance and be notified when running low, or buy on a daily basis once the commuter knows they are travelling that day.
 
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Starmill

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Why force people to buy the discounted product up front? Carnets are an old solution from the days of paper tickets and clerks manually calculating things.

With modern computing power, the devices to use it on (smartphone or card) and widespread network coverage, there are far more innovative and flexible ways of addressing the perceived issue.

Have a ticket where the price decreases over time as you make more use of it. If you travel once per year, you pay the current peak price. If you travel 200 (or it is 220) days per year, you pay the equivalent of the current season ticket. Each time you make a journey, the price incrementally reduces. If you share the 'ticket' around, so what, it will only come down to the price of a standard season ticket, which can be used multiple times during the day. There needs to be a restriction to prevent it being used by two people at the same time - something along the lines of the Oyster 'uncompleted journey'
This is most commonly known by the term Account Based Ticketing. It would be perfectly doable in theory but if we cannot even get flexi-seasons rolled out despite months of work, taking on this will have to wait.
 

JonathanH

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Have a ticket where the price decreases over time as you make more use of it. If you travel once per year, you pay the current peak price. If you travel 200 (or it is 220) days per year, you pay the equivalent of the current season ticket. Each time you make a journey, the price incrementally reduces. If you share the 'ticket' around, so what, it will only come down to the price of a standard season ticket, which can be used multiple times during the day. There needs to be a restriction to prevent it being used by two people at the same time - something along the lines of the Oyster 'uncompleted journey'
I think this is absolutely spot on in concept. This is exactly how capping should work.

However, the slight problem with it is that you would need to measure the run rate and the fare would change for each journey. I'm not sure how understandable that would be.
 

Watershed

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While that's technically all true, it's an indictment that nothing has been delivered after a whole year. But more than that we've currently got a variety of organisations desperately running around trying to work out if they can use phone apps or TVMs to touch their Smartcards in for this work. There is simply no way the way it has been planned is going to lead to a revolutionary product.
Whilst there is still fumbling around with technology, crude forms of part time season tickets are perfectly feasible with existing old-hat technology. Indeed there have been 3 day a week (plus weekends) season tickets in much of Devon and Cornwall for a number of years now. There's never really been any public analysis of how successful (or otherwise) that's been.

I still maintain that the mechanism for determining the price of an X day a week commute is going to be the biggest stumbling block here. Ultimately the Treasury is going to have to accept the risk of reducing fares to encourage demand, anything else is just rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic...
 

Starmill

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Whilst there is still fumbling around with technology, crude forms of part time season tickets are perfectly feasible with existing old-hat technology. Indeed there have been 3 day a week (plus weekends) season tickets in much of Devon and Cornwall for a number of years now. There's never really been any public analysis of how successful (or otherwise) that's been.
Yes, without doubt. If the department had been willing to pursue that, or paper tickets with date boxes, then that would have been fine. Unfortunately they must be "smart".
 

Watershed

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Yes, without doubt. If the department had been willing to pursue that, or paper tickets with date boxes, then that would have been fine. Unfortunately they must be "smart".
Bionic duckweed comes to mind...
 

PG

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Yes, without doubt. If the department had been willing to pursue that, or paper tickets with date boxes, then that would have been fine. Unfortunately they must be "smart".
That gives me an idea of a new slogan/strapline they could use :E
Department for Transport -​
reinventing the wheel
 

py_megapixel

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I assumed this would allow you to choose your days on a week by week basis?

It's stupid if not, because for people who work shifts and might have their shifts on different days each week - which is probably far from reality for the executive staff in flexible, salaried positions at DfT and the TOCs, but in reality is a thing - it makes the product entirely useless.

I don't think it takes a genius to realise that all that's required is wide availability of carnet tickets.
 

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