Coach company the Kings Ferry has got the jump on its rail rivals by offering a flexible commuter ticket as workers prepare for a return to the office.
As the lockdown restrictions continue to be eased – with the first step being the return of schools today – offices are preparing for staff to return to work.
And while train operators are expected to eventually usher in a season ticket which allows many to split their working week between the office and home, the Kent coach company has opted to lead the way.
The Kings Ferry, which carries thousands of passengers on its coach services from Medway, Swale, Gravesham and Maidstone into central London, says seven of its routes will allow passengers to opt for flexible tickets rather than the traditional weekly, monthly or half-yearly season tickets.
The firm, owned by National Express and based in Gillingham, hopes it will prove popular with commuters.
Sarah Hackett, commuter manager for National Express Transport Solutions, explains: “The DfT has told rail operators they need to offer flexible fares but they won’t be introduced until the end of the year.
“It’s what our customer told us they want when they return to the commute so we phased out the traditional weekly, monthly and half year travel tickets and instead offer more flexi-bundles that can be tailored to the number of journeys and routes.
“We had already seen a change in behaviour as more people have flexible working patterns and work from home. The pandemic has accelerated the trend and we predict this will continue when more people return to the office later this year.”
With strict Covid measures in place, travellers have to pre-book and ensure social distancing. In addition, services are operating at 50% capacity.