As of 10am this morning, the price of more than a million train tickets have been slashed in half.
For the months of April and May, travellers will be able to get up to 50% off some train tickets in a move by the Department of Transport designed to restore train travel numbers to pre-pandemic levels.
However, the reduced cost tickets are not available for travellers making journeys at peak times – meaning they will be of no help to commuters battling the UK’s cost of living emergency.
The discounted tickets went on sale this morning, reports The Manc, with passengers eligible to travel for cut prices on certain off-peak and advanced fares between 25 April and 27 May.
They are being sold on a first-come, first-served basis, and can be purchased online from participating retailers.
Cutting the cost of rail travel will help “ease some of the pressure” on finances at a time when inflation is rising, the Department for Transport said.
It is the first time that multiple rail operators have come together to offer nationwide savings.
Trips from York to Leeds are discounted from £5.60 to £2.80 at certain times. Elsewhere, travel from London to Edinburgh is available at £22 and £25 from London to Cardiff.
Still, the move ultimately only benefits those with disposable income and has drawn much criticism from transport campaigners and commuters alike.
The ‘Great British Rail Sale\’ has been critiqued on a number of factors, primarily for not helping commuters who are facing increasing travel costs.
Labour’s shadow transport secretary Louise Haigh said the discounts this spring will be “small comfort to passengers” after years of “soaring fares”.
“A decade of brutal Tory fare hikes have priced people off our railways,” she said.
“This temporary respite will be small comfort to passengers who had thousands taken out of their pockets from soaring fares since 2010.
“And the decision to end the sale just before half-term will mean many families face the same punishing costs over the holidays.”
The Campaign for Better Transport, however, said that it had been pushing for action to improve passenger levels for months.
It welcomed the move by the government, but Norman Baker, its chief executive’s adviser and former transport minister said: “It can show the Treasury that the way to increase income is to cut fares, not keep ratcheting them up and driving people off the railway.”
Feature image – Wikimedia Commons