When it comes to cutting the cost of train tickets avoid – AND WE DO MEAN AVOID – using the machines at rail stations. They’re a rip off! Wherever possible book ahead and online.
Stations increasingly do not man or woman their ticket offices, or have only one window open at busy times. This morning I found myself in such a queue, behind about 20 people, as I needed to get a ticket for a relative who had not booked ahead.
The queue moved very slowly. As a result was that we had to abandon the queue and use the machine to be sure of getting the train. So instead of paying £9.85 for a return ticket were charged more than £24 by the ticket machine that had very limited options.
A good money earner for the rail company and their profit margin was increased still further by not having sufficient staff on duty.
Another colleague says that finding the super off peak fares on her local station ticket machine requires an indepth knowledge of computer programming. Machines may also prevent you getting an off peak fare if you’re buying the ticket before the off peak period begins – even if you have no intention of travelling before the correct time.
Cynical or accidental? Well, here at Money Fight Cliub we’re pretty certain we know which.
Useful online train ticket booking links
Other tips to cut train travel costs
- Book tickets as far in advance as you can, so long as you know your travel plans are not liable to change
- Look at split ticket options – booking single legs, or single fares to take advantage of the best deals and off peak periods
- Check exactly when peak, standard and off speak fares start and stop – this may vary according to train operator
- Look at railcard options, such as those for senior citizens and students, which give you a range of discounts on tickets for an annual fee