Boundaries matter – getting cheaper rail fares

04 July 2013

Value for money is going to continue to dominate many issues as the recession continues to affect many people. Transport is no exception to this. The recent riots in Brazil were partly sparked by public-transport fare rises. Our research shows that the end of ‘assumed affluence’ means that many people have become very value-conscious.

Rail travel in Great Britain can vary enormously in price. Book-ahead Advance tickets can offer incredible value. However, walk up in the peak and you can pay a huge sum. Passengers seem to think bus travel outside London offers reasonable value for money, but would like much more information about fares.

One thing to watch closely is the ‘sea walls’ of devolving power – where one charging regime ends and another starts. I wonder how many people know that if they have a London zonal Travelcard, even a daily one, they have already pre-paid for all travel in that zone. So, if you travel out of the zones you are covered for you need to ask for a ‘boundary extension’ – it all saves a bit of money.

The ticket I ask for most is an Off-peak Return from Boundary zone 3 to Sevenoaks. The irritating thing is you cannot get this ticket from a ticket machine so I join the queue despite knowing exactly what I want.

Could this be better advertised? It is not mentioned on the otherwise useful Money Saving Expert site and even our own guide to getting value-for-money tickets needs updating to mention it.

Every little helps.

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