Commuter group offers tips to beat latest rail fare rises

TRAIN fare increases last Sunday (March 5) have left local season ticket holders more than £300 a year worse off. Hybrid workers, who do not travel every day, now pay as much as £45 for a peak day return to London.

Rail price rises of 5.9 per cent saw the cost of an annual season ticket from Tunbridge Wells to London terminals hit £5,556 – up by around £310.

A flexi-season ticket for the same route is £296.90 for eight passes – at £37.11 per daily pass – but they must be used within a 28-day period, so infrequent commuters could end up better off paying £45 for a peak day return.

However, rail commuters and leisure travellers can try to beat the increase thanks to advice from a local transport group.

According to analysis by Tonbridge Line Commuters (TLC), commuters should consider using a railcard to get discounted off-peak fares, since Southeastern only charges peak fares in the morning, not the evening.

Both tickets can be bought at the same time, for example, at a ticket office in the morning.

Offering some calculations using the £30 Network Railcard (which can also be bought through some cashback sites), Rob Mansfield of TLC found a £6.10 saving on a Tunbridge Wells to London terminals return.

This is a £45 return journey, yet a passenger could buy a £25.90 peak morning single to London, then an off-peak discounted single back to Tunbridge Wells for £13, he told the Times.

“The saving is £6.10 and it’s five journeys a year to cover the cost of the card.”

Meanwhile, he added, High Brooms to the London terminals is £44.30 return, but purchasing a £25.70 single to London and £13 single back to High Brooms gives a saving of £5.60 – or six journeys a year to cover the cost of the railcard.

A Paddock Wood return to the London terminals costs £40.30, but buying a peak single in the morning at £22.20, plus the £13.00 off-peak ticket means a saving of £5.10.

According to the TLC guide, for those who travel to London and use the Tube with Zone 1, it will usually work out cheaper to use this method to get to a London terminal and then use contactless or Oyster on the Tube.

“I think this is infinitely better than the (in)flexible season ticket, which ties you into eight journeys over 28 days,” said Mr Mansfield.

In addition, the railcard’s minimum fare of £13 on weekdays does not apply at weekends, so holders can get all such fares discounted – and the savings continue all year rather than expiring after 28 days.

Mr Mansfield noted: “The saving on a Tonbridge to London Terminals ticket is essentially the cost of a year’s membership with Tonbridge Line Commuters!”

Join the Tonbridge Line Commuters group at

Share this article

Recommended articles


Please enter a search term below.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter