Disabled Railcard fare query

Discussion in 'Fares Advice & Policy' started by STEVIEBOY1, 1 Feb 2020.

  1. STEVIEBOY1

    STEVIEBOY1 Established Member

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    Good Morning, a friend has recently been issued with a disabled persons railcard. We may be travelling in May from Kings Cross to Newcastle upon Tyne and back from Durham, plus a day trip to York from Newcastle. He has told me that he would get 1/3 off most fares and said that as I will be travelling with him, then I can also get 1/3 off. Is that correct? If so we would prob treat ourselves to 1st Class.

    Would it be possible to try and reduce the fares further on the main 2 journeys by using one of the train split websites, would they allow the railcard discounts and also offer seating map. If so any recommendations for the best site to try. ? Or is it better to use the LNER main site. ? (I do get nectar points with them too.)

    Many thanks.
     
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  3. philthetube

    philthetube Established Member

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    yes both of you get discount and you can split tickets.
     
  4. Wallsendmag

    Wallsendmag Established Member

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    Obviously LNER reservations are only open until 1st May so there's no hurry yet.
     
  5. STEVIEBOY1

    STEVIEBOY1 Established Member

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    Thank you, I have set myself up on the LNER site for them to advise when they have loaded the trains for the dates we would need.
     
  6. JLH

    JLH Member

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    I frequently travel with my mum who has a disabled persons railcard. We both get 1/3 off the standard fare and have never encountered any difficulties with this. My mum is deaf but is good at lip reading and has bone anchored hearing aids so her disability isn't immediately obvious. I did wonder if she would be challenged for having a disabled railcard but she hasn't which is good.
     
  7. Hadders

    Hadders Fares Advisor

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    Many disabilities are not visible. It is not the job of onboard staff to question whether or not someone is entitled to a Disabled Persons Railcard. That job is for the people who issue the cards.

    Onboard staff should, of course, make enquiries if they believe a railcard is not being used by the person it has been issued to.
     
  8. gazthomas

    gazthomas Established Member

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    Quite right
     
  9. Saperstein

    Saperstein Member

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    Indeed. Which is why, I believe the railcard should carry the holders photograph as the digital version does.

    Saperstein.
     
  10. [.n]

    [.n] Member

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    Aren't the paper ones issued with a separate photocard (like the 16-25 paper ones) - I can't recall now as its been a while now
     
  11. Hadders

    Hadders Fares Advisor

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    They’re all plastic cards. They can’t be issued at stations.
     
  12. Alan2603

    Alan2603 Member

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    Your second sentence is rather at odds with your first.

    I would be interested to hear how, if anyone can, ascertain such ‘belief’ that the railcard is not being used by the person it has been issued to?

    If the answer given is that ‘’The person doesn’t look disabled’’ or ‘‘doesn’t behave/act disabled’’ – that is openly discriminatory against those people who have such hidden disabilities. Why should someone have to say for example that they have epilepsy, or HIV/AIDS or cancer etc. How does someone with HIV act, other than normally? Can you ascertain visually if the stranger on the street has HIV?

    It is not for anyone on the train to question what one’s disability (and thus entitlement to use the railcard) may/may not be. That will have been looked at during the process of application for the Disabled Railcard itself, where evidence of receipt of certain benefits relating to disability, or by supplication of such proof of epilepsy etc is required to prove entitlement to the railcard.

    Once that has been proved to the issuer of the railcard and the railcard duly issued and signed by the holder (or a person appointed to sign on behalf of the holder if the holder cannot) it should be able to be used without let or hindrance.

    A real example is my brother who is totally deaf (despite cochlear implants) and mute and can only communicate by Makaton sign language. He wouldn’t be able to confirm to a guard any details from the card (name etc).

    Even checking the signature on the back of the Railcard against specimen signature isn’t valid proof either, due to the clause that permits ‘someone appointed to sign on behalf of the holder’ to sign the Railcard (i.e. holds Power of Attorney etc).

    https://www.disabledpersons-railcard.co.uk/help/railcard-terms-conditions/

    It doesn’t mean that whoever signed the disabled railcard necessarily must travel with the railcard holder. The cardholder maybe travelling alone or with someone else.

    Hence establishing whether the disabled railcard is being used by the entitled person can be fraught with difficulty.

    Someone suggested having a photograph on the card. Again, the difficulty is, for example, facial disfigurement (which the user may cover up with make-up etc from time to time). How can a guard tell if a person has covered up their facial disfigurement? Should a train guard ask a person to remove their make-up in order to verify a photograph? It is just as discriminatory asking a female wearing a full facial veil (niqab etc) on the train to take it off to verify her identity against the photograph on her railcard. And who would honestly do that for fear of the consequences?

    There isn’t an easy method of either ascertaining entitlement to use the Disabled Railcard, nor even forming the suspicion that it may be being mis-used. Overall, I believe these things fall within the ‘too difficult’ pile and are as such are not probed.

    That is not to say that it should be ‘carte blanche’, particularly in the case where someone may find a disabled railcard and use it. There should be some means of ascertaining if the card is lost or stolen and has been cancelled by the issuer. For example, by a form of ‘live-scan’ of a barcode on the card, or by entering the railcard number to check against a live database (even at 11.00pm on a Sunday night on a Pacer)!
     
  13. Haywain

    Haywain Established Member

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    Are you suggesting that you think it unreasonable to ascertain that the person named on the railcard is actually the person using it?
     
  14. Saperstein

    Saperstein Member

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    No, as @Hadders said they are all plastic cards centrally issued, I believe they are dealt with in Arbroath.

    No requirement to carry a separate photo-card.

    I have held the plastic cards for some years until I found myself suddenly needing to travel and realising it had expired, I was quite expecting having to fork out full fare and claiming back the difference so when the railcard people told me I could download one immediately I jumped at the chance.

    On that journey and every one since no one has once asked to see it lol.

    Saperstein.
     
  15. gray1404

    gray1404 Established Member

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    It would be unlawful for any further questions to be asked as to someone's use of a disabled railcard because they do not "look disabled" (if that was the motivation) no matter how it was asked. I cannot believe posters on here would even think this could rightly happen!

    There is a very good reason why the disabled person's railcard does not carry a photograph. It is because many of the people who are eligible for them would have problems getting such a photo taken and/or attached to the application process. It presents another barrier and cost. Therefore, the correct decision was made for a photograph not to be required for this railcard and nor are there any plans for that to change.

    It is not the job of any member of rail staff to question or enquire as to if someone using a railcard is eligible for one. Nor have I ever heard of this happening. There is also no requirement for a person using this type of railcard to carry any form of ID with them so it therefore cannot be asked for. Again, such a requirement would be another barrier and there are no plans to change this and rightly so.

    The only thing I have had near to this: about 3 years ago I was travelling into London for 2 weeks each morning. I was using a railcard discounted Anytime Day Return. On week 2 a guard told me that I shouldn't be using my Disabled Person's Railcard for commuting and it was for leisure purposes only. My responded by asking him if would please come to the "meet the manager" session on arrival into London that was taking place that morning at the terminal we were arriving into. I said I would be very interested to hear what his employer thought of his personal opinion on railcard use and incorrect application of the rules.
     
    Last edited: 2 Feb 2020
  16. Hadders

    Hadders Fares Advisor

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    Allow me to elaborate.

    Mr Fred Bloggs has a disability and qualifies for a Disabled Persons Railcard. His disability is not visible but he uses his Railcard to make journeys in accordance with its conditions of use. A ticket checker should not question Mr Blogg’s entitlement to a Disabled Persons Railcard.

    Mrs. Joanna Smith also qualifies for a Disabled Persons Railcard. She uses it to make journeys by rail but occasionally gives it to her friend so she can obtain discounted rail travel. Clearly this is wrong and a ticket checker who was suspicious over Mrs Smith’s friends use of the Railcard would be in order to ask questions.

    Admittedly it is very difficult to detect misuse like that of Mrs Smith’s friend. Nor is such misuse restricted to Disabled Persons Railcards but there are sometimes tell tale signs that will arouse suspicions. An alert ticket checker might notice other ID, or bank cards in a different name for example.
     
  17. Western Sunset

    Western Sunset Member

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    The Senior Railcard doesn't have a photo either. As the railcard has Dr before my name (just the first initial and then my surname), I suppose my wife could use it instead of me and nobody would be the wiser........ Though I did sign the back with my Christian name and surname, so I wouldn't misuse it anyway.
     
  18. gray1404

    gray1404 Established Member

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    It is not a condition of issue or use of the Disabled Person's Railcard for the holder to carry any additional form of ID or anything with their name on. Therefore, ID cannot and should not be requested. The contract subject to which it is issued is a two way contract and the train companies cannot ask for such ID.
     
  19. CrispyUK

    CrispyUK Member

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    Interestingly the FAQ answer below for the digital version of the Disabled Persons Railcard suggests they could charge a full price fare in such circumstances...

    If you opt for a digital Railcard, you must provide a photograph. The photo should have been taken with nothing covering the outline of eyes, nose or mouth. The rail industry applies the same rules as the DVLA and Passport Agency, so photos with a person wearing a full facial burka / niqab (a veil that covers the face) are not acceptable. If a member of rail staff is unable to validate that the person on your Railcard is you, the Train Companies reserve the right to charge you the full price Standard Single fare for your journey as if no ticket was purchased before starting the journey and in some cases a Penalty Fare.
     
  20. Saperstein

    Saperstein Member

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    My apologies, I didn’t even think of that aspect upthread. Thanks for the clarification.


    Saperstein.
     
    Last edited: 2 Feb 2020
  21. Alan2603

    Alan2603 Member

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    Yes, I see where you are coming from now.

    However, as gray1404 validly points out, there is no requirement for Mrs Smiths friend to carry or show ID to corroborate her use of the railcard.

    If the guard simply notices she is carrying other ID in a different name, that is somewhat different, as you are looking at potential fraud here, as per Reg 2.10 of the Disabled Railcard t&c's:

    In which case, perhaps having the BTP meet the train maybe more appropriate due to their extended powers of search and arrest on suspicion of an offence.
     
  22. Alan2603

    Alan2603 Member

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    The difficulty that creates is that such as Passport Agency offices do have a seperate room where a veiled female can be taken, and female staff who can verify the photograph against the person. It is the same at airport immigration check points, there is a private room where the person can be taken and female staff called to verify the passport photograph against the person.

    On a train with a male guard that would be very difficult in practice to accomplish (particularly on a rural train route with unstaffed stations - for example the Esk Valley line where the veiled passenger boarded at say Nunthorpe and is getting off at Battersby Junction etc) and thus may infact be discriminatory in itself (more so in the case of a disabled veiled female due to accessability issues etc).

    I do wonder if any veiled female using an electronic Disabled Railcard has ever been charged a full fare ticket for refusing to raise her niqab to a male guard on a train. I think it would fall into the 'far too difficult' pile for any guard on a train to deal with.
     
  23. Hadders

    Hadders Fares Advisor

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    Absolutely, there is no requirement to carry ID when using a railcard of any sort. I'm thinking of an 'eagle eyed' ticket inspector who might notice something is amiss. You'd be amazed at how easily many people incriminate themselves...
     
  24. Alan2603

    Alan2603 Member

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    Yes, however in that case, the guard isn't doubting or questioning the disability of the person presenting the railcard (how the person looks, moves etc) which would be discriminatory.

    The guard is questioning whether or not the actual card is being used fraudulently (which could occur with any sort of Railcard) due to the circumstances of observing other evidence (for example the guard notices they have photo ID in another name).

    Of course, this circumstance could also be genuine - for example the person presenting the railcard applied for it when single under her maiden or previous married name, but has since married/re-married thus has other ID in her new name (there being nothing in the t&c's saying if they change their name, they must update their railcard via the issuer. Equally true if someone changes their name via deed poll).

    So yes, it can get very complex!
     
  25. TUC

    TUC Established Member

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    I have always found it slighly offensive that the Disabled Persons Railcard does not require a photo as it implies that disability is somehow to be hidden away rather than reflected in a photograph.

    I get that several decades ago it was difficult for disabled people who use wheelchairs to access a photo booth (although not difficult for most other disabled people). However, in the modern day of digital cameras in everyone's phones that reason no linger exists.
     
  26. Alan2603

    Alan2603 Member

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    But not every disabled person has, or can operate a smartphone (or photo-booth for that matter). Not all disabled people are in wheelchairs - what about someone with no hands or fingers, or very little use of hands/fingers?

    Needing to obtain a photograph is just another barrier to the disabled person, hence why there is no requirement for it - it is a reasonable adjustment.
     
  27. TUC

    TUC Established Member

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    Even n these days of selfies I think most people would rely on someone else to take their photo when it needs to be of a particular required format such as for railcards.

    My concern that the photo exemption partly has its origins in attitudes related to wrongly treating disability as something to be embarrassed about was reinforced years ago when there was a BR poster advertising railcards. For each type of railcard there was a photo of a 'typical' user holding their card, except for the Disabled Railcard for which Jimmy Saville was holding one. Leaving aside it being JS, I did wonder 'why have you avoided having a disabled person in the poster?'
     
  28. Alan2603

    Alan2603 Member

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    But you have in that one sentence hit the crux of it.

    Why should a disabled person have to rely on someone else to take a picture of them?

    If they live alone for example and/or cannot operate a smartphone it is a barrier to them obtaining the goods and services they are entitled to. Hence the reasonable adjustment of not having to have a photograph on the railcard.

    Likewise if someone has a facial disfigurement which they may/may not from time to time mask with make-up etc, it is a barrier to obtaining the Railcard. The DVLA issue driving licences without a facial picture to those with a facial disfigurment, the Disabled Railcard just goes further by not requiring it for any eligible disabled person.

    Your concerns about the photo requirment origins were probably correct at one point in time. However today a more enlightened view is taken of the whole sphere regarding disability. As a nation, we should be pleased that barriers such as these for disabled people have been removed.
     
  29. Deafdoggie

    Deafdoggie Established Member

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    I have a Disabled Railcard, don’t look disabled and never had an issue at all. Sometimes-in a helpful way-a guard will ask if I need any assistance. But no issues at all.
     
  30. Llanigraham

    Llanigraham On Moderation

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    Ditto.
    But I do know I do not intend getting my card on my phone. Am a lot happier with a bit of plastic.
     
  31. SussexMan

    SussexMan Member

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    Do you have a source for this statement or is it your opinion? As senior railcards don't require photos and family & friends railcards don't need photos, it means your statement doesn't make sense. It may be difficult for a few disabled people to get their photo taken but as other railcards don't need photos there is nothing to suggest that this is the reason why. Oh, and blue badges require photos and people seem able to get them.
     

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