The increase in train ticket prices comes at a very inconvenient moment.
The 5.9% average increase comes as the cost of living continues to squeeze households, while strikes and bad rail service have irritated some travelers.
Here are seven suggestions for getting the best deals at any time of year.
Buy in advance
Prepaid rail tickets are typically available up to 12 weeks before your departure date, while some are available up to 24 weeks in advance.
If you’re willing to travel at a specific time, these tickets are frequently the cheapest method to travel on the trains. These may be available for purchase up to an hour before your departure.
Website for personal finance According to Money Saving Expert, London North Eastern Railway (LNER) frequently releases advance tickets up to six months in advance on routes from stations north of York to London.
Several ticket purchasing apps will notify you when tickets for a specific travel become available.
Get cheaper travel tickets in London
Technically, this does not only apply to trains. A useful additional benefit of having a railcard is that if you reside or travel in London, you can link it to your Oyster card and save a third on your trip there as well.
This includes all off-peak, pay-as-you-go journeys (as opposed to one made using a monthly travel card, for example). It also includes travels taken on the London Tube, London Overground, and DLR.
Split your fare
Split ticketing allows you to travel on the same number of trains as usual, but save money by breaking your journey into multiple tickets between the stations the service stops at along the way.
Several websites, such as Divide My Fare and Split Rail Tickets, will handle the math for you.
Split Customers save an average of 26% by doing this, according to My Fare, albeit it is not always possible on specific journeys.
Checking to see if it is cheaper to buy two single tickets rather than a return ticket may also save you money.
Use a rail card
Rail cards can provide discounts when booking, but they are expensive to obtain in the first place, thus they are only useful for frequent travelers.
There are numerous types of rail cards available, including national, regional, student, and pensioner cards.
The regional Cotswold Line Railcard, for example, costs £9.95, is good for one year, and provides a 34% savings on off-peak single and return tickets.
Travel in groups
By traveling in groups of three to nine adults, you can save up to one-third off the ticket price.
Individual rail cards cannot be used when ordering a group ticket since the party must travel together.
Discounts are also available for groups of more than ten individuals; contact the railway company directly for more information. Group off-peak day travelcards for London are also available, however the ticket’s origin station must be in fare zones one through nine.
Wait for ticket sales
This isn’t always the most convenient option, especially if you have a specific date in mind for your trip.
Yet, if you can wait until the flash sales begin, some of them are worth the wait. You might get lucky and find £5 rail tickets during flash sales.
Take advantage of flexible commuting
According to Transport Focus, national flexible rail tickets could save travellers hundreds of pounds.
The flexible season tickets will allow travel on any eight days within a 28-day period, with no need to plan ahead of time.
Railway operators have also created a variety of flexible tickets aimed at commuters and professionals whose travel patterns have changed as a result of the pandemic.
According to National Rail, the Flexi Season ticket will provide a minimum 20% discount on a comparable monthly season ticket.
Monthly or season tickets can be cheaper for people who make the same travel numerous times per week. Check with your company to see if they provide an interest-free season ticket loan to assist you spread the expense.