CAMPAIGNERS have launched a petition to get more relaxed rules on season tickets for commuters.

They claim the current system is outdated and unfair because it does not take into account variable working hours and practices now employed by many firms.

Commuters are paying about £5,000 for a season ticket from Colchester to London Liverpool Street and Liberal Democrat councillors in Colchester’s Mile End ward want a better deal for people.

They want a cheaper, more flexible version, to suit the likes of new mums who might be returning to work in the city part time, or people who work some days of the week from home.

Councillor Martin Goss said: “At the moment, flexible workers must buy expensive one-off tickets, or season tickets which they then waste on the days they don't work or travel. We want to help commuters and families by getting the rail franchise holder – Abellio Greater Anglia – to introduce flexible season tickets.

“These tickets would give you the option to either pay only for the days on which you travel or to share your ticket with someone else.”

The group is targeting the Mile End area for now, due to its proximity to Colchester Station, but Mr Goss said the issue applied to all the town's commuters.

The petition attracted 100 signatures almost immediatelywith campaigners hoping up to 2,000 people could sign it.

Abellio runs the region's rails but the contract is due to end in October 2016.

It, along with First and National Express, has been shortlisted to bid to takeover the next franchise.

Mr Goss added: “This line really does have the worst product in terms of what's available.

“It really is time for the new operator to take this into account. Our service is stuck in the Nineties.”

An Abellio Greater Anglia spokesman claimed the Government regulates the fares. The spokesman said: “We are always looking to the offer the best value for money tickets for our customers.

“Our season tickets offer unlimited travel and a huge reduction compared to the daily walk-on fare.

“We will continue to look at opportunities for developing further good value fares which encourage rail travel, while also preventing fare evasion.”

The petition can be found online at ticket_petition