On the day that rail commuters learned of the scale of January’s fare increase, train travellers aged 26 to 30 have been told that the long-promised railcard has been delayed yet again.
“millennial railcard”, as it has been called, extends most 16-25 railcard privileges to people aged up to 30 – saving one third on most train fares.
It was first promised by the chancellor in his Budget in November 2017.
A pilot programme for the 26-30 railcard began in the Greater Anglia area in December 2017, with just 10,000 on offer. All had been sold within two months.
In March 2018, the railcard went on sale nationwide – but with only 10,000 more available, one for every 500 people in the 26-30 cohort.
As many in the eligible age range of five million tried to obtain the discount card, the website crashed.
By the time the railcard goes on general sale nationwide, on 2 January 2019, around one million people who were in the target age range when Philip Hammond announced the card will be too old to qualify.
They must either wait until they are 60 for another chance to save with a senior railcard, or fulfil the requirements for a Family & Friends or Two Together railcard.
A spokesperson from Rail Delivery Group, representing train operators, said: “We intended to launch the 26-30 Railcard by the end of the year, given how timings have worked out this would mean launching it over a bank holiday.
“When the 26-30 Railcard goes on sale we want to be able to provide the best possible experience to our customers, which is why it will go on sale at midday on 2 January.”
The new card’s launch coincides with the annual rail fares increase. Ticket prices will rise by an average of 3.1 per cent.