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How to beat rail fare rises

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19/08/2014
Rail fares are set to go up yet again following July's Retail Price Index (RPI) figures. Learn how to beat the price hikes here.

Commuters could see regulated rail fares rise by 3.5 per cent next year following July’s inflation figures, which recorded a 2.5 per cent increase in the RPI. Under ‘flex’ rules some fares could go up by as much as 4.5 per cent.

Laith Khalaf, senior analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “With wages barely growing, this is likely to fuel further claims of a cost of living crisis.”

Many commuters have already seen their fares increase by 25 per cent over the last five years, according to Neil Lovatt of Scottish Friendly.

He said: “The UK’s rail fares are among the highest in Europe and with so many people already struggling to make ends meet, the prospect of further rises to the cost of everyday travel is set to continue to cause financial discomfort.”

Scottish Friendly recommends taking the following steps to beat the price hikes:

Ask your boss

For season tickets, ask your employer about company schemes or any assistance that they might be able to provide to help spread the costs of an annual ticket. Annual tickets are cheaper than purchasing monthly and some employers offer an interest-free loan to help cover this.

Buy only for when you travel

People often overlook the fact that you can buy flexible season tickets with some train operators. So if you are, for example, working part of the week from home on a regular basis, going on maternity leave or an extended holiday, speak to the rail operator about how you could make a saving on the times that you will not travel.

Change your route

Play the train operators off against each other by checking to see if different train companies offer a cheaper ticket for a slightly different route.

Buy in advance

If you know that you are due to travel in advance, don’t wait until the last minute to book your travel. Most train companies put tickets on sale 12 weeks ahead, so look out for offers and cheap advance tickets.

Split your journey

As strange as it sounds, if you are taking a long journey, you can actually save money by buying a ticket to a location that is half way of your journey, and then buying another for the second half of the trip. Also, if you’re looking for a return, check if two singles are cheaper.

Consider changing your train stop

Walking to and from the next stop closest to your destination may be in a lower priced zone which could save money on your season ticket and get you fit into the bargain!

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