Train prices rise on 2 January but some passengers only have until this Monday to benefit from the current, lower rates.

The price of regulated fares, which includes season tickets and off-peak inter-city journeys, will jump by an average 6% on 2 January.

Other fares will also rise on the same day, including off-peak and walk-on fares.

All new prices will be announced on Tuesday.

Here's when you need to purchase your ticket by to pay the lower rates if buying a season ticket or travelling from 2 January, according to the Association of Train Operating Companies (Atoc):

Season tickets

To pay the lower rates, commuters must follow the following rules:

  • Buy or renew their ticket by 1 January.
  • The ticket start date must be no later than 1 January.
  • Bear in mind that if buying a new ticket or renewing an expired ticket before 12pm, the ticket will start that day. If bought after 12pm, it can start that day or the day after. But where a ticket commences on a weekend or Monday (1 January is a Sunday), you can buy the ticket after 12pm on the Friday before.
  • If renewing an existing ticket, it can only be done up to seven days in advance.
  • If a ticket expires on, say, 7 January, if you renew it from that day you'll pay the higher price. The new ticket must start no later than 1 January to pay the lower price. Do the maths to determine if it is cheaper to pay the higher rate or to pay twice for part of the ticket length. New prices will be available from Tuesday to compare.

Atoc stresses that some rules are relaxed between the Christmas and new year period so check with your train operator for its exact terms.

Trains firms are allowed a five percentage point swing from the 6% average regulated fares hike so some costs may jump by 11%.

But where that happens, others will rise by much less than the 6% average.

Individual journeys

Many buying individual journeys, for travel from 2 January, are best doing so as soon as possible.

  • Cheap advance tickets. If available for your chosen journey, these are often the cheapest option. Advance tickets currently on sale won't rise in price as a direct result of the price hikes but they are sold on a first come, first served basis anyway, so it is nevertheless worth buying as soon as possible.
  • Off-peak/walk-on fares. If advance tickets are not available, you should buy by Monday to pay the current off-peak or walk-on (standard) fare, depending on which is available for your journey. On Tuesday, train firms will load the new fares into their systems, and from then, for travel from 2 January, they will charge the higher rate.