Latest Rail News

20.04.17

South East Flexible Ticketing programme soars millions over budget

The South East Flexible Ticketing Programme (SEFT) has gone millions over budget and has failed to hit a number of its original key targets, a review of the programme conducted by the National Audit Office (NAO) has found.

Originally, the programme aimed to enable part-time workers to buy flexible rail season tickets, but today’s report has unearthed major issues with the running of the project.

In the ‘Investigation into the South East Flexible Ticketing Programme’ report, the NAO detail how the project has not reached its key ambition to improve the experience of passengers and reduce costs to TOCs of selling tickets.

On top of that, the NAO reported that the DfT has spent £54m on the programme, a significant increase above the original budget set out of £45m.

In 2012, the department set out the ambition of introducing flexible ticketing, including discounted and part-time season tickets, on 11 franchises running services into London by 2014. However, by April this year, SEFT has only enabled five of the 11 TOCs running services into London to offer season tickets.

The report stated: “The Department has not delivered the original ambition of the programme as set out in 2012.

“An original aim, when the Department established the Programme in 2012, was to have flexible ticketing including discounted, part time season tickets to passengers in place on 11 franchises running services into London by 2014.

“By April 2017, the programme has enabled five of the 11 train operating companies running services into London to offer season tickets on smartcards. Only one of the five train operating companies (c2c) currently offers flexible, part-time season tickets.”

The news also follows DfT transferring powers for the day-to-day running of the project to the Rail Delivery Group in April this year.

A spokesman for the Rail Delivery Group said: “SEFT has already delivered a key back-office system which will be the foundation for rolling out smart ticketing across Britain. We are already seeing this with the steady increase in the take-up of smartcards across several train companies.

“While a lot of progress has already been made, there is a lot more to do to modernise and improve the way we sell train tickets.”

RTM contacted DfT for comment but at the time of publication have not received a response.

Top Image: Lauren Hurley and PA Wire

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