Flexi rail tickets: Everything you need to know

Grant Shapps, Transport Secretary, inspects a steam train upon announcing new flexi tickets for travel

Grant Shapps, Transport Secretary, has announced changes to rail season tickets. - Credit: Department for Transport

Rail passengers will be able to buy season tickets to travel two or three times per week from June 21 under Government reforms. 

Flexible season tickets are one part of the changes proposed in the Williams-Shapps report, which will also make contactless and digital ticketing more commonplace.

It is part of a plan to transform Britain’s railways by creating a public body with responsibility for track, trains, fares and punctuality of services, which has been dubbed the "biggest transformation of rail networks in decades".

Flexi tickets come on the back of the pandemic, which has led to many only needing to commute a few times a week. 

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps 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 kickstart the biggest reform of our railways in a generation, we’re committed to creating a modern railway that works for its passengers.”

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Paperless tickets will allow travel on any eight days in a 28-day period. 

Passengers will be able to tap smartcards or scan mobiles at the station, with no need to select the days of travel in advance.

The changes will also see a new Great British Railways ticket website and app. 

Richard Burge, chief executive of London Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said: “This is key to supporting the nature of the emerging hybrid economy, providing value for money to commuters, and incentivising movement of workers into city centres such as central London.”
He added: “It’s important that flexible ticketing is indeed flexible enough for the post-pandemic world of work.

“Should flexible tickets prove to be too prescriptive, then those with the flexibility to decide how many days they commute each week may choose to work remotely more days than they would have, due to it not being cost effective enough to travel.

"For example, if three days equals the same cost as five, then some people may choose to travel for two only. This would have implications for city centres.”