6 money-saving tips for bus and train travel in 2013

red-busI never learned to drive. Living in Brighton, a car is more of a liability than an advantage – we have excellent bus and train connections – and I’ve always been too ‘green’ to get behind the wheel. As such I’m a huge bus and train fan and have discovered all manner of ways to cut the cost of public transport over the years.

Times change and special offers come and go – here are my best tips for cheaper train and bus travel in 2013.

  1. Most bus companies let you buy weekly, monthly, quarterly or annual tickets, which can save an absolute mint if you’re a frequent traveller.
  2. Off-peak train travel is generally much cheaper than at peak commuter times.
  3. Some bus companies provide reduced student fares so if you’re at college or Uni, check out your local bus company and see what they can do for your threadbare, moth-filled pocket! The same goes for trains, with excellent deals for student rail travel, ditto train fares for older people.
  4. An increasing number of train operators offer multiple single tickets called carnets (I wonder why? A ‘carnet’ is usually an international passport for merchandise). They’re often available for peak and off-peak journeys on commuter routes and usually last for a quarter. You pay up front and can use the tickets on any journey so they’re not time-specific. Do your sums first to make sure you’ll use them all within the timeframe.
  5. If you travel on trains regularly with children in tow, your train operator might provide ‘GroupSave’ tickets, where four people can travel for the same price as two grown ups off-peak. Better still, if you have a flock of kids you can add them for just £1 each, which is a huge bargain.
  6. If your train is delayed you can claim a 20% refund if you’re delayed for more than an hour… it’s the law! Some operators pay as much as 50% for a half hour delay and refund 100% of your fare if it’s an hour or more late. You can find out exactly how much compensation they offer via their Passenger Charters. Claiming requires some form-filling but it’s well worth the time and effort.

Make your own packed lunch and take your own drinks on train journeys and you’ll save even more.