From the London Independent. New fares went into effect at the start of the year.
British trains are the priciest in Europe. I find this article helpful because it cites sample fares that illustrate just how costly train tickets can be. I can attest to the byzantine labyrinth (is that a mixed metaphor?) of changing fares between, say London and Edinburgh depending on how far ahead you buy a ticket. Bad news for me; I can seldom plan my days so far ahead that I can take advantage of the savings. It doesn’t help that British Rail is not a single public entity any more. These private contractors don’t necessarily compete on the same route; so much for privatization.
Mind you, the fares vary hugely depending on how far in advance you can plan. In the interest of research, I went to the East Cost Rail website to price same day return (round trip) tickets between London Kings Cross and Edinburgh Waverley. If I wanted a ticket for the day after purchase, it would cost almost £197 (that’s $315 at $1.60 to the pound). If I book a month ahead, the price drops to £88 ($141) and if I can plan two months ahead, the fare drops to £46 ($74). Yikes! Definitely food for thought. Maybe I’ll have to plan and book ahead after all.
Similarly, locals and frequent visitors to London know that fares on the London Underground (Tube) rise almost every year and the only sane way to protect your wallet is to invest in an Oyster card – it has all the savings of a one-day travel card with the additional benefits that you’re covered if you go outside of zones 1 and 2 and you don’t need to queue up at either the window or the machines to get a new card every day. I also like being able to add money to my existing Oyster card each time I come to London. They don’t expire with non-use, not yet at least.