As public transport faces its most difficult period in the UK, there are still tactics you can employ to lower train travel costs.
Although this is an apparent suggestion, it is nevertheless the best policy. Train companies typically offer tickets 12 weeks in advance. However, some have begun to release reduced rates sooner in recent years. Even if you don’t acquire the advanced fares when they first go on sale, it’s still a good idea to book as soon as you know when you’ll be travelling. Even while the best fares sell out quickly, many routes offer discounted fares the day before. Some even provide a day-of discount.
The hours vary per train company, but think of it as a morning and late afternoon rush hour (or two). You will save money if you travel outside of certain periods. I’ve never understood why the busiest times should be charged more, but that’s how it is. It’s probably because railway firms have a captive audience that needs to travel at that time. Hence. it’s easy money for them. So, if you can be flexible with your trip dates, consider flexibility. You’ll find that costs drop in the middle of the morning. Peak travel on the Manchester tram system, for example, finishes at 9:30 a.m.
Because of the tangle that is the UK train system, you can save a lot of money by dividing up your journeys. There is no justification for this, save that several railway lines are operated by different companies. Hence, the booking system is unable to determine the greatest value price for customers on its own. Or, more precisely, decides not to. I’m sure there are applications and forums that can assist you in finding the greatest deal. However, sometimes it’s great to just try a little trial and error.
In a similar vein, it might be worth your time to compare the costs of paying for two singles rather than the more convenient return fare. It may be inconvenient for you, but it could save you money.
This is kind of a no-brainer for frequent travellers. Buying many journeys in one transaction saves money, just like buying in bulk. The majority of transportation operators provide weekly, monthly, and annual tickets. For some means of transportation, an all-access day ticket may be advantageous if you expect to make several trips. If your trip is for work, as it generally is, inquire if your boss will provide you an interest-free loan to pay for your ticket. After all, paying for a group of train tickets can be quite a large upfront cost.
If you are a student, you are eligible for the Railcard. Are you a little older? Then go for the Railcard 26-30. The terms and circumstances vary each company, but you can save up to a third on travel, which often includes individuals travelling with you.
If the ticket price cannot be reduced, it may be worthwhile to think beyond the box. And that implies recouping part of the expenditure through other sources. Another option is to use your credit card. Many credit cards provide points for purchases, so using your card to pay for travel could result in you getting something back later. It’s certainly worth contemplating, as long as you’re confident in your ability to pay off the debt.