Travelling by train is no longer one of the cheapest forms of transport that it once was. Prices for tickets have increased greatly, in some cases doubling, with yearly increases promised as regularly as clockwork. However, travelling by train remains popular since it is still one of the most comfortable forms of public transport and certainly beats driving on overcrowded motorways as it gives you the chance to relax while travelling, but with the current recession in mind and train finances stretched to the limit, many of us are now making journeys only when necessary.
However, there are ways of saving money by travelling during off-peak times, which is before or after rush-hour, since it will be considerably cheaper especially if you split your ticket. For example, you may be travelling with several stops and junctions between your departing and arrival destination. In such cases you could choose a station along your travel route effectively buying 2 tickets to reach your chosen destination instead of one direct ticket. This is known as splitting the ticket and could save you up to £15, but investigation needs to be carried out first before commencing your journey.
Buying an advance ticket is another good saver since you can reserve your ticket up to 36 hours before you travel. However, prices vary depending on the operator so check with the company before you book. Of course, railcards are a great way of saving especially with family railcards which are valid for a year and can save up to 60% in just one journey. If you are travelling in a group then the ‘group saver’ ticket is ideal. Four adults travelling at off-peak times can travel for the price of two effectively saving 50% and the offer is available with all network operators. In 2009 a book of 10 tickets became available to buy known as the ‘Carnet’. This allows you to mix and match off-peak with on-peak tickets, but the dates of travel have to be filled in beforehand. First Capital Connect actually offers a further saving of 10 tickets for the price of nine, proving that if you shop around there are ways of taking the strain out of catching the train.