Right now – we’re paying more than ever for our train tickets.
It’s a sad truth that train fares are nowhere near as cheap as they used to be before the privatisation of our rails.
Unfortunately, unless a certain left-wing politician finds himself in a position of power, it’s unlikely that we’re going to see any change in the right direction. Unless you’re driving a car (which doesn’t come cheap these days either!) you’ll probably be aware that getting around the country can cost you an arm and a leg. Thankfully, there are a few little ways that you can reduce the damage to your ailing wallet…
Blah Blah Car
The age of the internet has ushered in more than online booking and too many passwords to deal with. There are a whole host of real-time ridesharing services that you can take advantage of today, all of which offer you a discounted rate of travel, especially when compared to a full price train ticket. Simply visit Blah Blah Car (or download the app) to see who’s driving from your area and to where.
You won’t be able to book as far in advance as a train, but you could have the chance of meeting a new friend along the way!
Now a truly international venture (you’ll see the bright blue busses work their way round mainland Europe and North America) Megabus has been offering dirt cheap travel since 2003. Book far enough in advance and you can get your fares for as cheap as £1 – there are some drawbacks though. Coaches are slow, they’re subject to the whims of the day’s traffic and they make a lot of stops. Any journey you take by coach might well take you three times as long as a train journey – just make sure to pack a travel pillow.
Red Spotted Hanky
If you’ve not got the stomach for the coach yet then you can reduce the cost of your train fare significantly by using this handy little website. Red Spotted Hanky will split up your fare into several smaller ones, to find the cheapest option for you. Whilst your journey might well involve a few extra changes (always check that you’ve got time to make the change before you book) sometimes the savings are truly significant.
Booking Well Ahead
Mum’s the word on this one and this is a tip that she never fails to remind you of. Booking as far in advance as possible for any form of travel will almost always benefit you. If you’re making plans in advance you may as well book your travel accordingly, guaranteeing you the cheapest prices available at the time. Train prices are known to increase sharply, the longer you wait to book your tickets – so don’t procrastinate!
Taking Advantage of Railcards
Lastly, there are railcards (and coachcards) available to certain groups of people, which are aimed to reduce costs for those with less financial means. If you’re a young person (aged between 16-25) then you can get a third off your ticket fare, these discounts also apply to National Rail’s Two Together Railcard which reduces costs for two adults. If you’re over 60 years old you can also get a third off your tickets by applying for a Senior Railcard.