In one of the biggest short-term rail ticket sales, the government of the United Kingdom and its rail industry are offering half price train tickets. This heavily discounted train fares are to be offered countrywide. This is thought to be a mandatory step geared at stimulating the economy post pandemic in trying to get things back to normal after the covid 19 outbreak. Over a million rail tickets are going to be on sale.
However, the questions on most people’s lips are; “are most fare types covered? And what benefits accrue to taking advantage of these deals? First off, not all types of fares are covered in this discount offer.
For the benefits and limitations, they will all be covered in the coming sections
Half Price Train Ticket
This UK rail ticket goes on sale on the 19th of April 2022 and the discount on offer spans from the 25th of April to the 27th of May 2022. It will cover some but not all routes. Tickets for routes covered will be offered at half the price. One of the criteria to be eligible for this discount sales is advance purchase of rail tickets. So, if you are traveling with virgin, you have to get your ticket in advance. This commitment has to be done before the set date of your journey.
Similar to air fares, prices fixed to supply is determined by demand. For instance, traveling by rail from Northampton to Manchester Oxford road which otherwise would have cost £59.50, however, when the half price train ticket deal which is going to be in place from the 25th of April, is factored in, people within the United Kingdom traveling the same route (Northampton to Manchester Oxford road), would have to book their trip no sooner than the 30th of April on which date the same fare for same route would be £34.
From the statement put out by the DfT (department for transport) it was implied that the 50 percent off rail ticket prices covers certain future fares for some trips booked in advance
Routes That Benefit From The Half Price Train Ticket Deal
It must be stated that these routes are not exhaustive as not all are covered in the table below. Some of the routes that benefits from the discount sales are:
|Routes||Ticket Cost||Ticket Type||Sales Platforms|
|Northampton to Manchester||£34||Single||Trainline|
|Edinburgh to London||£27.80||Single||London northeastern railway|
|London to Leeds||£15||Single||London northeastern railway|
|Southampton to London Victoria||£2.70||Single||Southern railway|
|Manchester to Newcastle||£10.30||Single||TransPennine Express|
|Birmingham New Street to Bristol Temple Meads||£12.60||Single||CrossCountry|
|Wolverhampton to Liverpool||£5.25||Single||West Midlands Trains|
|Cardiff to London Paddington||£25||Single||Great Western Railway|
|Bristol to London||£18||Single||Great Western Railway|
|Trips to/from Glasgow||£26||Single||Avanti West Coast|
|Trips to/from Manchester||£23||Single||Avanti West Coast|
|Trips to/from Liverpool||£17||Single||Avanti West Coast|
|Trips to/from Birmingham||£8||Single||Avanti West Coast|
Even though the half price train ticket that will be offered to customers across the UK under this scheme are super cheap, however, there’s a trade off between affordability and speed. What is gained in savings is at the expense of time taken to reach your destination, this is because some of the criticism levied on this scheme is the fact that some railway companies that offer these discounts boast the slowest trains.
Is This a Countrywide Offering?
The half price train ticket is not offered on all rail trips across the UK. Not all tickets are acceptable under this scheme, infact most are not. This is without exceptions, whether regular or off peak tickets or others that fall under this category such as seasonal and flexi season tickets.
In the statement put out by the Department for Transport, it was precisely stated that; “United Kingdom train ticket sales are not obtainable for all destinations and are subject to restrictions by virtue of accessibility and regional omissions.”
Are There Date Limitations To This Discount?
There will be some periodic restrictions, for instances the extended weekend that covers the period spanning the 30th of April to the 2nd of May a duration of which both London Euston and the Southward end of the West Coast main line will be on lock.
There is also indication pointing to the fact that tickets sold at daily peak periods will be omitted from this discount deal.
What Are The Implications For Connecting Trips Via Rail?
Connecting rails are usually possible when tickets are booked in advance with the same operator. However, exclusions apply in event of a connecting rail with different train operators. For instance, when booking a ticket in advance from Birmingham to Barrow at Furness facilitated by Avanti West Coast, any point beyond Lancaster would usually require boarding a northern train.
To save money under the half price train ticket deal, a rail traveler looking to make the same trip would have to purchase 2 tickets from 2 different train operators both of which offer discounts under this scheme . Companies like trainsplit joins 2 fares to offer a discounted price when selling tickets to customers going on connecting trips. If your trip however involves traveling via different trains with dissimilar operators, then no discounts are offered by them (trainsplit).
Another practical example, is for people looking to make the trip from London to Hebden Bridge in West Yorkshire on the 16th of May 2022, it is recommended that a first-class London Northeastern railway ticket be purchased for King’s Cross to Doncaster and another separate Northern ticket via Leeds would have to be secured for savings of any kind during this trip to become a reality. For this same trip through the routes highlighted, Trainsplit offers a complete single trip fare of £35. However, an extra charge of £2.48 is added.
Do These Discounts Accrue To Rail cards?
Yes, these discounts do accrue to rail cards. However, it depends on the operator offering them. Not all operators are accepted under this scheme. You might want to ask questions when next you go to purchase a rail card. Under the half price train ticket scheme in the UK, rail cards reduce fares further by an impressive 34%. Rail commuters traveling from Birmingham to London for instance save £2.70, and instead of an original ticket cost of £8, end up paying £5.30.
Do First Class Ticket Holders Get Any Benefit Under This Scheme?
London Northeastern railway offers a 110% savings on every first-class ticket purchased on their platform. Other rail service providers also offer discount upgrades to customers looking to be bumped up to first class from initial ticket classes purchased.
How Do I Access This Discount?
You will have to visit the national rail official website to access different discounts that are on offer for destinations you plan to visit. There are also multiple channels in which you can book a ticket with such as:
- Accessing tickets by login directly to specific operator online platforms, this of course simplifies the process making it easier to communicate with the customer in cases of cancellation, delay or postponement. With this method, it is also easier to take advantage of loyalty programs that customers qualify for.
- Tickets could also be purchased from a different operator, such as securing a CrossCountry ticket through South Western Railway. This of course is for people who have a preference for certain websites in which they purchase all their tickets from.
- Tickets could be purchased from a third-party retailer such as The Trainline, these sort of platforms charges fees. However, there is the added benefit of conveniently splitting tickets, if the intent is savings
If challenges are encountered while trying to secure rail tickets, operator offices located at railway stations can offer assistance.
Should I Take Advantage Of This Offer?
Well, it depends. Are you looking to cut cost and save on your next trip while traveling by rail in the UK? If the answer to this question is “yes”, then you will have to rush to book your ticket in advance as only one million (1,000,000) tickets have been earmarked for this scheme. If you take to heart the fact that roughly 1.1 million people travel by train daily in the UK, then the picture becomes clearer as to the competition that might be faced in securing this ticket. It becomes a case of fastest fingers first.
For locals or even international travelers to the UK, either for tourism, work or studies this is an awesome opportunity to save up on your future planned travels by rail around the UK. However, as earlier mentioned, travel plans have to be plotted in advance and only select operators offer these discount tickets which are selling out fast.
So, what do you think? Will you be taking advantage of this half price train ticket deals? The Rail Delivery Group and Department for Transport advice to act now because they are selling out fast.