Flexible Rail Season Tickets - 2/3 days per week to be introduced by June 2021

mattdickinson

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I know that's what GTR's website says but I don't think it's actually enforceable.

If the smart ticket is issued with an 'Any Permitted' routeing then it can be used on any permitted route using any train operating company. London Overground is a National Rail train operating company (although they often try to claim they aren't!)
The test tickets seem to have a variety of routes, but I can't see any on routes with the Maltese Cross (according to BRFares)

There is also a mention of Keygo Carnets.

https://www.brfares.com/!faredetail...rt=on&flow=2&multi=2&fare=29&rte=1000&tkt=0BI

Received some GTR emails about this today, or reading the FAQs on the website...

I see that you can't buy a flexi-season if you have a keygo on your key. GTR "in-elegant" solution is to suggest people get a 2nd key card! However to complicate things for some people you have to have a 2nd email address to apply for the 2nd key.

It seems it also has same issue keygo had, you can't use london overground trains on the west london line even when the stations are in the key zone.

So not very flexible at least for me.

SWR have similar issues, which I imagine is caused by both companies not having rewritten their PAYG software yet.



Currently, we recommend you having a smartcard just for a Flexi Season ticket and a separate smartcard for using Tap2Go for pay as you go travel and adding other types of train tickets. If you have Tap2Go or a ticket with a similar journey on the same smartcard as your Flexi Season ticket, we can’t guarantee our system will select the right ticket or correctly charge you for your journey. You can order additional smartcards to be stored within your online SWR account free of charge.
 
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Starmill

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The test tickets seem to have a variety of routes, but I can't see any on routes with the Maltese Cross (according to BRFares)
Season tickets wouldn't have a Maltese Cross* because they'd be a custom Travelcard generally, so I'm not sure what this means.

* there used to be a few bizarre exceptions which may still be around
 

CommuterTime

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TL/DR: Can I get an Ely to London Terminals flexi season ticket?
Hi folks - long time reader, first time poster! I am in the process of returning to the office in the next 4-6 weeks. I used to commute with an annual season ticket from Ely - LST or Ely - KGX depending on timing and reliability (so either using Greater Anglia or GNR trains). The annual season ticket allowed me to use either route (it was an Ely to 'London Terminals' ticket). I can't get a clear answer online or twitter as to whether or not the new flexi ticket will let me use either train company's routes. My usual pattern was a GNR train from Ely - Cambridge, then switch to GA for Cambridge to LST, then in the evening, return LST - Ely on GA, unless I was late, in which case I would go to KGX and go KGX-Ely. Thanks!
 

Watershed

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TL/DR: Can I get an Ely to London Terminals flexi season ticket?
Hi folks - long time reader, first time poster! I am in the process of returning to the office in the next 4-6 weeks. I used to commute with an annual season ticket from Ely - LST or Ely - KGX depending on timing and reliability (so either using Greater Anglia or GNR trains). The annual season ticket allowed me to use either route (it was an Ely to 'London Terminals' ticket). I can't get a clear answer online or twitter as to whether or not the new flexi ticket will let me use either train company's routes. My usual pattern was a GNR train from Ely - Cambridge, then switch to GA for Cambridge to LST, then in the evening, return LST - Ely on GA, unless I was late, in which case I would go to KGX and go KGX-Ely. Thanks!
The flexi season will be exactly the same route-wise as the normal season ticket. The normal season ticket is routed Any Permitted to London Terminals, so the flexi season will also be valid via either route.
 

Ralph Ayres

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The recommendation not to use Tap2Go or KeyGo and a flexi season on the same card is I suspect something that can only be dealt with by some clever back-office jiggery-pokery. When you make the first journey there is no way for the gate at stations covered by the flexi season to know if you intend to use a day of the flexi season, or are making a separate one-off journey which would be better value paid for separately. That can only be determined after the event once the full day's travel is known, and it's possible that there is no intention for that to happen. The alternative would be to have to activate the flexi season for the day in some way before travelling, perhaps at a TVM or using an app. On balance having 2 cards, suitably labelled, might be simpler if less high-tech.
 

35B

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The recommendation not to use Tap2Go or KeyGo and a flexi season on the same card is I suspect something that can only be dealt with by some clever back-office jiggery-pokery. When you make the first journey there is no way for the gate at stations covered by the flexi season to know if you intend to use a day of the flexi season, or are making a separate one-off journey which would be better value paid for separately. That can only be determined after the event once the full day's travel is known, and it's possible that there is no intention for that to happen. The alternative would be to have to activate the flexi season for the day in some way before travelling, perhaps at a TVM or using an app. On balance having 2 cards, suitably labelled, might be simpler if less high-tech.
It also highlights the limitations of smart card technology
 

Haywain

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It also highlights the limitations of smart card technology
No, that highlights limitations of the products designed to go on the smart card. For the flexi ticket it is activated by the first touch on any given day. There is clearly no way for the whole system to 'know' whether that first touch is or is not supposed to be activating the flexi or starting a pay as you go journey.
 

CommuterTime

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The flexi season will be exactly the same route-wise as the normal season ticket. The normal season ticket is routed Any Permitted to London Terminals, so the flexi season will also be valid via either route.
Thanks @Watershed that's really good news. Now I just have to convince my boss this is also a good idea!
 

35B

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No, that highlights limitations of the products designed to go on the smart card. For the flexi ticket it is activated by the first touch on any given day. There is clearly no way for the whole system to 'know' whether that first touch is or is not supposed to be activating the flexi or starting a pay as you go journey.
Precisely - a limitation of the technology, which makes it difficult or impossible to tell the card or card reader which product is actually being used. Which is why smart card technology is always going to struggle when used outside of relatively tightly defined use cases.
 

JonathanH

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Precisely - a limitation of the technology, which makes it difficult or impossible to tell the card or card reader which product is actually being used. Which is why smart card technology is always going to struggle when used outside of relatively tightly defined use cases.
In theory you could have a 'smart card control app' on your phone but that then begs the question as to why a piece of card is needed when you need a smart phone (or computer or interface on a TVM) to control it.
 

Wallsendmag

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Thanks @Haywain . Just out of curiosity, do you know why it can't be done at present, and is it likely to be a feature at some point?
Thinking back to last year when I made the same journey, I think I went to the ticket office at Middlesbrough Station and bought the Railcard and tickets, and then booked Passenger Assistance online later.

In theory you could have a 'smart card control app' on your phone but that then begs the question as to why a piece of card is needed when you need a smart phone (or computer or interface on a TVM) to control it.
You’ve been peeking haven’t you?
 

Hadders

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GTR saying that KeyGo and Flexible season tickets aren't compatible on the same smart card isn't very passenger friendly.

Say I have a flexible season ticket between Stevenage and Welwyn Garden City but need to make a journey from Stevenage to Potters Bar, is it too much to expect the system to use a flexible season ticket between Stevenage and Welwyn Garden City and charge the PAYG fare between Welwyn Garden City and Potters Bar?
 

bubieyehyeh

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I know that's what GTR's website says but I don't think it's actually enforceable.

If the smart ticket is issued with an 'Any Permitted' routeing then it can be used on any permitted route using any train operating company. London Overground is a National Rail train operating company (although they often try to claim they aren't!)
Yes I know, I discussed this with GTR probably two years ago when I ask if I bought a weekly season to Shepherds Bush on the key and wanted the flexibility to use overground or southern trains from Clapham Junction. GTR said the issue was London Overground revenue protection would not be able to verify I had a ticket, I then asked TFL and I think they eventually replied and said they thought they could read the key but not keygo.

So I guess the flexi-seasons don't appear as a season ticket if scanned by Overground revenue protection.

So the key wasn't worth the risk of potential for delay/hassle from poorly trained London Overground staff.

The solution involved oyster and keygo-or-paper, so I know the hassle of using two cards and two card wallets, and if you have a long day at work and the hassle when you mistakenly use the wrong card at the wrong point of the journey.
 

Haywain

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GTR saying that KeyGo and Flexible season tickets aren't compatible on the same smart card isn't very passenger friendly.

Say I have a flexible season ticket between Stevenage and Welwyn Garden City but need to make a journey from Stevenage to Potters Bar, is it too much to expect the system to use a flexible season ticket between Stevenage and Welwyn Garden City and charge the PAYG fare between Welwyn Garden City and Potters Bar?
What if it’s a weekend off peak one way journey and you don’t want to be using your peak rate flexi season? How does the system know?
 

Hadders

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What if it’s a weekend off peak one way journey and you don’t want to be using your peak rate flexi season? How does the system know?
Fair point. Ideally the system would be 'smart' enough to charge the best value fare but in reality this will be a step too far.
 

johntea

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What if it’s a weekend off peak one way journey and you don’t want to be using your peak rate flexi season? How does the system know?

In the 'traditional' sense of a season ticket there is no concept of 'peak' and 'off peak', not sure if that is different with this new flexi idea...
 

plugwash

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The difference with the flexi is that you "consume" days of it, with a regular season ticket it is simply valid for the whole period.

So the reconciliation of a regular season ticket with a PAYG scheme is relatively simple. Use the season ticket as much as possible and charge PAYG fares for any travel beyond the season tickets area of validity.

With a flexi OTOH you would have to decide whether it's worth consuming a day of the flexi, or whether it would be better to do the whole journey as PAYG. That is a nontrivial problem, depending on whether the travel is peak or off-peak, how much the journey overlaps with the validity area of the flexi, what other journeys are made in the day, and whether the passenger will consume all the days on the flexi expire.
 

35B

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The difference with the flexi is that you "consume" days of it, with a regular season ticket it is simply valid for the whole period.

So the reconciliation of a regular season ticket with a PAYG scheme is relatively simple. Use the season ticket as much as possible and charge PAYG fares for any travel beyond the season tickets area of validity.

With a flexi OTOH you would have to decide whether it's worth consuming a day of the flexi, or whether it would be better to do the whole journey as PAYG. That is a nontrivial problem, depending on whether the travel is peak or off-peak, how much the journey overlaps with the validity area of the flexi, what other journeys are made in the day, and whether the passenger will consume all the days on the flexi expire.
Which is why, if I were to purchase a flexi, I would take care to maintain control of that decision for myself, and not delegate to a system that is trying to second guess my intentions. For those of us who do not live within the zonal fare system of Oyster, the world is inherently more complicated (especially if we cross that boundary), and the combination of media and supplier side processing represents a disproportionate risk of being mischarged for my travel.
 

P Binnersley

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West Midland Railways and London NorthWestern now have "When is a Flexi Season better value?" guide for selected journeys (no prices yet).

Days travelling /week
1 - Anytime Day Return
2 - Flexi Season
3 - Flexi Season (except Gt Malvern-Worcester weekly season!)
4 - Flexi Season or Weekly season dependant on journey (Flexi seems better for shorter journeys)
5 - Weekly season.


 

Minstral25

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Not sure if has been mentioned but passengers from outside London using Travelcards will not be able to get Flexi seasons. Which is probably around 50% of London Commuters from the Home counties being denied the advantages of the Flexi seasons.
 

Class 466

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Not sure if has been mentioned but passengers from outside London using Travelcards will not be able to get Flexi seasons. Which is probably around 50% of London Commuters from the Home counties being denied the advantages of the Flexi seasons.
The advice if only travelling twice a week is Flexi Season to London then daily capping (which lets face it most wont get anywhere near with just one return trip on the tube in a number of cases).
 

Minstral25

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The advice if only travelling twice a week is Flexi Season to London then daily capping (which lets face it most wont get anywhere near with just one return trip on the tube in a number of cases).

Have checked a few local routes that would be much more expensive than buying a daily Travelcard. Especially if you either travel back out to an outer zone from central London.
 

Andrew S

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Have checked a few local routes that would be much more expensive than buying a daily Travelcard. Especially if you either travel back out to an outer zone from central London.

In that scenario you may as well stick with Oyster PAYG or a travelcard. In my case (I live in Thamesmead and travel Abbey Wood to Charing Cross), if I know I'm going in to work 4 or 5 days a week for a whole month I get a monthly season on my SE Key card. If not I use Oyster PAYG, and never reach the daily cap. If I had to do an onward tube journey it might be a little different, but I think oyster would still work out best.
 

jon0844

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Oyster (or Contactless) PAYG isn't quite as attractive outside the zones as people will soon find once it is extended to more stations.

Indeed. Very much swings and roundabouts. Real early birds benefit from off-peak pricing on trains where paper tickets would be peak, but you don't get super off-peak fares off-peak/weekends. Then there's the issue of railcard discounts and so on.

Many people do seem to prefer the convenience and potentially pay more willingly for a no-fuss option. For all the people that complain about ticket pricing, it does seem a little ironic that someone might voluntarily pay more - but never underestimate the fact that giving people more confidence and doing away with complex fares is why people in London are so happy with Oyster and Contactless.
 

JonathanH

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Many people do seem to prefer the convenience and potentially pay more willingly for a no-fuss option. For all the people that complain about ticket pricing, it does seem a little ironic that someone might voluntarily pay more - but never underestimate the fact that giving people more confidence and doing away with complex fares is why people in London are so happy with Oyster and Contactless.
Absolutely. The rail companies aren't stupid in that regard. They know that if enough people are happy with the convenience of Oyster and Contactless around London, there is actually a simplification to fares that be applied which may well bring in more revenue. The people happy to use Contactless at any fare will massively outweigh those who complain about it being a little more expensive for some journeys.
 

plugwash

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OTOH the simplifications required for oyster/contactless have made some journeys significantly cheaper, either due to less punitive peak rules or due to the flexibility to mix peak outward with off-peak return without being penalised for it.
 

JonathanH

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OTOH the simplifications required for oyster/contactless have made some journeys significantly cheaper, either due to less punitive peak rules or due to the flexibility to mix peak outward with off-peak return without being penalised for it.
Yes, journeys that start before 0630 or peak journeys that return outside the evening peak. It hasn't done much for making off-peak journeys cheaper. From Redhill, I don't think there is a return journey which is cheaper on Oyster / Contactless after 0930 to any destination than using a paper ticket. Great for single journeys though. No journey at the weekend is cheaper on Oyster / Contactless than the paper tickets available.

I could imagine, however, that some commuters are doing quite well out of travelling before 0630 such that these flexible season tickets will seem somewhat expensive.
 
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