New flexible rail tickets are up to £50 more expensive than traditional tickets on some routes

Labour says the new tickets could put people off returning to workplaces after restrictions are lifted

New flexible rail tickets are up to £50 more expensive than traditional tickets on some routes

The new flexible rail tickets introduced by the government to benefit consumers could actually be more expensive than traditional tickets.

An analysis by the Labour Party found that travellers could spend as much as £50 more per day on the new flexible tickets compared with the existing daily costs of an annual ticket.

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At a glance: 5 key points

– An analysis of more than 50 travel routes by the Labour party found that the daily cost of travel for someone using a flexible ticket two or three times per week is sometimes significantly more than the daily cost of an annual ticket

– Ministers have previously claimed that the flexi tickets will “match modern working habits” and save passengers who travel a few times a week “hundreds of pounds”

– The route with the largest price-difference was between Swindon, Wiltshire and London, where an annual ticket worked out at £37 per day if used five days a week, while using flexible tickets three days a week was £91, £54 more expensive

– Labour claims that on some popular routes “it works out cheaper to buy an annual season ticket (unlimited travel pass) and not use it on some days than a flexi one”

– The Department for Transport has insisted that the tickets will offer a discount for “most two and three-day-per-week commuters”

What’s been said?

Shadow Transport Secretary Jim McMahon said: “Ministers had a real chance to make train travel a more realistic and affordable option for families who have already been hit hard in the pocket and are struggling to make ends meet after struggling through the pandemic.

“It is staggering that they are now lauding a scheme which in fact makes it more expensive for many people and hoping nobody notices.

“This failure will discourage people from getting back on to the network when restrictions ease, which will be vital for getting the sector on a stable footing.”

A Department for Transport spokesman said: “Flexible season tickets will offer most two and three-day-per-week commuters savings against buying daily tickets or traditional seasons.

“We have always been clear that passengers should consider which product best suits their journey and travel pattern.

“This will be easier than ever with the updated season ticket calculator.”

Background

The new flexible ticket scheme was announced earlier this year and went on sale for the first time last week.

Billed as being a more cost-effective option for people who don’t need to commute every day, the tickets allow travel in England on any eight days within a 28 day period.