Rail fares are a bane for many people, especially those who travel into cities and industrial centres from suburban or residential parts of the country. Rail commuters faced price rises of 2.7 percent in January according to the Rail Delivery Group. While this increase is lower than the previous rise in 2019, it is still higher than the current state of inflation which is 1.8 percent according to the Office for National Statistics.
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These price rises will affect consumers whether they like it or not.
Recent figures reveal that the UK population are highly reliant on the railways.
According to the office of Rail and Road, rail passenger journeys in the UK for Q2 2019-2020 increased to 449 million from Q2 2018-2019.
Passengers are paying for this privilege too as passenger revenue rose by 6.2 percent to £2.7 billion.
Standard seats on trains are usually filled to capacity on popular routes and the difference between standard and first class prices are usually dramatic.
However, a small percentage of the population may be able to enjoy first class seats with no additional costs.
Many train companies offer what is known as a “mums to be” scheme in which pregnant women may be able to sit in first class for no extra charge.
Every train company has different rules for this and not all of them offer the scheme but it will be available from some of the biggest train companies in the country.
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South Western Railway offer a “mums-to-be policy” for pregnant women.
This scheme allows these women to have their standard ticket upgraded to first class at no extra charge, so long as the guard on board cannot find her a seat in standard.
Women who utilise this scheme do not need to provide any information for proof, they simply need to complete an online application form.
This form asks for basic information such as address. Once it is submitted, the company will contact the expectant mother directly.
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Greater Anglia have more stringent rules for their offering, or at least details which are made more clear on their website.
The mothers here need to be in their last eight weeks of pregnancy before maternity leave for the scheme to apply.
Their scheme follows the same concept, qualifying women can sit in first class seats if there are no standard ones available, however more documentation will be needed.
A season ticket photocard will be needed and the application will need to be done through post. Within this letter, a photocard number will be needed along with the journey details and a letter from the mother’s employer confirming their last date of travel before maternity leave. If the mother doesn’t work, a letter from their GP will be required.
East Midlands Railway, First Capital Connect, Southern rail and many other rail companies offer these type of schemes and their websites can detail their rules and requirements.
National Rail Enquiries can also provide details on these schemes and where applications need to be sent.
While it may not seem worth the hassle for some, it could save a lot of money for mothers who travel a lot.
For example, by utilising trainline.com, individuals booking for next day can see that it currently costs £180 for a standard ticket from Euston to Manchester Piccadilly, leaving around 7am. However, a first class ticket for the same journey can cost more than £220.
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