26-30 railcard survey - plans to bring in new restrictions

323235

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Today I received a survey regarding the 26-30 railcard, which outlined potential plans to:

Change the price
Change the discount level
Amending the minimum fare or bring in a blanket minimum fare at all times
Bar usage 0430-1000
Restrict the discounted ticket range such as preventing use with Anytime tickets

The survey asked a lot of in depth questions about past journey history relating to the 26-30 railcard.

It also has 8 stages of potential changes to the terms and conditions to choose the preferred change option.

I am going to go through the survey but cannot answer some of the questions, as I don't agree to any changes - I tweeted railcards to this effect - @wayne_wright170 if anyones interested.

This is very concerning and is evidence that the Rail Delivery Group do not believe it to be in the rail industries interests to maintain the current benefits - perhaps because they believe it to be having a negative effect on passenger revenue.
 
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thedbdiboy

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Whatever the original intentions of the survey I suspect that current circumtances will mean that it will go on the backburner for quite a long time
 

JonathanH

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This is very concerning and is evidence that the Rail Delivery Group do not believe it to be in the rail industries interests to maintain the current benefits - perhaps because they believe it to be having a negative effect on passenger revenue.
Not exactly concerning - too many people are using it for commuting which is definitely not the point of a railcard.

Implementing the restriction which applies to the Senior Railcard in the South East would be appropriate - valid once off-peak tickets become available.
 

Hadders

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Not exactly concerning - too many people are using it for commuting which is definitely not the point of a railcard.

Implementing the restriction which applies to the Senior Railcard in the South East would be appropriate - valid once off-peak tickets become available.
Saving hard pressed 'generation rent' 26-30 year olds on their commute is part of the reason for this railcard.

I can imagine that it's costing the rail industry more than they planned which might be why they're looking at scaling the benefits back.
 

Kojo87

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I Personally think the 26-30 is a good idea and if you're commuting with it in or around London, good luck it will save you a bit of money.
 
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Bletchleyite

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Saving hard pressed 'generation rent' 26-30 year olds on their commute is part of the reason for this railcard.
Is it? For commuting, you should buy a season ticket. It is a leisure product, same as the 16-25. The issue with the minimum fare is that while it catches most commuting outside of London, it doesn't really catch it in and around London as distances are longer and so fares higher.
 

hkstudent

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Hopefully, the best scenario is, banning sales of Anytime ticket before 10.00.
If there is a blanket ban on Anytime ticket, there will be loads of journeys (especially in the metropolitan area) will not be eligible for a discount as no Off-peak fare be available.
 

Ianno87

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Is it? For commuting, you should buy a season ticket. It is a leisure product, same as the 16-25. The issue with the minimum fare is that while it catches most commuting outside of London, it doesn't really catch it in and around London as distances are longer and so fares higher.
If it makes commuting affordable to those who can't afford the initial up-front cost of a season ticket, it generates travel and revenue where it would otherwise be dis-incentivised.
 

Haywain

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banning sales of Anytime ticket before 10.00.
I'm guessing you mean not allowing a discount on Anytime tickets before 10:00. This is really no different to barring use before Off Peak tickets become available. However, in certain areas even when Off Peak tickets are available there can be a need to purchase Anytime tickets in order to travel during restricted periods in the afternoon.
 

JonathanH

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If it makes commuting affordable to those who can't afford the initial up-front cost of a season ticket, it generates travel and revenue where it would otherwise be dis-incentivised.
My guess is that if the questions are being asked about further restrictions being introduced then the railcard is not incentivising enough additional travel to replace the revenue lost by offering the cheaper fares. It needs a 50% increase in travel among the group with this railcard to to replace the fare income previously taken.
 

35B

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My guess is that if the questions are being asked about further restrictions being introduced then the railcard is not incentivising enough additional travel to replace the revenue lost by offering the cheaper fares. It needs a 50% increase in travel among the group with this railcard to to replace the fare income previously taken.
Expressed like that, it assumes that the travel from railcards has to be incremental to justify itself. I'd suggest that there's also a question about whether cardholders would continue to travel as much if their fares were effectively increased.
 

JonathanH

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Expressed like that, it assumes that the travel from railcards has to be incremental to justify itself. I'd suggest that there's also a question about whether cardholders would continue to travel as much if their fares were effectively increased.
So long as the numbers travelling didn't reduce by 33%, the rail operators would be receiving more revenue from higher fares (although I agree it isn't that simplistic as some would go back to season tickets which aren't generally priced at 5 x anytime day returns). Arguably the incremental travel from railcards, to the extent it is offered to non-disadvantaged groups, should have to justify itself.

I think that changing the 26-30 railcard isn't necessarily right at the current time but could be changed at the point the fare structure changes (if RDG's proposals or extension of PAYG are eventually going to happen).
 

typefish

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To help us understand that could you give some detail of how you currently use the railcard?
If I'm going to the head office, I'll use my 26-30 railcard during the peak to get a couple of quid off of the rail fare. Even with the railcard it's cheaper to drive but it's nice to have a relaxing journey to work without messing about with speed cameras

If I'm going from NCL-PBO (and then bus to home), I'll usually end up getting a bunch of split Anytime Returns - the fare with the railcard discount matches up with a full tank of diesel. (My car uses just under 3/4 of a tank for a round trip)

Same with day trips, I won't be using advances unless anytimes are extortionate

I already have a car [which is paid], and as I'm doing now about 7k miles a year so I'm ignoring costs such as servicing, because for my car servicing is based on time as opposed to distance at these low mileages - and therefore servicing cost would approximately be the same.
 
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bkhtele

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Best restrictions would be to match it with another railcard e.g. Senior or Network otherwise it becomes too complicated to efficiently communicate or monitor
 

Deerfold

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Is it? For commuting, you should buy a season ticket. It is a leisure product, same as the 16-25. The issue with the minimum fare is that while it catches most commuting outside of London, it doesn't really catch it in and around London as distances are longer and so fares higher.
Is any sort of ticket only for a particular type of travel?

I've commuted on advance tickets; I've had season tickets which I haven't used to get to work.

I currently have a Two Together card. Most of its use is for work travel

Am I doing something wrong?
 

Starmill

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Is it? For commuting, you should buy a season ticket.
I corrected you on this recently and perhaps you missed it.

What you mean is you think that people should buy season tickets, but the reality is that people don't care what you think and a lot won't buy a season ticket because of the frequency with which at least one of the following applies:
- They're more expensive per journey than other ticket types
- You pay up-front and the consumer doesn't have the liquidity
- Your loyalty isn't rewarded by any means (NB the price per journey isn't a reward for loyalty - and even where the first point doesn't apply, the discount is sometimes tiny %)

Given that loads of people face either two or all three of those, loads don't buy season tickets.

There are people out there buying Advance tickets for 5 day commutes for short journeys, including Doncaster to Sheffield and Stockport to Manchester, because the season ticket is too expensive. There are people in Greater Manchester who do 4 days office based in the city centre where a 7 Day Season saves £0.20 a week over 4*Anytime Day Return. Bear in mind that you can book an Advance from Doncaster to Sheffield in the morning peak for £2 on your phone on your way into the station now. Why buy a season ticket when that's on offer?

There are people who used to buy long season tickets because you got a 'perk' such as free weekend travel who don't any more because they're withdrawn. There are people who buy cheaper dedicated tickets that don't come with Season equivalents, which means 5 returns a week are all that's on offer by that particular company.

One person I know even commuted from Lincoln to Stevenage, which might sound mad, but it's only 90 minutes and they worked on the train. LNER were asked to introduce a season ticket fare but never did so.

Things like CommuterClub have gone some way to helping with the liquidity point, but they're very inconsistently applied. Some firms still refuse to authorise a season ticket loan for their employees. A government scheme to permit payment for season tickets through PAYE would be much more successful.

What you're saying here might have been true uder BR but it's certainly not any more. The only way to really fix this is to reduce the prices of season tickets, or give long-period season ticket holders some other benefits.
 
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Starmill

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A further point to add is that I had an Annual Season ticket at last year's rates, which made sense for me only because I'd get use out of it for occasional trips to the cinema on weekends, or I'd use it for long-distance journeys where it covers part of my travel and therefore shaves a small amount off the price. I would have used the full 12 months if it weren't for the COVID-19 Crisis too, so I would have benefitted from the extra discount for Annuals just enough to make that cheaper than mixed odd-period tickets.

But now that we have the crisis on our hands and it has been refunded, I'll have a totally different decision to make and a totally different commuting landscape is likely to arise just for me personally on the other side of this crisis, however long that takes.

I am a railcard holder, although my most commonly made journey to work does not fall into the category where money might be saved from using it, because all daily tickets are still captured by the minimum fare.
 

Bletchleyite

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The only way to really fix this is to reduce the prices of season tickets, or give long-period season ticket holders some other benefits.
Or (I know you won't like this, but it *is* a way) to put more restrictions on Railcards, such as a higher minimum fare or total bar before 10am, particularly in the South East where commutes are longer and so Anytime fares much higher. The 16-25 minimum (and for that matter the NSE one) also hasn't anywhere near kept up with fare increases so its effect will now be relatively negligible.

I saw you expressing your view on that matter and declined to reply so as not to get into a pointless yes-no argument as neither of us is going to change our opinion, but for the record I respectfully disagree with it, as you may expect.

Railcards are intended to be leisure products. You may not like that, but that is the entire basis of them existing. Some people find workarounds to use them for commuting, just as some people find split ticketing useful, but neither of them are deliberate products of the TOCs for the purpose of commuting/reducing fares respectively.

On the side, with regard to Advances, they are now being misused particularly in the North in order to allow the fare-setter to set a TOC specific fare which is mostly intended for walk-up travel. This does cloud what they are used for somewhat and is in my view grossly unhelpful. But that's one for another thread, really.
 

Starmill

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Or (I know you won't like this, but it *is* a way) to put more restrictions on Railcards, such as a higher minimum fare or total bar before 10am, particularly in the South East where commutes are longer and so Anytime fares much higher.
I've just given you a long list of other reasons why people don't use season tickets, refuting your ridiculous claim. This isn't relevant to them. Unless you recognise that actually there's a far wider problem here than merely railcards...
I saw you expressing your view on that matter and declined to reply so as not to get into a pointless yes-no argument as neither of us is going to change our opinion, but for the record I respectfully disagree with it, as you may expect.
It isn't my view though is it? You're not really at liberty to disagree with me that lots of people commute using ticket types that aren't some form of Season ticket, or that the reasons I've outlined (and perhaps a few others), principally that season tickets would cost more for no real benefit, are driving that. Railcard eligibility plays its part in that, but I was explaining that it's endemic and growing, and that's backed up by the data, and that it's not going to be solved by adding restrictions.
Railcards are intended to be leisure products. You may not like that, but that is the entire basis of them existing. Some people find workarounds to use them for commuting, just as some people find split ticketing useful, but neither of them are deliberate products of the TOCs for the purpose of commuting/reducing fares respectively.
Even this is misleading. Railcards are, first and foremost, commercial tools used to generate consumer 'buy-in' and manipulate yield management by segmenting a market. The TOCs know business and residential travel takes place on them and they price accordingly. They ain't restricted to leisure journeys and the commercial directors in these companies understand that, although obviously you don't.
On the side, with regard to Advances, they are now being misused particularly in the North in order to allow the fare-setter to set a TOC specific fare which is mostly intended for walk-up travel. This does cloud what they are used for somewhat and is in my view grossly unhelpful. But that's one for another thread, really.
You might call it misuse, and I might see it as a (fairly minor) competition issue, or matter of poor customer service in some cases. But they see it as a clear, legitimate, commercial strategy. This is like your theory that advance tickets are sold only to fill seats that would otherwise be empty: not true.
 
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Hadders

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Consider a journey from Stevenage to London Terminals:

Anytime Day Return £23.30
7 Day Season £99.10
Monthly Season £380.60
Annual Season £3,964

A season ticket is poor value for this journey and many people buy daily tickets if they work from home one day a week.

A season ticket only makes sense if you purchase an annual and at almost £4k is a significant sum for someone aged 26-30 in 'generation rent' towards the start of their career when earnings are at the lower end of the scale. Even £23.30 for a daily ticket is high so the 26-30 railcard offers the opportunity to reduce the cost of an Anytime Day Return to £15.40. This is far better value than an annual season ticket and meets a Government aspiration to do something for 'generation rent'.
 

Bletchleyite

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Examples like that could do with sorting out. For Bletchley to London Terminals we have:

Anytime Day Return £41
7 day £145.40 (saving at 4 days)
Monthly £458.90 (saving at 3 days of a 28 day month)
Annual £4780.00 (can't quite get my head around working it out, but probably saving at 2 days as a monthly is close to that)

You can with a NSE bring the daily down to 21 + 13.00 (Off Peak Single back; no evening restrictions) = 33.90 though, or £27.10 with a YP, the latter is cheaper than a weekly for a 5 day week... (I'm happy posting this as the lack of restrictions on that ticket is not an anomaly, it's a deliberate thing - there are 3 steps of walk-up fares on LNR, the one with evening restrictions is the super off peak).

Actually most notably nobody should ever buy an Anytime Day Return, can you work out why? :D
 

Hadders

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As long as they sort it by reducing the price of season tickets but as this is the railway they'd increase the cost of the Anytime Day Return.

I've saved young colleagues starting work at our offices in London £thousands by advising them to purchase a 16-25 Railcard (and now 26-30) rather than a season ticket. Morally it's right that someone at the start of their career when wages are often lower should pay a bit less to travel into work than someone years older who's probably been promoted a few times and worked their way up the salary scale.
 

IrishDave

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There is a wider point here, namely that the use of season tickets depends very heavily on the ratio of cost between season tickets and day tickets.

@Hadders example of Stevenage-London has a ratio of 4.25:1 between weekly and daily tickets.
@Bletchleyite example of Bletchley-London has a ratio of 3.54:1.

My commute until recently was Brighton-London Thameslink, for which:
Anytime Day Return £44.40
Weekly Season £105.20
Monthly Season £404.00
Annual Season £4208.00

This has a ratio of just 2.37:1. Even with a 26-30 railcard the daily ticket is £29.30, so an average commuter doing four days a week in London would still be better off buying a season ticket (even a weekly one).

All that said, I don't necessarily think that different flows having different ratios between season and day tickets is bad - if Brighton-London were 4.25:1 I'd be paying over £7500 for an annual season, which would probably mean I wouldn't buy it, and would likely travel a lot less. Surely at the end of the day, the fares are set at the rates the market is willing to accept?
 

Hadders

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I think it's the Anytime Day Return for Stevenage to London. I think it's classed as a Commuter Fare in fares regulation. I'm sure someone will correct me if I'm wrong.
 

Kite159

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Examples like that could do with sorting out. For Bletchley to London Terminals we have:

Anytime Day Return £41
7 day £145.40 (saving at 4 days)
Monthly £458.90 (saving at 3 days of a 28 day month)
Annual £4780.00 (can't quite get my head around working it out, but probably saving at 2 days as a monthly is close to that)

You can with a NSE bring the daily down to 21 + 13.00 (Off Peak Single back; no evening restrictions) = 33.90 though, or £27.10 with a YP, the latter is cheaper than a weekly for a 5 day week... (I'm happy posting this as the lack of restrictions on that ticket is not an anomaly, it's a deliberate thing - there are 3 steps of walk-up fares on LNR, the one with evening restrictions is the super off peak).

Actually most notably nobody should ever buy an Anytime Day Return, can you work out why? :D
I guess it's because an Anytime day single + an off-peak single is cheaper than the anytime day return, even with no discounts?

(Bit like the fares from Andover to London, only people buying anytime day returns are those on expenses, or it gets purchased for them, or they think there is an evening peak out of Waterloo)
 

BigCj34

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Now that the RDG have made the 26-30 railcard available with the restrictions it carries, withdrawing or reducing some of its perks is politically foolish. The railcard already had a sloppy start and that is before mentioning how many rail journeys would see a modal shift if I cannot get the same kind of discount, if at all.

They could however use the findings to determine how a 31-59 National Railcard could work. Even if it forbids usage before 10am and is significantly more expensive to purchase, few would complain as it still would offer a better discount than before.
 

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