How much money do you save on new rail flexi-tickets from Ipswich?
- Credit: John Day
Ipswich commuters get one of the worst deals in the country on new rail "flexi-tickets", new figures have showed.
The new tickets are aimed at passengers who only travel to the office a handful of times a week following the coronavirus crisis.
It is designed to encourage people who who split their work time between home and the office to use public transport, with having to pay for season tickets.
But statistics show the savings for commuters in Ipswich travelling to London are likely to be minimal.
For example, a ticket which offers eight journeys in 28 days costs £547 - compared to a monthly season ticket which offers travel for a whole month for £684.
That means people would save less than 20%.
Anyone with an annual season ticket would save only 8%, assuming that they could fit four weeks' holiday around the ticketing schedule.
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An annual season ticket costs £7,134 while 12 flexi-tickets would cost £6,566.
Research from the Labour Party shows that Ipswich fares to be worse than most other places in the country with flexi-tickets.
The cost of an individual journey with flexi-ticket costs £68.40, rather than £27.42 for someone travelling five days a week with a season ticket.
If you knock four weeks off the year for holidays, it still costs only £29.72 a daily ticket.
That means the flexi-ticket is 149% more expensive than a normal season ticket on a daily basis - the joint highest mark-up in the country.
The difference in Ipswich is also much less than it is from Manningtree, 10 miles down the line.
From there, flexi-season ticket holders can get a discount of 26% on monthly tickets and 16% on annual tickets.
A spokeswoman for Greater Anglia said the cost of the flexi-tickets was decided by the Department for Transport - individual train operating companies had no say in them.
Season ticket prices are also regulated by the DfT.
Ipswich MP Tom Hunt said he would be raising the cost of fares from the town with rail ministers.
"This is something that has been coming up on the doorsteps as I visit people in the town," he added.
The Manningtree discrepancy had been there for many years - dating back to pre-privatisation days - but he said he would be pushing the government to press ahead with a new fares structure which is fairer for Ipswich travellers.
Ipswich council's transport spokesman Phil Smart said: “Ipswich is being let down badly by the government.
"This was a real chance to make train travel a more affordable option for people in Ipswich, but it seems that we’re being asked to carry the bill for the government’s hare-brained new ticket scheme.
“It is staggering that they are now promoting a scheme which in fact makes it more expensive for many people to use the train.
"It’s not fair, it doesn’t promote greener travel, and it certainly does not help our Covid recovery plans. This needs a rethink."