Another rail operator falls short of recommended flexi discounts


Amid calls for the rail industry to offer new products for part-time commuters, another train operating company (TOC) has launched a carnet-style ticket with only a 5% discount.

West Midlands Trains, which operates West Midlands Railway and London Northwestern Railway services, said it has ‘responded to the changing needs of its customers’ with a new Flexi-Travel ticket.

Other TOCs have offered Carnet-style tickets for some time, usually with at the 5% discount level.

However, Watchdog Transport Focus has said that carnet ticket offering ten tickets for the price of eight (i.e. a 20% discount) are needed for passengers to see rail travel as a genuinely attractive option again.


The firm described the ticket as ‘an enticing prospect for passengers’. It covers 10 return journeys within a calendar month and offers a 5% saving compared with buying return tickets – significantly more expensive than the pro-rata cost of a full-time season ticket.

Lawrence Bowman, deputy managing director at West Midlands Trains, said: ‘With recent research indicating a change in work patterns and people splitting their working week between home and office, this ticket represents an affordable solution for our customers.

‘Flexi-Travel is a fairer, flexible ticket which responds to these major changes and provides the best value for part-time commuters.’

In July sub-national transport body Transport for the North and nationalised rail operator Northern launched the region’s first ‘flexi season ticket’, which offers a 10% discount on an anytime return fare.

Great Western Railway (GWR) subsequently said it had submitted proposals to the Department for Transport for a flexible ‘three days in seven' ticket, as well as one allowing travel on four days a month, although it did not state what level of discount it would offer.

Last week prime minister Boris Johnson told MPs: ‘We are working at pace with rail companies to try to deliver new products in terms of ticketing that would ensure better value and enable people to get back to work in a flexible way.’


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