Major rail operator c2c has announced short notice changes to its ticketing system, including the withdrawal of a reduced rate fare.

Super off-peak tickets will be withdrawn and an evening peak will be introduced between 4pm and 7pm on services leaving or going via a London station (Zones 1-6).

Single tickets will be priced at half the equivalent return, c2c added.

An anytime single from Upminster to Southend Central in Essex, for example, will decrease from £10.30 to £8.20 after the changes.

But the removal of a super off-peak return will see weekend return tickets increase from £12.60 to £14 on that route.

However, the rail firm says off-peak tickets can be booked online in advance for cheaper prices.

c2c, which serves east London stations including Upminster and Barking, said the changes will come into effect on Sunday (December 3).

Rob Mullen, c2c managing director, said: "The introduction of simple and easy-to-understand fares and peak travel times will make searching and buying tickets easier.

“Moving forward, all of our ticketing products - smartcards, traditional paper, e-tickets and contactless pay as you go (when launched) – if purchased on the day of travel, will offer fares at the same price," he added.

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Earlier this year, The Department for Transport (DfT) announced c2c as one of five train operators working with the government to extend a contactless pay as you go system.

When asked why c2c was changing its pricing model at a time when customers were feeling the pinch, a spokesperson said: “Moving to single leg pricing is an important step in making sure fares are simpler and meet passenger needs.

"It will allow passengers to more easily mix and match between ticket types, delivering simpler, more flexible tickets,” he added.

Morning peak times times have also been revised and will apply to services departing before 9.30am on Monday to Friday, excluding bank holidays.

Weekend and bank holiday travel will be classified as off-peak, c2c added.

Long-term "flexi", weekly, monthly and annual season tickets are also not affected by fares or peak time changes, c2c said.