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Government to look at Lib Dem proposal for flexible train ticketing

June 15, 2020 3:00 PM
By Ellen Nicholson
Originally published by Woking Liberal Democrats

The Lib Dems have succeeded in getting the Department for Transport to look into flexible rail tickets to help commuters getting back to work after the coronavirus pandemic.

With traditional season tickets unlikely to be attractive for many commuters in the future the Lib Dems have called on the Government and train companies to provide more flexible ticket options including 'carnet' ticketing. Carnet ticketing would provide for 10 or 20 single journeys at a discount on the individual ticket price and crucially would allow much more flexibility than traditional season tickets.

During the lockdown home working has become a new routine for many people and as the lockdown is gradually lifted it is clear that many of these workers are unlikely to revert to 5 day-a-week commuting. Moreover, with restrictions on capacity on the rail network likely for the near future a new approach is needed to support commuters.

"Its vitally important that we have public transport systems that work for people and enable social distancing to take place in a safe manner. The alternative would be a return to more traffic congestion, cars on the road and rising air pollution. The significant reduction of PM2.5 in air pollution levels across major cities in the UK after only two weeks of lockdown, is evidence of the staggering impact we have on the world around us, and we must ensure that as we move out of lockdown we enable more sustainable, affordable and environmentally friendly transport options" said South West Wiltshire's Lib Dem spokesperson Ellen Nicholson.

Travelling by train must be a cost effective and attractive option for people. Many Wiltshire residents commute to work via train and that is why the Lib Dems are pushing both the Government, GWRand Railway companies to introduce better value, flexible and more convenient ticketing options.

In response to the Lib Dems' request the Rail Minister, Chris Heaton-Harris, confirmed that the Government has agreed to look at better value ticketing options for part-time and flexible rail commuters. The Minister recognises that this is increasingly important in the post-Covid world. He has undertaken to work with the rail operators to introduce options such as carnet ticketing as quickly as possible.