Rail fares are rising across the UK today but there are several easy ways of cutting down the cost of travel.
One method of saving hundreds of pounds a year is split ticketing – where paying for a journey in several parts can be much cheaper than a single ticket.
An off-peak single from Birmingham New Street to Inverness, for example, costs £156.10 as a standard fare.
But when splitting the route by buying separate tickets from Birmingham to Kirkcaldy, and then onwards to Inverness, the same journey costs £60.40 – a saving of more than £95.
Railcards can still be applied to the tickets, giving a further discount of up to a third, but they cannot be brought at stations and must be purchased online in advance.
Split ticketing does not break any rules as long as the train calls at all stations on the ticket and passengers ensure they are on the correct service at the right time and with the relevant operators.
Buying a railcard secures discounts for 16 to 25-year-olds, senior citizens and other groups, while travelling at off-peak times and purchasing advance tickets for specific trains can also cut costs.
The National Rail Enquiries website also has a “cheapest fare finder” tool, although the options may include longer routes and restricted times.
Train fares rose by an average of 1.1 per cent today – the smallest overall increase since 2010.
The average rise for regulated fares - which is about half of all tickets and includes annual passes - was limited to no more than 1 per cent as it is linked to July's rate of Retail Price Index (RPI) inflation.
But unregulated fares, such as off-peak leisure tickets, change by whatever amount the train companies decide.
Anthony Smith, chief executive of independent watchdog Transport Focus, said: “In some parts of the country, given rail performance has been so dire, passengers will be amazed there are any fare rises at all.”
Additional reporting by PA
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