Flexible / Part-Time Season Tickets

They have finally arrived. Southeastern started offering the new flexi season on 28th June. This allows travel on any eight days within 28, costing £286.40 to London terminals from Tunbridge Wells. This is a saving of 12% if you travel twice per week (compared to 2 anytime returns), and 15% if you travel 3 times per week (compared to a weekly season). They are available for travel from all stations on the Hastings line to London. There does not appear to be a first class version. Given the current financial climate, we have to be grateful they have been introduced at all. It is loaded onto a Key Card. Southeastern explain them here:

 

https://www.southeasternrailway.co.uk/tickets/tickets-explained/flexi-season-tickets

The flexi season certainly is flexible. Maybe those of us who commute part-time but can choose when in advance would benefit from some sort of fixed, advanced purchase tickets. Perhaps an extension of advance purchase singles to peak hour trains might be a way of making part-time commuting cheaper than the new flexi season. We will inquire.

South Eastern Railway Stakeholder Forum – June 2021

Venue: Conducted online via Microsoft Teams due to Coronavirus restrictions

SER held the first stakeholder forum of the year online due to Corina Virus restrictions on large gatherings. Forum chaired by Sharon Willis from Network Rail.

Representation from rail user groups was high including our colleagues from Sevenoaks and Tonbridge plus local authorities. Over 50 people took part but it was not possible to know all the participants.

Presentations were given both Network Rail and various members of the South Eastern management team.

Principal Points – Network Rail, John Halsall, Regional MD, Southern Region

  • Highlighted the importance of continuing support for the post pandemic recovery with maintenance and major project works to improve the network.

  • Noted that peak hour commuting is around forty percent of normal but leisure traffic was becoming busy again.

  • Positive passenger feedback on the safety and cleanliness of the railway and the perception of being safe.

  • Future affordability of the railway was an issue which would have to be faced with perhaps some difficult choices ahead.

  • Paul Harwood, NR Infrastructure – outlined some of the key areas of work planned for Control Period 6 (CP6 starting this year). This includes power upgrades, buildings, drainage and signalling.

  • NR seeking to develop and implement a sustainability strategy at both corporate and regional level.

  • Fiona Taylor, NR Route Director, Kent – Performance has been good in terms of punctuality and reliability both also noted a reduction of delay minutes resulting from crime and trespass incidents. On-going and relentless focus on graffiti removal. Proud of her staff for the way the railway has been kept going despite need for risk assessments and new methods of working to be Covid secure.

 

 

SER Customer Experience

  • SE continuing to work closely with DfT, NR and across the industry to respond to rail transport needs during the current situation and has made twelve timetable revisions so far this year. SE is amending service where possible to meet changing demand.

  • Greatly enhanced cleaning regimes for both trains and stations.

  • Flexi Ticketing to be launched this month –the ability to purchase any eight days of travel within a twenty eight day period providing a discount when compared to monthly tickets. New online tool on SE website should automatically calculate best option for passengers.

  • Rail industry digesting the Williams-Shapps review into rail reform with some significant change due.

  • Scott Brightwell, SE timetables – numerous t/t changes this year had put pressure on planning resource and the eternal dilemma of capacity versus demand was even more difficult to predict, for example, passenger numbers greater on metro services than on main line.

 

SER – Health and Safety

  • Risk assessments monitored with regard to cleaning processes and frequency.

  • Staffing levels on stations increased in line with service increase.

  • Note: Over 14,000 samples across SE trains and stations on high contact surfaces have not produced any cases of the Covid virus being present.