From our Swindon Correspondent:
New national flexi season tickets will go on sale on June 21 – the day the last lockdown restrictions are due to lift — ready for use seven days later. The French-style ‘carnet’ tickets will allow travel on any eight days in a 28-day period, and ministers say people commuting only two or three days a week could save hundreds of pounds a year.
Someone commuting twice a week between Woking, in Surrey, and London could save £250 per year, or £220 between Liverpool and Manchester.
Liverpool to Manchester annual season ticket is currently £2356. So the government thinks that people are going to give up the flexibility of a season ticket that allows 7 day travel for less than a 10% saving on the season ticket?
I’m not sure how Liverpool to Manchester is calculated, but Swindon to Reading is calculated as roughly the same price for a weekly season ticket as 2 standard return tickets. £75 return or £150 for a weekly season ticket.
The problem with this is that when the cost is £75 for each journey, the alternatives start to look much more attractive. Driving and parking in Reading costs about the same as the daily train, about £30, so let the train take the strain. When the cost is £75, or say, £65 with a discount, it’s going to cost a lot more to take the train than to drive each time. You’re going to be saving £60/week by driving compared to the train (and even that old banger you pick up is going to be more punctual and reliable).
Maybe it takes a little longer and is a little more tiring, but you’re only doing it twice a week. That’s a different thing to driving every day. And if people start using Liftshare or the coach companies get in on it, the savings are going to be even greater.
My prediction still stands that all this Build Back Better isn’t going to happen. We’re likely to see Beeching II in the near future with massive cuts to rail.