Travelling by train to work hasn’t been a lot of fun for many of us so far this year, with industrial action, service problems and fare increases in many places all over the country.
The fare rises in the first week of January 2017 saw a nationwide average increase of 2.3%, with increases of 4.9% on some routes, such as the East Coast main line. In Britain as a whole, it is the highest fare rise since January 2014, when rail fares increased by 2.8 per cent.
Are season tickets value for money?
Looking at some of the most popular commuter routes, among the highest is an annual season ticket from Stevenage (home town of Lewis Hamilton, in Hertfordshire) to London is £3,612 which works out at 27p per minute. The short commuter trip from Bath Spa to Bristol is 25p per minute, while the popular Burton to Birmingham route is 20p per minute.
British commuters are spending up to 14% of their income on commuting now, according to research from the Action For Rail group. To commute into London from Luton, for example- a typical town with a good rail link in a nearby county – costs £387 a month now. Comparing this to similar journeys in countries, they say that in Paris and Rome it would be £61, in Spain£75 and in Germany £83 a month.
In response, the Transport Secretary says that wages are actually growing faster than regulated fares, and that “On average, 97% of every £1 of a passenger’s fare goes back into the railway.”, and that modernisation of the national rail system requires an investment of £40 billion which needs to be balanced between the taxpayer and the passenger.
Not a commuter? Save money on train travel
If you’re not a daily commuter but you do travel by train frequently, there are several easy ways you can cuts costs. We compiled some of them into a blog post here – 6 money-saving tips for travelling by train. You can find out here how railcards, splitting tickets, advance booking and other tactics can help you save money when you’re travelling by train.
Spreading the cost of commuting
Paying for an annual season ticket is one of the bigger outlays we might face, and so spreading the cost could often help you budget. 0% purchase cards are credit cards that allow you to spend on the card within a specified period, without having to pay interest on the balance while the promotional rate lasts. This is as long as you stick to its terms and conditions, such as making the minimum monthly payment. Experian can help you find credit cards and personal loans you’re more likely to be accepted for, and it won’t negatively impact your credit rating.
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