Cheaper fares on way for Bishop's Stortford commuters with new flexible season tickets
Residents in Bishop's Stortford, Stansted and Sawbridgeworth combining commuting on Greater Anglia trains with working from home could save hundreds of pounds a year with new flexible season tickets.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has announced the biggest shake-up of rail in a generation, including a new Great British Railways ticket website and app described as "a retail revolution with simple digital ticketing, contactless pay-as-you-go travel and straightforward compensation".
The measures are part of newly-published White Paper the Williams-Shapps Plan for Rail. Mr Shapps, the Conservative MP for Welwyn Hatfield in Hertfordshire, said: "For many, the idea of travelling five days a week to the office is fast becoming a relic of the past.
"The future is flexible: passengers want a simple, stress-free option, and new flexible tickets make fares fairer.
"As we kick-start the biggest reform of our railways in a generation, we're committed to creating a modern railway that works for its passengers."
The new flexible ticket, aimed at those travelling on two or three days each week, will be available from all Department for Transport-franchised train operating companies.
On sale on June 21 for use from June 28, the paperless tickets will allow travel on any eight days in a 28-day period, with passengers able to tap smartcards or scan mobiles at the station, with no need to select the days of travel in advance.
The Government says exact details of savings will be provided before tickets go on sale, but analysis shows that three-day-a-week commuters from St Albans to London could save over £220 annually with a £330 saving from Chelmsford to Stratford.
Currently, the cheapest weekly ticket from Bishop's Stortford to Liverpool Street costs £113.90 a week, £400.90 a month or £4,176 a year. Passengers who travel four or more days a week will usually be better off with conventional season tickets, which will still be available. Those who travel less frequently may be better off paying daily fares.
Andy Bagnall, director-general of the Rail Delivery Group, which includes the West Anglia Cambridge to Liverpool Street line operator Greater Anglia, said: "Train companies have long called for many of the reforms in this White Paper and these proposals can deliver the biggest changes in a generation.
"Getting the detail right will be crucial to ensuring that the White Paper fulfils its potential to improve journeys, offer independent oversight and clear accountability, and create a new set of fares which are simpler and more value for money.
"For our passengers, we are ambitious to move quickly and work with Government so that we can attract people back onto trains with better services and maximise the railway's contribution to the recovery.
"Flexible tickets for commuters and more pay-as-you-go are good news for passengers. To really maximise the benefits and make it easier for people to get good-value fares requires Government to go further and get under the bonnet to fix the engine of the fares system."