Active Holiday Breaks

A cheap train ticket is sold every second in the lead up to Christmas

New figures released by the Association of Train Operating Companies show that there has been a surge in the number of people taking advantage of cheap, recession–busting train tickets in the run-up to Christmas, with one ‘Advance’ fare being sold every second over the first 10 days of December.

Figures published today by the Association of Train Operating Companies shows that in the first 10 days of December a total of 814,000 cheap ‘Advance’ tickets were sold, a rise of 12.5% when compared to the same period last year. This is the equivalent to one cheap ticket being sold every second over the period.

Train companies have attributed the rise largely to the fact the people are increasingly planning their finances in advance, reining in their spending and looking for bargain deals during the recession and the Christmas period when they are already spending money on presents. Half a million cheap advance tickets are sold every week by train companies.

The average single Advance fare is currently £19.68 for an average journey length of 132.1 miles.

Analysis from ATOC also shows that the number of journeys made on Family and Friends Railcards more than doubles over the Christmas period, rising by around 150%, when compared to an average time of the year. Well over 27,000 journeys are made by families with the Railcard every day in the run-up to Christmas.

Michael Roberts, Chief Executive of the Association of Train Operating Companies, said: “Train companies release millions of cheap tickets every month for people who can book in advance and it’s good news that people are taking advantage of some of the great deals that are out there in the run-up to Christmas.

“The recession has changed many people’s spending habits as they have to cut back to deal with tougher times. When many people are reining in how much they spend, increasingly we’re seeing them planning further ahead when travelling by train and booking in advance. In particular at Christmas, when people will be spending money on presents for family and friends, they are more likely to look around for bargains wherever they can.

“Around four in five passengers already travel on discounted tickets and it seems that changes to how people spend their money may send this even higher.”

  • Association of Train Operating Companies figures show that from 1 to 10 December 2009, 814,000 cheap advance tickets were sold. This compares to 723,000 being sold over the same period in 2008. A rise of 12.5% over the period. 814,000 tickets sold is the equivalent of 57 tickets sold every minute.

  • 190,000 journeys were made on the Family and Friends Railcard in the week before Christmas during 2008. This compares with around 75,000 on a normal week throughout the rest of the year.



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