Public transport can be expensive, especially if you’re using it all the time. It can feel like prices are always rising, even if your wages aren’t.
But, it doesn’t have to be like that. Being savvy, flexible and knowing a few useful tricks, can help bring costs down.
We’ve done our research, tried, tested and asked the experts to find the best money-saving hacks for public transport. You'll notice that we haven’t included any hacks about travelling off-peak or being flexible with your times. We know that life doesn’t work like that. Work, doctors’ appointments and kids’ school pick up times don’t wait for off peak travel.
We’ve listed our tips below, but we’d love for you to comment on our Facebook page with any we’ve missed!
ON THE BUSES
If you travel a lot, buy long-term tickets
Satsuma’s HQ is in Bradford, West Yorkshire. According to the First Group, a single ticket in the Bradford area costs £1.10. If you’re making two trips per day, that will cost £2.20. If you use the bus every day for work, shopping, appointments etc, you’ll be paying £15.40 per week.
Or, you could buy a pre-paid one week ticket for £15, saving you 40p.
A one month pass costs £58, saving you £8 on what you would spend if you buy per trip.
A one year pass costs £580, saving you £223. Every little counts, but purchasing long term tickets could save you quite a lot of money.
But, and this is a big BUT, you have to make sure you’re not paying for days you won’t be travelling. Buying week, month or annual passes only works out cheaper if you’re travelling all of the days you’re paying for. In a guest blog for Splittable, Ruth Bushi (from Save the Student) said, ‘It’s only a saving if you travel enough. Divide the price of a pass by the number of days you reckon you’ll actually use it – don’t forget to allow for illness, vacations or duvet days.’
Look out for the free ‘circular’ bus
Most major cities will have a free ‘circular’, which you can hop on and off to get around town.
Free buses are usually well signposted – the word ‘free’ is emblazoned down the side. If you’re unsure, a quick search on google for your town/city and ‘free bus’ should give you all the information you need.
‘Split’ your journey
Train companies don’t set prices based solely on how far you’re travelling. Instead, they look at how many tickets they can sell, and how busy the departure and arrival stations are. The higher demand for tickets, the more you’ll pay.
‘Split-ticketing’ is a way of splitting a journey into more than one leg to avoid paying the price for the more popular journey.
For example, according to the Trainline.com, the cheapest single one way ticket from Leeds Train Station to London Kings Cross for today (25/04/17) costs £105.20.
But, if you add up the cost of the cheapest single one way tickets from Leeds to Peterborough (£65.70) and then Peterborough to Kings Cross (£28.10), the total comes to £93.80. In this instance, ‘splitting the ticket’ would save you £11.40.
If you are savvy about it, you can book the same train to take you on both legs of the journey. This means you won’t have to change or wait around.
Use a comparison site, but book direct
Comparison sites often show prices lower than the train operator. They can do this because the train companies want to make sure they have ‘bums on seats’.
These discounts seem great but often, the comparison sites add a booking or ‘agent’ fee to the checkout price (otherwise they wouldn’t make any money).
To avoid these fees, find the best price using the comparison site, but book direct with the train operator. Quote (and show evidence of) the price you found online and the train operator will honour it.
DON’T LET GETTING AROUND BE TAXI-NG!
Know your route
If you haven’t agreed a price with the taxi driver before travel, the cost should be worked out on a meter. These meters are based on how far you’re going (for instance, the cost on a meter might increase by 20p for every quarter mile travelled).
But for taxi drivers, time is money. The quicker they can complete a fare, the more fares they can fit into their shift. This may result in them taking a route which is quicker, but longer by distance. Asking the driver to take the route you know involves less mileage, could save you money.
Haggle…and be prepared to walk away
Too often when you’re getting in a taxi, you end up paying whatever price is suggested because you want to get to where you’re going. You feel as though the taxi driver holds all the cards.
This couldn’t be further from the truth.
Think of taking a taxi like buying food at the supermarket. You wouldn’t walk into the shop and buy the first product available because your family needs to eat that week. You would look around to find the best deals available. You hold the cards because you have choice and the food companies want you to pick their product.
It’s exactly the same with a taxi fare. You need to get somewhere, but you could choose any other taxi firm or another mode of public transport. Before you get in the taxi, ask the driver how much it will be and agree on the price. If the cost quoted is too high, be prepared to walk away and stay in control of the situation.
Check the meter when you get in
When you fill your car with petrol, you’re asked to make sure that the reading is at zero before you start. This is so you aren’t charged for petrol that hasn’t gone into your vehicle.
The same could be said for the meter in a taxi. Before the driver sets off, make sure that the meter reads zero, or the pre-approved starter charge (some taxi companies will ask for a nominal charge for time/money spent getting to your location).
AND WHAT ABOUT IF YOU’RE LUCKY ENOUGH TO BE HEADING ABROAD?
Empty the cookie jar
Deleting your search history in your internet browser before booking your flights could help save you money. It's not an absolute science, but it has been reported that some sites will charge more for flights they know you’ve searched for before. It’s basic economics of higher prices for increasing demand.
You should be able to stop any possibility of this happening by deleting your search history (and therefore the cookies left on your browser) before booking.
Be brave, but it may be a risk
According to Moneysavingexpert.com, there’s a clever trick that could save you money on flights with Easyjet. They have a system called ‘Flexifares’, which allow you to switch the dates of your flight at no extra charge. So in the school holidays, when flight prices go up, you could book on a less popular (cheaper) flight, but switch on to the flight you actually want. There is a downside though, the flight you want has to have empty seats, or you could be stuck on the flight you booked.
Disclaimer: Satsuma is not responsible for the content of the linked sites and we are not liable for any losses caused by the use of the suggested sites.