This might seem like a simple question, but I have always wondered why we have to buy 7-day season tickets, whilst the majority of commuters only use them to travel between Monday to Friday?
I mean, I don't need to buy those 2 extra days, which only makes tickets unnecessarily more expensive.
Implementing this wouldn't require changing the gates (given that they read a start date and an end date). It will be just the matter of adding that option in the vending machines and in the website.
For a start, this type of tickets would only make sense to buy them on Monday or a Tuesday, it will still be cheaper than buying a 7-day season ticket.
Of course, the real treat would be that the price-per-day should remain equivalent to the 7-day season ticket, that is, if the 7-day ticket is £30, so the price per day is £4.28, the 5-working day ticket should be 5 x 4.28 = £21.40. Fantastic saving!!
The SWR ticket sale webpage allows buying season tickets with a validity of 1 month or more (even setting a custom start date and end date), but it has to be for more than one month.
I find that odd, given that there is no technical reason I can think of that would avoid it (in the understanding that the gates work as described in this forum message: forum.southwesternrailway.com/.../flexible-season-tickets-for-part-time-commuters ),
In fact, this could be a good temporary measure to create a pseudo-flexible season ticket (given that the real thing is taking forever).
Here the key issue is the price (of course). Should the price per day remain the same as in the 7-day ticket? That seems a bit unfair to the customer. Should the price per day remain as in the monthly ticket? That would be great, but maybe unfair to those who will still buy the 7-day season. Also, the company might find that that uneconomical.
So, here's a suggestion of how it could work:
I've done the maths, and will provide a much-welcomed saving, with very little effort for the company.
The terms and conditions governing the use of a season ticket are executed by South Western Railway in line with instructions from the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC), instructing Train Operating Companies how to conduct their business.
Type of season tickets offered by rail operators in the UK are Weekly, Monthly, Monthly Plus (for a period of more than one month, but less than 12 months) and Annual.
For regular commuters, a season ticket offers considerable savings over buying individual daily tickets, and generally the longer the season ticket, the greater the saving. A weekly season ticket is 4 - 5 times Any Time Day Return ticket (in some cases even cheaper). Cost of other types of season tickets is calculated based on the weekly season ticket fares. A monthly season ticket is 3.84 times weekly fare and an annual season ticket is 40 times weekly fare.
However, we know that some customers don’t travel every day, and we’ll be launching a Carnet product by September 2018, offering a 5% saving when buying 10x Anytime Day Returns for the same journey on our Touch smartcards. We’ll be publishing the full details as soon as they’re available.
5% on 10 anytime day returns is pathetic and everyone knows it. That product is designed to satisfy the obligation on a technicality and does not actually serve what customers have asked for.
It most cases it will still be cheaper to buy a monthly or weekly ticket. The carnet only works if people travel one day every month. That hardly describes the common use case.
In reply to Joseph B from SWR, you wrote that the types of season tickets are regulated by the ATOC, which I understand it means "it's not our fault".
But that doesn't reply my question of why other types of season tickets have not been implemented. I would like to assume that all the train companies can make proposals to the ATOC, to change things in order to bring benefits to their customers. Why this hasn't been done and there are still only the same 4 types of season tickets?
Also, you wrote, "A weekly season ticket is 4 - 5 times Any Time Day Return ticket (in some cases even cheaper)". Who decides if it's 4 times or 5 times the price? SWR or the ATOC? And why the ratio is different between different destinations?
Even if all this falls in the ATOC lap, it's my understanding that currently is in progress an effort to simplify and rationalise the train fares. I would really like to read what are SWR proposals on that regard, and I will strongly suggest to include the new 5-working day ticket.
Finally, I completely agree with Andy Boyne that a 5% discount in 10 anytime returns offer a very reduced saving, which will interest very few. I've used other public transport systems in Europe that for a 10-travel card will offer at least a 33% discount, or even higher.
Thank you for your further comments.
I shall pass them on to the relevant team so they are aware of your suggestions.
I can’t guarantee that your suggestions will be implemented, but I can assure you that we always take customer feedback seriously and they will be logged and used in future planning meetings.
Thank you for taking the time to contact us about this.