Tried to buy a new 26-30 millennial railcard this morning? Then you’ll already know that getting your hands on one of the 10,000 trial cards is proving as competitive as finding Glastonbury tickets.
In fact demand for the discount card is so high the National Railcard website has crashed. And with so few available (there are 5 million people in the eligible age bracket, meaning 1 for every 500 people), are they really worth it?
What is the ‘millennial’ railcard?
This is the second phase of the 26-30 ‘millennial’ railcard rollout, which started in December with the Greater Anglia trainline in Essex.
For a one-off payment of just £30 the 26-30 railcard will get you a year of discounted travel. The card entitles you to a third off most fares across England, Scotland and Wales, on the National Rail network.
What does the railcard give me?
Once you have made your payment, your railcard will give you a third off on the following services.
> Standard Anytime and Anytime Day Singles And Returns
> Standard Off-Peak and Off-Peak Day Singles And Returns
> Standard Super Off-Peak and Super Off-Peak Singles And Returns
> Standard And First Class Advance Purchase
> Gatwick Express, Stansted Express, Heathrow Express, Heathrow Connect
> PLUSBUS Tickets
> Off-Peak Day Travel Card Zones 1-6 (subject to minimum fare of £8)
> Anytime Day Travel Card Zones 1-6 (subject to minimum fare of £17.50)
It can also be synced with your Oyster pay as you go or contactless card.
What does the railcard not give me?
The railcard cannot be used on season tickets - which went up an average of 3.6% in January - so has limited application for commuters, both on national rail and within London.
This is because all journeys made between 4.30am and 10am Monday to Friday (so the majority of people going to work) are subject to a minimum fare of £12.
Journeys that start at ten o’clock will receive the Railcard discount. The minimum fare does not apply at weekends or on public holidays.
It can also not be used on Eurostar tickets, first class fares (except first class advance and Weekend First for some companies), Charter trains, most London Underground and Docklands Light Railway (DLR) tickets.
Is the railcard value for money?
The railcard providers say that the expenditure will usually have paid for itself after just one or two trips.
In 2016-2017, customers using third off rail fares, saved on average £190 a year, according to the railcard providers. Their website says this will leave you “with a bit more money to eat out or save for a house”.
Anthony Smith, chief executive of watchdog Transport Focus, told the BBC: “With less than half of passengers satisfied with the value for money of their journey and even fewer young people satisfied, this will help make travelling by rail that little bit more affordable for young people.”
Anything else to know?
The 26-30 railcard also gives you discounts on attractions and events, allowing you to make the most of the local areas you travel to. For example, 20% off Virgin Experience Days, such as spa days, supercar racing and three-course dinners.