Some news from Southern regarding flexible season tickets.
Following the Secretary of State’s announcement, we can confirm that national Flexi Season tickets will be available across Southern, Great Northern, Thameslink and other rail operators from Monday 28 June 2021.
Tickets will be available for purchase from Monday 21 June 2021 for use the following week.
The Flexi Season has been developed by the Government in collaboration with the rail industry and is designed to support commuters who may be thinking of travelling two or three days a week in the future.
It is a new ticket option, designed to sit alongside existing season tickets as well as advanced and walk-up day fares.
Unlike previous carnet products, Flexi Season will be available for journey options between a much greater range of stations nationwide. Rather than being solely London-focused, the Flexi Season is designed to support commuters on many more journeys across the network.
It will be sold as a smart ticket on the Key smartcard, available online and from ticket offices. We expect to begin retailing Flexi Season from ticket machines later this year.
The Flexi Season will offer 8 days of travel within a 28 day period, at any time between two stations – so long as the journey is not entirely within Transport for London’s Z1-Z6 area. TfL is not currently supporting the Flexi Season.
As a rule of thumb, for most journeys, if a customer is travelling regularly two or potentially three days per week, they are likely to feel that the Flexi Season offers better value travel than a weekly season ticket.
There will be some journeys however, where the level of discount offered by a weekly or longer season ticket is so significant, that a customer may find that the weekly season or similar is the best option for their journey. Our new season ticket calculator will enable passengers to buy the right ticket for the number of days they want to travel including, from 21 June, the new national Flexi Season ticket.
Flexi Season Ticket – FAQs
The Flexi Season Ticket is a new national ticket, designed to sit alongside existing season tickets, advanced fares and the existing range of walk-up day fares.
The Flexi Season offers eight days of travel at anytime between two stations in a 28-day period and will offer unlimited travel between the two stations on each day it is used.
In most cases, the Flexi Season will be sold as a 12.5% discount against the cost of eight anytime day return tickets. This means that as a rule of thumb, a commuter travelling two or potentially three days per week is likely to find the Flexi Season offers lower cost travel than a weekly season ticket.
This will vary by route however, so it is important that customers consider all ticket options to work out what is best for them. A price comparison calculator will be available on our websites before the Flexi Season is sold.
How is the Flexi Season sold?
Nationwide, the Flexi Season is a digital-only ticket. Govia Thameslink Railway will sell the Flexi Season using the Key smartcard, and customers will be able to load their Key smartcard online or at our ticket offices. We plan to add the ability to load tickets at ticket vending machines later this year.
Other retailers will offer Flexi Season as an e-Ticket. While we will accept e-Tickets, we will not sell the Flexi Season as an e-Ticket, at least initially. This is because of the time available for launch and because smart card validators can be found in much greater numbers and at every station across the entire network.
What railcards will the Flexi season support?
As with other season tickets, the 16-17 Saver and Job Centre Plus travelcards can be used to obtain a further discount on the Flexi season ticket.
Where can customers use their Flexi season ticket?
In general, Flexi season tickets will be available for journeys nationwide between any two stations.
The exception to this is Flexi Season will not be available for a journey that is solely within Transport for London Zones 1-6, or for a journey involving a TfL travelcard. TfL does not support the Flexi season ticket. Unfortunately, this also means that Flexi season will not be available for “interavailable” routes, such as using the underground between Moorgate and King’s Cross.
What will happen to existing carnet tickets?
A small number of Thameslink and Great Northern stations have carnet tickets available, these offer a 10% discount when bought in a book of five or ten tickets, are sold as either peak or off-peak and are available on a limited number of routes, usually to London terminals.
The peak time carnet will be withdrawn from sale and replaced by the Flexi Season Ticket which represents a similar proposition. Customers will be able to use existing peak carnets until expiry.
The off-peak carnet will be retained at stations where it exists as a paper ticket on a trial basis while we understand how customers respond to the Flexi Season ticket and post-covid travel patterns become clearer.
Why does the discount vary on different routes?
In most cases, the Flexi Season will be sold as an up to 12.5% discount against the cost of eight anytime day return tickets. This means that as a rule of thumb, a commuter travelling two or potentially three days per week is likely to find the Flexi Season offers lower cost travel than a weekly season ticket.
The reason this discount is set as an “up to” nationwide is because there is no formal link between the price of an anytime day return and existing season tickets which are priced independently of each other. As a result, the level of discount offered by a season ticket already varies significantly between individual routes.
The exact discount offered by the Flexi Season will therefore also vary between individual routes and is being set to ensure that customers who use the railway more frequently than others, continue to gain additional value from purchasing weekly, monthly or annual season tickets.
In addition, in cases where the cost of travel is significantly lower in one direction because of lower demand – e.g. early AM journeys out of London, rather than in to London, as with season tickets, a “Flexi Season” is unlikely to be a suitable choice for a customer. This is because it will remain cheaper to purchase day tickets than any form of season ticket.
Can customers get refunds on unused Flexi Season tickets?
Yes, a customer will be able to obtain a refund on unused Flexi Season tickets that have not expired. A refund will be calculated as the difference between the price a customer paid for the Flexi season ticket and the cost of an Anytime return ticket for each day that has been used. An administration fee of no more than £10 will apply.
How will customers use or “activate” Flexi Season tickets?
For GTR Flexi Season tickets, these will be sold on the Key smartcard. A customer will need to tap-in, either at the gateline or at the validator at stations without a gateline. Customers will also be able to activate their ticket using the Thameslink or Southern mobile app if the station validator is not functioning. Their Flexi Season ticket will then permit unlimited travel on that day.
Customers that use eTickets sold by other retailers will need to activate their Flexi Season ticket before travelling.
How does the Flexi Season ticket work with KeyGo?
KeyGo is the optional pay-as-you-go add-on to the Key smartcard. It turns the Key smartcard into a tap-in, tap-out product that automatically charges the lowest walk-up day fare at the end of the day. KeyGo is valid across most of the GTR network and Metrobus and Brighton & Hove bus services.
Unfortunately, because the Flexi Season ticket is a national product it is not currently compatible with KeyGo. We will provide customers that wish to use both products with two Key smartcards, one to use with Flexi Season tickets and a second card to use with KeyGo.