National Rail flexible season ticket: Dates, prices and how to get yours

21 June 2021, 11:25

Some rail commuters could save money with the new flexible season tickets
Some rail commuters could save money with the new flexible season tickets. Picture: PA

By Will Taylor

New flexible rail season tickets have gone on sale, potentially saving commuters hundreds of pounds.

They are the first step in a planned package of railway reforms, which will see the planned public body Great British Railways take over infrastructure and setting most fares.

Not everyone can benefit from the new tickets, which are aimed at part-time commuters as workers spend more days doing their jobs from home.

Here is how the tickets work.

What are the tickets for and who benefits?

The Flexi Season pass allows for unlimited travel between two stations on eight days in a 28-day period.

Commuters on certain routes who only travel two or three times a week at peak times stand to save cash.

The smallest discount available compared to a monthly ticket is 20%, and the Department for Transport expects it will save some travellers hundreds.

Read more: Rail reform: New flexible season tickets come on sale in boost to part-time commuters

Read more: Great British Railways: State-owned body set up in major overhaul of UK rail network

What options are there for people who travel more or less?

Commuters who only travel once a week will benefit more from buying a daily ticket.

People who travel more than three days a week will likely find an annual season ticket works out the cheapest.

Read more: £800 million to be invested in restoring two rail services axed 50 years ago

How do I buy and use the tickets?

Rail websites and apps sell them, as do some station ticket offices.

They only come as a smartcard or barcode ticket, and are activated by tapping in on a yellow reader at a gate.

They can also be activated by a platform validator, a ticket machine or by using the National Rail Smartcard app.

The passes are only available for standard class and no discounts apply for children.

The new flexible pass is part of a planned package of rail reforms
The new flexible pass is part of a planned package of rail reforms. Picture: Dominika Zarzycka/SIPA USA/PA Images

The new tickets, which are available from June 21, can be used from June 28.

What's been said about them?

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: "Our railways work best when they are reliable, rapid and affordable.

"As we kickstart the biggest reforms to our railways in a generation, flexible season tickets are the first step. They give us greater freedom and choice about how we travel, simpler ticketing and a fairer fare.

"With a season ticket calculator to see which option works best for you, and a book with confidence guarantee to make journeys stress-free, the future of fares is flexible."

Anthony Smith, chief executive of passenger watchdog Transport Focus, said: "Some passengers will welcome today's new flexible tickets and discounts. This will be useful in helping people choose rail again.

"Our research with passengers showed us there was strong demand for a new ticket that suited people who expected to commute less frequently in future.

"This is a positive step towards much-needed longer-term reform of how rail tickets are sold."