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How to beat the rail fare rise

A familiar sight - fare rises and delays but there are ways around it. Credit: PA

Rail fare rises are inevitable, but there are several ways to minimise the impact on your wallet.

Fares have increased by an average of 3.1% in England and Wales amid punctuality being at a 13-year low.

The cost of many rail season tickets rose by more than £100 due to the annual price hike on Wednesday.

Here are some of the key questions answered including how to reduce the cost of train travel:

  • When should you travel?

Train companies sell cheaper off-peak tickets which can be used when services are not as busy.

Off-peak day return Credit: Ben Birchall/PA
  • When should you buy a ticket for a one-off journey?

If you are able to commit to a particular train on a particular date, huge savings can be made by buying an Advance ticket.

These are supposed to go on sale 12 weeks before travel, but this has been reduced for many journeys due to timetable problems.

  • Have you considered a season ticket?

If you are making the same journey at least three days a week - such as a regular commute - then a season ticket can be more cost effective.

Weekly, monthly and annual tickets are available.

An annual pass offers 52 weeks’ travel for the price of 40.

How your pound breaks down. Credit: PA Graphics
  • When should you buy your season ticket?

Many savvy commuters renew their season tickets in the days before the annual rise is implemented.

  • Can you get a railcard?

Many people can save a third off rail fares by getting a railcard.

The discount cards are available for a range of people, including those aged between 16 and 25, the disabled, people in the armed forces, people aged 60 and over, families and people travelling with another person such as a friend, partner or colleague.

A new railcard for people aged 26-30 will be available nationwide from noon on Wednesday.

  • Is it cheaper to travel in a group?

Groups of between three and nine adults can save a third off the price of off-peak tickets with most operators on certain journeys.

  • What about split ticketing?

Rather than buying one train ticket from your departure station to your destination, it is sometimes cheaper to break the journey down into multiple tickets.

Several split ticketing websites exist to show passengers if they can save money this way.

Break the journey down with multiple tickets Credit: Louisa Collins-Marsh/PA
  • Do you claim compensation?

Passengers can claim compensation if journeys are delayed or cancelled.

Payouts vary depending on the type of ticket, the length of delay and the operator.

Some firms begin paying compensation if a train is delayed by 15 minutes.

Passengers will also need to claim the compensation as payouts are not automatic.