Advertisement

How to trim the cost of train travel

Fares will jump yet again next year, but there are several ways to save money. Ruth Jackson-Kirby explains.

Fares will jump yet again next year, but there are several ways to save money.

Train fares are a nationalrip-off. A recent study found that ticket prices have risen by twice as much as average wages over the past ten years. The average fare has gone up by 46% since 2009; the average wage has risen by 23% over the same period. To make matters worse, rail fares will rise by up to 2.8% in January. The annual rise is capped at July's Retail Price Index, a measure of year-on-year inflation that reached 2.8% last month.

Advertisement - Article continues below

"If the full increase is passed onto passengers it could see season tickets from Brightonto London hiked by £125a year to £4,357," notesHelen Knapman in The Sun. Tickets from Gloucester to Birmingham could rise by £119 to £4,357 and fares from Edinburgh to Glasgow by £114 to £4,198. So, what can you do to cut your rail costs?

If you are a commuter your options are limited, but "some can still make savings on their regular train travel by thinking outside of the box", says Megan French from moneysavingexpert.com.

"For example, check if you can save by combining a railcard with daily tickets rather than using a season ticket, or see if split tickets' are available for your route." A more drastic option is to change your work routine to avoid the most expensive travel times. "If your employer allows you to work flexibly you could see whether it's cheaper to swap your season ticket for other types, such as pre-paid carnet tickets," says French.

Spread the pain

Another trick for one-off trips is to choose your booking website carefully. "Don't use fee-charging sites such as trainline.com and book with Grand Central, TransPennine Express or Virgin Trains, where no booking fees apply," says Adam Williams inThe Daily Telegraph.

You can book tickets for any journey nationwide through these websites, not just their own services.Take advantage of railcards too. There are so many 16-25, 26-30, Two Together, Family & Friends and Senior that most people fit into at least one category. They all offer a third off tickets. There is now also a 16-17 railcard, which is estimated to save the average teenager £186 a year.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Recommended

Four of the best apps to help you manage your money
Personal finance

Four of the best apps to help you manage your money

These four tools will help you to cut your bills, track your spending, save up, and even file your tax return.
11 Aug 2020
NS&I: a safe home for savings
Savings

NS&I: a safe home for savings

State-backed National Savings & Investments is ready to accept much more money and offers some of the highest interest rates.
28 Jul 2020
Want a pet? Watch out – they are a pricey proposition
Personal finance

Want a pet? Watch out – they are a pricey proposition

Dog and cat ownership is booming. But before you invest in a furry friend, consider how much it costs to buy, feed, care for and insure one.
22 Jul 2020
Covid-19 has caused a spike in divorce – here's how to cope
Personal finance

Covid-19 has caused a spike in divorce – here's how to cope

Lockdown has caused a spike in people filing for divorce. But splitting up involves some arduous administrative tasks. Here's what to do.
14 Jul 2020

Most Popular

Eagle Lightweight GT: the reincarnation of the E-type Jag
Toys and gadgets

Eagle Lightweight GT: the reincarnation of the E-type Jag

Jaguar’s classic E-type sports car has been reinvented for the modern age. The result – the Eagle Lightweight GT – is a thing of beauty.
7 Aug 2020
Platinum: the precious metal that looks set to play catch-up with silver and gold
Silver and other precious metals

Platinum: the precious metal that looks set to play catch-up with silver and gold

Gold and silver continue to soar, but there's still time to get in. And there's another precious metal that looks set to go on a bull run too, says Jo…
7 Aug 2020
UK house prices hit a new record high – can it last?
House prices

UK house prices hit a new record high – can it last?

Despite the pandemic, UK house prices have hit a new high. John Stepek looks at what’s driving the surge in prices, and what it means for house prices…
7 Aug 2020