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Does anyone know of a cost-effective way of getting daily train tickets in the UK?

Currently the cheapest option I've found is a National Rail season pass which is at 140£/month. I've tried getting separate season passes from the two train companies that operate each leg of the journey but it ends up being way more expensive.

Any other ideas ? I will be taking the train from Leamington Spa to Rugby and back 5 days a week.

  • 1
    Are you able to work unusual hours such that you can travel off-peak? Off-peak day returns add up to often being cheaper than season passes. – gerrit Oct 29 '16 at 17:02
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    @gerrit yes that would be an option. But according to Trainline every ticket on this route is considered a peak ticket no matter what time. – André Borie Oct 29 '16 at 17:05
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    Odd, offpeak day returns appear not to exist an that route. Then you probably can't get any cheaper than £140/month. – gerrit Oct 29 '16 at 17:09
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    There isn't usually a cheaper way of commuting 5 days a week than a season ticket, that's what they're designed for. The problem you have here is that you need to go via Coventry, and both legs of the journey are on main line routes (the Leamington Spa to Coventry trip uses a train that's travelling from the south coast to Manchester) which aren't really pricing themselves to attract local commuters. – djr Oct 29 '16 at 17:40
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    An annual season ticket costs about the same as ten monthlies. How long do you need the ticket for? (That said, £140/mo for a work commute is not a great deal. A central London ticket costs £125/mo; my ticket to get to work cost £4500 for 2016 before adding first-class on top to make the journey bearable). – Andrew Leach Oct 29 '16 at 21:22
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I'm afraid you've answered your own question there - the most cost-effective way is to buy a season ticket (as that is what they are designed for), and the longer you buy it for, the cheaper per-journey it gets, so the best option is an annual ticket.

Prices are currently:

Days/Months Price   Average journey price
7 Days    £36.60    £3.66
1 Month   £140.60   -
3 Months  £421.70   -
6 Months  £843.30   -
12 Months £1,464.00 £3.05

For comparison, it's 16.5 miles each way to drive between the two stations, so 165 miles per week. The AA suggest the average cost per mile for a car is around 20-30p/mile excluding the standing cost, so around £40 a week or slightly under £2000/year assuming 47 working weeks in a year - plus the cost of owning the car and parking it...

  • Note that if you plan to take say, a 2 week continuous holiday, that can undermine the case for a longer season ticket, provided you can line up the shorter ticket validities with your holiday. – CMaster Nov 3 '16 at 10:09
  • Many employers will offer a season ticket loan where they buy an annual season ticket for you, and then deduct 1/12 of it from each month's pay (there are tax incentives for them to do so). This would effectively get you a monthly season for £122. It might be worth asking your employer if they offer this benefit. – Richard Gadsden Nov 16 '16 at 18:35
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Just check all the prices, and all the possibilities. Take into account how often you will be travelling off peak, and how many days you may not be travelling at all; under 25 you might get a ticket with some generous rebate - which might only apply to expensive tickets, so you lose out. Travelling train and London underground you may have a cap on the daily ticket price with an Oyster card or registered debit card; for me that makes daily tickets actually cheaper than any alternative.

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    There's no automatic discount for under 25s on the UK rail system. You have to get a 16-25 railcard (which is also available to older people who are full time students), but this is not valid on Season tickets. Equally, any route from Leamington Spa to Rugby that goes via London is pretty mad. – CMaster Nov 3 '16 at 9:29

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