In 2018 the Trade Union Congress conducted a research and revealed that UK train journeys are almost five times longer when compared to their European counterparts.
The study aimed to investigate the average cost for a monthly season ticket for passengers travelling into big European cities — the results showed that Chelmsford to London would cost £381 a month. This would take up around 13 per cent of the average person’s earnings. A similar journey in France would cost £66, (two per cent of earnings), while a German alternative would set you back £118 (four per cent of earnings).
Having considered these figures, we can now look at options that help save money. Cutting the costs of your travel can have a major impact on your day-to-day life. Therefore, we’ve decided to collate a variety of ways in which you can drive down the cost of your journeys.
Book ahead of time
Booking train tickets as soon as possible, avoiding last minutes purchases, is definitely the best way to save some cash. However, did you know that pre-booked trains can be 61 per cent cheaper?
Digital rail and coach platform, Trainline, advises booking tickets online to help reduce costs, regardless of the destination, as most ticket machines are far more expensive. Also, if you book online, you don’t have to queue, gliding through with your e-ticket.
Invest in a Railcard
When it comes to rail cards, there are many different options that will best suit your needs. For students, the 16-25 railcard is the prime example of a money-saver, free with banking brands such as Santander, and saving up to 1/3 on every journey.
If you don’t qualify for a complimentary rail card, you can purchase a standard rail card which comes with the same benefits, for £30.
For instance, if the total cost of a trip is around £100, you could save up to £33 on that journey, making the cost of the rail card back from one trip.
As exciting as it might sound, this is not about Back to the Future and Marty McFly. Rather, we’re talking about the time of day in which you decide to commute.
Morning journeys between 7am and 10am and evening trips from 4pm and 8pm have the cheapest ticket price.
Travelling off-peak is not only beneficial for the costs, but it also helps you feel comfortable on board the train as seats are often available without any hassle.
Split train tickets
Lately, tech savvy travellers across the UK are managing to reduce costs of travels thanks to split-ticketing.
For instance, if you want to travel to London from Edinburgh, it’s often cheaper for you to purchase a ticket from Edinburgh to Newcastle or York and then purchase a second ticket from there to your final destination, London.
Are you wondering how this might work? Because of pricing regulations, certain areas across the UK have a minimum ticket fare, meaning you’ll be paying a set price regardless of the length of your journey.
For example, an off-peak return ticket for a 100-mile journey between Plymouth and Penzance will cost £11.10. Alternatively, a similar ticket from London to Reading will set you back £20.70 for a journey one-third of the distance.
Split-ticketing is useful to reduce pricing regulation zones or even rush hour and on-peak pricing structures.
Get some freebies
To help you save even more, you could take advantage of some freebies with your ticket from your nectar point cash back rewards or discounts on UK tourist attractions.
Don’t forget, there is free WiFi on trains which guarantee a strong network rail cyber security.
The next time you’re travelling, whether it be for work or for pleasure, make sure to employ these simple steps to cut the cost of your journey!