New 3-day season tickets introduced as Boris Johnson tells the nation to return to work

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A major railway firm is proposing new three-day season tickets to help get the country back to work and reboot the London economy.

Great Western Railway said it’s in talks to introduce a new shorter weekday pass, in an attempt to get thousands of workers back to their London offices.

The network said it will also offer a 12-day pass which can be used at any time over 30-days.

The railway company, which runs services into London from towns and cities including Bath, Cardiff, Reading and Oxford, said: “Our research suggests commuters will travel, on average, into work three days a week, rather than the current five.”

Season tickets, which rise in price every year, have been in the spotlight over how they compare to often delayed, cancelled or overcrowded trains.

In March, companies were forced to issue refunds in response to the coronavirus crisis, allowing passengers to claim back money for unused dates – however, some were subject to amendment fees of up to £10, despite the forced lockdown.

The price of a standard class Great Western Railway annual pass from Swindon to London Paddington is £9,272, or £5,404 from Didcot Parkway – excluding the cost of Tube travel within the capital itself.

Anthony Smith, chief executive of Transport Focus, the independent watchdog, said: “A get-back-to-work message has got to be matched by the get-back-to-work rail products to underpin it.

“The only certainty about the future is that there will be less travel to work.

“I think the annual season ticket, except for a very few people, is probably pretty much dead.”

Rail firms will this week submit proposals to the Department of Transport to offer cut-price fares, with a view to come into force later this year.

It comes after Boris Johnson called on bosses to get Brits back to work – and claimed life could be back to normal by Christmas.

The Prime Minister said England could return to “near-normal” from August 1, but told employers the onus is on them to get staff back to work.

“Instead of government telling people to work from home, we’re going to give employers more discretion and ask them to make decisions about how their staff work safely,” he said.

“That could mean, of course, continuing to work from home which is one way of working safely and which has worked for many employers and employees.

“Whatever employers decide they should consult closely with their employees, and only ask people to return to their place of work if it is safe.”

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