Train ticket prices hike to hit 9-year high – how to apply for discounts

Fight over facemasks on train from York to Scarborough

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This would represent the largest hike in the cost of rail fares in nine years as travel around the country using public transport gets increasingly unaffordable. On top of this, research carried out by professional services firm GHD have revealed that train ticket prices are likely to go up by a third of what they are now by 2030.

With many Britons not seeing a corresponding rise in their wages while the cost of living goes up, many resort to the variety of travel discounts which are on offer to get by.

The decision to hike train fares has been criticised by many stakeholders in the situation with GHD noting that rail operators need to find a way to get people back to using public transport after months of lockdowns.

Jonathan Edwards, the Transportation Market Leader for the EMEA region at GHD, said: “It is disappointing to see that rail passengers are set to be hit by the largest fare rise in nine years from March next year.

“Rail is an integral part of our transport network, but has suffered greatly during the pandemic.

“More than ever, we need to incentivise passengers back to using trains. The past 18 months have placed an unsustainable burden on public expenses and put at risk the continuation of timetables and services, as well as operator viability, across the country.

“This hike in fares is unlikely to help with one of the greatest complaints that passengers have about rail – affordability and value for money.

“This issue is also part of a much greater one – fulfilling our carbon emission reduction goals.

“This simply won’t be possible if we do not decarbonise our transport sector, which is the biggest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in the UK.

“Passengers have become accustomed to using cars in order to decrease their exposure to COVID-19 when travelling and incentives to use public transport are key to getting people out of petrol and diesel cars.

“If the government is serious about moving travellers from road to rail, freezing ticket prices for only a third of the time that fuel duty has been frozen would be a positive commitment.

“A three-year commitment should incentivise passengers back to the network and allow time for the industry to, first, recover and then prepare and plan for future travel habits across the UK.”

Until such a time when a freeze on fares is possible, there are easily accessible discounts for train travellers looking to make significant cuts to their travel spending.

Notably, the Senior Railcard is available to citizens over the age of 60. It is a one-off annual payment which allows people to save money on their expenses.

Similar discounts include the 16-25 Railcard and 26-30 Railcard for those with travellers in the corresponding age brackets.

These discounts cost £30 for the year and save people a third on their travel fares which means they will see their fares return to 2021 levels by 2030.

Other discount railcards are available for those who are part of vulnerable groups in society such as the Disabled Persons and Veterans Railcard.

For those living in London, the city’s Freedom Pass provides free or discounted travel for London residents across London transport networks. As well as National Rail and Underground services, this also includes trams, river services, and buses.

Another way of cutting down on a train fare is to book well in advance of the journey which can save many people a decent amount of cash.

According to National Rail, train operators usually release tickets 12 weeks in advance although this can vary.

The earlier someone books their ticket, the better the chance they will have of getting the best and fairest price.

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