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Gary Fuller | Councillor for Sandgate & West Folkestone

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Government Minister to look at Liberal Democrat Proposal for Rail Ticketing

May 29, 2020 11:31 AM
Originally published by Liberal Democrats on Kent County Council

Traditional season tickets are unlikely to be attractive for many rail commuters in the future. The rail operators need to provide more flexible ticket options.

During the lockdown working from home has become a new routine for many people. Home working has had some positive benefits both for staff and for employers. Now, as the lockdown is gradually lifted, it is clear that many of these workers are unlikely to revert to 5 day-a-week commuting. Instead, many staff are expected to adopt more flexible arrangements, going into work just occasionally. Rob Bird

Rob Bird, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group at Kent CC, commented, "Despite all the challenges of social distancing it is vitally important that we have public transport systems which work for all people. The alternative would be more cars on the road, more congestion and more air pollution. We cannot allow that to happen.

"Travelling by train must continue to a cost effective and attractive option for people who will be travelling to work occasionally. In future rail commuters will want ticketing options which combine the convenience and better value of season tickets with greater flexibility."

Rob Bird has taken this matter up with the Rail Minister and suggested that the Government should encourage all rail operators to allow passengers to buy carnet tickets. Carnet ticketing would provide for 10 or 20 single journeys at a discount to the individual ticket price and crucially allow much more flexibility than traditional season tickets.

The Rail Minister, Chris Heaton-Harris, has now written back. He has confirmed that the Government is looking at better value ticketing options for part-time and flexible rail commuters. The Minister recognises that this is increasingly important in the post-Covid world. He has undertaken to work with the rail operators to introduce options such as carnet ticketing as quickly as possible.

Thameslink already offers carnet ticketing for services north of London. But Thameslink is currently unable to offer carnets in Kent where the stations are operated by Southeastern. Rob Bird has also written to the Managing Director of Southeastern asking that they introduce carnet ticketing on their services as a matter of urgency.

Click here to see Rob Bird's letter to the Rail Minister and his reply.