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

Discussion in 'Fares Advice & Policy' started by 323235, 24 Mar 2020 at 21:58.

  1. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    I would pay a considerable sum of money, possibly over £100 (and possibly even more if it was by monthly direct debit), for a version of the Network Railcard with the same restrictions the existing one has but valid on all TOCs nationally, FWIW.
     
  2. AM9

    AM9 Established Member

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    Hi Hadders. I know that we disagree about whether season tickets are good value, but as you've brought the comparison of SVG to STP/KGX into the discussion, I'll mention this:
    For the type of travel that seasons are designed, i.e. Five days per week except a sick/holiday allowance, the £3964 annual season represents an Anytime return journey to London Terminals for £17.08. That is a discount of more than 26%. An Off-Peak 'Cheap' Day Return ticket for the same journey is £18.40 (just a 21% discount) and with a B1 restriction, bars commencing the up journey before 09.30. Then there's a Super Off-Peak Day Return ticket for that journey at £17.90 (a 23% discount) with a TN restriction that bars arrival in London before 10:54 and also bars return travel in the evening peak.
    Given that the railway doesn't need any more travellers in the peaks* the sale of Anytime season tickets discounted below the price of very restricted off-peak tickets where passengers travel at the convenience of the railway using spare capacity sounds like a pretty good deal at the expense of off-peak travellers to me.

    * Excepting the current situation with very limited travelling to work, of course it may be that the volume of commuters is reduced permanently through homeworking. That would benefit the railway greatly with less congestion, better use of (maybe less) rolling stock, and an opportunity to introduce more comfortable trains with less emphasis on gross capacity with an aim to capture more of the leisure market.
     
  3. Hadders

    Hadders Fares Advisor

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    I agree with your analysis. Where I think we disagree is that a person at the start of their career, travelling from Stevenage to London everyday, is probably earning far less than (for example) someone in their late 50s. There was much talk in the media about the need to do something to help the 'under 30s' or 'generation rent' as they're often referred to.

    The 16-25 Railcard offered some relief to 'high value' commuting costs and now the 26-30 Railcard does as well. The Government and Rail Industry would have been well aware of the cost of this and the potential effects when the 26-30 Railcard was launched.
     
  4. AM9

    AM9 Established Member

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    Given that the railway is from the point of ticket sales a profit seeking industry, if Government wishes to display largesse, - in this case wishing to be seen to help under 30s, then it should funded to the level of increased cost to shield the TOCs. As the Government has chosen be generous at the expense of commercial companies, it is quite justifiable for them to take steps to make the offer of reduced fares cost neutral. Clearly the principle of giving commuters in general, fares at discounts that mean they are sold are below cost, and then effectively loading non-controlled leisure business fares with that cost, has been part of franchise deal pricing for decades. Those who benefit from discounted travel through season tickets really should stop claiming that they are overcharged and that their custom is more valuable than that leisure travellers when the railway has stated many times that it just isn't true. There are a few members of RUK who regularly argue along those lines.
     
  5. kieron

    kieron Established Member

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    Some are, some aren't. If you want to means test a railcard, though, why not just do that, rather than trying to use age as a proxy for income?
     
  6. Deerfold

    Deerfold Established Member

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    Presumably because it's far slower, harder and more expensive to means test.
     
  7. bussnapperwm

    bussnapperwm Member

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    I'm a 26-30 railcard holder, and I know that if they put the price up, or decide to add more restrictions, I'll more than likely be switching to either NX, megabus, or just doing less out of Midlands journeys altogether
     
  8. Doctor Fegg

    Doctor Fegg Member

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    Except season tickets, as currently available, are a legacy of the way people used to commute.

    They are not suitable for modern working patterns, which frequently involve working from home, job-shares, flexible hours, and so on. Which is why there are now commuter WhatsApp groups where members alert each other when advance tickets go on sale so they can snap them up.

    Thus far the rail industry's response to this appears to be a selection of underwhelming carnet products offering an 0.001% discount or something. You can't blame people for looking out for alternatives.
     
  9. kieron

    kieron Established Member

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    You lose something in admin costs, but you gain by not wasting money on giving cards to people who could easily afford the full fare.

    The median 30-34 year old taxpayer earned less than 15% more than the median 25-29 year old one in 2017-8 according to the ONS (compared with 27% for 25-29 against 20-24), so a 25-29 railcard is a rather inefficient way of targeting less well off people.
     
  10. WesternLancer

    WesternLancer Established Member

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    I think it is of note that the Railcard was announced by a Govt Minister (not the industry as a promotional product) and that was the Chancellor in 2017 - this is what he said at the time (ok not much on the detail but)

    "For those who don’t stretch to a private jet, I can announce a new railcard, for those aged 26-30.
    Giving 4.5 million more young people a third off their rail fares."

    Quoted from here:
    https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/autumn-budget-2017-philip-hammonds-speech

    Of course its T&C were diff to other railcard / similar products like the YP railcard IIRC adding to the confusing aspects of these types of products added to be the subsequent 16-18 railcard.
     
  11. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    I wonder if the Government perhaps provided initial funding and now that's run out.
     
  12. WesternLancer

    WesternLancer Established Member

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    Quite plausible I suspect! And / or a diff ministerial team lobbied for it and now water has flowed under the bridge RDG decide to do a 'review'.
     
  13. paul1609

    paul1609 Established Member

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    Down here on Romney Marsh 60 miles South East of London the building trades pay the average UK wage. Especially after Christmas theres a shortage of work through to the early summer. The local lads are an absolute bargain for the London Building Agencies where theres a shortage of labour. £80 for a one day travel card is nothing to these companies. The work often is not continuous, weather dependant and runs in to out of weekends. The season tickets are often beyond the ability of these guys to buy up front. If they're under 31 (most are) they'd be stupid not to have a £30 railcard that gives them £27 extra in their pockets for a days work.
     
  14. telstarbox

    telstarbox Established Member

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    Is it cheaper to do that than rent a room in London?
     
  15. WesternLancer

    WesternLancer Established Member

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    probably - but renting a room often not straightforward anyway and in theory you would have to sign up to a minimum 6 months rental contract with a landlord and the work might not last that long maybe, otherwise you would stay in B&b paid for by the contractor but even then it may be out of town so has a travel cost to it.
     
  16. paul1609

    paul1609 Established Member

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    Bear in mind that Ashford International is second stop 34 mins from St Pancras on peak trains. The Romney Marsh Road A2070 is a fast 60 mph single carriageway road practically from outside the station. Home will be as fast as digs in many suburbs and you may be told theres no work tomorrow.
     
  17. FenMan

    FenMan Member

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    Please don't underestimate the bureaucracy required to implement means testing (IT infrastructure, appeals panels, arbitrators etc) or the difficulties in assembling the evidence to "convince the man" (gig workers, people with more than one job and so on). It would be a huge waste of scarce resources. Far cheaper to accept that a blunt instrument can never be precise, but is "good enough".

    It is exactly this reason why UKGov started getting very nervous when the BBC said it could no longer fund free TV Licences for over 75s and that means testing would have to be an option to identify those in the target group in genuine need.
     
  18. 35B

    35B Member

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    There are other ways of handling that if the item in question is a benefit - the way that child benefit is taxed being an example. However, the principle you set out is absolutely valid.
     
  19. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    You can also handle means testing through the tax system, which is a lot easier as it already exists so there is no real cost in doing so even if it does seem a bit of a "money go round". Give it out then tax it back again.

    A good example of this is the way the Swiss tourist tax usually gives you free local public transport for the duration of your stay.
     
  20. Deerfold

    Deerfold Established Member

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    I've seen a few contractors staying in Youth Hostels at £10-£15 a night in central London.
     
  21. AM9

    AM9 Established Member

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    That's actually a good idea. Issuing of a 26-30 Railcard would involve supplying a valid NI number and the address that the number was recorded against. Tax levied would be zero up to the maximum income deemed needy of supplementing. Thereafter a band tapering to full tax based on the average total savings that all cardholders would benefit from. It might get complicated if it was necessary to determine what the 'work' journeys were of each card holder.
     
  22. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    That's a bit overcomplicated, to be honest. I was speaking more generally about means-testing things like benefits.
     

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