The Fixer: spiralling train fares

How can my wife and I fight back against train fare hikes?

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Have you been left out of pocket due to poor service or sharp practice? Do you have a money problem that won't go away?

It can seem impossible to get a fair result when you are battling a financial issue alone. But never fear! The AOL Money Fixer is here to help.

Dear Fixer,
My wife and I often travel by train when we visit my two children. I no longer like driving long distances and they both live at least a two-hour drive away, so the train is an easier way for us to get to them.

However, I have noticed that the fares we pay have gone up a lot over the last few years. Can you suggest any ways to keep our costs down?

T McKane, Reading

Dear Mr McKane,

You do not say how old you and your wife are, but if you are both over 60 then you can benefit from the Senior Railcard.

It costs £30 a year - or £70 for a three-year card - and gets you 30% off both standard and first class fares.

If, on the other hand, you or your wife are under 60 but generally travel together, take a look at the Two Together Railcard, which also costs £30 a year and offers you a third off many fares when you travel with a friend or relative.

The Association of Train Operating Companies claims that the Two Together card, for example, saves the average user more than £127 a year.

Other top tips include avoiding peak times and getting the best fares by booking in advance.

You can also try ticket splitting - a relatively new tactic that involves splitting your journey into two or three chunks rather than paying for one single ticket and can be used in conjunction with a railcard.

Visit the Trainsplit website to find out more about how it works.

The Fixer

Whatever your financial problem, write to themoneyfixer@aim.com and The AOL Money Fixer will get on the case.

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