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Flexible Commuter Ticketing

Aug 26th 2021

Rail Users Ireland Proposal For Flexible Commuting

Now is the time to reimagine commuting and fare structures to ensure the fare paid matches with the service provided. As many commuters look to the coming months and the return to the office, 5 day a week working is unlikely to return. Current weekly and monthly ticketing if of no use to the commuter in the post COVID world. Commuters more than ever need flexibility but not at the price of higher fares.

We propose a 30 day flex ticket, allowing 30 days of travel over a period of not more than 6 months.

If a passenger commits to 30 days travel they should be afforded the same price per journey as that of a monthly ticket. Typically there are 21.5 weekdays per month, so a 30 day ticket would provide for 8.5 extra days travel and therefore the price of a 30 day flex ticket would be 35% greater than the normal monthly ticket.

As the ticket will require at least 30 days usage we believe this is a season ticket within the meaning of the Taxsaver scheme and existing tax treatment applied to monthly and annual tickets should be applied to our 30 day flex proposal. This does require a change in law which current specifies "Monthly" and "Annual" are the only valid ticket types.

Accounting for holidays, bank holidays, Christmas and so on, we expect the 30 day flex ticket to be the best option for all commuters regardless of commuting pattern who had previously purchased monthly tickets. This provides passengers control over the cost of their travel and ensures that if their plans change they are not penalised.


1. For station pairs with Leap card support at both ends.
All stations in Dublin Short Hop zone + Drogheda + Dundalk and all stations in Cork - Cobh/Midleton + Mallow Passenger tags on at origin and this starts a 1 day unlimited travel ticket to the destination.

2. For journeys without Leapcard support at both ends.
An app based solution with barcodes could be used, the passenger would activate a day when needed. The NTA has started trials with app based ticketing and all Irish Rail stations with turnstiles are now equipped with at least one turnstile capable of reading a barcode .

3. Go Low Tech.
Keep it super simple, issue the customer with 30 paper tickets with their name printed on them, customer enters date of use in a box just like its done with Interrail tickets. Simple, but the NTA is obsessed with using smartcards which there is absolutely no need.

For A Laytown Dublin Commuter

  • They currently pay €178 per month or €2136.00 for 12 months
  • For a standard 240 day working year, they would require 8 flex tickets the cost would reduce to €1922.40
  • For someone working half home, half office would pay €961.20 whereas purchase of a day return ticket for 120 days would come to €2538.00
  • An annual ticket would remain at €1780 and would be the best option for the daily commuter.

Taxsaver Scheme

The scheme as defined in law, Taxes Consolidation Act, 1997 requires the ticket purchased by the employer to be either a monthly or annual ticket. This leads to a situation that while a monthly or annual ticket is permitted, a 6 month ticket would not be acceptable.

To overcome this we propose a situation where any ticket product which is valid for not less than 28 days of travel would be considered acceptable, the 1 year maximum would be retained. This is no more permissive than the existing arrangements as February has 28 days. The key is "valid for not less than 28 days of travel", and removing reference to "monthly" this would allow flexible ticket products provided the ticket issued has at least 28 days of travel. The wording blocks return tickets which allow a return journey within 30 days of sale. This would also allow the option to create more flexible customised products inaddition to our proposed 30 day flex ticket, a 9 month annual ticket may be of interest to those working in primary/secondary education.

Proposal - Section 118 of the Taxes Consolidation Act, 1997 is amended by substituting the following for subsection (5A): (a)

(5A) (a) Subsection (1) shall not apply to expenses incurred by the body corporate in or in connection with the provision for a director or employee of a railway or ferry travel pass, valid for not less than 28 days and not more than 1 year travel issued by or on behalf of one or more approved transport providers.

Last Updated: February 21 2022 06:29:01
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