Skip to main content Accessibility Statement
Woman on train

Five simple ways to cut your travel costs

Anyone who travels to work or takes the kids to school will be acutely aware of the high cost of driving or public transport. But is there anything you can do to save money, starting this month?

Each January the rail industry gives its customer base, which make 1.7 billion journeys a year, a late Christmas present, as it introduces its ticket tariffs. This year is no exception as prices are being bumped up by 1.1% from 2 January.

On track for a cheaper fare

For the occasional train user a 1.1% rise in fares makes no great difference, but if you’re a season ticketholder it can be a sledgehammer blow.

 Take someone who commutes from Canterbury to London St Pancras. They’d pay £5,080 for an annual ticket if they purchased it before 2 January, or £56 more if they bought it a day later.

This may not be an option for most people, but if it is or if you wanted to make a smaller saving on a weekly or monthly ticket and the dates work, then it’s worth taking on board.

If you’re planning to take an expensive train journey it’s a good idea to devote some time to searching for the best deals.

You can often get a cheaper ticket if you book early and are happy to travel on a specific service.

 

Vote with your feet

Most commuter journeys are long and cramped, yet a sizable proportion of Britain’s workforce compounds their daily misery by then hopping on a bus to complete the journey to work.

However, the typical distance shows this may  not be worth it. For example, a Freedom of Information Act request lodged in 2013 found that the average London bus journey is a little over a mile.

Given road traffic levels during rush hour are appalling, it’s likely that catching the bus is not only more expensive than walking or cycling, but could also take the same time, if not longer. This pattern is probably echoed up and down the country, in Belfast, Glasgow, Cardiff and any other busy city or town for that matter.

How to tackle the school run

Avoidable transport costs don’t just affect commuters. Short car journeys, particularly in cold weather are particularly expensive as leaving the car idling until it warms up and subsequently making numerous low gear, high rev manoeuvres burns a comparatively high amount of fuel.

 UK charity Sustrans estimates the average primary school child lives 1.8 miles from school, and that parents could save £2 billion by ditching the car in favour of the bike, scooter or walking.

When public transport works

It’s easy to throw in the towel and jump behind the wheel of your car if walking is out of the question due to distance or really bad weather. However, it might be better to at least consider whether public transport could offer a more affordable solution.

Most schools are located on bus routes, and many operators not only sell individual journey tickets, but daily, weekly and even monthly passes, which may well be much cheaper than using your car.

But what if you have to drive?

There’s been a lot in the news recently about petrol prices falling, with some commentators suggesting the price should drop to £1 per litre. While such a drop would be welcomed by motorists, it’s worth remembering that 10 years ago the petrol pump price was 87p a litre, while diesel cost 91p.

If you need to drive it’s worth trying to car share, not just for trips to work, but also for the school run, alternating days when you’re driving could save you a small fortune, and give you a much needed break from focusing on the road at the beginning and end of a busy day.  

What do you think?

We really want you to share your views, but please remember to be nice ☺
All fields are required. Check out our full commenting guidelines

By clicking on 'Post Comment', you're agreeing to our Commenting Policy