COMMUTERS will be offered a cheaper, part-time season ticket to encourage workers back into the office again, Boris Johnson said today.
Ministers want to get more workers back into offices to save inner city economies from collapse, and rescue thousands of jobs.
Many have been working from home permanently since the start of the pandemic in March, when Brits were ordered to stay in.
But Brits have been slowly trickling back into their workplaces, with some traffic on the buses and tubes up.
Road traffic is up to pre-lockdown levels too.
It was reported last weekend the PM was looking at three-day season tickets to slash the costs of commuting part-time.
Surveys found one way to tempt people back onto the trains would be to create tickets that match the flexible in-office approach many companies are offering.
Boris was asked about the idea by Tory MP Damian Green during PMQs today.
He replied: “We are working at pace with rail companies to try and deliver new products in terms of ticketing which ensure better value and enable people to get back to work in an effective way.”
Great Western Railway proposed a new “three days in seven” season ticket last month, in an attempt to get thousands of home counties workers back to their London offices to reboot the economy.
Another ticket proposed by the firm will permit travel on any 12 days in the month.
Anthony Smith, chief executive of the independent watchdog Transport Focus, said: “Our research tells us almost two in three former rail commuters expect to work from home more. For many passengers, there just isn’t a ticket available that fits the way we live and travel now.
“To get Britain moving again the Government needs to accelerate the rate of fares reform so that train companies can offer a flexible season ticket or a carnet style ‘bundle’ for commuters and better value-for-money fares across the board.”
If five-day season tickets offer about a 50 per cent discount per week at a cost of £125, a three-day season could cost £75.
A rail industry source said: “People have got used to working from home and conducting all their meetings online. If it costs them £50 to go to the office for a day they are not going to do that just to see their colleagues and have a chat by the water cooler.
“Trains are operating at a fraction of capacity at the moment and although there is a cost implication to offering part-time season tickets, it is better to have fare-paying passengers three days a week than no days a week.”