The festive season is now over and the future looks bleak for regular train passengers across the UK. Standard fare prices have already increased by 5.9% with some passengers reporting a massive 11% increase on there normal fares.
It’s no doubt 2012 is going to be a struggle for the average earner and families who cannot afford a car or any other method of transport for daily communting to and from work.
The Chief Executive of the Association of Train Operating has stated that the recent increases are necessary to improve services such as train carriages and train stations, but when times are hard this comment seems hard to justify when all people want is a cheaper way to travel to and from work, people are not overly concerned about state of the art train stations and all the other gimmicks.
Besides the obvious train fare price increases we have researched a few ways you can save money on your regular ticket price, every penny counts right! So here is over Top Five tips on how to get a cheaper train ticket in 2012.
1. Invest In a Rail Card
For just £28 you could save 1/3 on your regular train journey whether it’s your daily route to and from the office or a weekend away. It’s worth checking that you can use the rail card on your actual journey by checking the Network Railcard Area map before you invest.
There are a few different types of Rail Cards you can purchase depending on your age and other situations, below we show you will Rail Card are avaliable for to purchase.
- 16-25 Persons Rail Card
- Disabled Persons Rail Card
- Senior Rail Card
- Network Rail Card
- Family and Friends Rail Card
All of the above Rail Cards give you a 1/3 of your train ticket price.
If your a student within he UK you can open a bank account with Natwest receive a free rail card for 5 years, to be eligible you must be aged between 16 and 25.
It’s also worth nothing that other banks run the free Rail Card offer, it’s worth shopping around to see if you can get it for free.
2. Split Ticketing with Train Routes
Split Ticketing is a slight grey area within the train fare world, it’s not directly advertised by any train companies but it’s perfectly legal as long as the train stops at the station along the journey. Passengers across the internet have reported savings of up to 60% on regular journeys.
The only problem with the split ticketing method is that it requires more work on the passengers side, you will have to research the journeys and stops along your normal route.
This is how it works! If your regular journey to work was Manchester to Liverpool you would normally buy a return ticket from say Manchester Piccadilly Train Station – Liverpool Lime Street which might cost £30.
What you would then do is look at at the stops along this journey and instead of purchasing one ticket you would buy tickets from each stop to the next, it seems quite complicated but once you get the hand of this method it can be very rewarding and the savings you make will outweigh the work.
Their is even some handy tools on the web which an work out your split ticketing routes for you.
3. Book Your Train Tickets In Advance
You’ve probably com across this tip before, if you book your train tickets 12 weeks in advance of travel you can make some massive savings when compared to booking say a couple of weeks before. This reason why it’s cheaper to book in advance is because Network Rail must have a timetable set 12 weeks before. This trick doesn’t always work because of delays and all sorts of other problems so the only way is to bag a bargain sometimes is to keep checking the prices if you know that your planning a journey ahead.
Some companies offer ticket alerts so you can be sent an email or text message soon as a cheap ticket becomes available for your journey.
You can also check the Network Rail Future Bookings Page with outlines planned advance tickets for the train companies.
4. Avoid Comparison Websites When Booking
Train ticket comparison websites such as thetrainline are only good for one thing and that’s finding the cheapest ticket for your journey, not necessarily booking it with them. Don’t get me wrong they are great tools and can wade through thousands of prices within seconds but they often charge booking fees which other companies don’t charge.
Booking feeds can range from around £1-£3 depending on who you book with and some comparison websites also charge transaction feeds which can be £3.50 each time you buy a ticket.
The booking feeds don’t seem that much but if you buy your tickets separately it all adds up over the year, so you could save quite a bit of money.
Our top tip is to use the comparison websites to find cheap routes and then book directly with the train company to avoid the fee’s.
5. Keep Your Eyes Peel and Your Ears to The Ground For Discounts and Offers
Each train company is fighting for a slice of the market and they will do anything to make you book with them. It’s a good idea to subscribe to all the main train companies newsletters so you can keep up to date with the latest discounts and offers.
Train companies are always offering something such as 2 for 1 tickets, 10% OFF and all sorts of promotions throughout the year.
If you enjoyed our top 5 cheaper train ticket tips then please comment.
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