Scrap rail season tickets that penalise part-time workers

York train station

Train companies have been urged to scrap season tickets because they exacerbate skills shortages by imposing a “part-time penalty” on commuters.

The British Chambers of Commerce has said that rigid pricing must be overhauled to ensure that people working flexible hours were no longer “penalised unfairly”.

It believes that a move towards pro-rata rates could save passengers thousands of pounds a year. On Thursday rail companies will raise prices by an average of 2.7 per cent, pushing up the prices of some season tickets by more than £100.

The Williams Rail Review, which had been due to report in the autumn, has yet to materialise. Keith Williams, 59, the former British Airways boss that is leading the review, said recently that the government would have to “step back from the railway” if services were to improve.

Claire Walker, co-executive director of the BCC, said that the “rusty ticketing policy” must be changed to create “a diverse, inclusive and productive workforce”, and she added: “We need a fairer and more adaptable pricing system so that people who don’t work the old-fashioned nine-to-five routine aren’t penalised unfairly.”

Paul Plummer, chief executive of the Rail Delivery Group, which represents train operators and Network Rail, said that it wanted “to update fares regulations so that commuters everywhere can benefit from tap-in, tap-out technology and price caps”.

A transport department spokesman said that reforms from the Williams Review “would simplify fares to create a simpler, more effective system”.