How to avoid the misery of rail fare price rises
Less than 50% of train passengers have said they are satisfied with the value for money of train tickets (Picture: PA)
Rail passengers have been warned they face ‘another decade of misery’ as ticket prices are hiked yet again despite anger over delays and cancelled services.
Less than two-thirds of trains were on time last year and not even 50% of passengers said they were satisfied with the value for money of tickets, according to watchdog Transport Focus.
From today, the price of average tickets is up by 2.7% – which will see some long-distance commuters’ annual cost of getting to work increase by more than £100.
Passengers around the country are set to demonstrate against the rise today, with pressure groups claiming fares are ‘outstripping people’s incomes’.
Here’s how to reduce the impact of the costly rail fare rise.
If you can, book in advance and travel off-peak.
Train companies sell cheaper off-peak tickets which can be used on quieter services.
If you are able to commit to a particular train on a particular date, huge savings are possible by buying an advance ticket.
Some operators put these on sale up to 24 weeks in advance and they are only withdrawn 40 minutes before departure, depending on availability.
Commuters suffered with a month of train strikes over December (Picture: PA)
An enormous queue piled up outside Earlsfield station during the strikes (Picture: Sophia Griffiths/Twitter)
If you make the same journey at least three days a week, then a season ticket can be more cost effective.
Weekly, monthly and annual tickets are available. An annual pass offers 52 weeks’ travel for the price of 40.
It’s not exactly a bargain though – a quick search shows an annual Great Northern season ticket from Oxford to London will set you back £5404.
Many people can save a third off rail fares by getting a railcard.
Discount cards are available for a range of people, including those aged between 16 and 30, the disabled, people in the armed forces, people aged 60 and over, families and people travelling with another person such as a friend, partner or colleague.
Experts say you should claim compensation for every delayed train to offset the cost of the fare rises (Picture: PA)
Groups of between three and nine adults can save a third off the price of off-peak tickets with most operators on certain journeys.
Rather than buying one train ticket from your departure station to your destination, it is sometimes cheaper to break the journey down into multiple tickets.
Several split ticketing websites exist to show passengers if they can save money this way.
It may take a bit more planning but every little helps.
If you can travel off-peak you could save yourself a lot of money (Picture: PA)
Passengers can claim compensation if journeys are disrupted, depending on the operator and the length of the delay.
Network Rail data shows only 65% of trains arrived at their scheduled station stops within one minute of the timetable in the 12 months to December 7.
South Western Railway passengers suffered from strike action throughout December, while there was major disruption to Northern, TransPennine Express and West Midlands Trains services during much of 2019.
Transport Focus director David Sidebottom urges passengers to ‘offset the cost of the fare rises’ by claiming compensation for every eligible delay.
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