6 steps to minimize effect of railcard charge increase on your wallet

24 April 2009

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The Association of Train Operating Companies has announced internally that on the 17th May, 2009, Railcard prices are going up.

Here are some of the details:

  • 16-25, Family & Friends, and Senior Railcards will go from 24 to 26
  • Network Railcard will increase from 20 to 25
  • 3-year 16-25, Family & Friends, and Senior Railcards purchased online will remain at 65
  • Gold Card holders can still buy 1 Network Railcard for family member or friend.
  • Instead of 8 and 16 minimum fares for 16-25 and HM Forces Railcards will change to 12 minimum fare for Single & Return tickets before 10 a.m. Monday to Friday
  • 16-25 and HM Forces minimum fares will not apply to Advance fares, public holidays, or in July and August.
  • 10 minimum for Network Railcard goes up to 13 on all tickets Monday to Friday. Network Railcard minimum will not apply on public holidays, and will not apply to Gold Card discounts.

Steps to minimize the effect of Railcard increases on your wallet:

1. The obvious thing to do is to renew before May 17 to lock in the old rates.

2. Check this forum on MoneySavingExpert.com for Railcard discount codes.

3. See if you can save money by splitting tickets up. Sometimes two off-peak singles cost less than one off-peak return. Furthermore, splitting tickets for different legs of the trip can bring this down even more. For example, London to Stoke, Stoke to Manchester may cost less than London to Manchester. The savings can be significant, so it’s worth checking into. Visit transportdirect.info, enter your start/finish information, and then click “Details: Outward Journey.” This will show you all station stops. If you find a good “midpoint,” go back to National Express and check for fares to the midpoint, and from the midpoint onward. Sometimes breaking up tickets in this fashion is much less expensive.

4. If you know 12 weeks in advance of a trip what fares you’ll need, you can save by booking early.

5. Learn your way around online ticket shops raileasy.co.uk, nationalrail.co.uk, nationalexpress.com, and thetrainline.com so that you can hunt for the lowest available fare.

6. Research peak versus off-peak fares. For example, if you’re traveling during peak hours one way, but likely won’t be traveling peak hours for the return, if you are certain enough of your schedule, buying two singles rather than a return peak ticket can save you quite a bit.
So in conclusion, mark May 17 on your calendar and renew your Railcard before then, and otherwise research fares, particularly single versus return fares and fares split across two legs of a single journey!

[Penalty Fare Appeal Support] Thanks to JohnBullas from FlickR for CC image. He has nothing to do with Half-Life. Really.

5 comments

  • OFI
    Bunch of robbing bastards.. I only live <85 miles from London yet last time I wanted to travel into London with the girlfriend it was cheaper to DRIVE in and pay for secure parking for 3 days than it would have been to take the train and that was WITH my rail card !
  • Amanda H.
    Holy Shit! Gordon Freeman is real?
  • Andre
    Your MSE Link doesnt work either...
  • Jamie
    "Holy Shit! Gordon Freeman is real?" +1.
  • Is B.
    [...] Most UK railcard prices are going up by up to 50% on May 17, which is Sunday. In fact, the only railcard that isn’t increasing in price is the one for disabled people. So, I guess if you’re disabled, you’re lucky. Or something. [...]

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